To be or not to be. A real estate agent.

15 Replies

I am turning 30 this year and I am at a crossroad in my life. I have a well paying job working on the road sometimes 45 days straight 7 days a week with no idea of if or when I will be going home. it's been very time demanding to the extreme of barely being able to listen to podcasts, read, or even research and analyze possible leads. I sleep in my own bed maybe 50 nights a year. Even long distance REI in not practical because I work long 10-12 hour days and have just enough time to eat and sleep and do it all over again. I was able to complete a successful house hack BRRR over the course of almost 3 years. So I plan on going back to school to get a job that would be more convenient to have a family and more free time for REI. Before doing so I have been thinking about getting my RE license to assist with deals and immerse myself the market. I am also process of forming a team and an agent would be a good pillar of that team. Is there any objections or reasons why I shouldn't get my license???? I live in SW Florida in-between St-pete and Sarasota. Thank you for time. Sage House hack BRRR was a 5 bed 3 bath SFH. I paid 169k I put 49k down and about 30k into it in August 2015. Appraised at 250k took 80% paid off my private lender and got all cash back out. 300 a month positive cash flow. Now I need to repeat!!!

Hey Sage- Sounds like you have a good understanding of how to leverage and invest, now it's just a matter of committing to growth. I am 41 and was in your shoes, professionally, a decade ago. Traveling for work non-stop, no time to do anything but work. I got my RE recently and am kicking myself for not doing it sooner. There are so many benefits as an investor to having access to MLS, comps, seeing any property any time I want, negotiating with listing agents myself, etc. I wish I would have done it while I was in college. I am sure there are reasons that people don't think it's a benefit, but I sure haven't seen that. Best of luck!

Do you want to pursue a career as an agent?

I started off my career as an agent with the sole intent to purchase investment properties. The first house I bought, I beat out three landlords with decades of exp. and I got the property. The house is a slam dunk too, I picked it up for 33% LTV. The house has been fixed and cashflows.
Long story short...getting your license is worth it.

@Corby Goade Awesome! and thank you. I will be starting looking into schools as soon I find/make time. The road life sucks. No quality of life. @Nick Rutkowski I am thinking about doing it before I go back to formal college, to probably become a nurse. I am not sure if I would want to be soley a real estate agent. I have always been told I would be a good salesman but I really don't like the stigma associated with it. I would be getting it more to increase the value of REI as a side hustle, but it could very well be possible that I would make it a career. I might end up really liking it.

@Sage Fradley What is your current job? When in times of deep introspection like this I’ve found it helpful to get some headspace for a couple days without work distracting me. You’ve got a lot on the table, especially with the idea of going back to school to re-tool.

Becoming an agent is choosing another profession if you want it to be. You can build a team, and like anything else it will require hard work and dedication. If you’re just looking to get access to MLS and lock boxes then I don’t think it’s worth the time or money. But if you want to do deals and help others, go for it.

that's all I have done my entire adult life since I was first licensed at 18..

there is a difference in being a retail real estate sales person and using a license to further your investing goals.

Its not an easy business by any means to be a retail agent and there is a high burn out rate.. not as high as wholesalers but its at least 50%...

If your an ACTIVE investor I cant see how you can do without it.. if your fix and flipping in my mind its mandatory.

its about 2k a year to keep sometimes less and If your business does not allow that or like some say the cost is to high

then in my mind your not really in the business its a pittance to spend to have access to all the info and be in the club.

if your goal is to be a lifelong landlord then work for a commercial brokerage that specializes in cash flow real estate just being there will open up doors.

if by chance your very good at sales and have a very large warm market you may shock yourself in how much money you can make just in transactional real estate..  But again its not just as easy as getting a license.. And if your going to do transactional real estate successfully especially when you start.. you don't do this to lesson your hours of work.. you will get to sleep in your own bed every night but its 7 days a week to really knock it dead.

My wife has been an agent for over 25 years.. I like this story.

Last year we did not have much to do on Mothers day kids all scattered so she says come with me lets do an open house today..  so we do that.. One nice older couple comes in .. they are down sizing .. she sells them that house.. for 400k so that's 10k in her pocket.. and list and sells their 750k personal home  that's another 15k in her pocket.. so that was 25k made that mothers day..  So it takes dedication to make money In real estate sales.. and 90% of her business at this point is referral.. but she put in the time and hours way back when in a 50k market .. making 1,500 a sale.. now she grumbles if its less than 10k a sale.. :)  but she is very good at sales and is a closer.. you have to be a closer to make it in sales.

