Starting in the real estate industry advice - college student

2 Replies

Hello everyone,

I am a senior at ASU and am looking to get involved in the real estate industry. I am currently interning at a real estate firm in Scottsdale, AZ and am learning a lot about private equity real estate investments. The company invests in multi-family properties across the US. I am getting my real estate license next month in the hopes of interning / working / learning about the industry my spring semester before I graduate. I am attracted to real estate as a career for many reasons and would like to do it full time after college. My roommate's father does real estate full-time and I've seen how successful his company has been. He started off doing rental properties 12 years ago and since then he has started developing millions dollar properties. The idea of being able to grow wealth through real estate with no ceiling is what fascinates me. Everyone in life wants financial freedom and real estate is an industry where that can happen because of the limitless potential. My parents, however, are not fond of this decision. They think I should get a job at a reputable company to start my career. I don't have a lot of money to invest with, but I think I would start with mobile home "flipping" and/or wholesaling. 

My question, then is this; How difficult is it to begin a career in real estate? What area of real estate should I start with that would allow me to learn the most? If 90% of the worlds millionaires are involved with real estate, why aren't more people going into it?


A curious student

When you say "career in real estate" that's pretty vague. Do you mean working as an agent, investor, or something else? If you want to start as an agent, you will probably make little or even lose money your first year, so you will need some money put away or a spouse to support you. 

If you want to be an investor, despite the no money down stories, you will need capital/credit or someones else's to get started. If you go your parent's route and you get a good W2 job, obtaining loans will be much easier. 

ASU offers a minor in real estate that will apply to your college credits and satisfy the 90 hours needed for a real estate license.

I assume you want to work as a real estate agent in sales. It's not too difficult to get started but it's very difficult to keep going.

Almost 80% of all agents quit within the first two years. Of those that remain, most of them will quit within five years. Of those that still stick around, most of them make an average income. Research the 80/20 rule because 80% of the sales are made by 20% of the agents and 805 of the agents are sharing 20% of the sales. It's not easy to get rich in real estate. The reason you see agents driving new cars and wearing bling is because the majority of them have already retired from a previous career or are married to someone providing a steady paycheck.

I have 160 agents in my market. One of them started at the age of 18 and is still selling today at age 40. After 22 years in the business, she still makes slightly above average and that's running her own brokerage and managing about 40 rentals. 

The top agents in my market? They're working late nights, weekends, and holidays. When the phone rings, they answer it. When someone says they're in town for five hours and they want to look at houses, the agent jumps through hoops to make it happen. They make a lot of money but they pay for it. And they tend to burn out after a year or two and have to take a break for a year or two before trying it again.

It's not as easy as people make it look. My recommendation is that you save up enough to cover one year of expenses because you won't make much until your second or third year, if you stick it out long enough.