Should you be in Real Estate sales? Here is what it takes.
Real Estate sales offers substantial opportunity, freedom (and responsibility) to define your own job, and where you wish to work. Finding a job begins with knowing the requirements. In real estate, those mostly consist of minimum age, possibly a high school diploma, completing of pre-license training, and passing an often-challenging exam.Most states set the minimum age at 18, but in Alabama, Alaska, and Nebraska you must be 19. Illinois requires age 21. About half of the states require a High School diploma or the equivalen. Montana specifies 10th grade or greater.Beyond any high school education, pre-license courses are required everywhere in the U.S. The length of that training varies from the 30 hours required by Kansas to the Texas-sized 180.
For those considering work in real estate, keep in mind that many brokers belong to a local board, and through that are affiliated with the National Association of Realtors. That means every other person in their office who sells real estate must also be board members. If you wish to work with one of those brokers, be prepared to pay board dues.
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Also remember that most real estate salespeople are paid by commission only. An often quoted suggestion is that the new agent have six month’s living expense in the bank, in order to have time for finding that first client, making that first sale, and brining a check from that first closing.
Average earnings, across the country in 2012 were about $39,000. However, that amount varies widely. The checks can be very good. Think of the average price of a home, and what 1% and often a higher percentage would bring to you. Typically, a $150,000 property with a 1.5% split commission would mean a $2250 paycheck. That is likely to represent many hours of contacting potential buyers and sellers, time showing properties, time helping the buyer find financing, time arranging the many details of closing. If it’s your listing, you also prepare marketing materials and become chief publicist for the property.
As you consider the opportunity, also keep in mind that Real Estate Sales can be frustrating work. You might put 100 hours into obtaining a listing, another hundred hours in finding a buyer, and then have the sale fall through when the buyer fails to qualify for their mortgage. Changes in market conditions do require that you adapt, possibly by selling different types of property or by working with buyers who use different types of financing.
Every state, and the District of Columbia, requires a pre-licence exam.
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