Washington Management Real Estate

Be sure you have what it takes

A real estate license opens up a whole world of career possibilities that offers independence, a flexible work schedule, and unlimited earning potential. But a successful real estate career requires preparation, commitment, and hard work. The decision to undertake a career in real estate should not be made lightly.

Here are some of the qualities you should have:

You must truly like people. Residential real estate is a people-oriented profession. If you draw your energy from working and helping others, you'll probably enjoy this vocation.

You must enjoy networking. The most successful agents, the top 20%, get 80% of their business by referral. The number one source of business in the industry is from sphere of influence clients — family, friends, colleagues and past clients — and referrals from them.

You must have empathy. Moving is a multi-faceted endeavor that creates physical and emotional challenges. You need to understand your customers' needs and desires without becoming overly involved with their personal problems.

You must have a healthy ego. Self-confidence and pride will help you succeed in this field. You must be able to take rejection and keep going to stay with this business.

You must be a self-starter. Working hard and doing the right things can yield tremendous financial rewards. There is no compensation for just "showing up" everyday. You must be able to establish your own goals, organize your priorities, and stay focused.

You must have patience. Real estate has a lot of "hurry up and wait" aspects. This is a people business, and you will occasionally be required to deal with people who try your patience. You will have to keep your composure in spite of what others around you are doing.

Flexibility. Real estate agents need to be available to their clients when it's convenient for the clients, so agents work many evenings and weekends. In return, you have a fair amount of flexibility: you can set your own hours within certain limits and you may even be able to work part-time. However, keep in mind that because you'll be working on a commission basis, your income will depend on how much effort you put into the work.

You must have a thirst for knowledge. Our business is constantly changing, and you will need to learn and grow continuously in order to provide the best possible service.

Financial Commitment. A number of start-up costs are associated with entering the real estate field: tuition for the required real estate prelicensing course, the exam fee, and the license fee. At a minimum, you should have your own vehicle and a cell phone. Other expenses may depend on what broker you go to work for; for example, you may need to have your own computer with Internet access, or there may be one available at your broker's office. Other items to include in your budget are insurance, automobile expenses, and marketing costs.

It's important to note that a new agent's income is usually erratic. It's likely to be at least a month or two before you close your first sale, so many brokers recommend that you have savings or an alternative income source to rely on for the first six months of your real estate career.