An Honest Look At Making It In Real Estate

Why are some real estate agents just not able to make the cut or stay in the business? And I’ve got 4 reasons that I’ll go through quickly.  The first reason is that some people who get a real estate license are just not qualified to be a real estate agent in the long run. What I mean by that is that some people are just sort of checking it out. They just want to get a real estate license and they think it’s easy. Maybe they think they’ll just do it part-time or on the weekends, maybe use it to help out friends and family. Then once they get into it they realise that it’s a lot of challenges. There are a lot of issues and it’s really hard to be a real estate agent for the long term. So I think the biggest reason up front, is that a lot of people go into the business as a real estate agent they really shouldn’t. They should stick to what they’re doing, and don’t waste their time and effort on getting a real estate agent license. And waste one to two years of their life just kind of spinning their wheels, and really getting frustrated. Because if you don’t have a full commitment to it, if you haven’t thought it through – it’s really kind of hard to fly by the seat of your pants and be a successful real estate agent.

The second reason a lot of real estate agents fail is that they do not develop a focus and a business plan and a business model upfront to identify how they’re going to be successful as a real estate agent. So today to be successful you have to identify what your niche is going to be in terms of your area of specialization, your area of focus. Who are your customers? How are you going to find your customers? How are you going to build a business? It’s one thing to kind of jump into it, to be excited – you make a few closings and get a couple of commissions under your belt, but then you have to do it all over again. And you’ve got to do it all over again. Year after year after year – so you’ve got to develop a business plan and a model and a methodology of how you’re going to be successful in the long run.

The third reason is that they have poor management and poor guidance. I have been astounded by the lack of management and the lack of training and guidance that you see in our industry. And the reason I say that is that I come out of corporate sales. I was in corporate sales for about 15 years, before I jumped into becoming a real estate agent. And man, we were trained, and we were monitored, and we were managed. People were looking at your call schedule for the week. Going through your deals. Going through your pipeline. Once you become a real estate agent in most companies you get into you are really on your own.

There are some companies where they do have a model in place where they do provide help to new agents. They’ll have a mentoring program. They’ll have a coaching program by other real estate agents that’ll kind of help them through the first year or two of their career. But overall I’m just amazed by the lack of management and guidance that a lot of new agents will get, and then what happens is that they get taste a little bit of success but then they’re just not able to sustain it. It’s something that you have to sustain over time.

So think about that when you get into the business – the kind of company that you’re going to join. Is there going to be a support structure in place in your first year? Ideally I would say your first two to three years. Where you’d get more help in the first year, but you’ve got ongoing path in second and third year where you’re getting some type of help from your managing broker. Or if you’re in a team you’re getting some help from a lead agent. And also it’s based on your skill set, your experience. For me when I got into the business I already had 15 years of experience in sales so I didn’t need as much of the handholding up front. But if it was something where I was just coming out of college, and I had a political science degree, and I knew nothing about sales… So, if I had come in that way, I might not have as well if I didn’t have that proper guidance and training up front.

The last reason why agents will fail is they just give up too soon. This is the type of career where you really have to kind of pay your dues up front. In the first two to three years. And I know there are going to be times where you’re facing challenges, you’re facing dry spells. I mean I’ve been in the business now 10 years and if I look at my year right now: I had a closing in February, but I haven’t had a closing since. And now it’s May and I’ve got to closings at the end of May. I’ve got a closing scheduled in June.  And my pipeline is pretty full. I’ve got a lot of deals that are going to contract in the next 30 days. Well, now if I had been in the situation where in April I went “Oh, I haven’t had a closing since February. This is really, really hard.”

Thinking back, if I had quit then I wouldn’t be able to realise the closings I have now. You’ve got to be able to ride that roller coaster – just don’t give up. What will happen when you get in the business after a year or one to three years is someone close to you – could be your wife, your husband, your boyfriend, your pet, your mom, your dad, significant other, partner. Whoever it might be, someone will come to you guarantee and they will say “Oh, Mario what are you doing? Why are you still a real estate agent? You haven’t had a closing in six months! Why don’t you go back and do what you were doing before? I was looking in the paper and I saw an ad for this sort of position.”

You will have this discussion with someone close to you and they will question your commitment to your job. So be prepared for that discussion, and I say that because I have had that discussion with my wife. She’s a software engineer; you know she sees things black and white. She’s use to a steady paycheck every month. And when you’re in sales and in real estate you’re just not going to have that. So kind of think about that as you’re going through the process.

Lee writes and works for and has learnt the hard way about making it big in real estate.

Image used with kind permission Hing Ang Photography

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