2020 Real Estate Careers Report: 18% of Workers Would Consider Real Estate


Real Estate Licensing During COVID-19

COVID-19 has rocked the American workforce and for many, this shake-up may lead to a completely new career. We recently surveyed over 600 full-time workers and found that 51% were in agreement that if they were to lose their jobs or experience a significant reduction in pay or hours, they would consider making a full career change, with 18% saying they would consider a career in real estate. 

The good news, we also surveyed 800 licensed real estate agents and 85% of them were happy with their overall decision to pursue the field.

In an effort to better understand what decisions and preparation go into taking on a career in real estate, our real estate professionals survey found that real estate agents come from many different walks of life and that the decision to tackle real estate, like any new career, was not one taken lightly. 

Thoughts behind choosing a real estate license


On average, agents spent a year and a half considering whether or not to pursue real estate before taking the plunge. There were many concerns that individuals had about getting their license:

  • 53% were concerned around taking exams
  • 51% were concerned about the upfront financial investments
  • 47% questioned whether or not it was a realistic choice




On the other hand, there were many positive reasons that prospective agents had when regarding getting their license:

  • 71% were attracted to the earning potential 
  • 51% were attracted to the flexibility of the job
  • 25% appreciated the notion that the more they worked, the more opportunity they had to earn.




All in all, the pros outweighed the concerns and doubts, with 85% of agents saying that they are happy with their overall decision to pursue real estate. Let’s take a look at the overall journey and see why real estate professionals are content in their new careers: 

Upfront Time and Financial Investments Worth it

Financial Investment

Preparing for the real estate exam was no small feat, requiring upfront time and financial investments. While 69% felt that the financial investments they had to make upfront were greater than they initially anticipated, 86% agree that the investment was worth it. 

Agents reported spending $1,266 on average out of pocket for prep courses and to take the actual exam. What’s more, 86% reported taking a financial hit because they also had to take time off from other money-earning endeavors in order to study for and take the exam, averaging $1,813 in lost wages. 

Time Investment 

When it came to putting in the work ahead of the exam, agents spent on average 8 weeks and approximately 217 hours preparing to take the real estate exam. Nearly half (44%) of agents took their prep courses online, citing flexibility as the key draw in for them. These agents explained that their motives for taking their course online included:

  • 63% appreciated being able to learn the material at their own pace
  • 44% liked that they could choose when they wanted to study
  • 49% simply did not have the time to take a class in-person

Yet, even with the assistance of prep courses, concerns around being able to pass the exam weighed on the shoulders of many. 72% were concerned about the fact that they hadn’t taken a test in a while, 57% cited the fact that they had not studied for something in a long time, and over half (55%) just did not perceive themselves as strong test-takers. 

But overall, the time and effort were well spent as 82% of agents reported passing the exam on their first try and 74% admitting that prepping for and passing the exam was not as difficult as they expected. 

Starting Out a New Real Estate Career

As with any major career change, newly licensed agents had several questions, with the biggest one being, “Where do I start?” 92% of agents agreed that when they were first starting out they had questions about how exactly they would start their careers and go about getting a job. In addition, 81% questioned how long it would take them to build their business and how much they could earn in their first year. 71% also raised concerns about how long it would take them to recoup their initial investments and start earning

Once their license was secured and they started seeking employment, it took agents just over 2 months (9 weeks) for them to secure a job and start working, with 1 in 3 saying that it took them longer than they expected to get a job and begin work. Agents also reported it took 6 months for them to recoup their initial financial investments, but over half (54%) agreed that it was about as long as they expected.  

Flexibility and Control Over Career 

As noted above, one of the main attractions for switching to real estate, was the notion of having flexibility and control over one’s career, and agents largely agree that they have that. 93% of agents say that real estate offers them good flexibility, 81% agree that they have control of their hours, and 86% of agents say that real estate offers them good earning potential. 

However, those feelings are not consistently felt across the board with ⅔ of agents saying they often find themselves working hours that they’d rather not, and 53% saying they have less control over schedules than they thought they would. 

In terms of earning potential, while 52% of agents feel that they have earned what they expected to make as an agent, and 38% feel they are making more than they expected, 59% of agents agreed that they have less control over their earnings than they expected. Even so, earnings are rolling in and agents reported making on average $80,00+ during the highest-earning year of their careers. 

When asked what makes for a successful career in real estate, 60% of agents cited the strong ability to sell, 46% attribute success to having an existing network and 42% say having the ability to invest in and grow your network is key. 

For more information and to learn more about our online real estate courses and resources, please visit https://www.aceableagent.com/


Sarah Jeter


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