Once someone finds out I'm a Realtor®, there are a few things they often say. The most common one is, "How's the market?" Another thing I hear all the time. "I think I'd like to be a Realtor®. It looks so easy." That's often followed up with things like, "You only have to work when you feel like it." and "You make so much commission." I understand why the public thinks this.
Realtors® on TV seem to just work a couple hours a day yet never seem to have any issues with money. Phil on Modern Family is one of my favorite characters, but that show is a comedy. It's not meant to be realistic.
Or how about the HGTV shows where they show you 3 houses, you pick one, and they make a big commission. Who wouldn't want that career? The truth is, those shows are all staged. Those houses are already sold by the time the TV show comes in. The work is already done.
Hopefully, you realize life isn't really like what you see on TV. There are so many things that make being a Realtor® a difficult career. Here are just a few things you may not know about what we do.
1. We work on commission only. That's right. We only get paid when a property closes. We don't get paid for showing you a houses or answering your questions or anything else on this list. When you close on a house and see us getting that commission check, please keep in mind a lot of effort when into it. Also, keep in mind, we don't get to keep all of it. We have to pay our broker, pay our taxes, and repay ourselves for the expenses that went into getting this commission.
2. We can choose when we work, but we end up working all the time. I've had clients call me as early as 4:45am and as late as 12:20 am. I nearly always get calls on every holiday, including Christmas. If you really want your phone to ring as a Realtor, go on vacation. I have clients who can only meet with me on the weekends or evenings, but most of what we do to manage deals needs to be done during business hours. I've honestly never worked this many hours in any 9-5 job.
3. We do a lot more than show you houses or put a sign in your yard to sell your house. Here's just a sampling of what else we do:
Help buyers get pre approved
Offer staging advice to sellers
Find properties that match buyers' criteria
Help clients find contractors
Research properties and find comps
Write and negotiate offers
Connect clients to various vendors for inspections, appraisals, etc.
Get insurance quotes for clients
Attend photo shoots, inspections, appraisals, and open houses
Follow up with lenders and title companies to ensure everything is going smoothly
Stay up to date on the market
Keep license up to date with classes
Marketing and prospecting for business
Blogging, making videos, and social media posts, etc.
Take care of any issues that arise on any of the transactions we are managing
ETC...there's a lot I left off of this list
4. We have to find our clients before we can do any of this work for them. That often includes a great deal of time, effort and expense. Everything from purchasing leads to paying to market ourselves and your properties makes this an expensive part of the job, and those expenses come out of those commission checks. Then there's the time involved in find clients and building relationships with them.
5. We have to learn a great deal and keep learning all the time. Getting a real estate license involves some education, but keeping it means you have to keep taking classes on a regular basis. If you want to be great at what you do, you need to take even more classes than the required amount. There are so many things we need to know to guide you through your real estate transaction. Realtors® have to understand the mortgage process as well as the title process. We also have to know basics about contracts, construction, insurance, termites etc. in order to best advice our clients. Great Realtors® never stop learning to be better, and that takes time and money.
6. Some of what we do isn't so glamorous. You may think it's so fun to see all the big, beautiful houses that we show. I admit, I like that part very much. However, that's not all we show. I've been in hoarded houses, houses that smelled worse than a zoo, houses where I left covered in fleas and houses where I was afraid they were going to fall down on top of me. I have had some of the funniest, coolest, most amazing people as clients, but there have also been a few who made me question my career choice. No matter how good you are as a real estate agent, there are always going to be some people who want to tell you they think you're horrible...and they usually like to tell you that very loudly.
Wow, I'm tired from typing all of this, and I left so much off. I'm not saying I don't love my career, because I do. I thrive in all the chaos of it. I am saying, it's a lot of hard, stressful work, and it takes a great deal of effort to be successful. Please keep that in mind the next time you think it looks easy. If I haven't scared you away, however, I'd love to talk with you about becoming an agent and maybe even working with me.