“I had probably seven agents by the time I became a legitimate real estate broker.”
Barbara Corcoran, Businesswoman
Pros and Cons of Working as a Realtor
You think about becoming a real estate agent? While working as a realtor has many important advantages, there are still some issues related to a career in this sector.
Thus, make sure to check out all the pros and cons of being a real estate agent in this article so that you can make a profound career choice.
Realtor Job Profile
|Job Description||Real estate agents are responsible for selling flats and houses. They usually get a percentage of the selling price as a commission. This means that the salary of real estate agents is directly linked to the overall volume of property they sell.|
|Salary||$55,000 per year on average, most real estate agents make between $25,000 – $130,000 per year. Please note that salaries greatly vary in this field since they are directly linked to the sales volume. While few real estate agents make really good money, many others even struggle to make a living out of what they are doing.|
|Job Security||Rather low job security since you are replaceable and many people want to work in this field.|
|Job Satisfaction||Good if you like selling properties.|
|Work-Life Balance||Decent work-life balance, even though you might sometimes have to work on weekends.|
|Physically / Mentally Demanding?||Neither mentally nor physically demanding most of the time.|
|Future Outlook||Poor since machine learning and automatization will make many realtors obsolete in the near future.|
|Requirements||You need a license, yet you don’t need a college degree.|
Advantages of Being a Real Estate Agent
- Real estate agents can earn really good commissions
- Realtors can work independently
- You may be able to start your own realtor business
- Real estate agents can work indoors
- You can build a strong network
- You can see nice flats and houses during work
- Realtors may be able to make good off-market deals
- Working as a real estate agent is pretty relaxed
- Can be the start of your career in the real estate sector
- Your salary greatly depends on your performance
- Realtors are flexible regarding how to combine private and professional life
- You don’t have to go to college
- Realtors don’t have to work in classical office jobs
- Every day will be different
- Realtors learn how to deal with demanding clients
- Realtor work can also be done as a side hustle
Real estate agents can earn really good commissions
One advantage of being a real estate agent is that you can earn really good money from what you are doing. In fact, real estate commissions can earn many thousands of dollars for every flat or house they sell. Since you will get a percentage of the selling price of the property, some real estate agents make their yearly income from just a handful of objects.
For instance, let’s assume that the selling price of a property is one million dollars and you will get a 3% commission. This means that you will get $30,000 from just this one sale. If you sell a few of those objects per year, you will make a six-figure income. However, please note that this is only true if you sell fancy properties that have high value.
In contrast, if you live in rural areas where property prices are rather low, you will also earn relatively small commissions. Hence, if you want to become a real estate agent, make sure that you operate in areas where property prices are high since your commission will simply also be much higher and you can make really good money from a realtor career in those fancy areas.
Realtors can work independently
Another upside to a career as a realtor is that you will be able to work in a pretty independent manner. Even though you might work as an employee, you will often have a great level of freedom regarding when to schedule your meetings and how you want to organize your day in general.
While you will have a strict schedule in many other office jobs and a rather low level of flexibility, the opposite is true for most real estate agents. As long as your performance is good, the company you work for will give you significant freedom regarding how you do your work. This also means that you don’t have a boss watching what you are doing all day long.
Instead, you can just attend meetings with your clients and will have sole responsibility for the success or failure of transactions. Consequently, working as a realtor can also be great if you are the kind of independent person who doesn’t love to comply with commands but who rather has the drive and the ambition to organize yourself.
You may be able to start your own realtor business
As a real estate agent, you will also be free to choose between working as an employee or working for yourself. In fact, many realtors work for realtor companies for a few years, gain some experience and make some contacts and then start their own realtor business.
If you work as a self-employed realtor, you can keep the full commission since you will not have to share it with a company you might work for. Moreover, you will also have a maximum level of freedom regarding how to do your work.
Sure, also employed realtors will have some level of freedom, yet they still have to comply with company values and with other rules that are set by the company they work for.
