Just turned 18 What should I do after High school? College? Work?

8 Replies

Hello Everyone, first off I'm new to this website. I came across it while looking looking for tips on starting out in the real estate market. Now let me tell you my current situation...

I'm 18 Years Old, just turned. I really want to get into real estate and become a realtor, I have to firstly, graduate from high school in order to  take classes and obtain my license and all of that jazz, my question here is, is it worth it to go to college? I am an average student, I'm honestly not the brightest kid when it comes to school, with a 2.6 GPA and a 19 on my ACT, I don't really have any scholarship opportunities, However, I don't let that discourage me from the fact that I am smart with many other things and I strive in so many different fields that I can do almost anything I want to in life regardless of my GPA. Anyways,  I want to really get into real estate ASAP. I'm talking the day after graduation, I want to begin my classes for my license. I want to begin working FULL-TIME for a broker ASAP, because in the state of Kansas (My current living situation) you have to work under the umbrella of an agent for your first 2 years of being in the business. Now, I am fully aware of the failure rate of the people in the market, I believe it's 87%. But that does not discourage me whatsoever, the only thing that sort of slows me down is the fact that NONE of my friends are interested in this at all, I have no support other than my father which is all that matters I guess, but It would be nice to have friends who have the desire to be able to Work to LIVE, not LIVE to work. I don't want to be that guy who goes to his job every day and has the same duties, same positions, and locations, I don't want to spend my next 40+ years sitting behind a desk, that would drive me crazy. I am willing to work super hard, which I feel my generation lacks MAJORLY. I'm not scared of long hours and little sleep, I'm not scared of the failure rates, and I am not scared of talking to people, I am just trying to figure out everything because I am still young, I am still trying to figure out where I wanna go after high school, at least I have an idea. Sorry that this is so long, I just want as much advice as I can possibly get, I am all ears to ANYTHING. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to read this, It means a lot!


If I was your age I would hook up with a good general contractor and learn as much as you can about the "trades" There are just no young people entering the "hands on" part of the business. Stay at it and try everything with everyone so you have a good handle on doing all skills involved. As you learn you will come across people that will sell investments to you just out of frustration, the trick is to always be in a position to act when they ask. Learn, earn, and save it will come.

From what 5 seconds of google searching has told me you do not need a college degree to be an agent/broker.

I graduated from college a few years ago with a degree in Construction Management so I think this has some relevance to your situation.  90% of what I was taught in school had no application to real life and 5% had little value.  I strongly feel I would of been better off starting at the bottom as a semi skilled laborer and learning my way up with a company.  I would of had real life knowledge, I could of saved 40 plus thousand I spent on college that could of been used to invest in real estate and the big one is I lost out on 4 years of earning potential.

I personally think college is forced on High school graduates and the value of it has gone down a lot in the last decade.  Talk to a few local firms and ask what they want from their realtors.

Use your age and lack of financial obligations to your advantage. Graduate high school, get your real estate license, and get to work. I am sure the failure rates you read are of all who get their license, many of whom are trying to replace a somewhat decent previous income at an older age than 18. They "fail" because they need to make, say, $50,000 to survive their debt obligations and only make $25k their first year and quit. I graduated high school (04) in the top 10% with two years of college credits from advance placement classes, a 4.6gpa, and a full scholarship to University of Florida. I went to college for engineering excited. Two semesters in I dropped out, I didn't see what I thought i would in school. Family didn't understand, all are college educated. I started a mobile detailing business in 07 with a reluctant $8k loan from my grandfather and have made over a half million since then. I now have obligations of kids, mortgage payments, business expenses, etc. I'm getting my real estate license in the next few months but will be doing it part time while I run my business. I need to work my business to cover my "life". I want to transition to being an agent and investing in buy and hold, and eventually selling the current business to only work in real estate (commission and investment, then investment only). I have a careful balancing act to get there. I wish I had started in real estate instead of starting a manual labor business, but it has been a fun and profitable ride so I can't say I regret it. I could never have a "job" where I didn't call the shots more or less. You are young and don't have kids (i would guess), presumably no house, car payments, etc. If you need to pick up a part time job, do so, but live as cheap as you can now while you learn to sell houses and by the time you need a more significant income you'll have gotten there vs someone who NEEDS $5000 THIS month to survive. If you go to college, you'll spend tens of thousands, and if you don't have a specific career desire (CPA, Lawyer, doctor, engineer, etc) then why spend the money?

Both going to school and just working can be beneficial. I went to college, learned a lot, had a blast and now have a good job that easily makes college worth it.

@Devon White , welcome to BiggerPockets. 

It is great that you are getting interested in real estate at 18. College isn't for everyone , but I think getting a college degree can be a good idea for many people. Why not look into a local community college where you can take courses that will help you in real estate? Business courses like accounting , marketing,etc. Many community colleges offer online programs or night courses too so you should be able to complete the courses even if you were working full time as a real estate agent. Community college is very affordable versus a 4 year college and you can see how you like it and then transfer your units to a 4 year college later on if you chose to do so. 

Best of luck!

@Devon White , I don't disagree with the other advice you've been given. And I'll add that as a manager I'll take someone that knows how to work over someone with book smarts 9 times out of 10. Having said that, I will say that having a full-time job (referred to as W-2 income) and solid credit will be important for you as you begin your career and start pursuing your REI dreams.

Generally speaking, one unavoidable reality in life is that having a college degree sets you up for much higher W-2 income that just a HS degree.  I don't agree with it, it's just reality.  Of course there are exceptions, which is why I said "generally speaking".  My point is, if you can obtain a reasonably-priced college degree, in a RE-related field, you should be able to kill two birds with one stone.  You'll be setting yourself up for higher W-2 income while also gaining valuable knowledge you can apply to your RE business.

Don't approach school as a distraction but rather a catalyst. It's a blessing that you know exactly what you want to do in life.  If you approach each class with the mindset of "How will this help me build my dream?" then I'm confident you will graduate ready to conquer the world!

Best of luck as you start out on your REI journey. I wish I had been so focused and driven when I was your age.

Thanks everyone for the advice. I have taken it all into consideration !

@Devon White

Mcconnell AFB? Thinking about joing the air force? There are a lot of benefits to buying a house if you are a vet (even if you join reserves) so maybe another option to explore. 

I also agree with the earlier comment about the trades. Either working with a GC or another construction company is not a bad option and would always be a useful skill if the REI you want to do is fix/flip and or fix/hold.

As for real estate, can you take the classes before you graduate?  You may be able to line it up so that you can complete your classes before you actually graduate and then take the test upon completion.  It may only be a few months difference, but who knows.  

If being a real estate agent is what you want to do, I would start immediately looking at the agencies in your area.  Find the best one (and the one who does the most deals) and go talk to them.  Likely, they would love to have an intern or someone to help out for a few months while you are still in school.  It will give you a sense of the day-to-day and a head start when you are looking at potential firms.

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