Leaving 9-5 to Become an Agent

7 Replies

This is something i've been considering lately because I don't love my current job, but I think I would love working in real estate. However, it's a risky short term move for me as i would be giving up around $80K guaranteed salary to start something new where I might only make half of that in the first year.

How possible is it to make $80K in first year as a full-time agent. I've also considered working part-time as an agent for 6 months to a year to see if I really like it. 

I'm wondering if any current agents have made a similar move or if you have any helpful advice? 

Thanks!

I was making a little over $100k per year at a W2 when I left it to pursue becoming an agent full time. I will say though on a few fronts, there was not much risk in it for me...I had a rental portfolio, a wife who made as much as I did, and 10 years experience being a part time agent.

The first 6 monts I think I made 1 sale.  The next 12 I did about 1 unit per month, and every year since then Ive done between 20 and 30 units.  However a unit in my market is about $450k.

A quicker way to jump start your career is to join a team. They will have you closing deals quicker. I was on a team for a year or so at one point.  I learned a lot, but being on a team is more akin to having a job, and I got into real estate to not have a boss, so I moved back to being a solo agent.

You basically have two mentalities to this question. You can go part time, and continue to work, or go full time and go all in. Most people will tell you one or the other.

Personally, I’d start part time and see how it goes before going full time. Most likely I would say you wouldn’t make 80k the first year, but you could easily make more than 80k each year after that.

Personally I plan to eventually do REI full time, but I enjoy my job now and want to build a portfolio over the next 10 years or so first

Hi @Alex Shipp ,

Welcome and good luck in whatever route you choose. I was working the old 9-5 (plus silly on call hours) in the tech field making pretty much what you are describing. I went out and got my license (online) and started searching for a broker. Once I was licensed I was going to put my notice in (wife made a little bit more than I did so we wouldn't be dead, just hurting a bit). I told the boss I was leaving and they offered me part time. I worked from 8-12 and then went onto Real Estate agent stuff. Yes, half my income and still able to RE.... Sign me up!!!

First year like $15K from RE (not counting investing, just selling) and honestly it is a fumbling period. Not sure what to really do, kind of waiting for someone to hand you a buyer/seller so you can "Rockstar It". Plenty of time in an office sitting there, talking to other agents about the weather. Hoping for that breakout moment. Spend more than you make in postcards, mailings, calendars, suits and shoes only to find out that networking is the real key. While you are volunteering at your local vets/lions/moose/elks/kids ball game, the conversation comes up and bam! things start happening. 

I will say the answer to what do you do for a living is "I am a Real Estate Agent"... NOT "I am a part time systems engineer and a real estate agent". Because do you really want to get into a system engineering conversation.... NO.... you want to get into a Real Estate conversation. "I was a ....." is just wrong. The first answer is "Oh , really? Sounds interesting.... I am a Real Estate Agent".

So yes, as long as you have a stream of income it can be really rewarding. Jumping in and asking it to pay the bills day one is a non starter. Personally I would say, expect to make less than minimum wage year one. Also when it comes to activities, if it is not bringing in leads (talking to people often) don't do it.

Best of luck in whatever you decide!

Can someone talk about the negatives of being an agent? Also, what does the income ramp up look like in the first 3 years? I know it all depends on how hard your work and who you know, but still would be curious to hear anecdotal evidence.

Starting part-time might be a better answer for you, especially as most actual sales activity for me has occurred evenings and weekends, anyway, and I use my weekdays mostly for marketing, preparing reports, and continuing education.  Especially if you can work in vacation and holidays, it is a good option until you build some sales. I have recently gotten back into it full-time after almost 10 years without my license (moving frequently for my husband's job and focusing on personally investing wherever we went).  Even with some old connections, it is difficult to get started as I'm facing a lot of established competition, and so many people already have a relative/friend who is an agent and feel they must use them or hurt the relationship.  It's easier to overcome that when you have an established sales record, harder when your current record is as small as their relative/friend.  Also, I did not take into consideration how having none, then few online reviews and only a small number of recent sales can be so limiting.  Potential clients actually said they liked my presentation better but chose another agent simply because they had more reviews and higher number of recent sales.  I've planned on taking 3 years to establish a minimum level of $x million of sales per year.  For my first full year, I was satisfied with my marketing results, as I did get more listing appointments than I expected, but it's harder to translate those to actual clients without an established sales record.  I only met 1/3 of my target sales goal this year, but I was lucky to get some great clients who provided wonderful online reviews, so I feel that my 3-year target is still within reach.          

Originally posted by @Mike Cumbie :

Hi @Alex Shipp ,

While you are volunteering at your local vets/lions/moose/elks/kids ball game, the conversation comes up and bam! things start happening. 

I will say the answer to what do you do for a living is "I am a Real Estate Agent"... NOT "I am a part time systems engineer and a real estate agent". Because do you really want to get into a system engineering conversation.... NO.... you want to get into a Real Estate conversation. "I was a ....." is just wrong. The first answer is "Oh , really? Sounds interesting.... I am a Real Estate Agent".

 Love it! Great advice.

Hey Alex, Have you made your decision? I'm struggling with the same decision. I've always been interested in real estate. Maybe 2018 is my year to start as well. In whatever you decide, I wish you the best!

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