If you have your own realtor business, you will be the one who can make the rules as long as you comply with local laws. Thus, a career in the real estate sector can also make quite a lot of sense if you plan to start your own business sooner or later and if you just have this entrepreneurial spirit to really going for things and sticking to your plans and goals.
Real estate agents can work indoors
Another benefit of working as a realtor is that you will also be able to work indoors most of the time. Sure, you will have to drive to properties that you will have to sell. Still, you will sit in your cozy car and can enjoy the comfort of air conditioning or heating while driving.
This means that you will be able to work in relatively comfortable environments while many other people have to work outdoors under extreme conditions who would love to change places with you.
You can build a strong network
Since you will sell homes to many wealthy people who often have high levels of influence, you will also be able to build a really strong business network as a real estate agent. If you understand the game and are willing to invest time in building those relations, chances are that you will profit from your strong network for many years or even decades of your career.
Always remember that your salary greatly depends on the number and the value of objects you sell. This also means that you have to acquire mandates on a regular basis and this only works if you build a network and people recommend you.
Hence, don’t underestimate how important your network will be for your success as a realtor and make sure that you use this powerful tool to succeed in this competitive market.
Your business network will not only be important to succeed as a realtor, it can also give you some additional job prospects later on in your career.
In fact, many jobs in the corporate world are not publicly available but are only obtainable if you know important people inside the company.
Hence, a career in real estate can also help you in the future if you want to change fields sooner or later due to the many connections you can make during this time.
You can see nice flats and houses during work
I personally also really enjoyed working as a realtor since I had been able to see many different flats and houses and I had been surprised by many features inside those properties. For instance, it can be pretty interesting to try out smart home devices if you have never used them before.
Technological progress also speeds up in the real estate sector and chances are that you will just never get bored since you will always be able to sell or rent new objects that have different characteristics.
Realtors may be able to make good off-market deals
You can also make really good off-market deals as a realtor. In fact, many real estate agents not only sell flats or houses, but they also invest in property.
As a real estate agent, you will be the first one who gets to know that a property will be for sale and if you are smart and can negotiate pretty well, chances are that you will be able to buy the property yourself below market value instead of selling it to your clients.
Hence, you can really build a strong real estate portfolio over time if you know what you are doing and have the courage to take some risks as a realtor.
Working as a real estate agent is pretty relaxed
Most real estate agents also don’t suffer from significant stress during work. Sure, some days are pretty busy. Yet, since you will be able to organize yourself rather independently and can decide when you want to work and when you just take time off, you will often be able to stay in a rather relaxed mood while many of your friends will hustle to survive in their jobs.
Can be the start of your career in the real estate sector
Many people also just start out working as a realtor. However, over time, they explore related fields like real estate investing or fix-and-flip deals. Thus, you also don’t have to stay a real estate agent forever.
You can just gather some experience and use this experience to make even more profitable deals in the real estate world.
Your salary greatly depends on your performance
Another advantage of working as a realtor is that you will be able to greatly influence your salary. If you work hard and are willing to put in the work, chances are that you will be able to make really good money in the long run. In contrast, if you are rather lazy and don’t want to work that much, chances are that you will not even make enough for a living.
This can be considered to be fair since hard work should be rewarded and a career as a realtor can really make sense for you are the type of person who really wants to achieve something in life and is willing to put in extreme effort.
In contrast, if you are rather lazy and just want to have as much leisure as possible, you may want to go for another career path instead.
Realtors are flexible regarding how to combine private and professional life
Another upside to working as a realtor is that it is pretty easy to achieve a balance between private and professional life. Since you will often be able to work from home, you can bring and pick up your kids from work most of the time. Sure, you will have some appointments with your clients where you have to be present at the respective property.
Yet, you will have many hours where you can just spend time with your kids and can work at the same time in a rather relaxed manner.
You don’t have to go to college
You also don’t need to go to college for a career as a realtor. In most states, it will be enough to get a license and you will be good to go. This also implies that you can avoid costs for tuition and other expenses related to college. It also means that you can avoid student loan debt and the adverse long-term consequences related to it.
