Administrative assistant before becoming an agent?

13 Replies

I have a two topics I could use some advice on: 

1) I will be taking my real estate exam in August and have made a connection with a broker to sell under them once I pass. I reached out to them because they seem like a great team and are in a wealthy area. My hope was to learn from a good team that is experienced in selling more expensive homes. The area is 30 mins from me, but I would be willing to move there. They told me they want me on their team, but are giving me a 3 month probationary period. They want me to sell one house within those 3 months. I spoke to a successful real estate agent I know and she said she has never heard of that and also thinks that it might be hard for me to start selling houses in a wealthier (she thinks stuck up) area. She advised that I meet with 3 other brokers before I sign, which I will do. But I wanted to get more opinions on this.

2) This same broker recently asked me if I would be interested in filling their administrative assistant position which is salaried, and they say it could be a good way to learn the real estate agent role from the inside out. However, I started a cleaning business and it is doing really well. My goal is to have this constant income coming in from the cleaning and then have my real estate on top of that. 

But I also think it could be good to get experience from the inside out, especially from a knowledgeable team. I am just worried I would get stuck in this position longer than I want when I could be spending time growing my cleaning and real estate business. I also am becoming an agent to work for myself and feel like this would be going against my goals especially when the cleaning is going so well. 

One more thing is that I want to get an investment property but do not have the 2 years yet for self employment to qualify for a mortgage, this salaried position could help. But I was thinking I could get started with being an agent, network, learn, and find other ways to finance instead of a traditional mortgage.

Sorry this was a lot! Please give me any thoughts/advice you may have.

Thank you!

@Hannah Costello

I don’t know where you are or your market, but this sounds like a lot of BS. The probationary thing is doubly silly. First, “wealthier” locations usually have lower qty of sales but is evened out by higher commission compensations. So, for you to get your first sale you need to know somebody who either lives in that neighborhood that wants to sell or you have some wealthy friends who want to buy.

Remember, brokers make their money off the backs of agents. If when you say “team” it’s a team of agents, then it’s even worse. The probation is to see if you are with the “in crowd” and know “wealthy” people so THEY can take advantage of your sphere of influence. Who you know basically becomes their leads and deal flow.

Whoever you are talking to are too snobby for my taste.

Same goes with the admin assist. Maybe it’s because it’s before you have a license... if it’s for a brokerage, why don’t they have one? And once you get your license, do you really want to keep doing that job? You shouldn’t because the scut work

Will take time away from you developing your real estate career. If it’s for a ‘team of agents’ you will be “trapped” pushing paper until you get the gumption to jump ship to another brokerage. Teams, which I believe is a loophole which needs to be closed, basically turn full-service agents into factory workers. unless that is what you want...

What salary will this admin assistant be? Whatever it is, I persoanlly don’t think it will amount to much for W2 income to get a loan. Besides, you already have a cleaning business... maybe between the two however it will work, or maybe you are in area where property prices are in those $100k price ranges I keep reading about...

In some ways what is missing is what do you want for your real estate agent career and how? I know, not what it appears you came to ask. It just to give an additional two cents, you need to figure that out as YOU interview the brokers (not the brokers interviewing you). Oh, you can also figure that out, or refine, as you are interviewing them.

Be glad to help. Just ask. Good luck

You can probably do what you set your mind to do, so don't let anyone discourage you.

Most, but not all agents get their business from friends, family, work colleagues, their network. Ever heard the phrase your network is your NET WORTH. So being brand new to a community is tough because it sounds like you don't know anyone or perhaps few people there. So you have to develop your business another way. The broker will encourage you to do open houses. For most agents they're hoping to get lucky doing this. They're not proactive on how to run open houses. They're just hoping an unrepresented buyer walks in and either wants to buy that house or see other houses and represent them on buying one of them. That's a tough way to work. If you want to go that route, or they want you to do open houses, you have to do it so you're not wasting time. Do it to get sellers and not buyers. You work the neighborhood. You call 100 houses around the open house during the week before, you send out 100 handwritten notes to the neighbors inviting them to come look at the house to see how theirs compares, you go door knock all those homes before the open house inviting them to stop by....then do 4-6 open houses a weekend.....9-11, 12-2, 3-5pm....and maybe 1 or 2 more during the week. You're getting phone numbers, email addresses, putting people on drip campaigns in your database. You're mailing all the people you meet market updates, neighborhood updates, birthday cards, bringing them pumpkins at Halloween and pies at Christmas. YOU have to do this so you get to know people and they know YOU. and remind them frequently to call you if they know someone moving.

 Being an admin gives you a foot in the door and steady pay, but will limit you on how much time you can spend on cleaning and real estate.  When do you clean houses?  Can you do them all on Wednesday and take off from the Admin job?   Can you clean offices instead of homes at night after you finish admin?

I would not worry too much about the one house deal.  If you don't sell one house in 3 months, you're not making any money selling real estate...so you'll need to be doing something I guess to generate income.   Hustle.

