Is it time to quit my day job? Advice needed.

19 Replies

Fellow BPer’s I need some help with my situation. Any ideas, thoughts or opinions are welcomed. I am trying to decide if the time is right to quit the 9-5 job and jump into Real Estate full time.

In May 0f 2014 I acquired my Realtors license with the idea that we could buy and sell our own investments and look at houses more freely on our own schedule. I ended up helping my brother buy a house that year and made my first commission check (yay!). Fast forward to February of this year and my director at my 9-5 job approached me and asked if I would help him sell his house since he was moving out of the country. I said of course I would help him, who doesn't want to sell a $400K house and make a commission check. Well, the house sold in the first weekend and I was hooked! I learned how to make cold calls and negotiate my commission percentage to leverage listings other agents couldn't get. I made some good connections, received a few referrals, worked craigslist & Zillow for FSBO adds and hustled every day. Since that first listing I have closed on 25 client homes; year to date with 3 currently under contract and about 2 more in the process that will likely go under contract by the weekend. That is $3,000,000 in Real Estate closed, $530,000 under contract with an average of about 2.5% commission overall! I am now showing houses 4-6 nights/days per week. My lunch breaks most days consist of showing clients houses, taking videos of potential rentals for investors and responding to voicemails. I made more money by the end of October this year being a Realtor than a full 12 months salary plus bonuses at my 9-5. My life and the life of my girlfriend has changed dramatically. We live and invest together and she has made sacrifices to accommodate the new busy lifestyle. I am basically never home and free weekends are few and far between. She is an amazing partner and I couldn't do this without her. BTW she also works a full time day job.

I know most of you think this is a no-brainer, quit the job and focus on being an agent but it is not that easy. Here is why.

About 1/3 of my leads come from people at my day job. There are about 450 people in my office and someone is always looking to buy/sell or both. The other problem is loans for buy and holds. We own two rentals now with plans for many more. I can currently get approved for loans easily because of the W2 income but once I quit the loans will go on hold till I can show 2 full years of commissioned income. That means no more loans till 2017. Yikes! We have some cash but not enough to buy one decent rental currently.

The truth is I hate my job but love the company. I have peaked at my position and I sit here bored every day for 8 hours. They are very flexible with me and never say anything (yet) about the long lunches, disappearing here and there for phone calls and everything else. My actual work schedule is 7-3:30 which allows getting in more showings at night. Again, the flexibility is here but I can only get so much real estate related work done during the day while here. I get my work done so I don’t feel I am stealing from the company but I am not motivated to go that extra mile.

I have a serious passion for real estate investing and I believe being a Realtor is the logical step to grow that side of the business. The flexible hours and potential for higher income are why I think that. I don’t want to be a realtor forever but I also won’t make anywhere close to six figures working my current day job and I won’t for several years to come. I feel confident I can make 6 figures a year being a realtor if I hustle & hustle. Also, leaving the day job means leaving benefits and the security of a paycheck every two weeks behind. I am most concerned about not having insurance but I am sure I can buy that on the open market.

If you were me what would you do? This isn’t a cry for help just seeking advice for the largest potential career choice I have ever made. 

Hi Jake,

If it were me I would keep doing what you are doing until the 9-5 gives you an ultimatum.  I prefer security while taking risks, personally.  If you are able to manage all of it without to serious of a burden on your personal life, then I say keep doing it all.  I am sure you will hit a point where it makes sense to drop one or the other but if you can manage to secure the two years of commission and rental income and maintain your day job, then you will be that much further ahead when it comes time to be a full time real estate professional.  If your full time job was getting in the way of potential deals and you were missing opportunities that would increase your income beyond what you make, then I would recommend pursuing that and dropping the day job.

Hope that helps.

Cheryl

You must factor in the cost of health insurance and 6 month living expenses to account for the ups and downs of a commission based occupation Once you have those funds set aside and never let your saving dip below that amount you will be good to go. Although if you can swing both jobs since your  main source of referrals is from your current position it is the best solution as @Cheryl Packham noted

Wow, very inspiring and motivating! I will be returning back to work next month after 4 months of maternity leave. I got licensed and joined a brokerage right before we had our daughter and I want to be able to do real estate sales and investing full time.

If I were in your shoes, I'd continue what you are doing until I had 6 months of expenses saved. I would set my real estate goals through the rest of the year that would allow me to meet and/or exceed my current job income. Once I reached that income through real estate sales/investments and had 6 months expenses saved, I'd take that leap of faith.

Then continue to hustle and work towards the goals I set.

@Account Closed thanks for the advice, I do believe I am losing potential deals because of the day job. I am very limited in the amount of cold calls I can make weekly because of it. But again yesterday I found a good lead on a listing from my day job. Also, I have more than 6 months of expenses saved. 

@Jacqueline Carrington FSBO's get called everyday by the newbies at the big brokerages. I put up a fake FSBO listings just to see how many calls I would receive and I average 5-7 per day. I always played the part to see how much they charged and to listen to their script. I don't have time to call 50 homeowners a day looking for a listing. I call and ask why they are against using an agent and 90% of them don't want to pay 6-7% commission. I always offer them a discount from the listing agent side. The listing side is much less time consuming so I can afford to accept a lower level of commission. 1.5% on a $300K house is still better than 0%. I also typically only offer a discount if they are also going to buy another houses where in turn I will get the full 3% commission. It is the only way to get a higher rate of listings from a few calls a month.

