So, it’s time for a job change? Considering Real Estate?
Be aware that it is more likely a lifestyle change than a job change for the 20% of those who succeed. Before you even read further ask yourself if you have family and friends that are supportive and understanding. You will need their support emotionally and perhaps financially. The rule of thumb is that you will need six months to a year’s income in the bank to consider getting your Real Estate License.
In Canada, Real Estate and licensing are handled differently in each Province. If you are considering getting licensed, you should do your search for requirements by looking to the Provincial regulatory bodies.
In Ontario, which has the largest number of licensees in Canada, we are guided by the Real Estate and Business Broker’s Act which is under the Real Estate Council of Ontario. Please note that a “licensee” is anyone, registered with RECO and has completed all the requirements.
What’s involved in becoming a REALTOR?
However, to become a REALTOR, you must work for a brokerage that is a member of a Board or Association linked to the Canadian Real Estate Association. The brand REALTOR is licensed for use in Canada by the Canadian Real Estate Association, and of course, for each level of Association, there are costs: Local, Provincial and Federal. This can cost you up to two thousand a year for your membership dues and insurance.
The course is lengthy to become licensed and then in your first two years, you must finish other courses to prepare for your future. The classes have a lot to do with rules, regulations and laws that affect the Real Estate industry however they are not sales training. I suggest that in those first two years you put your head down, take every opportunity possible, work only on your own development and don’t be too hard when you have failures; they make you appreciate your successes. There are a number of companies that offer training for new Agents. Make sure that you shop around and do your due diligence. You are now self-employed, and these decisions are not the same as when you were a salaried employee. You are in charge!
What’s next in your journey?
If you love the business and are a course junkie there is a lot to learn. Some agents take their further studies to the broker level. One must be a Broker to manage a Real Estate Office and if that is your goal or if you want further credibility, then a Broker License is the way to go. However, if the goal is to increase your income, the designation Broker after your name will have little more effect than Agent or Sales Person. Over the years, however, the title Broker has lost some of its shine in a myriad of confusion. Clients want to know more of your past successes and referrals than care about the courses you have taken. You are as good as your last sales and through Social media, good online reviews will bring more attention than having the title Broker or Salesperson/Agent.
Great Expectations? What lies ahead?
Please know that at the end of the day 20% of the Realtor Community is responsible for 80% of the business. It is a great job but a life changer. You must set boundaries for yourself, your clients, your friends and family. At 10 PM the phone and computer are turned off and not turned on until your morning ritual for you and your family have been completed.
While it is possible to work from home, the home office can be so seductive that you are seldom at rest and you will show the stress that your new venture has invited. This can also affect your success: clients are not enamoured when they see you trying too hard to sell and issues fall through the cracks. If mistakes are made and not handled properly, it can lead to RECO complaints as well as lawsuits and certainly affect your business. Gathering all the documentation after the fact can be gruelling and affect your focus and business.
Why consider a future in Real Estate?
So, ask yourself why you’d consider a future in real estate? If the answer is, “because I’d be my own boss”, shake your head. If you have three sellers and three buyers, you now have six bosses and you will only be successful by going above and beyond your competitors in providing service to your six bosses…
Real Estate is the only business I am aware of that you sit with your competitors every night and try to negotiate an agreement, knowing that you will not get paid till the closing (two to three months later). Until then you are working for free, and there is the chance that even with all your work and a good result, when your clients are about to sign on the dotted line, decisions get reversed. No closing, no payment and not only no payment but you are in the red for services you have agreed to pay for upfront as part of your commission.
At the end of the day…
With all that being said, forty years ago, I decided to get my Real Estate License and it has been an amazing ride. Don’t get me wrong: it is a wonderful life which has afforded me a lifestyle and business that is a rarity. I wake up everyday in abundance to see what the rest of the day holds and am seldom bored. I consider myself one of the lucky ones to have survived and succeeded.
Knowing the journey over the past years, would I make that decision again? At the time that I started my career, I was convinced that I could not go back to my previous life. Having no other option is a big driver of success in newer salespeople. When your only option is moving forward you can accomplish more than you ever expected and be comforted by your success.
And in the end.
Closings become your applause and like all performers, the achievement is a drug that drives you to the next deal, and it all starts with the piece of paper called a Real Estate License.
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