Hi @David M. and @Bruce Lynn

Thank you both for the great advice. I did meet with the broker offering the administrative position yesterday to weigh my options. They didn't give me a salary # yet, I made $45k in my last position and told them that. I honestly can't see them offering more than that for an admin role anyway. They told me they would be fine with me transitioning into an agent in 6 months, but I will wonder if it would actually happen in that time frame. 

I met with another broker that same day and felt pretty good about that one.

If they come back with $45k or higher, I would consider. But even then I believe that I could make more and gain greater/quicker experience diving headfirst into a full-time agent right away. My whole plan was to have the cleaning company for constant income, which I succeeded in doing and then the real estate as a full time income. I don't want to get distracted by what seems like the "right thing to do", when I could be making much more and building my career in real estate faster. I know it will take hard work but I believe in myself. 

I think I am going to stick to my plan and just hustle, hustle, hustle! 

Thank you both, your advice definitely made me think. 

@Hannah Costello

Great.  I will add on second thought...  covid-19 notwithstanding, being the admin could be used to your advantage because you could start networking.  You could chat with more agents about the job (of being an agent) now instead after you get your license..

Hey, I suppose as long you are hustling, learning, and going where you want to and “upwards” I’d call that a win.

Message me if you ever want to chat.  Stay safe and good luck to you.

I am in a similar boat as you! @Hannah Costello I think I went about it a similar way you were thinking as far as the assistant piece. I started working with a brokerage as an assistant a few months ago while I finished my pre-licensing course. I was hopeful to learn lots about running the business side as well as to help me pass my exams. While I am learning a lot of the business side - the exam pieces are best learned through the book I think lol. 

If you get a chance to work as an assistant and they put you on the phone with clients, I think this has been the best help for me because I am able to get a better idea of what types of questions people as, and mostly about what a grind this business is.

@Hannah Costello do what you won't regret failing at.... 

When asked about all I have ever done, companies I built, deals I have done, all anyone talks about is all the win's BUT truth is their is a lot of fails along that journey too, and those mean nothing to me, I took a shot, it didn't pan out, I adjusted, moved forward. 

Success is a place in the clouds because it's built on top of a mountain of little failings. 

Their is no such thing as playing it safe, it's taking shots and dealing with and growing from the results. It's a choice of doing the things that may lead to "at least I tried" or "I wish I had tried", that's the actual choice. 

@David M.

I should know better than to call them clients (since I am in class lol) - potential customers. I do inside sales as well as some administrative tasks. So I talk to potential clients - but never can get deep into the "real" conversations

@Jonathan Breton

Interesting...  especially without a licensed agent with you on the phone, you can’t talk about much anything about a house/property here.  Our admin’s can only take a message when somebody calls about a property or an ongoing transaction.  Interesting...

OK, you have a lot going on and it's ALL GREAT! I totally understand where you are coming from in wanting to be your own boss, build your own business(es) and just hit the ground running, while also wanting to benefit from some "behind the scenes" experience. You CAN get stuck in a salaried position, that's partially what happened to me until I finally got my RE license, but honestly - you have to decide what is most important for you and which business you want to focus on. If you have a cleaning business and want to focus on that, you need to put your 2-3 years in, build the income to show for investment financing down the road and keep your RE license in your back-pocket. Growing essentially 3 businesses all at ones (your cleaning business, your RE agent business AND your RE investment business) is virtually impossible. 

Sorry if this is repetitive info or similar to other responses! Good luck! 

P.S. I've heard of different brokerages who start you out with a mentorship program, or they start you out with rentals first; a SALE within 3 months of starting, from beginning to closing, is a bit much, IMHO.

@Hannah Costello

I whole heartedly agree with @Irina Dovgan   .  She makes a good point.  Don't get in over your head with too many startups (i.e. more than one) at once.  I don't think this was really touched upon above.  But, don't forget that some 75%+ of new agents don't make it past their 1st year.  I think some 80%-90% don't make it past their 2 or 3rd year.  Not to get you down, but you really do have to put effort into it regardless of what sort of stellar person you are.  My brokerage lets you "go" and hit the ground the running.  What Irina mentioned jogs a piece of my memory of hearing about that, and boy that would be painful.

So, please carefully plot out your "career path."  If you are going to do real estate "investment," make sure its an investment and not a primary career.  Investments are supposed to be done with "extra" money that you have saved up.

@David M. exactly! Another popular saying is 80-90% of real estate out there is sold by 10% of agents, meaning because the barrier to entry is so incredibly low and there are SO many agents, unfortunately many just end up struggling and don't "make it." @Hannah Costello this isn't to deter you in any way, shape or form from growing your RE agent business - just that it's a lot tougher than many anticipate and it takes a lot longer to grow. Having a RE license can / will serve you though in your RE investment business down the road. Plus, you're super young - time is on your side! Go out there and make it happen, girl, whichever you choose to focus on!