Real estate is a career with significant rewards and as many challenges. Though it can be lucrative, it requires hard work and sacrifice. If you’re interested in going into real estate, we’ve put together a list of the pros and cons of becoming a REALTOR® or real estate agent.
Pro: You have the flexibility to choose your own schedule
A majority of real estate professionals get into the business because they want a flexible schedule, and it’s true, in real estate you are your own boss and can arrange your day so that you’re able to attend your child’s sporting event or be home for the after-school rush. You don’t clock in and clock out every day.
“There have been tremendous shifts in terms of when, where, and how people are working,” Sarah Sutton Fell, the CEO of FlexJobs told U.S. News, “and in the last five years we’ve seen a big increase in flexible work options, both being offered by employers and being sought by professionals.” Real estate is one of those prized careers that has flexibility built into it.
Con: Without set hours, you might end up working more
Having flexible hours certainly doesn’t mean you have an easy job. “The standard workweek is 40 hours,” says U.S. News, “although many real estate agents will be asked to work beyond the typical 9-to-5, especially since many client meetings take place on weekday evenings and weekends.” This could mean that while you get to take time off on a weekday afternoon to visit your child’s classroom, you might also have to skip family time on Saturday.
What you can do: Practice your time management skills
This is one of those pros and cons of becoming a real estate agent that’s easy to address because there are so many time management tools available to help you outsource tasks both in your family time and business. Some of the new real estate technologies are making the daily tasks of the profession easier and faster.
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Pro: You have unlimited income potential
Real estate professionals make, on average, 25 percent more income than all workers, but there is no cap on how much you can make. The stronger your business skills are, and the more you put into the career, the more you’ll get out of it. Since you’re in charge of your own transactions, there isn’t a salary cap or a set amount of time you have to work before you get a raise. The sky’s the limit.
Con: You have no safety net in the slow periods
Because you’re not earning a salary from an employer, your earnings are based on your transactions each month. If you have a slow month, your takeaway is less. The job is based on commission, so if you’re not selling a property, you don’t automatically get a paycheck.
What you can do: Create a savings fund first
This is one of the cons of becoming a real estate agent you can address with proper planning. If you spend time creating a savings fund before you jump into real estate, then you won’t have a problem with cash flow in the slow periods. When transactions pick up, you can replenish your savings fund for the next time. Make sure you account for some of the most common real estate agent expenses while you’re budgeting for how much you should save.
Pro: You get to help make dreams come true
Imagine showing people beautiful properties every day and helping clients find their dream homes. As a real estate professional, you get to be part of some of life’s biggest moments with your clients. You can be part of helping them find that perfect home that will be in their family’s memories forever. It can be exciting and motivating.
Con: Buying and selling can be stressful for clients
Most of your clients won’t buy and sell homes regularly and any purchase is a significant financial decision. This can make tensions run high, especially if your clients are conflicted about what to do. Although working with people can be rewarding, it can also be stressful and have its challenging moments.
What you can do: Develop a robust real estate network
A network of like-minded real estate professionals can support you if you’re having a tough time with a particular client. Mentors who have had similar experiences can share approaches with you that have worked for them in the past. Spend time getting to know other agents in your area and ways they approach working with demanding clients or how they care for their clients in stressful situations.
Weigh the pros and cons of becoming a REALTOR®
Before you get started on your real estate career, take time to think about how you will overcome some of the challenges of this rewarding industry. The pros are enough to attract many people to the industry, but it’s the professionals who can defeat the cons who have real staying power.