Undergraduate Blog / Career Development

What You Need to Know Before Starting a Career In Real Estate

My journey into real estate started not that long ago in the summer of 2018, when I was required to take the Massachusetts Real Estate exam. In order to begin my internship at Boston City Properties, I had to have my Real Estate License in order to send, receive, and interact with clients entering the lead funnel. This requirement, I can safely assume is the standard across all real estate brokerages. After a year of being in the industry, here is what I think you should know before entering this career path:

DISCLAIMER: This post was written from my own experience and my colleagues in real estate rentals.

It’s Expensive

The cost of being a real estate agent can be very demanding, especially if you don’t have a strong savings account. These are the costs that you have to be aware of when entering the industry. For the sake of the platform, I will not list the exact amounts of each fee. You will have to account for your mandatory real estate classes, the exam, and licensing fees. After receiving your license and becoming employed by your brokerage, you will receive a membership fee for the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). This system grants you access to thousands of listings across different neighborhoods in your state. This will be your first monthly recurring fee. Many agents also use Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platforms to help them manage client information. It’s not required but can save you time if you are working with many clients at once. Beyond the standard costs of being an agent and using the necessary platforms to perform your duties, you will also have to account for the cost of acquiring your customer, the largest being transportation costs (Ubers, Zipcar, gas, Train). Keep in mind that there will be clients that you cannot land on the first showing, so you will have to account for subsequent showings.

Motivation Comes and Goes, You Need to Stay Driven

Being an agent can be monotonous a times. When you don’t have a lead, what you are likely doing is prospecting for leads via advertisements on craigslist, Zillow, blog articles, or speaking to people. It is easy to be discouraged by the lack of activity when business is slow. A great way to stay driven is creating new projects for yourself to put you in front of your clients. When in real estate, information and your brand is everything. If you present yourself in front of your client as a well experienced thought leader, you will likely stand out from other agents who only post ads. The lesson here is to keep it fresh and don’t put all of your eggs in one basket.

You are a Company Within a Company

While you are employed by a brokerage, it is up to you to generate your own leads. You are responsible for your lead funnel which can include your own advertisements, blog posts, website, referrals, and social media. Think about it this way: your brokerage is a vehicle for you to practice real estate but you are the driver.

You Learn by Doing (and shadowing)

There is a lot of information that you need to know when you are an agent. It might not always be the best idea to memorize all of it from the get-go before having any real experience because you cannot connect your learnings. My suggestion is to shadow agents working with real clients and come up with scenarios to go over. While the best way to learn is by actually interacting with clients, these two exercises come at a close second.

Time is Money

When you are operating as an agent, you have to set your own agenda. This is often divided between prospecting for clients and working with current clients. This freedom entails recognizing the amount of time to spend with a client and filtering the timewasters (people who are window shopping for apartments, don’t have an exact move in date, or working with multiple agents).

The World is Your Office

Being a real estate agent means you don’t have to come to your office all the time. You can work anywhere! If you don’t live in the city and only commute in when you have showings with clients, that is perfectly fine. Your time should be spent on prospecting for clients, building your lead funnel, and working with current clients.

It’s a Volume Business

I just want to reiterate — real estate rentals are all about the amount of leads that you can convert into clients. So you need your own strategy for creating leads! Common tactics that you can use to increase your lead flow (in addition to any support your office may provide) include: creating your own website, creating your own social media, writing blog posts, asking for referrals, going out and speaking to people, advertisements, and content creation.

Thanks for reading! For anyone else interning or working in real estate, I would really appreciate your insight.