Every week I meet people who ask me how the market is doing.  When I explain that we’re currently in a hot market, they tell me how they’ve thought about getting their real estate licence and ‘striking it rich’! My response is always one of openness and a willingness to explore the possibility with the individual who expresses serious interest in pursing real estate as a career. After having this conversation with many people, I’ve developed a list of the top 10 things to expect in your new career as a Realtor®. 

1. Get ready to go back to school!


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Licensing requirements are different in each country and within each province.  In the province of BC, in order to acquire a real estate license, one must fulfill the following:

 1. Real Estate Licensing Pre-Requisites.

2. Complete the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course. This course can be completed as part of a degree program through post secondary schools such as UBC & BCIT or via distance learning.  You’ll have 12 months to complete the entire course when done via distance learning. This is not a course in sales! It’s a course geared toward keeping you out of real estate jail and lawsuits!! It’s intense and requires you to complete several end of chapter quizzes before moving on to the next section/chapter.

3. Pass the final exam. Achieving a minimum of 65% is required in order to pass. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions in which nearly all of the answers are correct.  It’s your job to choose which of the answers presented for each question is the most correct. 

4. Complete your post licensing education requirements! Yes, more school time, however this is class time and NOT completed via distance learning.

5. Every two years from the date of acquiring your license, you’ll need to complete a minimum number of continuing educational course credits.

6. Hire a great coach who will shortcut your learning curve!  Until now, you’ve only been learning about real estate law.  Knowledge of real estate law will help to keep you out of real estate jail, however it won’t teach you about how to make money in the business. 

2. Have at least 6 months worth of living expenses saved up!

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To do well in this business you’ll need to work at it full time. Yes, the law does allow now for you to work part time, however to present a truly professional front and to gain the confidence of your potential & current clients, you’ll need & want to show your commitment to top notch service!

3. Dont expect a pay check for at least the first 4-6 months!

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It could take you a couple of months to get your first client(s), another couple of months to write a firm deal followed by another couple of months before the deal pays out.

4. Dont rely on your friends and family to give you their business!

Real estate transactions in the best of times can be emotional roller-coasters where a buyer & seller’s private lives are fairly exposed to those who are involved in the transaction (Their realtor, mortgage broker & lawyer)…this includes: one’s finances, stressful/emotional outbursts, disagreements, stressful situations, personal feelings, etc… Most people don’t have the perfect finances and lives that they would like us to believe they have and as such they endure to keep these aspects of their lives private.  Unfortunately this means they likely won’t be calling on you to sell them into or out of a home…and that’s ok.

5. Get used to wearing a suit of armour, every day!

When I first started in this business over a decade ago I was on the phone 5 days/week for 5-8 hours each day calling as many people as I could call in that time to see who was thinking of buying or selling real estate.  I heard an average of 300 “NO”s each day just from calling.  More “NO”s ensued as I door knocked, talked with friends & family, held open houses, worked my floor duty at the office, spoke with people in passing at the grocery store, park, etc… you must quickly develop (or already have) a thick skin in order to survive in this business.  You’ll have more rejection in your first month as a Realtor® than you’ve likely had in your entire life (depending of course upon your line of work prior to your new real estate career that is).  The best way I’ve learned to counter act the rejection is to know my WHY! My Why has carried me through…you’re welcome to reach out and ask me about my ‘WHY’ and learn how I’ve come to using rejection as a tool for creating a successful business.

6. Repetition! Repetition! Repetition!

It is said that a professional becomes a true craftsman of their trade only after he has put forth at least 10,000 hours of practice.  This theory stands true for sales as well.  You may be wondering what does repetition & practice in real estate look like? The following are a few examples, however the list will vary depending upon your area of specialty, your focus & your goals:

            1. Practicing & internalizing your scripts and dialogues!!!!

            2. Learning body language & reading others

            3. Lead generating every business day!

            4. Follow-up Follow-up Follow-up

            5. Create and implement successful morning and evening rituals

Being consistent, disciplined and diligent every day whether it’s your first day or 1,000th day in the business will make or break your success.

7. Its all about relationships!

This is a people business ultimately and if you’re not a people person, you don’t genuinely care for others and don’t know how to build trust and confidence, you’ll likely exit this business within your first 6 months – 2 years depending on how long you can afford to stay in.

8. Get ready for intense competition!

How to navigate this one: Know your value proposition! Why should someone choose you over the other 11,000+ agents in the area? What is the value that you bring to the transaction that would cause a buyer or seller to choose to work with you? You’re inexperienced, new and there are so many other highly successful agents in close reach, however if you have an impactful and unique value proposition, you’ll likely attract business your way.

9. The tax man isnt the only one taking from your pay cheque!

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This is the eye-opener for most people who are getting into the business of selling real estate because they think it’s easy & fast money.  Let’s say you’ve jumped through all of the hoops required to achieve your real estate license and you’re now ready to start! Well, you need to be hired by a brokerage as you legally cannot sell real estate without being under the umbrella of a brokerage.  This brokerage will charge a variety of fees in order for you to ‘hang’ your license with them.  Each brokerage charges a different amount depending typically on the areas of specialty, services rendered, technology advances, work environment, assistant availability, etc..

10. Dont be short sighted!

To be successful in this industry it’s important that you have both a one year and a 5 year plan.  Most people who get into real estate without a plan end up leaving the business within the first few years.  It truly is a business where only the strong survive! 

I hope you’ve gained clearer insight into the business side of real estate and what it truly takes to be successful! It’s not a get rich quick scheme by any measure, however, if you apply yourself diligently and with passion over the long haul, you will likely emerge as one of the few successful people in this industry.  There is a lot of money to be made, however approximately 10% of the agents are earning 90% of the income while the other 90% of the agents are sharing in a pool of only 10% of the income.