If you are considering becoming a real estate agent, this article is for you! I am going to go over some of the big pros and cons that I have experienced over the last five years in my real estate career. Being a real estate agent is a big decision, and I want you to feel fully prepared to move forward. Or perhaps not move forward. That’s why I’m sharing some not-so-popular opinions on this career choice to really get you thinking.
You’ll notice that I feel strongly that there are more pros than cons to being a real estate agent. That’s because I have found my calling in this career. But I also want to be open and honest that real estate isn’t for everyone. It takes hard work, grit, and passion.
Pros of Being a Real Estate Agent
1. You Can Create Your Own Schedule
The most common pro I hear from people who are thinking about becoming a real estate agent is the flexible schedule. But if you think that creating your own schedule means less work time, I’ll be the one to burst your bubble and tell you that is not necessarily true. It does mean that you don’t have to clock in with your boss every single day from 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. You are your own boss, and this is your business, so you get to make your day what you want it to be. Unless you have a team leader or broker who is setting your schedule for you, you hold the power to create a schedule that will set you up for success.
I have found it helpful to fill in my calendar a month in advance for the things that I can, and then fill in weekly for other things. For example, when I started a networking group, we committed that our meeting time would be the first Wednesday of each month. So I added this networking group meeting on my calendar for each first Wednesday of each month at 10 a.m.
When I became a Realtor, I was advised to schedule at least 10 hours of lead generation activities per week. The flexible part is that you get to choose which days, what time of day, and what activities work best for you! Once you decide where you want your production numbers to be and set your weekly appointment goals, you may want to increase this amount of time.
You will also want to block availability for appointments and showings. Of course, if you have a client whose schedule only allows for times outside of what you have on your calendar, then you may need to adjust this later. Depending on the market, you may have to rearrange your other activities in order to go show them a home right when it hits the market. If your personal or family schedule doesn’t allow for this type of flexibility, then you can consider hiring an assistant or partnering up with other agents.
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2. Being a Realtor Is Rewarding
This is my personal favorite thing about this career, and it makes all of the cons not seem so bad! I have never felt so rewarded doing anything else in life (except being a mother). Helping people achieve their real estate goals is truly incredible. You get to guide them in becoming their own hero—how cool is that?!
If you are a people lover and have a naturally encouraging personality, you will find a lot of joy as a Realtor. My daily goal is to try and help at least one more person, and the money will follow.
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3. Low Financial Commitment to Begin
Compared to the money that you can potentially earn being a real estate agent, the initial investment in order to get your license is pretty low! I’m licensed in Texas, one of the more demanding states in terms of prelicensing education. Even still, you can get your license here for less than $1,000. In states with fewer prelicensing requirements, such as Florida, Massachusetts, and California, you might only spend a few hundred dollars.
I personally used The CE Shop to get my license because it was all online and self-paced. They are always running great discount deals, especially during holidays and end of year. I was able to pay around $300 for all of my prelicense courses!
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If you become a part of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), you will pay a separate membership fee. This will also be under $1,000, but will depend on the time of year you join.
Keep in mind that this is an investment in your career, and the opportunities to earn a substantial income as a Realtor are endless. You can work as much or as little as you’d like, all depending on what your goal income is. I’d also like to share that I did personally make the money I spent to get my license back after my first closing. So if I did it, so can you!
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Want to learn more about your income potential as a real estate professional? Check out Colibri Real Estate’s income guide.
4. Endless Niche Possibilities
On top of the virtually endless income possibilities, the categories of real estate niches you could focus on are plentiful! Think about your hobbies and areas of interest. You can also make your focus an area of your town or city, or even a specific ZIP code or neighborhood. How great is it to be able to focus on the community you personally live in?
And it’s not just geographic niches either. You could just work with sellers if you wanted to, and have a teammate or partner who handles buyers. Or you could focus on working with just investors, or just on commercial buildings, or just leases. Here are some other niche examples:
- Historic homes
- Modern homes
- New construction
- Fix and flips
- Retail centers
- High-rise buildings
- Rural areas
- The inner city
- Specific school districts
- Vacation homes
When I became a Realtor I was in a position where I needed to start making an income pretty quickly. So I felt like I needed to work with anyone and everyone, and drive anywhere to do so. But if I had put all of my focus and energy into a specific niche or area, I could have saved myself time and money.
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5. Giving Back to Your Community
I believe we should do more than just live in our cities and towns—we should help them thrive! Being a real estate agent gives you the perfect platform to do just that.
I recently joined a program called Homes for Heroes that will allow me the opportunity to give back to the heroes of my community: active military members, veterans, law enforcement, teachers, health professionals, emergency workers, and firefighters.
