Pursuing a career in real estate is exciting, challenging and profitable. It can be a great career choice if you have what it takes to make it a success. Just as in any career, there are upsides and downsides, good days and bad. Before you make a decision to jump into the world of real estate, do a little homework on the profession.
The keys to success in real estate investment are varied. Likewise, the ups and downs of the field are diverse. We’ve put together a few pros and cons to give you an idea of what you’re facing when you decide on a real estate career:
- Low entry cost: it doesn’t cost a lot to get into the business. The educational requirements are manageable by most.
- Personal pride: Helping people sell a real property or buy the home they’ve always wanted is a meaningful service.
- Flexible work schedule: most realtors work with minimal supervision, giving you flexibility in your working schedule. This is especially appealing for women with young children. You don’t generally punch a time clock and your schedule is your responsibility.
- High earning potential: you are in control of your own earning potential. It is one career where you can see the benefits of your hard work throughout your career; you don’t have to wait for someone else to decide to let you make more money.
- Supportive auxiliary workers: most brokers with whom you’ll be working employ a staff that is supportive of the real estate agents.
- No chain to the desk: you get to be out and about most of the day, not tied to a desk in a cubicle. Work from home is a frequent option.
- You’re an expert: you know your community, inside and out. You know where the highest-ranking schools are, where the flood plains are, and which gated communities have the toughest homeowners’ association rules.
- Let the good times roll: when the market is up, business booms and your wallet is overflowing. You stay busy and all is right with the world.
- Slow start: for someone new to the field, it may take six months or more before you make your first sale in real estate. During that time, you’re training, promoting yourself, and learning to identify potential sellers and buyers.
- High frustration levels: some co-workers are great, some are not so great. Same goes for clients. Whether you like a person or not, you must work with them to the best of your ability.
- Irregular schedules: you have to be available when your clients are. If you’re looking for a 9 to 5 job with weekends off, real estate is not for you. If the only time the client can tour the property is 9 P.M., then that’s when you tour.
- No weekly paycheck: if you need a paycheck on a regular, weekly basis, real estate is not for you. Most of your salary will be earned on sales commissions. Until money changes hands, you probably won’t be paid. And don’t bother asking about fringe benefits.
- Mountain of paperwork: there are contracts to complete, legal documents that must be filed, signatures that must be obtained. Part of your job is to keep it all organized and flowing smoothly.
- Lean times: when the markets are down, the sales are few and far between. Everyone is competing for the same resources. Make sure you’re prepared for the lean times.