Ask Brian is a weekly column by real estate expert Brian Kline. If you have any questions about real estate investment, home improvement, home buying/selling, or any other housing inquiries, please email your questions to [email protected].
Question from Aurora in GA: Hi Brian, I am a 23 year old college graduate with a degree in business administration. I’m not sure what I want for a career, but I know I don’t want to be a cog in a corporate machine. I thought maybe I would like to start my own retail business but I don’t have the capital to start. This got me thinking that I should look for an inexpensive way to work for myself and this got me thinking about becoming a real estate agent. But then I had some doubts because I hear that the real estate market could go down in 2022 or 2023. What do you think? Is now a good time to become a real estate agent?
Answers: Hello Aurora. I am pro real estate for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. However, some economists predict that the market will experience a downturn in 2022. However, the majority believe it will remain stable. If you’re considering real estate as a career, think beyond the next two years. Real estate has literally always been around and will still be around when we’re gone. Therefore, choosing real estate agent as a career is a good choice in 2022 or any other year.
To become a real estate agent, you must take educational courses, pass the real estate exam, apply to the state, pay some fees, and then get your license. The exact requirements vary slightly from state to state. Aurora, in Georgia, the minimum requirements according to the Georgia Real Estate Commission are:
- 18 years or older.
- A resident of the state of Georgia, unless applying for a nonresident license.
- Abitur or technical college entrance qualification.
- Complete a 75-hour salesperson pre-license course at an accredited school.
- Pass the state property inspection.
- Submit a criminal history report with no hassle.
- Pay $170 for a state license.
However, it is wise to think about more than just the minimum requirements before starting your career as a real estate agent. You said you want to work for yourself and that’s an option, but a new agent should consider starting with an established agent. An agent can help you market yourself, find clients, and gain valuable real estate experience. A good agent will provide additional training, training materials, marketing materials, office space, and supplies. But you have to pay fees for this.
Most brokers work by sharing your commissions with you. Don’t get caught up in the thought that you’re going to keep the full 6% commission on a $400,000 home sale. This commission will be around $24,000 but it will likely be divided into 4 ways. The listing agent and broker get 3%, the selling agent and broker the other 3%. Splits may vary, but that’s typical. You will need an agreement with your agent on how this 3% will be split back between the agent and you. Common splits are 60/40 or 50/50, but if you become a high-volume agent you may get a larger split – this may depend on company policy.
There are other things to consider before choosing a broker. Perhaps you want one that focuses on a niche – a location or a specific category of real estate such as commercial retail, single-family homes, or fixer-upper. If you have a specific interest, you can find an agent who shares that interest. Company culture might also be important to you. Then you will learn what they are about, how they work and what is important to them. Remember that you have the freedom to choose a brokerage that suits you.
Aurora, you’re considering starting a career, not just taking a job. You must take full responsibility for growth in your career. Here are a few key things you need to do to get started:
- Find your niche. You might want to explore different niches in the beginning. Most agents start with residential real estate and some then specialize in commercial real estate. But starting with residential real estate can still mean narrowing down your niche to single-family homes, luxury homes, specific neighborhoods, etc. that make your business unique.
- Build a strong online presence. With 90% of buyers starting their property search online, it is important to have a strong online presence. A broker may offer you a page on the company’s website.
- Develop and/or improve effective communication and listening skills. You will work face-to-face with a diverse group of people who have different personalities. You need strong listening skills to collect and pass on information. This starts with patience and respect. This also includes good body language and non-verbal language.
- Be comfortable using technology. Technology has created innovative marketing tools starting with social media platforms, video marketing, 3D virtual tours and lead generation tools.
- Stay up to date with the latest market trends.
There is more to becoming a real estate agent than just getting a license. Most states also require you to continue your education. If you put in the effort and develop the right skills, it will pay off in rewarding income and the satisfaction of helping people get into the homes of their dreams.
What can you offer someone considering a career in real estate? Please comment with your thoughts.
Our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of residential real estate experience. Please email your questions or inquiries to [email protected].