Raise A Career While You Raise Those Kids!
Most moms with young children dream of being able to stay home, raise the kids, and still stay active professionally. How do you do it all, though? And should you?
A lot of providing answers to these questions depends on your personality and work ethic, but if you're a motivated mom with a serious desire to work a flexible job, real estate is a great option for you. Here are 8 of the many reasons to pursue a career of buying and selling homes:
1) Flexible Schedule
Real estate isn't an 8-5 job, and it's not one where you just punch the clock and move on. While much of your most important business will be conducted on nights and weekends, that also means your days are fairly malleable. You can schedule around the kids' sports games, can make yourself available when a sitter isn't, and can be present with your kids until duty calls and you have to zip off to close a deal.
There's a lot of debate amongst real estate professionals about whether or not working part-time is feasible when just starting out. Real estate is an industry that rewards persistence, and you definitely get out of it what you put in - but there's no rule saying you can't put a lot in without working the typical 40-hour work week. Since agents work on a commission structure, you don't get paid until you close a deal. If that isn't incentive to work hard, we don't know what is.
2) Predictable Cycles
The real estate market is fairly predictable with its highs and lows. Spring and fall are better times for buyers, while holidays and winter are better for sellers. In general, spring is crazy and summer is fairly calm. Armed with that knowledge, a savvy real estate mom would do well to plan all her big vacations for the summer months, and to free up her schedule in the spring.
Once you're more established in the industry, you'll be clued in to other cycles, both in your local market and in your personal schedule. You know when the kids will be extra busy and when you can spend some extra time apart. You also know when you're about to get burned out, or when a friend is close to listing their house and plunging back into the real estate battle. Once you learn these things, you can plan your life around them, making your career work for you instead of the other way around.
3) You're in Charge
You're your own boss! This is good news, but it's also bad news, because who's going to get you out of bed and get you to make those 70 calls each day? Losing motivation is a big reason that over 80% of real estate agents fail in the first two years of their career, but we know that won't be an issue for you. You're a mom, after all! Who says you can't have your cake and eat it, too?
Getting a good mentor will help you start your career on the right foot, and having someone to confide in will help you stay motivated and focused. If you can find a generous mentor willing to show you the ropes, seize the opportunity. Working in real estate can be lonely if you don't stay in contact with colleagues and prospects, and lonely is the last thing you want when you're also raising kids.
4) Work From Anywhere
One of the great things about being your own boss is that you're not tied to a desk. There's no cubicle you've got to show up to, and there's nothing saying you have to work from home, either. Anywhere you have internet access and a phone, tablet, or computer can become your office. Realtors have something of a reputation for living on their phones and in their cars, and there's a reason for it. Staying connected and on the move is essential to being there when a client's ready to roll.
Many parents of small children can feel anti-social and like they're prisoners in their own homes, and this is where it really pays to be a real estate agent. You have to leave the house and you have to socialize for a living, and both of these facts of a life in real estate are a huge benefit to your mental wellbeing. It's not just a matter of existing at home or at the office; the world is your oyster! Go out and explore those coffee shops, slap your business card on those bulletin boards, and shake the hand of every last person with a bank account. Which brings us to -
5) Networking Opportunities
Everything is a networking opportunity! You know from your personal relationships, and the meet-cute stories of your friends' relationships, that you could forge a new connection with someone practically anywhere. Maybe you went to a concert you weren't even that excited about but ended up meeting your future spouse, or maybe you ran into a guy at a coffee shop that ended up hiring you for a lucrative business deal.
You can meet anyone anywhere, and while I feel the need to say maybe not the bathroom, you really never know. Just don't be creepy about it.
One of our past blog posts touched on how even the PTA can be a gold mine for your real estate business, but the takeaway is really that you just want to stay active. You're not going to find any new prospects while sitting on the couch watching Netflix.
6) Stay Social
Piggybacking on this, it's important to emphasize just how social a career in real estate is. People have to know and like you to work with you, and since you're helping them with some of the biggest financial transactions of their lives, trust is incredibly important.
Establishing a niche is important - especially in the early days of your career - but it's also worth noting that you'll work with people from all backgrounds. Many new contacts are made by referral, and you never know who might be coming your way. Touching on a previous point, it's a job that will take you out of your comfort zone and will (hopefully) make the world feel like a more cohesive place.
7) Get Involved in Your Community
Having a niche for your business isn't just about working with a particular kind of person, it's also about working in a particular area. If you know Denver extraordinarily well, you're not suddenly going to hop to the Santa Fe real estate market because you'll be at a disadvantage. Being able to counsel your clients on which areas would work for them is part of what makes a real estate agent so indispensible, and as a result you can feel very connected to the community as a whole.
Learning which neighborhoods are growing the fastest, and how, will suddenly be of utmost importance to your career, and knowing where a new light rail station is going in could be enormously helpful to your clients. If you've ever wanted to feel involved and useful to your city and your community, real estate's the career for you.
8) Unlimited earning potential
Lastly, you can make a lot of money.
Naturally there are a million factors that go into how much you make (how many deals are you involved with, what's the average price of homes you bought or sold, etc.), but real estate has unlimited earning potential. This is where working part-time might be a disadvantage for the simple fact that you won't be available as often as your full-time counterparts, but even just a few closed deals each year can result in a substantial paycheck. Just remember to set some aside for taxes!
In hotter markets, you'll likely work much more and close many more deals due to a faster pace, meaning you'll likely be earning more. With our current national housing shortage, the odds are pretty good that you'll stay busy in real estate.
According to Salary.com, real estate agents earn a median salary of about $36,000. The spread above and below this amount is enormous, but there's a base number for you to improve upon. Now get out there and work your way into the upper echelon of agents!