Real estate is a vehicle where, if you learn the skills, you can create wealth for the rest of your life.
About This Episode
Working as a real estate agent means wearing a lot of hats. The industry is one that rewards hard work and can make use of any skills you’ve gained in previous careers. On this episode, we look at the unique benefits of working as a real estate agent, and discuss some of the aspects that make it a great job for everyone.
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JON: Little known fact outside of the real estate industry: a REALTOR® is a trademarked term to refer to any real estate agent who’s an active member of the National Association of REALTORS®. Over a million agents are REALTORS®, but not all of them are.
JON: According to NAR’s 2018 membership statistics, the typical REALTOR® is a 54 year-old white female who attended college. 67% of all REALTORS® are female, and most REALTORS® reported working an average of 35 hours per week in 2018.
JON: The role of a real estate agent can at times be hard to define, but the appeal of working in the industry is universal.
JON: Hello and welcome to Shop Talk: The Real Estate Show. I’m Jon Forisha and on this episode we dive into the appeals of working in real estate, and why being an agent is a great career for people from every walk of life.
JON: Andrew Carnegie, whose wealth was about $375 billion in today’s currency, had a much-quoted line about real estate: “Ninety percent of all millionaires become so through owning real estate.” Carnegie died in 1919, so clearly the world has changed a bit since his day, but it’s still true that many wealthy people got to where they are through the buying, selling, and renting of real estate. The reasons are many, but mainly it’s because land is land and they’re not making any more of it - so owning it is typically a good idea.
JON: As an agent, you’re helping create the transactions of land and houses, and even though you can get rich as an agent, it maybe shouldn’t be your biggest motivator when you first start out. Real estate agents are essentially self-employed, which is a huge perk for many people and the downfall of others.
JON: If you’re an entrepreneurial person, then real estate provides you all the green lights you’ll ever need to make of yourself what you will. Self-motivated people excel because they can try whatever crazy new idea they want and reap the rewards. There’s no boss telling them it won’t work or holding them to lofty goals - it’s just them and their need to pay their bills.
JON: The great thing about succeeding in real estate is that those skills can translate to so many other areas of your life. You meet a lot of people while working as an agent, and those people can help with everything from home repairs to investment portfolios to growing your social network.
JON: Zachary Beach is an author and real estate coach who entered the business at 25 and made 100 deals in his first three years. His background was in bartending and personal training, and when he entered the industry he jumped right in with both feet. When asked why he thinks real estate is such a universal career, he had this to say:
ZACHARY: I think while we were alluding to it like early in the conversation, and that's that real estate is a vehicle where, if you learn the skills, you can create wealth for the rest of your life. When it comes to investing in stocks, that's not something that I do. I'm not against it, but it can go to zero. The stock market has done that before but real estate, you know, even in ‘08 it went down to about a third, in most areas and now if you look at it from a long-term gain is the properties I went to a third are now above and beyond that, that price before or so. My point with that is real estate is a fantastic tool to create wealth and to build wealth. Doesn't matter whether you do other things in life like uh, like I, I coach on top of it and help people build and scale their business, but I still have an investment portfolio that is there to help me get rich slow as there to uh, that as I grow and get older. It's events are going to be established as a retirement. So use the techniques in order to build wealth and you can do whatever you want on the side.
JON: The industry doesn’t care where you’ve been before. Your real estate business is client based, which means that as long as the client is happy then the rest should fall into place. There are so many different aspects of the job, and as an agent you have to wear so many hats, that it’s likely that your past experiences will come in handy, no matter what they are.
JON: If you worked in marketing, for instance, you’ve likely got a leg up on your competition as far as advertising goes. Previous experience in the service industry means you’re used to interacting with the public in a professional capacity, and even a past career in finance means you’re well equipped to track and manage your own numbers.
JON: The barrier to entry as an agent is relatively low compared to other careers. You don’t need a four-year college degree, and many online schools are even better than their brick-and-mortar counterparts.
JON: Stephen Wible is the Director of Business Development at Credit Suite, where he advises business owners on how to build and use business credit. Here’s Stephen:
STEPHEN: First of all, sales, just sales in general, because I build companies and, and, and even in the military, look, you're selling every day, whether you know it or not, you're selling, right? You're convincing somebody to marry you or you're convincing your kids to do the right thing. You're always selling, selling your boss. So certainly we all have that ability. Um, but I think my military background, discipline on always, always, always early for appointments. My rule of thumb was early is on time, on time is late and late is unacceptable. So that, that's certainly helped. And my manufacturing background allowed me to see beyond the surface, right? Look at a house and go, Oh, that's got problems. I learned real early to see the potential and everything. And you have to be able to convince your buyers about that potential if it makes sense to them, but you need to know your buyers. Right? So it helped me with that. So learning to interact with people, and understanding how to see what their vision could be, what they're looking for, and then, and showing them how the house fits that bottle. I had a rule. If I showed you more than 10 houses, I don't know what you want or you don't know what you want. It's going to be one of those two things. Yeah, I think the ladder. Well, and in that case, I'm going to tell you I was famous for this. I fired buyers all the time, which would, which is an amazing empowering feeling because probably 80% of time I'm like, no, no, no, no, no. They apologize. And they usually bought. Within 30 days or I would fire. I would, I would literally walk out of houses and say, all right, we're, we're done. I'm not a good fit for you. You don't know what you want or I don't know what you want, which means it's my fault at that point. My brother had to stop me from seeing buyers for awhile. He put me on hiatus.
