You know all about how much it costs to get a Florida real estate license, but have you budgeted for the expenses in your first year working as an agent?
The average real estate agent in Florida makes over $60,000 a year, but that doesn’t mean you’re going to start out making $5,000 a month. The first 3-6 months will probably be pretty lean as you work to get your first clients and enter into your transaction. For most real estate agents in Florida pay doesn’t come until a close.
On top of that, you’ll have some initial expenses that need to be covered for your new career. Below you’ll find details on some of the most common expenses for first-year Florida real estate agents.
Marketing Materials: $100+
Today, new agents are lucky. There are a lot of free ways to market your services without spending a dime. And even if you do need to break the piggy bank open, there are low-cost ways to market online.
But not everything is free. Some things that will cost money upfront are headshots and business cards. They may seem old-school, but headshots and business cards are still hallmarks of a real estate professional. Plus, the headshots can be used in lots of ways from social media profile pictures to branded yard signs.
Even if you have a photographer friend with a great camera who’s willing to shoot headshots for free, you’ll still need to get a few printed and you may need to edit them. A very, very conservative estimate would be $100 for both, but it could easily be $300 or more.
Lead Generation: Ranges From $0 to Thousands
This is a major expense for many real estate agents for a good reason - it generates revenue. In order to close sales, you need leads. Some brokerages, teams, and individual agents are so dialed into their lead generation that they know how many leads they need every month to get a certain number of clients and a certain number of closes. They even know exactly how many leads are coming from each channel to know where to allocate their marketing dollars.
This expense is nearly impossible to estimate because there are so many different lead generation channels. One thing every new real estate agent should do is contact everyone in their personal network to let them know they’re licensed. Friends and family are great sources of quality leads that you get for free.
Association Dues: Varies
Joining the Florida Association of Realtors, the National Association of Realtors or a local association isn’t required to have a Florida real estate license. However, for many new agents joining these associations is professionally beneficial. They help give new agents more credibility and valuable resources for launching a real estate career.
Association costs include:
The National Association of Realtors dues that are currently $150.
Florida REALTOR dues that are currently $116.
Local association dues, which vary by location.
MLS Access: $20-$50 Monthly
You don’t have to be a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to gain access to the local MLS, but you will have to pay for it. Typically, there’s a monthly or quarterly fee for MLS access that works out to be around $20 to $50 a month. The exact fee varies from one MLS to the next.
Office Expenses: $50+
Even though a lot is done online, you’ll still need to stock up on some office supplies. And some brokerages actually charge office fees. The tradeoff is you don’t have to cover each office expense yourself. All of the basics should be covered and you’ll have access to office equipment that would cost hundreds or more to add to your home office.
SUPRA Key Fees and Lockboxes: $50+
In addition to annual NAR dues (if you become a Realtor) and MLS fees, you’ll also need to pay a separate SUPRA key fee. The SUPRA keys are the standard issue electronic lockboxes that are on the doors of many homes for sale. One advantage of the SUPRA lockboxes is they keep a record of when and who opened it, which sellers like. Associated costs include:
In total, you can expect to pay at least $130 to get set up with SUPRA keys.
Even if you aren’t a Realtor that uses SUPRA keys, you’ll need to secure your listings. Your broker will likely have lockboxes that can be used, but that’s not always the case. Even a used lockbox is going to cost $25+ and you’ll need at least a few.
Continuing Education: Varies
In Florida, you have to complete real estate continuing education (CE) to keep your real estate license active. In your first year as an agent, you’ll need to complete at least 45 hours of CE. It’s best to get continuing education done sooner rather than later so it’s a cost that needs to be accounted for early on. The cost is going to vary based on the course that’s taken and the provider. However, you can expect to pay at least $9 for a 3-hour course.
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