Before Getting a Real Estate License, Consider the Following!

Before Getting a Real Estate License, Consider the Following!

Real estate can be a very fulfilling profession.  As a real estate agent, you are helping buyer’s and seller’s with one of the largest transactions, if not the largest, they will ever experience in their life.  The chance to give a first time home buyer the keys to their new home is priceless.  As a real estate agent you are the hero when you bring a seller a full price offer on their home that you are selling.

Being a real estate agent is often seen by many as someone who has an easy job and makes boatloads of money.  Many have “Illusions of Grandeur!”  Simply put, this is wrong.  New real estate agents enter the business on a daily basis and real estate agents leave the business on a daily basis.  Many new agents don’t last long in the business because they don’t stop and think what exactly is needed to be successful in the business.

It’s been said many times by new real estate agents, “I like looking at houses, so I’ll be a good real estate agent.”  Another one is, “I watch HGTV and watch all sorts of real estate TV shows, so I know I’ll be a good Real Estate Agent!”  This is wrong as well.  Selling real estate is more than driving clients around town and opening doors.  There are many things that a successful real estate agent does on a daily basis, that the general public doesn’t know about!

There are many things that need to be taken into consideration before getting a real estate license.  Here are some of the most important things to consider beforehand!

What “Start-Up” Costs Are Involved in Real Estate?
Thinking about the costs involved in getting into real estate is an extremely important thing to consider before doing so!  It’s fairly inexpensive to obtain a real estate license.  Each state, town, and area will have different costs and rules associated with getting a real estate license, but are fairly similar.  For example, New York State requires that a 75 hour licensing course is completed.  The 75 hour course ends with a final examination.  The cost for licensing courses, generally, ranges between $450-$600 for the course hours and text books.  After passing the 75 hour course and exam, a state exam must be passed with a score of 70% or greater.

Once the real estate license is obtained, the costs start adding up.  After obtaining a real estate license, the next step is finding a sponsoring broker or real estate company who will “hold your license,” or simply put, hire you.  Every real estate company has different monthly fees, quarterly fees, yearly fees, etc.  These fees can include items such as a “desk fee,” charges for copies, or charges for an office.  Each broker will also have different commission splits and agreements with their agents, often based on what their fees and charges are.  Bottom line, there likely will be additional “start-up” costs once you find a broker to “hold your license,” and it’s important to find out exactly what the fees and charges will be, so ask!  Just like it is so important that a buyer or seller hire the “correct” real estate agent, it’s as important when considering a career in real estate, you select the “correct” broker for your situation!

After finding a sponsoring broker, the next step is joining the local real estate board.  Each real estate board is different, however, there will be costs associated with joining, sometimes known as “dues.”  These costs can include things such as fees to use the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), fees to the State’s Association of Realtors, and the National Association of Realtors.  Like the licensing course, the cost varies from state-to-state, but generally will range between $800-$1200.  These “dues” are generally a yearly expense.

Having Unrealistic Expectations Often Leads to Failure in Real Estate!  Consider what your expectations will be before obtaining a real estate license!

Having Unrealistic Expectations Often Leads to Failure in Real Estate! Consider what your expectations will be before obtaining a real estate license!

What Do You Expect to Accomplish in Real Estate?
Having unrealistic expectations is a very common mistake made by new real estate agents entering the business, but also, a very common mistake made by buyers and sellersMany new real estate agents come into the business having visions of being the top real estate agent in their office in their first year.  While possible, it’s a very long shot that this is actually what happens for new real estate agents.  Setting realistic goals is an absolute in real estate.  The key word being, realistic!  A broker should be able to assist in setting realistic goals!

By setting unrealistic expectations, new agents are often “let-down” after they fall severely short of their lofty expectations.  Some people are unable to handle rejection and failure, and those are normally the ones who only last a year or two (or less) in the business.  The real estate business is filled with rejection and failure, so this is something that absolutely needs to be considered before getting a real estate license.  Can you handle it?

