Career in Real Estate
As top real estate consultants in Mumbai we are always receiving calls and emails from young people who want to enter the profession. So this blog article is all for all those are either complete newbies to this field or have a small amount of experience and want to scale greater heights. For starters most people desirous of want to pursue real estate as a profession need to know what kind of person is most likely to succeed in this field and and you also should be aware of how much money you are mostly likely to make. But this kind of information is not always easy to get. Lack of objective information about a career in real estate is in my opinion the main reason why people hesitate to enter any profession or drop out midway before attaining success. There is no doubt though that residential or commercial real estate sales can be an exciting career and needlessly to say highly rewarding – but for the right person. My purpose in this article is to help you decide whether you are that person or not.
The Nature of The Job
Lets understand the basics first. In legal terms, an agent is someone who is empowered to transact business for another person. Real estate agents perform that function. As a RERA licensed real estate salesperson you will mostly likely work for the beginning years of your career for a real estate broker or a real estate agency such as ours. A broker has spent a large amount of time in the profession and has years of experience in closing deals. A real estate broker or a real estate agency can have a small or large office. You will be given desk space in such offices to work and also supported in your activities as you grow. The real estate broker is obliged to supervise your work for as long as you are together. In return you will be sharing income with the Agency or the Broker. Almost all real estate agents are paid solely from commissions (brokerage fees) which come from the properties that they sell for the Broker or Agency.
The main point here though is that you make money and grow in this business based on the results that you are able to show. For the most part this is not a job where you sit at a desk and take a cushy monthly salary regardless of how well you perform. You will survive and prosper in this business only by showing results. How you do that will be left largely to you. You will have to decide the strategies and tactics to bring a deal to closure working within the bounds of common sense, legality and acceptable marketing and sales methods. There is no set or standard method by which real estate agents achieve success in their field. Many successful agents and agencies rely on mainly traditional sales techniques such as cold calling from databases and working with referals from past clients. Others do not use telecalling but rely on using offline and internet marketing methods to find new customers and to generate sales. One of the pros of this profession is that you will be able to pursue your career in a manner that is compatible with your personality and values.
Traits and Skills You Will Need
Your success as a real estate agent will be determined by how well you adapt to the demands of the profession. Below are some of the personality traits and skills that you will need in the business of real estate. It is true that no one person can possess all of these skills nor is everyone going to be satisfied with all aspects of the job. But if you have stronger than average skills in atleast of the below areas that will compensate for your lack of skills or interest in another area.
1. You Should Like the Lifestyle
Back in the US where I worked for many years, I observed that the most successful agents I knew did not treat real estate as just another job but as a fascinating hobby. They are happiest in the lives when they are in the middle of closing a deal and putting a transaction together. They do not see the clock from time to time wondering when they will turn off their computers for the day and are ready to spring into action whether its night or day, weekend or weekday. Of course the most productive agents realize the value of work-life balance in their lives but the fact remains that they are absolutely in love with their jobs and typically immerse themselves in their work. You do not need to be at “Elon Musk” levels of passion and commitment about the profession to succeed but it definitely needs to be more than “just a job” for you to put up with the demands that will be placed on your time. Most people who are buying or selling property expect you to respond at their convenience, not yours. For many people, weekends and evenings are the only time they can look at property or talk to you about selling their property. If you are the type of person who dislikes a nine-to-five, Monday-to-Friday routine, then the real estate lifestyle will appeal to you. I have heard people saying that they like the real estate profession because they can work according to their own schedule. A musician or an artist can work according to his / her own schedule. But trust me it doesn’t work that way for a real estate agent.
2. You Should Be a Self-Starter
You will find the business of real estate to be very fulfilling if you are motivated by individual accountability and personal glory. If the prospect of being judged exclusively by the number of business transactions that you successfully conclude excites you then you will most probably have a long career in this field. In this field, you will succeed or fail almost entirely based on your own talents and individual efforts. You should understand this aspect very clearly. Closing real estate deals is not a team effort. You will be individually responsible for every deal that succeeds or fails. It doesn’t matter how effectively you have been trained doing expensive real estate courses and it doesn’t matter how good or reputed the agency is that you are working with you will have to have the desire and the ability to do it on your own. To sum up my point : If you are not self-disciplined and motivated by your own goals you should forget about real estate!” People who are self-motivated do well in this self-starter environment and would not do as well in a traditional hierarchy-based boss-subordinate relation workplace. You should have a fair amount of a rugged individualist approach in life to do well as a real estate agent. At the end of the day in this business you would do well to remember the hunter-gatherer philosophy – you eat what you kill!
3. You Need to Know Who You Are
Here’s what I mean. I have asked many young real estate agents who have gone through the doors of our agency and who are now active in the profession – what was the biggest challenge they faced when they working and how did they respond? Here’s one of the answers that I got from a person who is now doing quite well. “The biggest challenge I faced was that I was an entrepreneur and not an employee. There was one word that was different this time as opposed to the time when I was working as a salaried employee – Prospect!
The word “entrepreneur” is described in the Webster’s Dictionary as “a person who organizes and manages a business undertaking, assuming the risk for the sake of the profit.” Although the inner workings may look somewhat different in this field, by becoming a real estate agent you eventually be – a one person business. In order to make a profit you would have to get in touch with potential buyers. For the most part they will not come to you. You will have to find them. Remember Peter Drucker’s famous quote: “The purpose of a business is to create a customer”.
