Starting a real estate career during a pandemic? Is that a good idea?
Many have asked themselves this question as they face layoffs, furloughs or even just career burnout in other industries in the time of COVID. And according to a recent webinar hosted by RISMedia—How to Break Into the Real Estate Business—there's never a bad time to jump into a real estate career.
The webinar was held on Sept. 10 and was sponsored and moderated by the Colibri group of companies—which includes Real Estate Express, Hondros College, Superior School of Real Estate, Hogan School of Real Estate, Arizona School of Real Estate & Business and Allied Real Estate School.
"I always say it's never a bad time to get into real estate," said panelist Al Rosser, real estate instructor for Hondros College of Business, to kick off the event.
The reasoning behind this? Real Estate is cyclical, he reminded attendees.
"You can always find a way to generate business no matter what's going on with the market," Rosser added.
What should the first steps be to transition into a real estate career? Moderator Tina Lapp, president of Hondros Education Group, said the priority should be finding quality education for licensing courses.
"What I hear from my students is that the instructor makes all the difference in the world," said Lapp. "You have to have the ability to reach out and connect—it's critically important."
Once individuals have taken the required courses, which vary by state, and have passed their licensing exam, then it's time to align with a brokerage. That is, after narrowing down a niche, of course.
Individuals must choose between residential, commercial or agricultural real estate—and the career options in each segment are endless. As Lapp put it, "there's a broad spectrum of opportunities within the industry."
"Remember to interview those brokers," said Mike Brandly, a real estate instructor at Hondros College and a faculty member at the Certified Auctioneers Institute. "They are not interviewing you. You are interviewing them."
Rosser added that the most important thing to keep in mind when interviewing should be a brokerage's availability for support and training.
"The No. 1 question agents should ask is "How many people will be available to me when I have a question or an issue," and from there, "Is this going to be someone I can learn from."
While commission or salary may be at the top of new agents' minds, Rosser recommends they put that on the backburner.
"The commission split is not as important when starting out as it is later. You can't expect a high split if you need someone to first sit with you and spend time with you to teach you," said Rosser.
But in terms of earning potential, it's a highly subjective number.
"You can make as much money as you want to make. It depends on how hard you want to work and how much you want to prospect," said Rosser. "There is no ceiling."
Another thing to keep in mind? Having enough reserves to start off strong.
"You'll need about $1,500 in costs in your first year as a new agent," said Brandly.
And Rosser emphasized that it could be months before new agents see any income.
"Save as much money as you can so when you get started you aren't in desperation mode because desperation mode usually causes a bunch of other issues," said Brandly.
Once these foundational steps are done, it then comes down to talking to people.
"Let everyone know you are licensed," said Rosser. "Talk to people. It doesn't have to be verbally; it can be through text message, postcards, social media, etc. This is a relationship business… start reconnecting and start building relationships."
View the webinar in full below:
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