Working in real estate can be an ideal job for some, particularly those who don't want to work in a traditional 9-to-5 job. The National Association of Realtors reports that the most recent statistics show there are approximately two million active real estate licensees in the U.S., so obviously there are more than a few finding success in this career.
Of course, as with just about everything, there are pros and cons to think about seriously before jumping feet first into this line of work.
No College Degree Needed
There are only minimal educational requirements for becoming a realtor. While you'll probably need a high school diploma or GED to become licensed, and you may have to have some training in certain states, you can become an agent after passing an exam in much less time than it would take to earn a bachelor's degree. Typically, you'll take a pre-licensing course, but the time investment can be as little as 30 days.
The Potential for Serious Earnings
In a conventional job, the salary or wage per hour is the same week after week until your employer gives you a raise, which could be six months, a year, or years from the time you start. As a real estate agent, there are no limits on earnings, which tend to be directly linked to how hard, and how much you work.
The downside is that you'll have to spend money before you make money. Ironically, your early days of being a realtor aren't going to be the best time to start playing with calculators that answer the question, "how much house can I afford?" because unless you have another income stream, it will probably be zero. First, you'll likely have to pay for training, then there's the licensing exam. Once licensed, you'll need to get business cards and have money budgeted for marketing not to mention the usual personal bills you'll have to pay along with having a reliable car. It's a good idea to be prepared to go without a commission check for that first six months or even a year as get your career launched.
The Freedom to Set Your Own Hours
If you can't stand being tied down to a desk all day and don't thrive in that traditional 9-to-5 setting, it could be why you're considering a career in real estate in the first place. You will have lots of flexibility and the freedom to set your own hours, working in the afternoon and evenings if you want to. But the reality is, if you want to earn a decent living, you'll be working a lot more hours than you would in that traditional job, including evenings, weekends and holidays. Even if you work late at night, you may still have to wake up early in the morning to take care of things like meetings with bankers and lawyers who work daytime hours.
The bottom line is that if you enjoy working with the public and know how to provide exceptional service while helping people to sell or buy a home, have an independent spirit and a strong work ethic, you may be able to build an outstanding future business. Just understand that it takes a significant investment of time, effort and money to do so.