Why you should think twice about becoming a real estate agent

Why you should think twice before becoming a real estate agent

Why you should think twice before becoming a real estate agent: flexibility, instability, burdens of ownership, cost, stakes, and dynamics.

Yes, myREfuture is a recruiting website to find amazing new agents and help them with their transition from job to business owner at Keller Williams Realty. So yes, that’s why we’re here. But, each year, thousands of hopeful job owners get their real estate agent license only to be out of the business completely within one year. The statistics show that 80% quit within one year, and 87% are done within 5 years. Here’s why you should think twice before becoming a real estate agent, especially when considering the stark differences between an employee’s routine and that of a business owner.

When you picture a career in real estate, you might imagine flexible hours, significant commissions, and the freedom of being your own boss. While there are certainly perks to being a real estate agent, it’s crucial to look beyond the glossy exterior and understand the daily realities of the job. Yes, the money can be amazing and yes, there is no more fulfilling job in the world than help people realize the dream of home ownership. But as with all businesses, we always suggest that new agents find a purpose greater than just making a bunch of money.

The Myth of Flexibility

Many people are drawn to real estate because of the perceived flexibility. However, the reality is quite different. As a real estate agent, your schedule revolves around your clients. This means working evenings, weekends, and holidays. Unlike a typical 9-to-5 employee, whose hours are more predictable and confined to the weekdays, a real estate agent must be available whenever their clients are – often during times when most people are off work.

Financial Instability

Employees enjoy the security of a steady paycheck and benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, and paid time off. In contrast, real estate agents work on commission. If you don’t close a deal, you don’t get paid. This can lead to significant financial stress, particularly when starting out or during slow market periods. The lack of a stable income can be daunting and is a far cry from the financial predictability that employees often take for granted.

The Burden of Business Ownership

Being a real estate agent is much like running any business. You are responsible for everything, from marketing yourself and finding clients to managing transactions and keeping up with legal requirements. This involves a lot of administrative work, constant self-promotion, and staying updated on market trends and real estate laws.

In comparison, employees typically have a clear set of responsibilities and tasks assigned by their employer. They don’t need to worry about where the next client is coming from or how to handle the administrative side of things. Their focus is narrower, and they often have support systems in place to handle various aspects of their job.

High Costs and Investments

To succeed as a real estate agent, you need to invest significantly in your career. This includes licensing fees, continuing education, marketing expenses, and joining a brokerage that takes a cut of your commissions. Employees, on the other hand, generally have their training and professional development covered by their employer and don’t need to worry about these upfront costs.

Stress and High Stakes

Real estate transactions are high-stakes deals. Clients are often stressed and emotional, and it’s your job to guide them through one of the biggest financial decisions of their lives. This pressure can be immense and unrelenting. Employees, particularly in less customer-facing roles, may not experience this level of stress on a daily basis. Their tasks are often more routine and come with less emotional baggage.

Lack of Support and Team Dynamics

In many traditional employee roles, you are part of a team with a manager who provides guidance, support, and feedback. There’s often a clear path for career progression and professional development. As a real estate agent, you are largely on your own. While you may have a broker or mentor, much of your success depends on your individual effort and resilience. The camaraderie and support that come with being part of a team can be sorely missed.

Before you leap into a career as a real estate agent, it’s essential to weigh these factors carefully. The life of a real estate agent is the life of a business owner, complete with all the associated risks, responsibilities, and pressures. If you value stability, a clear structure, and a predictable routine, you might find greater satisfaction in a traditional employment role. Real estate can be rewarding, but it’s not for everyone. Make sure you understand the realities before making your decision.

How to beat the odds

So now that you know the key differences between keeping your job and starting a business, what are the most important things that you can do to make sure you are among the 13% that make it past 5 years?

  1. Treat it like a business, not a hobby.
  2. Shifting your mindset.
  3. Taking advantage of proven models.

We’ve even written another blog post titled While Most Real Estate Agents Fail that goes into the details about the things that you can do that will make all the difference between failure and success. And of course, if you have any questions, we’re always available for a conversation.

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