Inside Real Estate Professional Careers

Things you need to know, but nobody tells you

Biggest Surprises

"People Would Be Happy To Know That I'm Happy In My Career Because...
Most people are surprised that I make any money in this recession" (Mortgage Broker; 2014)

Career: 10 years of experience, currently based in Connecticut, male
School: Studied Business Administration at La Salle University in Pennsylvania; completed Bachelor degree in 2005

"Networking And Skills Needed To Be Proficient In My Career...
I was surprised about how many other types of careers are needed and used in my profession. Meaning, I need to know contractors, real estate agents, insurance agents, lawyers, accountants, bankers, loan officers, electricians, plumbers, and public officials to be proficient with my career of developing real estate." (Real Estate Developer; 2013)

Career: 6 years of experience, currently based in Ohio, male
School: Studied International Business & Economics at University Of Rio Grande in Ohio; completed Bachelor degree in 2002

"Overhead Costs Make Real Estate Career Unlucrative...
I was most surprised by the costs of doing business that are necessary just to hold a desk in a real estate office. Also by the downturn in the economy that destroyed the field." (Realtor; 2013)

Career: 5 years of experience, currently based in Alabama, female
School: Studied Real Estate at Dauphin School Of Real Estate in Alabama; completed Associate degree in 1999

"Small Niche World...
I was surprised at how many colleagues know each other and/or have worked at another title company before. They say once you go into title you never leave." (Title Assistant; 2014)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, female
School: Studied Accounting at California State University: San Bernardino in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2008

"It's Amazing How Few People Understand The Origins Of Money...
So many ups and downs. I made lots of money some months and none at all for others. What surprised me most is I learned the origins of money and how a fiat system like ours is rigged to keep the people at the top on top and the poor, perpetually poor. I enjoy working in my field, but the more you know how evil bankers are the worse you feel putting people into debt slavery as a profession." (Real Estate Salesperson And Property Manager; 2013)

Career: 12 years of experience, currently based in New York, male
School: Studied Property Management And Law at New York University in New York; completed Certificate degree in 2006

"Many Costs Associated With Being A Real Estate Agent...
Most people are surprised how much it costs to be a Real Estate agent. There are fees that come at you from every direction. You are required to be a member of many organizations, such at local, national and regional Realtor's Associations, which all cost. You also have to come up with leads on your own, which usually involves more money. It takes several years to get out the red, if you can survive. I do not see anybody making a living as Realtor for several years, you need a second income." (Realtor; 2014)

Career: 2 years of experience, currently based in Nebraska, female
School: Studied Real Estate at Larabee School Of Real Estate in Nebraska; completed Certificate degree in 2011

"Real-World Much Different From School...
I was surprised how little I learned in school I used in my profession. I feel as though what I do is so specialized, that I had to learn everything over. I think what was surprising was that it wasn't the material I learned in school that I used the most, but being able to learn many new things in a short amount of time that I use the most." (Commercial Real Estate Agent; 2012)

Career: 3 years of experience, currently based in Colorado, male
School: Studied Business Administration at Point Loma Nazarene University in California; completed Bachelor degree in 2009

Best & Worst Things About This Career

Owner Of Small Business: "The best part of my career is helping homeowners either find their dream home or there first home. Also, it's rewarding when I can help those distressed homeowners that need to get out of of their difficult situations. The worst part would be the long days sometimes away from my family. But in the end, it is all worth it. I especially like having the freedom of being a business owner." (2011)

Owner Of A Local Real Estate Franchise And A Mortgage Loan Officer For A Small Mortgage Company: "The best part of my job is to hand the keys to a new home to a real estate or mortgage client and send them onto the next stage of their lives. Buying and selling homes can be emotionally charged for the client and we are proud that we assist them during an either difficult or exciting time. The worst part of the job is that it is commission only and can be difficult to manage finances. The trade off is that I make my own schedule which allows me to make my children a priority." (2011)

Realtor: "Best part of my job - the flexibility of making my own hours and working with people of a daily basis. It's fun to meet new people every day. There's a lot of satisfaction when your clients find their perfect home and you helped with that. The worst part of the job - not knowing how long it will take for your clients to buy a house or to sell their house. Even after 6 months, they can change their mind and you can't do anything about it." (2011)

Real Estate Broker: "The most difficult part of my job is when people have to sell their homes because of illness, divorce, job loss or foreclosure. It is very sad. The second most difficulty is when a buyer or seller is unrealistic about their demands and rude. The third most difficult issue is when the banks do not give mortgages to clients, when houses do not appraise out to the agreed upon price and when the house has unforeseen problems and the deals fall through." (2011)