Hence, it also makes great sense to become a realtor for you if you don’t want to get many years of additional education after finishing high school but rather want to become independent pretty soon and earn money.
Realtors don’t have to work in classical office jobs
While you will spend some time in front of your computer as a realtor, you will also have plenty of time where you will have client meetings at properties and this can make your life really comfortable since you will have a good balance between office work and personal interaction.
While many other people will have to work in front of a computer all day long, you will be able to have a much more interesting life, especially if you love to talk to many different people and are a rather extroverted person who is not afraid to deal with new clients all the time.
Every day will be different
You will also never know what will happen during your workday as a real estate agent. While you might have some plans and a rough schedule, plans can change any minute in case your clients have different plans or other unexpected things come your way.
While this can also be annoying, it still makes your life as a realtor exciting and chances are that you will just never get bored with what you are doing.
Realtors learn how to deal with demanding clients
By working as a realtor, you will also learn how to deal with demanding and difficult clients. Sure, many of your clients will be nice and working with them can be quite much fun. However, from time to time, you will have clients that will just see you as someone who can be pushed around.
While this can be exhausting, you will still learn how to deal with this sort of clients and this can also greatly benefit you for various other parts of your life.
Realtor work can also be done as a side hustle
Many realtors also don’t work full-time. In fact, there are many people who just want to make some money while going to college at the same time to finance their education. There are also many people who switched from different fields to the real estate sector due to the good money one can make.
Many people also just want to make some extra money while still working in their regular jobs and this can be quite lucrative, at least if you are able to organize yourself well since you only have to sell a few properties to make pretty decent money from your side hustle as a realtor.
Disadvantages of Being a Real Estate Agent
- Real estate agents have rather poor job security
- You will have to work on weekends
- Rather bad job prospects in the future
- Your salary will greatly vary over time
- Hard to make long-term plans
- Banks may not give you a mortgage for buying a home
- Realtors may have conflicts of interest
- You may be liable for mistakes and may get sued
- You will have to deal with difficult clients
- Some people just have false expectations
- You may work for free
- Real estate agents also have to do some paperwork
- You may need a license in many states
- Many real estate agents fail since they are only in for the money
Real estate agents have rather poor job security
Apart from the many important advantages of a career as a realtor, there are also many downsides to this profession. For instance, one disadvantage of being a realtor is that you will have rather poor job security.
Since barriers to entry are pretty low in this field in many states and almost everyone can work as a real estate agent, there are many people who are in this field just for the money and the vast number of people who want to work in this field also implies that real estate agents often have it hard to acquire enough mandates to make a living out of what they are doing.
You may also get fired from the realtor company you work for pretty soon in case you don’t make enough money. Hence, you should probably go for a different career path if job security is really important to you since you will often just not find it in the real estate industry.
You will have to work on weekends
Many realtors also work on weekends. In fact, many clients just don’t have time during the week since they have to work at their own jobs. This means that if you want to sell pretty well, you will have to put in the work also on weekends and this can be pretty annoying, especially in case you have a family and want to make nice weekend trips with your kids.
Rather bad job prospects in the future
Also the job prospects for the future are rather poor for real estate agents. Due to the automatization of processes and artificial intelligence, many realtors will just become obsolete in the near future since computers and robots will be able to do a significant junk of the work.
This also implies that many realtors will become unemployed in the future and I bet this is not what you want for your life.
Your salary will greatly vary over time
Another problem with being a real estate agent is that you will not have a fixed salary. Many real estate agents just make the majority or even all of their money through commissions.
While this can be great if you sell many luxurious properties, the opposite can be true if your performance is poor and if you also have bad luck in some years since you will just not make plenty of money.
This also means that your salary will greatly vary over time and many people are not able to deal with these financial swings in a proper manner.
Hard to make long-term plans
Due to the significant swings in income, it is also pretty hard for real estate agents to make long-term plans in the future. For instance, if you never know how much money you will have in the future, it will be hard to decide when the right time has come to buy your own home or when to make other important investments.
