I was talking to a golf buddy of mine, Clay Hutson, a real estate agent, he’s worked for years in the industry across Seattle and Washington having started out in Portland and we were chatting about what it was like to be a real estate agent. Right now, Clay spends a lot of his time going to music concerts, eating out at his favorite sushi restaurants and watching football so I thought that maybe being involved in real estate was a pretty good gig.
My daughter is around the age where she is going to have to choose what industry she goes into for a career so I wanted to know whether being real estate agent was as easy as it appeared. Me and Clay went for a couple of cold ones after golf and he started to tell me a little more about his job which I thought I’d share with you in case it was a career which you were considering.
Starting Out is Tough
Clay came out of college with an MBA but even with that kind of education he told me that he couldn’t catch a break when he was starting out and that he was working 7 days a week and being on call at a minutes notice. If you are working for a firm then your salary is going to be weak and heavy based upon your commissions. The problem with this is that you will be dealing with low-cost properties and as such, the commissions won’t be very high.
Paper, Paper, Paper
Real estate agents need to ensure that all of the i’s are dotted and the t’s crossed and as such, the job involves a crazy amount of paperwork. Naturally much of this has been computerized now but that doesn’t mean that you will be spending any less time on it than before and you’ll need to get used to hours behind a computer screen getting things done just right.
If you are successful during your early years then you may be able to strike out on your own like Clay, pick and choose the properties you deal with and take home all of the commission yourself. You may have to be prepared for spontaneous income, the monthly paycheck will be long gone and whilst you may get some bug sums, they will come in sporadically.
Clay tells me that his favorite aspect of the job is dealing with people but that many agents aren’t successful because they are not good communicators. Working in real estate is essentially a sales position and you will need to strike up great rapports with the clients who you are dealing with in order to make the most sales and gain loyalty. You need to have a great bedside manner and excellent communication skills to really make it in this industry and if you have a hard time dealing with different people everyday, then this is not the position for you.