We all had our idea of what a real estate career would be like.

Key takeaway: 

• Potential agents should know they will work more, work harder, make less money, and will have to smile through it all, but it’s well worth the effort they put in.


From the outside looking in, real estate is a relatively quick and easy way to make lots of money. When it all works out, the real estate agent is the clients’ superhero, having helped them through what can be one of the most stressful times of their lives. And the agent gets paid a nice chunk of change to boot.

Not so fast, according to an article by Nicole Lopez, creator and leader of The PR Group at Intero Real Estate Services in Houston, Texas. When a friend asked her about getting into real estate, Lopez explained there is more to the story.

Potential agents should know they will work harder and make less upfront, but they’ll gain experience, client trust and earn more money as their career progresses.

What potential agents should know

Lopez laid out “the real scoop” in the Inman. com article, “9 things you wish you knew before getting into real estate.” Here’s her take on what potential agents can expect:

1. You won’t make much money at first, so make sure you have a cushion — Initially, you will pay out more than you get back. Gaining client trust takes time. “After buying headshots, signs, signposts, riders, business cards; plus school, association, and broker dues, you’ll be lucky if you make anything in the first six months,” Lopez wrote.

2. Working full-time is better — According to Lopez, unless working with family or friends, part-time agents won’t make much money. There are approximately 37,000 members in the Houston Association of R[email protected], Lopez noted, and just 5% crack six figures.

3. Even if you work full time, weekends will be a must for a while — “I just got to a point where I don’t work both days during the weekend, and I’m seven years into the game,” Lopez wrote.

4. Your cellphone will be your best friend — Because clients can reach you 24/7, you’re bound to work during vacations and holidays, too. Lopez wrote she has been asked to do showings on every major holiday.  “When a client wants something, you do it,” Lopez wrote.

vacation resort, tropical island

Holidays and vacations are work days. While on vacation in Jamaica, Lopez found herself putting in a listing while her friends were horseback riding through the water.

5. Do your research before choosing a brokerage — Ideally, you’ll want to work for a brokerage that offers training without taking most of your commissions or charging high desk fees.

6. If you’re not exhausted, you’re not doing it right — Lopez’s bottom line: “I’m usually running about 60-plus hours/week,” she wrote. “If you aren’t putting in the hours, your business will fail.”

7. You’ll have to save for your taxes — Because you’ll be self-employed, you’ll have to pay an additional 10%-15% in taxes, according to Lopez.

team building

Deals sometimes fall through, so potential agents should know to not count on commission money to be there when they need it.

8. That sure deal may not be definite — Don’t count on getting commission money when you need it, Lopez noted. Clients can always change their minds; real estate deals fall through all the time.

9. Grin, bear it, and keep it moving — You’re going to have to smile a lot and continue to be delightful no matter the circumstance.

“If you can live through that, helping people with their largest investment is immensely rewarding,” Lopez wrote.

For more information on starting your real estate career, visit www.mbitiontolearn.com/real-estate.

Source: “9 things you wish you knew before getting into real estate,” Inman.com (May 9, 2017)