Banks may not give you a mortgage for buying a home
You may also experience serious problems when it comes to getting a mortgage as a realtor, especially if you had significant income swings in the past and banks are not confident that you are able to pay back your loans.
This can lead to a state where you will just not be able to buy or build your own home while your friends will have the privilege to do so thanks to their stable salaries they get working in the corporate world.
Realtors may have conflicts of interest
In some cases, you will also have real conflicts of interest as a realtor. For example, you may have to sell homes that are just garbage, yet you may have to offer those homes as pretty decent properties so that you are able to sell them. This can be ethically questionable and is not what the majority of people want to do.
You may be liable for mistakes and may get sued
Some people who are not satisfied with your work may even sue you. Sure, the majority of clients will really appreciate your work. Yet, some people will also lose plenty of money due to your mistakes and this can lead to a state in which you have to compensate them. In turn, this can even financially ruin you and you may be forced to file bankruptcy sooner or later.
You will have to deal with difficult clients
While most of your clients will be nice, others will just find something to complain about all day long. This can be really annoying, especially if you have plenty of work to do but still have to spend plenty of time to solve problems with these difficult persons.
Some people just have false expectations
Many people also underestimate how difficult it really is to succeed as a realtor. Many people just think it is easy money, yet they don’t see the work and how much time it takes to become successful in this field.
Hence, don’t be fooled by some realtors who have really made it. The majority of real estate agents have to work hard for their meal and some are not even able to make a living out of it.
You may work for free
If you don’t sell a property, you will often also don’t get a commission and this means that you might put in plenty of work without getting any reward from it. You will also have some costs and this means that you have to invest money to get more money back in commissions.
In case this doesn’t work out, you will have all the downside but none of the upside and you will just even have to pay to work 😉.
Real estate agents also have to do some paperwork
Working as a real estate agent also implies some paperwork. You will have to prepare contracts, photos and other sales material. If you work self-employed, you will also be responsible for your taxes and that you comply with several rules and regulations.
You may need a license in many states
In many states, you will also have to get a license before you are able to work as a realtor. It can take many months or even years to get this license and you should make sure that you are willing to make this commitment for your education.
Many real estate agents fail since they are only in for the money
In general, if you are just in the game for the money, your chances to fail are just pretty high. If you don’t have a real passion for real estate, you will just quit after a while since most markets are just too competitive and other people will just outwork you in the long run.
Top 10 Being a Realtor Pros & Cons – Summary List
|Being a Realtor Pros||Being a Realtor Cons|
|Realtors can make really good money||Your income greatly varies over time|
|You can build a strong network||Some realtors barely make a living|
|Being a realtor is pretty relaxed||You have to deal with difficult clients|
|Realtors can work indoors||Real estate agents may get sued|
|Your salary depends on your performance||Conflicts of interest are quite common|
|Every day will be different||Rather poor future job prospects|
|You don’t have to go to college||You may work for free|
|You can start your own realtor business||You have to do some paperwork|
|Some realtors only work part-time||Real estate agents need a license|
|Great level of flexibility||Many realtors fail in the long run|
Should You Become A Real Estate Agent?
Now that you know all the advantages and disadvantages of being a realtor, you have to make your final decision regarding whether you want to become a real estate agent or rather want to go for different career options instead.
Either way, make sure that you take your time before making this important decision since it can greatly affect your future.
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About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people about the different career paths that are possible in our current state of the world. In my opinion, people often make the mistake to choose their profession solely based on how much money they can earn from it instead of doing what makes them really happy.
This is quite sad and I just want to give people a more objective picture of how a fulfilling career could look like. I did the same when I started working in consulting after finishing my Master’s degree in Economics. However, I’ve quit pretty soon after that since I haven’t found true meaning in my job.
Now I can do what I really love to do and I want to enable as many other people as well to go this exciting path towards happiness instead of money.
I conducted various interviews with employees to give you a good impression of what working in different fields will look like and that you can make the best possible decision regarding your future career choice.
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