So you want to work in real estate?
By Will McCullough | The local real estate market is improving and, if you’ve ever considered beginning a new career as a Realtor, now might be a good time to jump in. But before you do, please allow me to share some personal insights on a few of the pros and cons that make our profession unique.
I’ve always thought that becoming a Realtor is akin to being given the opportunity to live “The American Dream”. Anyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnic, or financial background, is allowed an equal opportunity to succeed or fail based on their own merits. Compared to most potentially high paying gigs, the path of entry is paved with “easy”. The formal education required to become a Realtor costs only a few hundred dollars and lasts approximately two weeks. Yep, that’s it.
So what can one expect to earn as a licensed agent in the area? A lot. Or nothing. Or maybe somewhere in between.
When it comes down to it, regardless of what company they work for, all agents are essentially independent contractors and quasi-self employed. Agents get paid solely by commission. This means agents only get paid when they produce a sale and only when that sale eventually closes. A small percentage of very hard working, creative, honest local agents produce an income that exceeds that of many, if not most, other local occupations. What’s cool about real estate is that the genuine opportunity to do the same exists for all who join the ranks. Be forewarned however, the exact opposite is true as well. Many people enter the industry and earn next to nothing.
The fiscal sky is the limit, but then again, so is the basement.
In the Beaufort area, there are hundreds of licensed real estate agents. Yes, I said hundreds. And, if you become a local agent, they will all become your direct competition. What makes the real estate industry unique though is that they will also become your co-workers, friends and mentors. It’s actually quite bizarre. On one day you might be competing with “Joe” from “ABC Realty” to earn a client’s listing. The next day you might be inviting “Joe” to attend your open house and asking for his feedback. Then you’ll work a pleasant transaction where “Joe” represents the buyer for one of your listings. Then you’ll enter into heated negotiations with him regarding inspections on a transaction that is anything BUT pleasant. Once again, it’s pretty unique. An agent has to do everything they can to make themselves stand out as the “best” option among scores of competitors but then continue to work hand in hand with those exact same competitors in a system that requires professional cooperation and mutual respect to function.
In my opinion, the very best Realtors are not those that you would stereotypically view as salespeople. They are trusted advisers who help guide clients through the largest fiscal transaction most will ever make. Like any profession, there are always a few bad apples. In this case, that would be the slick talking snake oil salesperson stereotype. The reality is that clients put a lot of faith in the guidance provided by their agent and that responsibility is not to be taken lightly. “Hard sellers” rarely last nor, in my opinion, should they.
When it comes down to it, the Beaufort area has many excellent agents. And if you’re willing to work hard, be honest and represent your clients well, we’d love to have you join our ranks. Well, at least until we have to compete with you for a listing!