Are You Going to be a Part-Time Agent or a Full-Time Agent?
Even though many people will say real estate is “easy money,” it isn’t, period!  What makes real estate even harder, is being a part-time agent.  It can be done, however, it is extremely difficult.  If a new real estate agent is planning on being a part-time agent, they need to keep this in mind while setting their expectations.  A part-time agent is not going to sell 100 homes in a year, it just isn’t going to happen!  Nor is a part-time agent going to make $100,000 a year.  Being a part-time agent is understandable, seeing as it is possible to go 3-6 months before earning a “paycheck.”

If a new real estate agent has the capabilities and capital to be a full-time real estate agent right away, it is the best case scenario.  This, however, does not mean that success will be a given.  A new full-time real estate agent will often find themselves wasting valuable hours of a day, doing nothing productive to help grow their business.  There are plenty of things that can be done during “down-time” that are relatively cheap or free.  Tasks such as blogging, interacting on social media, prospecting by door knocking, or calling old friends and family are all examples of a real estate agent utilizing “down-time” to help grow their business.

Unlike full-time employees of a large employer who receive compensation in terms of healthcare benefits, real estate agents do not.  Real estate agents are responsible for their own healthcare, which often can be expensive, so this is also something that must be considered.

Becoming a part-time agent versus full-time agent needs to be considered before obtaining a real estate license.

"Flexible" schedules don't always mean less work.  They often mean long days, longer nights, and longest weekends!

“Flexible” schedules don’t always mean less work. They often mean long days, longer nights, and longest weekends!

What is Your Availability?
Many new real estate agents get into the business because they love the idea of a “flexible” schedule.  While the schedule is “flexible” it often means you have to be “flexible” when serving your clients!  This can lead to many long days and longer nights and weekends!  For a part-time agent who may also have a full-time job, this can mean working 80,90, or 100 hours in a week.  Before getting a real estate license, are you willing to show clients a home at 8:00 PM on a weeknight?  Or 9:00 AM on a Saturday?  Are you willing to field phone calls at 9:00 PM on a weeknight from other agents wanting to show your seller’s home?

Before getting a real estate license, it’s important to take into consideration current familial status.  A person’s familial status, often has a huge impact on their availability.  A 22 year old single man is going to have more availability than a 33 year old married mother of 3.  The “flexible” schedule can be beneficial, however, there are odd times where “duty calls.”  Consideration of these odd times, is important, as these times can often be overwhelming and lead to new real estate agents not succeeding in the business.

Are You Organized?
Being organized is an absolute “must have” trait for real estate agents for multiple reasons.  Real estate agents are independent contractors.  This means organizing daily schedules, keeping track of prospective buyers and sellers, keeping track of pending transactions, and more!  There are programs available to real estate agents to help them keep track of their client base, prospects, closings, and expenses, such as Top Producer Systems.  It is very common that newer agents (or even experienced agents) “drop the ball” on transactions, if they are not organized.

Real estate agents do not have book-keepers either.  It is important to be organized to keep records and receipts of money being spent on marketing, advertising, customer entertaining, education, and many other categories.  It is possible that a real estate agent can get audited, and keeping accurate and organized records is important should this happen!

The above are a few considerations to take into account before getting a real estate license.  Real estate can be an extremely fulfilling profession, but it does take lots of hard work, time, and money!  

Other Resources to Read Before Getting a Real Estate License:

What other things do you think should be considered before getting a real estate license??

If you are considering a career in real estate, please feel free to contact us, as we’d be happy to answer any questions you may have about the real estate profession!  Also, if you are curious about what it takes to become a real estate agent in Rochester, NY, we’d be happy to give you a detailed overview of the process.


About the authors:  The above article “Before Getting a Real Estate License, Consider These Things!” was provided by the Keith Hiscock Sold Team (Keith & Kyle Hiscock).  With over 30 years combined experience, if you’re thinking of selling or buying, we’d love to share our knowledge and expertise.

We service the following Greater Rochester NY areas: Irondequoit, Webster, Penfield, Pittsford, Fairport, Brighton, Greece, Gates, Hilton, Brockport, Mendon, Henrietta, Perinton, Churchville, Scottsville, East Rochester, Rush, Honeoye Falls, Chili, and Victor NY.

Visit our website at www.HiscockHomes.com.

© 2014 – 2016, Kyle Hiscock. All rights reserved.

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