4. You Should be a Hard Worker
It is not uncommon to see someone doing really well in real estate but who lacks all the prerequisites required for success in real estate. Even in the sales field you will find many successful people who do not abide by the widely-held sales principles and yet do very well – sometimes amazingly well. But earning big money without hard work? No chance! Absolutely and positively not. Hard work is an unconditional prerequisite for success. Formal research by the reputed National Association of Realtor in the US confirms what should actually be common sense: There is a direct and positive correlation between average hours worked and the income one generates. Those mavericks who are making a lot of money inspite of working less are marching to the beat of a different drummer but make no mistake they are all working hard in their own way. Someone once remarked to me, “Those who don’t do well are not getting to work early and putting in the hours. A lot of new people think real estate is an easy job with easy money. But success as a real estate agent takes tenacity, dedication and ability to work long hours, weekends and during vacations too!
5. You Should Be a Smart Worker
Although hard work is essential as a real estate agent you will get paid for the results that you achieve and not the hours you put in. Thus you must effectively spend your time doing the things that will give you the maximum results. Do not be mistaken here that you need to be a genius with high IQ to do well. Working smart has little to do with native intelligence. It is more important to use common sense and understand human nature well. It is also important to be creative. During my career in the US when I was studying for my real estate license we were discussing the topic of listings and how to acquire new property listings. One of my classmates inquired if checking out the obituary page in the local newspapers would be a good idea as a source of possible listings! Needless to say the woman has done very well in her career!
6. You Should Enjoy Solving “People Problems”
You should be good at working with people. You must enjoy the challenges of helping your clients solve complex and often highly emotional problems. Every transaction will have difficulties in it. Although you will try to ensure that everything goes right you will sometimes have to deal with situations you could not foresee nor forestall. Agents who do well in this profession acknowledge that things can and do go wrong and know that the money that they make is directly proportional to their ability to resolve such problems as and when they occur. Successful agents also know that it is important to detach yourself from the situation to maintain objectivity which is important for problem solving. Successful real estate agents not only have to ability to solve problems, they also genuinely enjoy handling situations that are particularly complex or sensitive.
7. You Should Be Emotionally Stable and Mature
Can you talk about large sums of money without batting an eyelid? I know people who come from modest means may suddenly find it difficult to deal with doing transactions worth tens of crores of rupees. Will it cause you to get disturbed if you have to deal with large amounts of cash? Or does the prospect of dealing with big money barely cause any ripple in your mind? As a real estate agent you must be able to also gain the trust and confidence of other people while maintaining your own sense of balance and fairness. For the most part, the people whom you encounter will be honest and forthright but there will always be exceptions and this can try the patience of even the most steadfast and optimistic person. The sale or purchase of a home is typically the largest single monetary transaction that a seller or buyer will be involved with in his / her life. Dealing with such large sums of money can ruffle the feathers of many people and there can be many instances of backbiting, treachery, cheating etc. Large amounts of money can reveal the dark and seamy side of otherwise sweet and normal people. In such cases you need to be like a rock – firm, stead and unmoved.
8. You Should Know Your Product
As a real estate agent you will not be expected to know the intricacies of carpentry, plumbing and electricals or required to have deep knowledge of architecture or construction. But you definitely need to be familiar with the practical matters that are of the utmost concern to property owners. If you are a home owner yourself this knowledge can help you. If not, I strongly recommend that you should plan on buying your own home to get that intimate firsthand knowledge of the home buying process or atleast place it on the top of your economic goals. Whether you educate yourself through the internet or learn on the job, you will be listing and selling more homes and of course making more money if you know the process of selling homes and can talk intelligently about it.
9. You Should Know the Territory
For practical reasons, every real estate agency (not franchise operators) in the world has what it considers to be a normal geographic area of operation. Its either a small town, or part of a large city or an entire city in itself along with the surrounding areas. Whichever area you choose to work, you must intimately know the area. You should be knowledgeable not only about residential housing but also know about shopping centres, hospitals, schools etc. It may sound boring but as they say, “you gotta know the territory”. There are also some practical considerations. You can cannot live 50 miles away from say Mumbai and hope to show properties in that area to clients! It’s just not physically possible! If you live in Pune and have decided to sell properties in Mumbai the work will tire you out. Work in an area where you can depend on a schedule and where you can show meet and show clients within five or ten minutes distance from your home or office.
10. You Have to Persevere
I am familiar with many successful real estate agents in the US (we are talking agents who make upwards of $100,000 net income a year) who if you asked me to name the character trait that helped them the most to get to where they are today, I would unhesitatingly respond: tenacity. Tenacity, grit or dogged perseverance whatever you call it, is finally the most important factor needed to get ahead in any field. Yes the most successful agents work hard, have integrity and relate well to people but if you ask them they would be the first to say – Hey we are not that gifted! They just stuck to their profession through the vicissitudes of life. There are highs and lows in every market and time and again the world has been witness to many upheavals, calamities, economic collapses and pandemics. But the few who persevere and remain standing are the ones who succeed over the long run because the word ‘quit’ simply does not exist in their vocabulary!