This is a little change of pace from my normal posts – and I’ve been considering video content on this topic too. I often get asked, “how hard is it to get your license?” “It’s easy money and you get to stay home with your kids!” “I’m thinking about getting my license so I don’t have to pay commissions!”
Well, that is great! Kind of. There are SO MANY THINGS no one told me when I got licensed and I had to learn the hard way. Let’s break some of it down and you can decide whether this industry is for you – I am always happy to answer questions.
How hard is it to get your license?
It’s not really. Actually, many in the industry are calling for more strict and stringent standards with licensing. It’s a class, and a test and once you pass you are licensed. There is some studying involved and classes can be done in person or online. The thing is, if you aren’t willing to put in the work into a class and testing, then don’t be an agent. You will be dealing with people’s life savings, major life changes, transitions between housing etc – if you aren’t willing to take the time to take a class and test seriously then honestly this industry is not for you. If you are looking for a local in person licensing class, my brokerage Keller Williams Realty Centre is holding one. Details here: Real Estate Licensing Class.
It’s easy money!
Is it? Contracts can be complicated and as I mentioned above, you are dealing with people’s life savings and lively hoods. People aren’t dollar signs and I don’t respect agents that view them as so. Sometimes, deals come easy and go smoothly and that can seem like, what am I really getting paid to do this? Then sometimes, you have to be a real problem solver to get a transaction to get to closing. And sometimes it doesn’t. So those hours you’ve spent showing homes, writing offers, getting your listing ready. making calls, can sometimes not seem worth it in the end. The best way to get into the industry is not for money, but with a passion for helping others. Get your hands on a contract and read it over and over until you understand it and can tell your clients what they are signing. When you can be proactive during deals, instead of reactive, you can represent your clients much better.
You get to stay home with your kids!
Sometimes, yes, I have great flexibility. They have joined me on showings, in meetings and sometimes at closings. But, there is a catch here. Not everyone wants or likes kids around during business and sometimes it is flat out inappropriate to bring your kids. And, it’s not always fair to your children to bring them along when they could be playing, learning, etc. This industry is still work. You have to have a business plan, schedule your time wisely, go on appointments, networking and meetings, so childcare is necessary. It’s not a “work from home” gig. You are working from other people’s homes. Some homes aren’t safe for adults to be in much less children and there is a liability with children if they break something or get hurt.
I’ll just get my license so I don’t have to pay a commission.
Sure, I can see your logic here. And it works for some folks, but not everyone. Are you willing to take on the legal liabilities agent’s do? Selling or buying your own home can come with a lot of risk, even with a new license you may not know exactly what you are doing. Did you know in the MAR contract, a buyer can have a wood-destroying pest inspection anytime as part of the contract and the seller is liable to repair and re-mediate up to 2% of the contract price? Along with knowing the marker trends, which agents price their listings right every time, which title companies and appraisers are worth their weight in gold and how to negotiate and avoid conflict – none of this is on your test. It’s not just sticking a sign in the ground, taking a few photos, showing a few houses and collecting a paycheck.
What you should know as a new licensee:
It’s a tough business. Not everyone respects Realtors, and your friends and family won’t always use you to buy or sell.
Save up before you go in full time. Have enough to cover your living expenses for 6 months. It can take a while for momentum to get going and, if a deal falls through, you don’t get paid but you do have to still pay your bills.
READ the contract before you do anything else. Understand the terms and conditions and your clients rights and timelines.
If you decide you want to make cold calls, that is your prerogative. I don’t and never will and I do fine. Make sure you cross reference your calls with the Do Not Call List and don’t ruin it for the rest of us.
Team up with a team or mentor. Some one you trust to walk you through difficult negotiations, lead generation, business practices etc. Expect to compensate them for their time and expertise.
Someone is going to yell at you. Whether it’s another agent, or a client, or someone who isn’t even a part of the transaction. Tough skin is critical.
If you ever want to attend an office meeting, a training, a class or just have questions – I would love to help. I come of the philosophy of community over competition, and if we all take the time to help and learn from each other, the industry as a whole will improve and the service to our clients will as well. I can be reached 301-525-6274 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Each Keller Williams Office is independently owned and operated. Brokerage number: 240-309-6000. Equal Housing Opportunity.