Is a real estate agent a good career choice in 2022 and 2023?

Ask Brian is a weekly column by real estate expert Brian Kline. If you have questions about real estate investing, DIY, buying/selling a home, or other housing questions, please email your questions to [email protected].

Question from Aurora in GA: Hi Brian, I am a 23 year old college graduate with a business degree. I’m not sure what career I want, but I know I don’t want to be a cog in a corporate machine. I thought I might want to start my own retail business, but I don’t have the capital to get started. It got me thinking that I should look for an inexpensive way to work for myself and it got me thinking about becoming a real estate agent. But then I had some doubts because I hear that the real estate market could weaken in 2022 or 2023. What do you think? Is it the right time to become a real estate agent?

Answer: Hi Aurora. I am supportive of real estate for the remainder of 2022 and into 2023. However, some economists predict the market will experience a downturn in 2022. But the majority believe it will remain stable. If you consider real estate as a career, you should think beyond the next two years. Real estate has literally been around forever and will still be here when we are gone. Therefore, the career choice of becoming a realtor is good in 2022 or any other year.

To become a realtor, you need to take courses, pass the real estate exam, apply to the state, pay a fee, and then you’ll get your license. The exact requirements vary a bit from state to state. Aurora, Georgia, the minimum requirements according to the Georgia Real Estate Commission are:

  • Qualifications:
    • 18 years or older.
    • A resident of the State of Georgia, unless applying for a non-resident license.
    • Bachelor’s degree or equivalent.
    • Take a 75-hour salesperson pre-licensing course at an accredited school.
    • Take the state real estate exam.
  • Submit a criminal history report without problems.
  • Pay $170 for a state license.

However, it would be wise to think about more than the minimum requirements before launching your career as a real estate agent. You said you want to work for yourself and that’s an option, but a new agent should consider starting with an established broker. A broker can help you market yourself, find clients, and gain valuable real estate experience. A good broker will provide additional education, training materials, marketing materials, office space and supplies. But you will have to pay a fee in exchange for these.

Most brokers work by sharing your commissions with you. Don’t go into this thinking that you are going to keep the full 6% commission on a $400,000 home sale. This commission will be around $24,000, but it will probably be divided into four. The listing agent and broker will get 3%, with the selling agent and broker getting the remaining 3%. Divisions may vary, but that’s typical. You will need an agreement with your broker on how this 3% is split again between the broker and you. Common splits are 60/40 or 50/50, but if you become a high volume agent you may start to get a bigger split – this may depend on company policy.

There are other things you want to consider before choosing a broker. You might want one that focuses on a niche – a specific location or category of real estate like retail, single-family homes, or repairers. If you have a specific interest, you can find a broker who shares that interest. Company culture may also be important to you. If so, find out what they do, how they work, and what’s important to them. Keep in mind that you have the freedom to choose a brokerage that suits you.

Aurora, you are thinking of starting a career, not just taking a job. You will need to take full responsibility for your career development. Here are some important things you need to do to get started:

  • Find your niche. You may want to explore different niches at first. Most agents start with residential real estate, then some specialize in commercial. But starting with residential can still mean narrowing your niche to single family homes, luxury properties, specific neighborhoods, etc. that will make your business unique.
  • Build a strong online presence. Since 90% of buyers start their real estate search online, having a strong online presence is essential. A broker may offer you a page on the company’s website.
  • Develop and/or improve effective communication and listening skills. You will work face to face with a diverse group of people with different personalities. You need strong listening skills to gather and share information. It starts with being patient and respectful. This also includes good body and non-verbal language.
  • Be comfortable with technology. Technology has created innovative marketing tools that start with social media platforms, video marketing, 3D virtual tours, and lead generation tools.
  • Stay up to date with the latest market trends.

To become a real estate agent, it is not enough to obtain your license. Most states also require further education. If you put in the effort and develop the right skills, it will bring you a nice income and the satisfaction of helping people get into their dream home.

What can you offer someone considering a career as a real estate agent? Please comment with your thoughts.

Our weekly Ask Brian column welcomes questions from readers of all levels of experience with residential real estate. Please email your questions or requests to [email protected].

About Wanda G. Warren

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