There are more folks who get their license and leave the business within a year or two than there are ones who make it. It looks so appealing and even easy from an outsider’s point-of-view…
There’s so much freedom. The money seems incredible. It even seems like a downright sexy profession where you just dress nice, drive a sweet set of wheels, show some houses, and have lunch meetings at expensive places while negotiating a deal or two.
That’s a prettier picture than the reality. It’s not a TV show. Most agents aren’t living the high life and wheeling & dealing while chowing at Chez Nous on a daily basis. It’s actually much less glamorous and filled with a lot of pretty tough stuff to deal with on a daily basis, which is probably why so many people end up hating it and leaving.
The real estate agents who survive in the biz may grumble and joke at times about how tough their job is, but that doesn’t mean they don’t love their career! Agents who stick it out through thick and thin couldn’t dream of a better way to earn their living.
Let’s take a look at 11 things agents who make it in this business tend to love and embrace — the same stuff that makes others hate it and leave:
1) Getting to go in peoples’ houses
You’re probably wondering how this makes this list, right?! Who in the world wouldn’t love the opportunity to spend their days going in and out of other peoples’ houses? Well, they aren’t all as nice as you’d think. You probably picture perfectly staged, updated houses, but a lot of houses agents show aren’t all that great, and can actually be pretty nasty.
Plus, it’s not as easy as just heading over and showing your buyer a house. It can be hard to schedule a time to show a house, and if you’re trying to show dozens of houses to several buyers in a day, it can be a lot of stress and work to arrange. It can get old real fast.
But yeah, if you truly love this business, it never gets old, and you learn to appreciate all the different types and conditions of homes you show. Even the awful ones.
2) Other agents
It’s probably no surprise that dealing with other agents can be something agents would hate. Sure, some can be tough to deal with. Some don’t know what they’re doing. Some are just plain mean.
But there are a lot of great agents you come into contact with! And no matter how much you may hate working with one agent, it’s not forever. You just suck it up for a few weeks and hope you don’t do another deal together anytime soon. It’s way better than being stuck working with a co-worker you hate in the same office for year after year. Being an agent is like having a constantly rotating array of coworkers.
3) No paycheck
Agents don’t get paid until (and unless) they sell a house. And even then it could take weeks or months until the closing date when they actually get paid. Most people aren’t cut out for it, and would prefer the stability of a weekly paycheck from the same boss each week.
But agents who love the career learn how to budget and truly appreciate money. They take pride in what it takes to earn every dollar they make, and are thankful for the clients who give them the opportunity to earn their commission and refer them to new clients.
4) It’s a lot of responsibility
You’re helping people buy or sell what’s often the biggest asset in their life. When you stop and think about it, that’s a ton of responsibility to take on as a professional. That can easily scare people right out of the business once it dawns on them.
For agents who love the profession, it’s an honor and a duty they take to heart. It’s a lot of responsibility, and they take tremendous pride in making sure they get their clients the best results possible.
5) No set schedule
While many people point out how much freedom agents have in working whenever they want to, it’s actually the thing that drives many people right out of the business! Sure, theoretically you can choose when and how much to work, but the reality is you never know when and how much you’re going to work!
Agents who thrive on this, survive in this. They tend to love an ever-evolving schedule and go with the flow, while at the same time harnessing the ability to pencil in time for things that matter to them like family, friends, and pastimes.
6) No sick days
One of the perks of many jobs is that you get a certain amount of sick days you can take off and still get paid. In real estate, there’s no such thing as a sick day. You pretty much have to do what needs to be done on any given day, sick or not.
But agents look at it from another angle… Most clients understand if and when you need to reschedule if you’re not feeling well, and much of what needs to be done can be done from home if need be.
7) You have to sell yourself
For the most part, business doesn’t just fall in your lap. Your brand and brokerage may do some marketing, but you still need to sell yourself and your services. Whether it’s online, print, mailings, networking, cold-calling, or any other number of ways to market yourself, you need to do it or you probably won’t last long. It takes more time and money than many agents can handle, so they end up leaving the business.
On the other hand, agents who love the business tend to find marketing a fun opportunity to be creative. Whether they have a huge budget or not, they find unique ways of branding and marketing themselves. There are as many ways to set yourself apart, as there are agents in the industry. You get to live the creative life of an advertising and marketing maven in Mad Men if you want to.
8) No job security
There’s no guarantee that you’ll have clients to work with at any given point, and it gets even scarier when the market is slow. It can be scary to think that you, and you alone, are responsible for your job security.
Rather than run for the safety of a corporate office job that offers years of job security (if that even truly exists anymore), agents who love the business relish in the control they have over their destiny. They don’t want to rely on a company that may or may not be loyal to them when times are tough, or the company gets sold. They love not living in fear of being fired, outsourced, or downsized.
9) Crazy people stories
You deal with all sorts of people as a real estate agent, and some of them do and say things that would make your jaw drop. But not everyone likes dropping their jaw, so they drop the biz instead.
But if you can take it in stride and find amusement in the cast of characters you come across, you can not only survive in this business, but enjoy it and have some crazy stories to tell at the end of each day.
10) It can bring you to tears
People tend to think about the joy of helping someone buy their first home, or selling someone’s house so they can buy a bigger one, but the truth is, a lot of times you’re helping people deal with sad times. Helping people who are getting divorced, or facing foreclosure, or selling their parents house because they were placed in a nursing home can bring tears to your eyes.
Agents who love this business have to develop a level of empathy beyond what most expect when they come into it. It’s not all rainbows and butterflies. It gives you a respect for the delicate balance life can be, and how to help people through tough times with integrity, respect, and compassion.
11) Spending more time with other families than your own
It’s easy to feel like you spend more time with other peoples’ families than your own as a real estate agent, because you probably do. When your family is off work in the evenings and weekends, you’re likely to be out with another family showing them houses, or in their home talking about selling it.
Agents who love real estate love the fact that they become a part of other families. You don’t just spend time with them; you become a part of their lives. Very few careers allow you to become such a part of peoples’ lives.
It’s a hard career to make it in, but the ones who make it know how to find the silver lining in even the toughest parts of this career — and love every single minute of it!
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