Real Estate as a Second Career

Real Estate as a Second Career - A Guide For Seniors & Retirees

by The CE Shop Team

Why Changing Careers to Real Estate Is a Great Option For Seniors

If you're a senior or retiree looking to get into real estate, you may be wondering if it's too late to start a new career. Well, you'll be happy to know that it's not too late. In this guide, we'll answer any questions you have about real estate as a second career, including:

  • Is it a good second career?
  • Can you be successful at it?
  • How do you become a real estate agent?
  • What are the pros and cons of being a real estate agent as a retiree or senior?

There are various reasons why starting a real estate career later in life is a great option:

  • Flexibility: Being a real estate agent allows you the flexibility to work when it's convenient for you. Since you generally host open houses on the weekends, you can keep your weekdays open for other activities. Or you can do showings during the weekdays, and reserve weekends as your leisure time. You can also work full-time, part-time, or use real estate as a side hustle.
  • Stay Connected With Your Community: Unfortunately, many seniors deal with loneliness. Many of them are widows or widowers, and often their children have left the home to lead their own lives. Real estate is a great career opportunity for seniors looking to build connections with other people because it’s a career that requires a lot of in-person interaction.  As a real estate agent, you'll be able to stay connected to your community and build connections along the way. 
  • High Earning Potential: While how much you make as a real estate agent will depend on where you live as well as other factors, you can make a great salary. On average, a real estate agent in the U.S. makes $83,000 a year. 
  • Low Barrier To Entry: Although it requires a license and some training to become a real estate agent, there is a low barrier to entry. You can get your license in a fraction of the time it takes to obtain a college degree, and you don't need any special qualifications to become a real estate agent. It doesn't cost much to obtain your license, and you even have the option of taking licensing classes online. 
  • Put Senior Homebuyers More at Ease: Senior homebuyers may feel more comfortable with a real estate agent their own age. You can obtain a special certification from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to specialize in buying and selling real estate for seniors. You can offer personalized knowledge and perspectives that senior homebuyers may have. For example, you can help seniors find a home with the necessary modifications or accommodations for comfortable living.
  • Stay Physically and Mentally Fit: Being busy with tasks, from working with clients to showing homes, you'll keep your mind occupied. Also, since house showings require plenty of physical activity, you'll stay physically fit too.

Did You Know?

If you're worried that it's too late to become a real estate professional, don't be. More and more people are staying active in the workforce or rejoining it later in life. Around 19% of Americans 65 or older are in the workforce. That's a significant increase from 12% in 1996. By 2026, almost 22% of people 65 and older will be working, according to projections by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

Most seniors choose to work past 65 due to financial reasons and a better quality of life. Some seniors don't want to retire, especially if they love what they do. They also want to stay active, keep their minds and bodies busy, have a sense of purpose, and maintain social connections.

Seniors’ Skills That Transfer To Real Estate

You probably already have the key skills that are necessary to become a successful real estate agent. Years of professional experience, strong networking skills and communication, and knowledge of the real estate market may be skills you've already developed over the years. Real estate as an industry is excellent at making use of any previous skills you’ve built up, whether you were in retail, IT, healthcare, or business.

Years of Professional Experience

Having years of professional experience under your belt helps prepare you for what it's like to be a real estate agent. For example, if you have experience in customer service, then you'll be better equipped to deal with clients and take care of their needs. Perhaps you've worked in sales before, and you gained valuable experience with being independent, sourcing leads, and making sales. Whatever your background, it's likely that the type of skills you've learned can be transferred to real estate.

Good Communication 

As a senior with plenty of life experience, you've likely learned how to communicate well. Whether with your family, friends, or colleagues, you've probably learned the best ways to communicate with people. Communication is an essential skill to becoming successful in a real estate career because you must communicate with your clients about various topics. For example, you'll need to communicate with them in order to find the best homes for their specific needs. 

Strong Connections & Network

You might have established strong connections with people during your life through various interactions. If so, then you may already have a network of people to provide or refer your services to. You'll also need a strong network of people in a variety of industries, such as contractors, lenders, accountants, property managers, and other real estate agents. Having relationships with certain professionals and small business owners can help grow your pipeline for potential clients and increase referrals from past clients. As a senior, you may already have a variety of people in your network to get you started.

In-Depth Knowledge About the Market

During your life, you may have gained extensive knowledge about the real estate market. Maybe you've owned your fair share of homes. Or perhaps you've been doing some reading about real estate. This will be a valuable skill to transfer to your new career path as a real estate agent.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent as a Second Career

If you're seriously looking for a second career, follow these steps to become a real estate agent:

  • Check your state's real estate license requirements. There's no such thing as a national real estate license. Every state is different, so check your state's licensing prerequisites and Pre-Licensing requirements. Start by going to your state's real estate regulatory office website. Use the search term "[your state] real estate regulatory office". Typically, each state requires you to be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or GED, be a legal resident of the U.S., and be able to pass a background check. After licensure, every state requires their own Continuing Education.  
  • Choose a real estate education school. After confirming that you meet your state's requirements, find a real estate education school where you can take your Pre-Licensing course. You can choose between online course providers, brick-and-mortar real estate schools, and classes at community colleges. Choose a school that works best for your learning style and schedule.
  • Enroll in and complete your Pre-Licensing coursework. The required number of hours you need to complete varies by state. The courses you enroll in will help prepare you for your state’s licensing exam.
  • Register for your state’s licensing exam. Schedule, register, and pay for your exam. Your state’s commission, as well as your instruction provider, will have more specifics on the requirements in your state.
  • Study for the state real estate exam. The state real estate exam will cover your state's real estate laws. Study tips to pass the state real estate exam include reading your state's candidate handbook, using acronyms to remember key terms and definitions, and creating a study schedule. 
  • Take and pass your state's real estate exam. Expect to answer between 120 and 150 multiple-choice questions. Be prepared to face topics and subject matter you learned through your Pre-Licensing coursework.
  • Complete your Post-Licensing real estate education courses. Depending on your state, you may have to complete Post-Licensing education. Post-Licensing is usually a one-time education requirement after obtaining your real estate license. 
  • Choose a real estate broker or brokerage. After getting your real estate license, find a real estate broker. But first, understand the difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker. A real estate agent is a licensed professional who can conduct real estate transactions on behalf of a real estate broker. A real estate broker, on the other hand, can operate independently under their broker license. Therefore, as a real estate agent, you must work under a broker and share a percentage of your commission with them.
  • Connect with like-minded people. Join real estate groups and find a mentor. Doing so will help you navigate the world of real estate, learn the ropes sooner, and connect with others in the real estate industry.
  • Get started with your real estate career. Now that you have everything you need to jumpstart your real estate career as a new agent, get out there and start selling property! 

Remember, it's never too late to start a career in real estate. If you're sick of the monotony of retiree life, or you're ready to leave your first career, real estate can be a great option as a second career.