Realtor: "The best part of the job is helping people with the biggest purchase of their lives. It is so nice to see people so excited about a new home. It is also nice to see people sell a home and move on to the next phase of their lives. The worst part is the hours, which are odd and inconvenient, and often on the weekends. It is hard because I am always on, compelled to be the expert on what's happening in the market." (2010)

Real Estate Broker: "I really enjoy viewing all of the interesting homes in the area and I get to meet a lot of great people. The worst part of my job is the stress! Purchasing or selling a home is a very emotional process. Things NEVER go smoothly in a real estate transaction, you are always thrown a curve ball somewhere along the way. It is my job to meet any challenges that come up and talk my clients through the difficult moments." (2010)

Real Estate Agent: "The best part of being a real estate agent is that you get to help a lot of really nice people find suitable homes. You meet and become friends with a lot of your clients. It is great to get referrals from these contented former clients and to continue to keep in contact with everyone. Another good thing about being a real estate agent is that you're your own boss, can work as little or as much as you like and the potential for earnings is great. The worst part of being a real estate agent is that you are subject to market conditions, so if there are no buyers and the economy is bad, your business suffers. Another really bad part of the job are the endless hours that can be worked with no monetary gain." (2010)

Realtor: "The best part of my job is helping someone find and purchase their dream home. First time buyers are especially fun to work with. They are so excited and happy to purchase their first home, and it is very satisfying to help them navigate through the process. The worst part of my job is selling homes that are "under water" in a declining market. I have to negotiate the sales with the banks and mortgage holder and the whole process is very time-consuming and requires 50% more paperwork than a typical sale. It can be very emotional for the sellers, especially if they are in financial turmoil." (2010)

Real Estate Agent: "Best part of my job is working with people and having flexible hours. I love to do market analyses and research how the market is progressing. The worst part is when I've put so much time and effort into the purchase of a home for a buyer and the deal falls through due to financing or an unsatisfactory home inspection. A lot of times this process is all negotiable, but sometimes people just can't agree on the terms of the sale." (2010)

Real Estate Agent: "The best parts of the job are its independence and flexibility. I also enjoy having the opportunity to work with some of the most beautiful properties in New England and to work with very interesting people. The worst part of the job is the uncertainty about when I will get paid since I only get a commission when the property is sold. Also, as the listing or seller's agent your net income is much less than the gross 5% or 6% commission because you often share half of the commission with a buyer's broker and your real estate company may take up to 50% of the remaining commission. As a result you might be paid 1.25% on a gross 5% commission." (2010)

Realtor: "The best part of the job of a real estate agent is working with people to find them a property to call home. It is very rewarding and varied. It is not a position where you do the same thing all the time. Working to help people sell their homes is also rewarding, as they are selling to move to another home, or to further some other goal. As a real estate agent you are helping people to achieve their goals. The most challenging part of the job is that there are no benefits, and all costs of insurance, licensing, continuing education and networking are borne by the individual agent." (2009)

Real Estate Broker: "The thing I like best about the job is helping people sell their properties for a price they are satisfied with in a reasonable time and helping people find their "dream home." Getting to know the people and their families, and creating some really good relationships is very rewarding. The worst part is dealing with transaction problems and impatient personalities. Sometimes it is very frustrating because there is just no pleasing some people. Some transactions become very tedious and require extensive paper work and patience." (2009)

Career Background

Real Estate Professional

  Job Tasks
  Work Environment
  How to Prepare for the Job
  Job Outlook

Career Video

Career Tips

"Logical Thinker...
Be a logical thinker. You do not need to be creative to be in title, but must have a very good at paying attention-to-detail. And be able to take good notes." (Title Assistant; 2014)

"Do Your Research Picking Location To Work...
Check out several brokers before deciding on where you want your license held. The less known brokers sometimes have much much more to offer new agents." (Realtor; 2014)

"Never Stop Trying...
If you want to be successful, you can't stop when you're down; you have to keep going" (Mortgage Broker; 2014)

"Focusing On One Area Of Expertise Makes You An Expert And Employable...
If you would like to be a realtor, prepare yourself to become an expert in your field. If you focus on residential property for sale, or commercial property, or rentals, make that specific field your target until you know everything there is to know about it. People want to hire an expert, not someone who can barely scrape by." (Real Estate Salesperson And Property Manager; 2013)

"Look For Opportunities Other Than Commissioned Real Estate Sales...
If you want to be successful in the real estate field, find a job with a builder or developer that provides a salary as commissions are very hard to come by." (Realtor; 2013)

"Mentoring Is The Glue To Making Success Stick...
diversify yourself, join clubs that maybe outside of your comfort zone. If you feel comfortable using the left side of your brain then do some things, i.e.. take classes, join clubs that use the right side of your brain and vice versa. Have multiple mentors of people that are farther along then you in the career you hope to get into." (Real Estate Developer; 2013)