@Neal Collins I work on Transformers. you know Autobots and deceptcons... jk Not the ones on power poles, I work on the big ones coming out of power plants. Its a little like a mechanic, elelectrian, plumber. Its a paycheck. @Jay Hinrichs I hear you about the hard work needed to be successful. I have regularly worked 60-80 hour weeks for the past 4 years. I have worked over 24 hours straight multiple times. When people talk about hard work.... I just smile. I think the only thing that would be comparible is maybe the military. Ive been mowing my lawn on a Sunday afternoon and had to be ready to go with in a half hour and leave it half finished. Always on call. I have many times just bought concert tickets with knowing that its a maybe that I would be going or not. So at least I feel I could give the retail portion an honest try and see some success. I am not allergic to hard work or hard financal times. I am currently in a secure position to make this transition and feel the need to advantage of this opportunity to get out while I have the resources.
Originally posted by @Sage Fradley :
@Neal Collins I work on Transformers. you know Autobots and deceptcons... jk Not the ones on power poles, I work on the big ones coming out of power plants. Its a little like a mechanic, elelectrian, plumber. Its a paycheck. @Jay Hinrichs I hear you about the hard work needed to be successful. I have regularly worked 60-80 hour weeks for the past 4 years. I have worked over 24 hours straight multiple times. When people talk about hard work.... I just smile. I think the only thing that would be comparible is maybe the military. Ive been mowing my lawn on a Sunday afternoon and had to be ready to go with in a half hour and leave it half finished. Always on call. I have many times just bought concert tickets with knowing that its a maybe that I would be going or not. So at least I feel I could give the retail portion an honest try and see some success. I am not allergic to hard work or hard financal times. I am currently in a secure position to make this transition and feel the need to advantage of this opportunity to get out while I have the resources.

having owned multiple brokerages over the years.. I recommend you have AT LEAST 1 year of living expenses in the bank before you launch  

Like Jay said, huge wash out rate with agents. It is about 90%. Huge income potential, but most struggle to get by. Im in the top 1% of agents nation wide and honestly I know people who struggle to make a living doing this that have more inate talent at it than I do. Sometimes it can be hard to figure out why someone succeeds and another fails at it.

97% of small businesses that fail, do.so because they are not properly capitalized. That is one of the main reason Id say agents fail.  You are running a business, which means you have expenses whether you have income coming in or not. If you want to be successful, Id have a budget of $30k in year 1 for marketing. 

@Sage Fradley I know enough about your line of work to know it is very demanding and very high paying. In a job like that working continuously, you should have lots of money in the bank because high salary and no time to spend it! You should be able to qualify you for good loans. My recommendation is suffer through a couple more years banking money and acquire properties. Get a property manager to deal with the day to day. 

I am not sure starting from scratch in a new profession is the best move right now. Just because of the financial impact.

Nursing and real estate agent are both demanding professions. Lots of nights and weekends. If you stick it out and become a full time buy-and-hole investor, you can make your own schedule. So maybe you fight through 2-3 years of saving every penny and buying properties and then just life off your investments.

Obviously I don't have all the details of your situation, so I am just presenting one idea based on the information you have provided.

@Joe Splitrock Im afraid the high salary isnt so. I made 48k on hourly and overtime and 22k on per diem. I am able to live cheap on the road; stay at a hotel with breakfast, pack lunch, cook in the room, and bunk with another guy. I save more then half of the per diem. Full benefits and 401k and phone. I could save about 30-40k a year maybe a little more. Which is great but the sacrifice is real its a dead end job. Minimal growth does exist in this job but the time commitment will always be there. The way I see it is, yes it would take me two years going to school and start working some menial job just to break even and maybe barely save in the mean time. Even after those two years I would probably start out making less then I do now but i would only be working 4 days a week. So i feel like I will be taking a temporary pay cut to get back almost 50% of my time. Which I could pursue more REI and side hustles and develop marketable skills. There would definitely be a while before i could get back to the savings rate that I am currently at. I have been white knuckling it since the new year and I am wearing really thin. I know the longer I stay here the harder it is going to be to leave. I have about 80k in savings to try to HH and BRRR all over again in the meantime. Which would be difficult if I don't have steady income I have now. I don't know what the **** to do. I am miserable. I need to establish an exit plan from the job.

 Thank you everyone for your advise and suggestions so far

@Sage Fradley -lots of really good stuff here. I had a pretty awesome, albeit 24/7 career before I got my license (thinking that "all these people do it, I've done way more difficult things & have a master's degree-I can certainly succeed:) Succeed I have, and it took really doing what they teach us, building systems, really digging in why am I doing all this (staying up late, spend holiday weekends hosting open houses, as mentioned above, etc.). Once you have the training, appreciation of your "big WHY" and a good databasae, you'll be happy for all the hustle it took:) Best of luck, you got this & feel free to connect. Happy to share what I've learn & still learning (every day:)

Like Tyler said - Real Estate Express is a good option...I used them and did well. It is all reading based though, for me it was anyways. No videos, webinars, etc...just slide after slide of reading. Good Luck!

I am in the same boat except I already quit my job and going to move to TX this July. I am thinking about getting my license too. 

I am planning to do both flipping and hold. My situation is a bit different than you. I will have cash on me when I move to TX and my wife will have a very good job ( she is my insurance in case things wont work for me). I am motivated and I have a good chance of not failing. I bought two properties in my life. One selling this week and the other next week. Both will be making return. I did man updates on both. I am semi handy man but want to do more and learn more. Plus I will have my own cash to use and wont need hard money lender or a bank to flip. 

I commander that you learn more and more. Work on getting your license. You can pass the exam go inactive until you feel ready and sign with a broker. Safe as much as you can if you want to flip or buy and hold if your goal to amass properties. If you have a partner i would suggest discussing this with your partner and plan everything. At least one of you should have steady income. if you are single then house hacking is a good way to safe money until you get on your feet. Try to connect with as many like minded, agent, contractor, investors....etc as you can. You will need them and they will make your life easier. Maybe even consider partnering with seasoned investors to learn and minimize of flopping.  

BP is the best forum I have found to connected and educated yourself about RE. 

Best of luck. 

Haider