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Thinking about becoming a REALTOR®?

Thinking about becoming a REALTOR®?

By Kathy Schmidt, Broker/Owner, Schmidt Realty Group Inc.

Thinking about real estate as a career? Here are 5 things you need to know…

  • It’s not what you think!
    Unlike what you see on HGTV, real estate agents don’t spend their days driving in fancy cars showing high-end homes to clients who make a purchase that day, or listing homes every day that sell at the first open house. While those things can happen, most of the time there’s a much longer arc to every transaction, and frankly that’s what makes this business is really interesting!  The buying process can take months sometimes, waiting for the right property to come onto the market and perhaps even losing a house or two along the way in bidding wars. And for sellers, the planning can happen months in advance as it takes time to catch up on repairs and home maintenance, clean, pre-pack, get new surveys done, etc.  And then once a house hits the market, even when things are moving quickly it can still take some time to find the right buyer.  You might be surprised to learn that not every offer goes through. Whether it’s a surprise hiccup on financing, or an issue that comes up on inspection, there are lots of reasons why accepted pending offers can fail. A lot of an agent’s time is spent working hard to hold deals together for everyone. Those stories don’t get told much on HGTV but it’s our reality on a daily basis. And it’s oh so satisfying when we’re able to bring that sale across the finish line!
  • You’ll need to be brave!
    As a new agent, you’ll be doing things you’ve never done before daily. You’ll need to have a love of learning and be willing to put yourself out there to meet new people, explore new parts of the city, and continue to gain deep knowledge about the many unique markets within the overall Edmonton market. From high-rise condos to attached townhomes to infill properties and acreages…there is always something new to learn. It’s not always comfortable being in continually new situations, but it will be your daily life as a new agent so buckle up and embrace the adventure!
  • You’ll need to have help!
    To properly serve your clients as a new agent, you’ve got to have a strong back-up team! Getting your real estate license is like getting a license to learn. Yes, you’ll have an understanding of the legalities of contracts and client relationships, but the licensing process won’t prepare you for the practicalities of working as a REALTOR®. For that you’ve got to have experienced people beside you to keep you and your clients out of harm’s way. Successful agents know they will not only launch their career faster and more easily with proper training and support, but they seek mentorship for the rest of their career to keep growing their knowledge and their business. At Schmidt we offer new agents over 60 hours of in-person classroom training on everything from condos to communication, and individual mentorship and support is available to you on an ongoing basis.  Meet our training team and learn more about how we support new agents here!
  • You’ll need to support yourself.
    Becoming a REALTOR® means you’re starting a business, not a job. Every business needs start-up money. Compared to starting other businesses, getting into real estate is much more affordable, but you’ll still need a stash of cash to cover your licensing program costs, your licensing fees at completion, and your lifestyle until your first commission cheque. You might be surprised to learn it’s not unusual for an agent to go 4-6 months without getting paid when they start out. For the first couple of months you’re really focused on learning and setting up your systems. Hopefully you have clients to work with early on, but it can take time for the right property to come up for your buyers, and time for your seller to find the right buyer. And then it can take more time, often 2 months, before the sale closes. Typically an agent will be paid within 2 weeks of possession day, but as you can see from this timeline, that might be a few months from the day you start working with a new client. Keeping your day job while you get started can seem like a good solution, but it’s very hard to launch your real estate business when you’re not available to clients when they need you during the day. It’s not impossible, but it takes more focus and discipline to get started this way. Just something to keep in mind…
  • Brokerages are NOT all alike!
    Just like you want your buyer to find the best home for them rather than settling for something that’s “good enough”, you want to take time with your search for the right environment for your real estate business. The brokerage you choose essentially becomes your partner in business so you want to make sure that your values and philosophy of business align. Are you looking to fly “solo”? In that case, it might not matter to you if your brokerage has a bricks and mortar location. Are you looking for a sense of community where ideas are shared and you’ve got each other’s backs? That’s a different kind of brokerage. By the way, that’s the SCHMIDT kind of brokerage 😉. Are you looking to join a team? That can be a good way to go, but it also has drawbacks.  At Schmidt we’ve taken the best of the team concept and married it with our brokerage systems, creating what we call a “teamerage”. Our agents share a common marketing approach and receive a ton of support from our admin team. In other offices you may find that you’re completely on your own when it comes to setting up everything, and if you’re someone who wants to do it all yourself, a brokerage like that could be the right fit. Just like a buyer takes their time to find the right home, you’ll want to make sure that you do the same for your real estate business home. Ask for meetings with the broker, and see how much time and energy they put into their time with you. It’s a mutual interview, so you should feel welcomed and provided with a lot of information about the brokerage and how they serve and support their agents.

If it’s right for you, real estate is a wonderful profession. I can guarantee you’ll never be bored, and you’ll have the privilege of helping so many people at an important time in their lives. Plus, you’ll manage your own schedule and you’ll make more friends than you can imagine! What other profession can offer you all that?

If you’re still thinking that real estate sounds like the right fit for you, check out this quick QUIZ we put together.  It will let you know if you might have what it takes to be a REALTOR®. 

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