Wednesday, July 15, 2015

What It Takes To Become a Realtor

I've been getting this question a lot lately, coupled with, "I've been thinking about getting my real estate license." And, "How much do you really make?" I'm pretty much an open book kind of person, so I figured I might as well do a blog post and divulge all this.
First off, finding an accredited school: I did a pretty basic google search and found a school that was unaffiliated with any brokers. I went here for my two months of classes. I found it helpful to take the class in person because you can interact with everyone, but I know people who have taken the class online. It costs about $315 if I remember correctly. If you have a company you know you want to work for already, they might pay this, or sometimes they even hold the classes in their office.
Next: You have to pass an exam at the end of each class, and then register to sit for the national/state exam. This is a fairly hard exam that people have been known to not pass on the first try. It's all about the laws of real estate, and there are two parts: the national and the local test.
My book for class

Finally: Once you have your license you can pick a broker to work for. A broker must hold your license- you can't be out there on your own. The way each company is structured might be different, but all realtors without a broker's license are under someone. I chose Keller Williams after interviewing with a few different companies. It came down to two things in my decision process: the atmosphere of an office, and the commission split.
At Keller Williams it seemed pretty cut and dry what I would take home on a sale. I make *64% of my completed sales. This rate can go up, the more volume I produce. But right off the bat, I thought that was a pretty decent number compared to some of the other companies I spoke with. We do have monthly office fees, however-kind of a bummer when you're not getting any sales, or when you're first starting out.
*Two little tid-bits.
1. My commission comes from the seller,even when I'm working with a buyer. Not everyone knows this, so I thought I'd throw it in there.
2. The commission is negotiable. Talk to your Realtor when going to list and see what they say. Generally speaking, most people do 6%, but I've seen higher and lower. The 6% gets split between the buyer's realtor and the seller's realtor. And then further split with the broker.
One thing I didn't realize when becoming a realtor is how difficult it is to drum up business. I assumed the company you worked for threw you leads, but that just isn't the case anymore. To be truly successful you have to be on the phone, or sending out letters to put yourself out there. Word of mouth is really the best way I've found business. There's also different real estate websites that you can pay to get your picture and contact info on, like the realtors you see on zillow. Those people pay money to get their faces next to that house you clicked on. Some can even "capture" leads that way.
I've really enjoyed this career choice so far especially since it allows me the freedom to conduct my schedule around my kids. I couldn't quite survive off of it at this point, but business has steadily picked up as I've gotten my name out there. Thankfully, my husband is supportive (and has a full time job!). So if you're considering becoming a Realtor or just curious as to how much we actually make, I hope this was helpful in some way. Let me know if you have any questions that I didn't address.

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