This is a nationwide program, so if this interests you, then you should look into it. But the possibilities are truly endless here with what you could do for your community. If you have children in school, or you’re a member of a club or church, you can partner with these organizations to make some great things happen!
Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent
6. Lead Generation Can Be Challenging
There are many elements to lead generation, and not all of them will be cons. But at first, it may feel daunting and challenging! For example, the fun part of beginning my lead gen journey was reaching out to everyone I knew and making the announcement that I had passed my exam and I was officially a Realtor! But then what? Not everyone I knew was going to be selling or buying a house! So then the challenge became reaching out to people I didn’t know and telling them that I wanted to help them buy or sell a home. Would they trust me? And what’s the best way to reach out to people you don’t know?
This will also depend on the brokerage with which you associate your license. Some brokerages will provide training on lead generation—or even provide you prospects to pursue—and others will not. There are so many lead generation programs out there. The team I joined when I started already belonged to a few lead generation programs that we used to call leads. But I just personally have never felt comfortable with cold calling. I know it works—that’s why so many real estate agents find success from it. But over the last couple of years, I focused on other avenues of lead generation that feel more natural to my personality.
Because I have a background in event management, doing event-based lead generation is fun for me! If you are a golfer, start talking to more people at the course. Or if you are a parent, join the PTA and meet new people who might need your services. Being a real estate agent is so much fun—I love people and pouring into others. Building relationships will build a business in the long term!
After you find some different activities that are working for you, be consistent! Don’t stop doing something if you don’t see immediate results, particularly with mailers or social media. These things take time, consistency, and a lot of patience to grow!
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7. Cost of Running Your Business Could Be High
Earlier I mentioned that the cost to get your license was fairly low. On the other hand, there are other costs that come with keeping your license and running your business. When interviewing with different brokerages, it is important to ask about what they will charge you, like desk fees and signage fees. If you are on a team, these fees will most likely be included in the percentage of commissions they keep from each of your checks.
Regardless of whether you’re an individual agent or on a team, you’ll end up spending quite a large amount on marketing. This includes photos, videos, templates, mailers, flyers, consultation presentations, door knocking items, client gifts, events, and more.
The biggest downside to this is that you spend all of this time and money without the guarantee that you will make this money back. Of course, if you are putting in the work along with the marketing, then I’m 99% sure that you will make the money back plus some, but there is just no guarantee.
In addition to marketing, you may spend a fair amount of time and money working with buyers who may never actually purchase a house. If they don’t buy a house, we don’t get paid. I’d honestly say this is the biggest con in my experience. The majority of my clients do buy a home, but this year I have personally experienced a few deals go wrong. So the time and money I had invested in those clients was not returned, unfortunately.
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8. No Guaranteed Paycheck
Not having a definite paycheck coming in month to month can be a huge stress factor in this career field. Yes, you can help eliminate some of this fear by having a plan of how much you need to make per month and backing it up with the actions you take to make sure you hit these numbers. But regardless of how much you plan, honestly, there will be deals that go wrong for reasons completely out of your control. You don’t want this to put you in a terrible financial situation. Always have savings and some cushion in your account for these times.
There will be ups and downs—slow markets and lucrative markets. I’ve experienced months with no closings, and some months with seven closings. The key is to not feel financially stressed through these ebbs and flows.
I went quite a few months before my first closing when I became a Realtor. Once I started saving a portion of each commission check and reached my expenses goal, my stress level decreased substantially. When I wasn’t stressed about the next closing anymore, I noticed my business growing even stronger. I could walk into a consultation with more confidence and less fear of rejection.
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9. Dealing With Rejection Can Be Tough
Especially if you have never been in sales, hearing the nos can be quite challenging! Honestly, even after five years, it’s still not fun. Rejection is tough. You will get hung up on when making cold calls and even rude responses when texting people you don’t know. You will go on many consultation appointments, and you won’t end up working with every one of those people because they choose to work with another agent. It’s also tough when you submit an offer for your buyer in a multiple-offer situation and the seller doesn’t go with your client.
That’s why I mentioned in the beginning of this article that being a real estate agent is not for everyone. You have to have grit and thick skin.
It is all about learning how to let the nos go and then focus on getting the next yes. In the beginning, someone told me it takes 12 nos to get to the first yes. This helped me because I was already expecting to hear the nos.
Don’t get me wrong; I still would like to only hear yeses! I don’t think this part of being a real estate agent ever gets easier. But I do know you will doubt yourself less after some time goes by. You will gain more confidence and have peace knowing you did everything you could do.
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Over to You
After reading this article, if you are feeling like being a real estate agent could be your calling too, then leave me a comment below. I would love to hear from you and answer any follow-up questions you may have.