In terms of accessibility and low barriers to entry, there may be no more lucrative opportunity for the average person to pursue than a career in real estate. But don’t confuse the ease of getting your foot in the door with easy money. To be successful as a real estate agent, you must be committed. Education and experience are critical components. So, too, is the truth.
Debunking 6 Common Myths
There are an estimated 2 million active real estate agents in the United States. And anytime you have this many people working in the same industry, you’re going to have a variety of opinions, experiences, and beliefs. Unfortunately, this often translates into myths and misconceptions that are endlessly recycled for all to believe.
In this article, we want to debunk a few of those common myths and provide some clarity on what it means to be a real estate agent in today’s market. Let’s take a look at some of the top ones we frequently see and hear:
- Becoming a Licensed Agent is a Rigorous Process
You might think that becoming a real estate agent is an impossible feat that requires years of education and hard work, but that’s simply not true. While there are some challenging components, it can be a fairly swift process for anyone who is committed.
While every state has slightly different rules, we’ll look at California as an example. In the state of California, obtaining your real estate license requires five steps:
- Complete three 45-hour pre-license courses.
- Pass final exams for each of the three courses.
- Pass the California state salesperson exam.
- Get fingerprinted
- Complete your application with the help of a sponsoring broker.
Every state has its own nuances, but you’ll find that most are fairly compatible with this process. Thus, if you’re committed to becoming a real estate agent, you can make it happen.
- You’ll Start Making Money Right Away
While a real estate career can be very lucrative, don’t be fooled into thinking it’s quick or easy money. The truth is that it can take some time to begin making good money in this industry. Depending on the number of connections you have prior to getting started, it could take at least 12 months before you’re able to support yourself on your commission-based income.
- You Get to Keep 100 Percent of Your Commissions
Speaking of commissions, it’s a total myth that you get to keep 100 percent of the commissions you earn on a transaction. While every broker has their own unique commission structures, you’ll have to fork over some percentage. Oftentimes, this percentage gets smaller and eventually phases out as you increase your volume.
- You Can Sell a Couple of Houses on the Side Each Year
It used to be that you could earn your real estate license and casually sell a couple of homes on the side each year to earn an extra $10,000 or $15,000. But in today’s marketplace, with hundreds of real estate agents in a single city, there’s simply too much competition for this to be a realistic pursuit. If you aren’t willing to make this a full-time career, you’re going to get crushed by those who are.
- All Brokerages are the Same
One of the biggest mistakes new real estate agents make is going with the broker who offers the most favorable commission split. And while this is certainly a factor to consider, it’s far from the only factor.
Not all brokerages are the same. If you want to set yourself up for success, you have to look beyond commission splits and consider factors like education, training, support, marketing, and brand name.
- Your Education Stops When You Get Your License
You might think that your real estate education stops after you get your license. However, the most competitive agents are constantly learning and investing in continuing education (both required and otherwise). If you want to be successful, you must adopt a lifelong student’s mentality.
Is Real Estate Right for You?
A career as a real estate agent can be lucrative and rewarding, but it’s important to get an accurate picture of what life is like in this profession. Hopefully this article provides a dash of clarity in your pursuit of understanding what this industry entails. Good luck!