10/26/2021 - California / General / General / Michigan

A Career in Real Estate: Pros & Cons

Written by Tessa Sims

Think you’re ready for a career in real estate? While running your own business can look appealing from the outside, smart entrepreneurs do their research to truly understand what they’re signing up for. Check out this list of pros and cons from veteran agents in the field to learn the truth about life as a real estate agent. 

The Pros of a Real Estate Career

Low Cost of Entry 

Relatively speaking, earning your real estate license can be significantly less costly than other professional training, like vocational school or college courses. For some candidates, becoming a real estate agent also requires less of a time investment—in many cases, our students complete their real estate licenses in just 100 days. 

Several Careers to Choose From 

Your real estate career isn’t limited to helping clients buy and sell homes. A variety of careers are available to licensees; remember to check your Department of Real Estate’s education requirements, as some states may require additional training. You might use your license to become a property manager, home inspector, or appraiser, to name a few examples. 

You’re the Boss

If you’ve ever dreamed of entrepreneurship, real estate could be the perfect fit. Although licensees are required to affiliate with a broker, agents are self-directed and typically set their own business goals, priorities, and schedule. You decide when to take lunch, time off, and vacations…but don’t forget that it’s time off without pay! 

The Sky’s the Limit 

No more convincing the boss that you deserve a raise—in real estate, your paycheck depends on the business you build. Some agents sell only a handful of pricey homes each year to meet their income goals; others log a higher sales volume of lower-cost homes. You might also earn additional income by providing referrals to other agents. 

The Cons of a Real Estate Career

An Unpredictable Schedule 

Unless you can predict the future, you’ll never know when the perfect house for your clients pops on the market. So much for that time off you had planned! Many agents find their evenings and weekends quickly booked up with client appointments or hosting open houses, because that’s when buyers are off work and available to tour homes. 

An Unpredictable Paycheck

If you’re used to regular paychecks on a schedule, you might need to adjust your finances. In real estate transactions, the lead time before you’re paid can be weeks, months, or even years, depending on the market and your clients. You’re also on the hook for your own business-related costs, so be prepared to freshen up your math skills and learn basic accounting principles to manage your balance sheet. 

It’s All On You

As an entrepreneur, the success (or failure) of your real estate business rests entirely on your shoulders—at least, in the beginning. When their business grows, agents might have the option to hire support staff and outsource tasks to help balance the additional workload. Before you hire, check your state’s rules: Some states require support staff to complete real estate coursework (or even earn a license) to assist with certain aspects of the transaction. 

While your broker may offer resources to help run your business, licensees can also join a real estate team. Depending on the team’s individual structure, agents may share support staff, leads, or business responsibilities. New agents who join a team often find that this built-in mentorship and camaraderie helps accelerate their business growth as they begin building a database of clients. For the privilege of these benefits, a team typically charges a fee or deducts a portion of the agent’s commission on each transaction. 

The Education Continues 

Most states require real estate licensees to complete continuing education (CE) courses to maintain their skills and knowledge of professional practices. These courses are often paid for by the agent, and require a minimum passing score to earn credit. Generally speaking, you’ll be required to complete CE annually or every two years. 

What’s Next? 

Check out the guide to earning your license and learn how to become a real estate agent in just 100 days. For more behind-the-scenes info, browse the real estate career articles on our blog or sign up to attend a live webinar Career Day session and discuss your new profession with our agent instructors.