JON: After the break, we talk about the challenges of building your business, and the looming threat of iBuying.
JON: Are you considering a career in real estate? Now’s a great time to get started, and The CE Shop makes it easy to do so. Start a free 5-day trial and check out The CE Shop’s online Pre-Licensing courses, or save 25% right now with promo code SHOPTALK.
JON: So far we’ve talked about why you would get into real estate and all the ways that it can be a great career, but let’s turn the table now. If you’re considering a career in real estate - or especially if you’re already a working agent - then you’ve likely heard that people occasionally quit the industry. Like any career, many people decide to give it a try only to then realize they’re not cut out for it, or it isn’t what they expected.
JON: The dream is to work purely based on referral. That means you’re spending nothing on marketing, and there’s no reason to pound the pavement trying to drum up new business because your past clients are doing that for you. Getting to that stage takes time, though, since you have to have a long roster of satisfied clients who will advocate for you.
JON: The main reason that people fire their real estate agent, so to speak, is bad communication. Agents have to wear a lot of hats, but to their client nothing is more important than communicating. Buying or selling a home is a stressful process, and the average person only owns three houses in their entire lifetime. The average length of stay in a single-family home is a little more than 11 years, so even if someone’s buying their second or third house, they likely haven’t gone through the process in a long time and the paperwork can seem almost deliberately confusing.
JON: Being able to effectively and consistently communicate with your buyers or sellers is what makes or breaks an agent’s reputation. Most agents will serve as a kind of sounding board during the transaction, and may even need to step up as a therapist - basically whatever the deal requires. That may on occasion mean having to bend over backwards or take calls in the middle of the night, but it also means becoming an integral part of your clients’ lives. Many people use and refer their agent over and over, and in an age where the world can feel a bit more isolated each day, having someone you can count on - especially when considering huge financial decisions - is a real comfort.
JON: Jim Remley got into the business almost as young as he could. He got his license at 19 years old and opened a real estate office at the age of 24. He eventually grew that to be the largest independent real estate company in Oregon, and today he’s ranked in the top 1% of REALTORS® nationwide. Here’s Jim:
JON: So you get into real estate fairly young. How do you think that was an advantage for you?
JIM: I think it's an advantage because uh, when you come into the business and you're young, I think what people will identify with and they'll think back to is when they were young and they kind of live vicariously through you if you allow them to, and you invite them into that kind of mindset by saying, Hey, you know what, I'm young, but here's why I think that's an advantage. I think it's an advantage cause I'm hungry, I'm willing to work, I want to do whatever it takes. I'm willing to be here 24/7 answering your calls. I'm going to go all out. I'm gonna put everything I got into selling your property or finding you your next home. I know you probably may be talking to some experienced agents, but I can tell you that my advantage is that I'm going to go all in for you and I really want to work with you and I really want to earn your trust.
JIM: And I think if people, if you're authentic about it and you're transparent with it and you have that conversation, people will buy into it. And more than that, they'll be excited about helping you and they'll look at you as their grandson or granddaughter or son or daughter. And as soon as you deliver on those promises, they will then begin to become an absolute cheerleader for you and an advocate in the market. And you'll be surprised how many, how much business you get. One story we didn't talk about it in that actual podcast was I did this as an agent. I met with Alice and Bob, I met Alice. She actually was one of the people that were the curlers in their hair and they swerve around it and she has like, you know, I don't know, I love Lucy or something or when I met these guys and they're both in their late seventies or something. When I met them, they were for sale by owner wants the same conversation, ended up listing the house. They referred me over the next five years, 22 transactions. Wow. Two transactions and the reason is I was, I was their adopted son. I mean that's the way they looked at it. They talked about me to everyone, so that's a great example of that.
JON: With all of the talk of automation and Artificial Intelligence taking over and leaving large swaths of America jobless, some real estate professionals have turned a wary eye on iBuying. If you don’t already know, iBuying is essentially an alternative to a traditional agent-led transaction. It’s what you see on Zillow and similar sites that offer to buy your house right now, no questions asked, no commissions paid.
JON: The fine print on iBuying is notable, though, and the financial trade-offs aren’t quite as glamorous as you might be led to believe. As the seller, you’re on the hook for any and all repairs, and they’re all dictated by the iBuying service itself. iBuying removes the humanity from the real estate equation, and the humanity is precisely what makes the industry such a robust and integral part of the economy.
JON: Technology won’t replace real estate agents, it will just create new avenues for them, as well as new methods of interacting with clients and closing the deal. There will always be a need for real estate agents, no matter how good or bad the economy is. Real estate represents a blank slate for career switchers, and a blank check for entrepreneurial agents looking for their next challenge.
JON: So whether you’re just thinking about getting licensed or have been closing deals for decades, if you’re willing to put in the effort, then real estate is willing to reward you.
JON: That’s it for this episode of Shop Talk, thanks for listening! If you enjoyed the episode, you can subscribe to us or review us on your podcast player of choice. Join me next time for a talk with Jim Remley, who’s ranked in the top 1% of REALTORS® nationwide. Shop Talk is a production of The CE Shop.