"Every Dollar Is EARNED...
I would have to say the best advice I can give to anyone looking to pursue this career is to educate yourself. The more knowledge you have, the more valuable you are. You also need to have a passion and drive for this line of work, because you create your own income. It is not just given to you; you have to go out and earn it if you want to be at the top of your game and earn top dollar. Be willing to continue to learn, because the market and the people are always changing." (Owner Of Small Business; 2011)

"Marketing Plan...
1) Understand that you need to spend money to make money. If you don't have a consistent marketing plan with a budget you will fail. 2) Stay true to your moral character and ethics. Live by the Golden Rule. Your reputation in any business is of paramount importance. 3) Love what you do and do what you love. Why else get out of bed every morning? 4) Always be open to learning, change is the one constant in business, be flexible and ready to adapt and re-invent yourself." (Owner Of A Local Real Estate Franchise And A Mortgage Loan Officer For A Small Mortgage Company; 2011)

"Takes Time To Build Your Business...
It takes several long years to establish yourself as a Realtor and to prove yourself in the field. Many of my co-workers have second jobs to help supplement their income when they first start out. Once you're more established, you'll receive a lot of referrals from previous clients, family and friends. If you love looking at houses, and working with people, and having a busy schedule, it's perfect. I wasn't always a Realtor, I had 20+ years in Human Resources and that helped understanding people." (Realtor; 2011)

This is a career for people who love working with other people and like being helpful. A job for someone who is naturally organized. A job for a person who needs a flexible schedule and likes moving around and driving. You must work weekends in this job and evenings. One needs to be very tenacious in this profession and follow up on leads and listings all the time." (Real Estate Broker; 2011)

"Have Some Money Saved...
You should have a nest egg in place when you get started. It can be a long wait for a paycheck. You should enjoy working with the public. You meet many types of people along the way. Keep a positive attitude, people don't like to work with depressed or sad people. You need to be able to keep your emotions in check; negotiations can be very heated sometimes. Never give up, even when things get hard. People need to buy and sell house." (Realtor; 2010)

"Know Your Market Well...
Always act professionally, never gossip, complain or lose your composure while working with clients. This is a sales job and you need people to respect you even when things don't go your way. Study your market, know how price, condition, and location affect the value of the homes you sell. Although your schedule is flexible in real estate, treat this as a full-time job. You can't expect business to come to you. You have to go out and find it! Get to the office every day, keep in contact with your clients weekly and make prospecting calls as much as possible." (Real Estate Broker; 2010)

"Learn From Experienced Agents...
In order to be a successful real estate Agent you must be self-motivated and you can't be unduly bothered by rejection. You must not be concerned by stiff competition. You have to be able to ride out bad real estate markets emotionally and financially. Real estate is not an easy job. A new agent must be prepared to be attached at the hip to an experienced agent. There is so much to learn and things keep changing in addition. Experienced agents still consult with one another from time to time on tough issues. You must be a really good problem solver and negotiator and be able to pay close attention to a myriad of details in order to close a deal." (Real Estate Agent; 2010)

"Like Starting A Business...
In real estate you work on commissions. It's just like starting your own business. You need to have about $15,000 to get started and support yourself before you start making a profit When you go to real estate school to get your license, they teach you about the process of buying and selling a home, legal matters, meets and bounds and ethical issues, but there is never any mention of the marketing you need to do in order to be successful. To be successful, you must be a "people person" and enjoy networking and socializing." (Realtor; 2010)

"Need To Make Personal Investment...
You will get out of this job whatever you put into it, just like anything else in life." (Real Estate Agent; 2010)

"Ways To Beef Up Your Network...
Develop a broad personal network of contacts who are owners of real estate and future buyers of real estate. Serve on non-profit boards and participate in community affairs. Take up sports that will enhance your social network. Develop good writing and communication skills. Keep up to date on current affairs and business news." (Real Estate Agent; 2010)

"Must Like People...
To succeed in this profession you must like to work with people. Your communication skills are very important, and you must be sure to keep up with all changes in the laws pertaining to this field. You must be a good listener, and be able to ask questions to help you determine the needs of your client. Patience is key, along with good social skills." (Realtor; 2009)

"Have Patience With Clients...
You need to be friendly, compassionate, hand-holding, and patient. Patience is a virtue, whether you're listing or selling. Nothing happens quickly, but there is a lot of satisfaction in the end. People need to feel that you're knowledgeable and can answer all their questions. Remember, most likely they have never done this before. You need to be able to make them secure in the fact that they believe you are leading them in the right direction, and helping them every step of the way." (Real Estate Broker; 2009)