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The Hardest Things About Being a Real Estate Agent

Working in real estate is a fast-paced, exciting lifestyle. But for the vast majority of us, it is far from luxurious. There are real challenges to confront day to day. In this article, we’ll discuss some of the hardest.

Irregular Pay

There are ups and downs in real estate. It is a fact of life. Some months you are the king of the world. Other months you just barely scrape by. This makes it difficult to make plans for the future and set financial goals. One of the hardest things about being a real estate agent is smoothing your income so that it is consistent throughout the year. This requires discipline and rigorous budgeting. Some agents take second jobs. Neither is particularly glamorous.

Marketing Uncompetitive Properties

Some homes are in great condition, ready-to-sell as soon as they are listed. Some are not. This latter category can be a real challenge. Whether it’s because of the season, a down market, or simply the regular rotation of clients, real estate agents will find themselves marketing homes with major flaws. It takes patience and creativity to get these homes to sell. Even then, they are not likely to bring in a big payoff.

Communication

Selling a home is a partnership between the real estate agent and the client. Any partnership requires strong, clear communication. But this is particularly difficult in real estate because there is so much on the line. Real estate agents should provide honest advice and manage expectations. Even still, some clients only hear what they want to hear.

Building a Client Base

The pressure to add clients is huge for real estate agents, especially early on. This is why many go to great lengths to promote themselves and their work. Some can be silly like wearing a nametag everyday or prospecting on dating apps. Ultimately, you can’t sell homes without clients. It’s a challenge all agents face.

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Time Management

Being a real estate agent is flexible. There is no set time you need to be in the office. Sounds great right? Now consider that there is also no set time when you are done for the day. Phone calls interrupt family dinner. Text messages arrive during your kids’ sports events. A new email notification sounds just as you are getting into bed. All of this is an inconvenience to you and your family. And it is the downside of flexibility that not enough people talk about.

Justifying Your Role

Imagine a typical employee who collects a paycheck every two weeks. Now imagine a similar employee who is forced to renegotiate his paycheck each time it arrives. Being a real estate agent is a bit like this second employee. While the standard commission is 6 percent, there is no shortage of clients that think you are not worth that amount. And many are not afraid to say it. It’s not exactly fun to constantly have to defend your services.

The Grind

One of the great things about real estate is the relatively low barrier to entry. Anyone can become an agent and take steps toward a new career trajectory. But the downside is the competition. Each year new, energized agents enter the market. It takes continual learning and constant evolution to stay ahead. You’ll be motivated because nothing is worse than losing a lead to the competition. But it can also feel like a grind.

Taken in whole, real estate is great. You are able to meet and get to know all kinds of people. And there is a real sense of accomplishment for making your own way in this world. But it ain’t easy, folks.

For more on the real estate industry, check out Is Real Estate Right for Me? and How to Find a Work-Life Balance in Real Estate.

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