Hi @Jake Thomas ,

Congratulations. You actually have a good problem to have. Would your day job allow you to go part time? You don't know until you ask, but they may agree to a 7:30 - 11:30 or some such. You get the benefit of keeping your leads but also get the extra time to spend in Real Estate. I have been surprised at when I started looking at it how many boss's will support you making a move like that. Sure they may have to put you to contract or something (and expect that within about a year they will be letting you go).

From a loan perspective it most likely won't be helping a lot but you do keep the leads and a little security.

Good Luck in whatever you decide!

What's your day job? Maybe you can ask them for a shorter schedule like 32 hours/week? Or 7: AM to 1:30 PM hours. It may not hurt to approach them; especially if they know you're doing real estate stuff. 

I'm in the camp of waiting until you have 2 years of Real Estate income to quit, but if you're feeling burnt out, quit the day job. The reason for investing in real estate is to enjoy life a little more and working 80 hours/week will make you wealthy quicker, but will also make you gray quicker.

I have a full time job and a side business giving tours (admittedly not as time consuming as your side-gig as a realtor) and I have to be sure to set aside time for my lady. You should do the same, if you aren't already.

Unless the dollar amounts are $25,000 annually, I would do exactly what you're doing for a few more years, build one hell of a war chest, then move on from the current job. If you are coming close to 6 figures in 2 different jobs, you should have one hell of a bank account and plenty of money to be throwing at investments. 

@Matthew Maggy I am a Logistics Analyst, I can honestly do the job in under 15 hours a week but have to sort of fake the other 25 hours... I have thought about the part time conversation with my boss but figured he would say full-time or quit. I am working 80+ hours a week and it is causing issues for my personal life. No one can maintain this lifestyle very long.

Hi @Jake Thomas

There is always a reason to wait (lets just save up another 8K then we can step up a level.... lets just pay off the furnace first.... once that bonus check comes in..... Next year the market will be..... After these classes are over....) The truth is once that gets accomplished something else comes up. You said it when you said 80 hours a week, you have to decide what is a priority. Currently there appear to be 3 things. Your day job, real estate and your partner. Decide where they rank. In my opinion it's like the 2 out of 3 rule (fast, cheap, quality... pick two). In your case you are dealing with (real estate, partner, full time day job) pick 2 or they will pick for you and hope it is the one you would have chosen.

Good luck!

First off I would like to say that your story is an inspiration to anyone who is new to this lifestyle and is truly considering to make RE their life.

When it comes to your question...I believe you already have the answer to what it is you want to do, and you might just be looking for some validation for it.

I'm pretty found of the saying "nothing ventured, nothing gained" so I believe you should just go for it. ESPECIALLY if you feel those same connections at your current job are going to continue to send business your way. However, with the 8 hours a day you put into making someone else dream come true you can be investing in yourself, KEEPING your woman happy, while also focusing solely on real estate which seems to be your passion.

If you are such a super star at your current job then what is stopping them from rehiring you if things don't turn out the way you want them too?

@Mike Cumbie This is pretty how I feel about the whole thing. Pick 2 and move on with life. I know which 2 I really want to pick (Her and Real Estate) but making that leap is a difficult choice. 

@Jae Cunningham Thanks for the kind words. I'll be honest it isn't easy to do both but on top of all of this we bought and rehabbed one rental where we did most of the work, another duplex and one other property all this year. RE has been my life this year. 

Happy problems, right?

I'll take a different strategy.  This isn't an all-or-nothing situation (yet!), so let's work on leveraging you, personally.

If you haven't already read it, check out the 4 Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss. Feel free to read it cover-to-cover, but the parts that apply to you are the dreamlining (remote income / cash-flow to cover a specific expense or expenses), and remote working.  

Don't try this without following his guidelines, but if you could telecommute 2 - 3 days a week (outsourcing much of the repetitive bits while you're at it), you'll recover a full 24 hours+ that you can pour into real estate sales / investing. You would also be keeping your foot in the door at the office and your potential client base.  

And, once you're comfortable with outsourcing, you can outsource the repetitive bits of your real estate investing. Within the bounds of the law, of course.

Then using your cashflow from RE investing (you are treating it like a business, right?), you can work on using that for future financing. Plenty of good information on BP to help with that.

Originally posted by @JD Martin :

Unless the dollar amounts are $25,000 annually, I would do exactly what you're doing for a few more years, build one hell of a war chest, then move on from the current job. If you are coming close to 6 figures in 2 different jobs, you should have one hell of a bank account and plenty of money to be throwing at investments. 

 Hello and welcome!  I would get into Fix and Flip or wholesaling.  The location and the return tells the story.  The   closer you can pay for cash is better than rinancing but you may not have a choice.  Make sure you are ready to guit your job.  Yeah you need to have a little money before you do that.  It will help you get a loan from what I am hearing.  Good luck!

Nice post!  I think I would stick with what you are doing.  There may be a RE slowdown ahead and it will be good for you to experience that while the other job is given you so much leeway.

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