Why Real Estate is the Perfect Career Path for Those Who Value Flexibility...and How to Break Into the Industry!

Real estate may be one of the most flexible career paths available. A recent survey of nearly 1,000 real estate agents found that 93% of those agents agree that real estate offers good flexibility. 

And a career in real estate is flexible in several different ways:

  • Most people immediately think of flexibility as it relates to scheduling. And as a real estate agent, you generally get to make your own hours.  

  • Then there’s the flexibility of using your own methods and systems to handle your workload. As a real estate agent, you get to work independently with zero micromanagement. 

  • And what about the ability to set your own income? Real estate is one of the few careers with unlimited income potential. 

  • You also have the flexibility of choosing from multiple career paths within the real estate field. 

Let’s take a closer look at each of these flexibilities to see all the different ways you can make real estate work for you.

Make Your Own Hours

As a real estate agent, you have the flexibility to work as much or as little as you like. 81% of agents surveyed agree that they have control over their hours.

Real estate agents are almost always paid on commission, meaning you earn a percentage of each transaction. So no one is going to force you to work a specific number of hours. You could choose to work part-time, full-time, over-time, or just in your spare time. 

When deciding how many hours to work, keep in mind that your income is typically higher the more you work because more hours gives you more time to close more deals. 

In addition to choosing how much you work, you also have a lot of flexibility regarding when you work. Evening and weekends are often prime working hours for real estate agents because that’s when most buyers and sellers are available (since they usually have 9-5 jobs). So a career as a real estate agent can work around your day job. And if that schedule isn’t ideal for you, find a target market with different hours. Retirees and the self-employed, for example, are more likely to be available during workdays.

Work Independently

As a real estate agent, you are an independent contractor, which means you’re effectively your own boss. In most states, you’re required to have a broker to oversee your work, but brokers generally aren’t interested in “managing” their agents; they simply want to support their agents and minimize liability for their agents. 

So you get to decide how you’re going to work. Set up systems and processes that work for you without worrying about explaining yourself to bosses or co-workers! 

With the right licensing, you can even set up your own real estate team, hiring real estate professionals to work under you, and creating your own workflows for your team. You typically just need a broker’s license to establish your own team. 

Enjoy Unlimited Income Potential

86% of agents surveyed report that real estate offers them good earning potential. Since your flexible income is commission-based, you’re not limited to a specific hourly wage or salary. Working smart can increase your income without requiring more of your time. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the 2019 median salary for real estate brokers and agents came to $50,730. And because this figure includes all the part-timers, it skews low; so full-time agents in most markets have a good chance of earning more than this median. 

Choose from Multiple Career Paths in Real Estate 

“Real estate agent” may be the most popular job title in the real estate industry, but it’s far from your only option. In real estate, you have lots of flexibility when it comes to choosing a career path. Here are just a few of your many options:

  • Real estate broker

  • Leasing agent

  • Appraiser

  • Property manager

  • Real estate investor

  • Real estate developer

  • Asset manager

  • Real estate assistant

  • Acquisition specialist

  • Mortgage broker

  • Loan officer

  • Escrow officer

  • Title representative

You have the flexibility to grow in your real estate career, perhaps going from real estate assistant to real estate agent to real estate broker. You an learn more about these career paths with our Real Estate Career Quiz.

You also have the flexibility to change your path at any time. If, for example, you find that the commission-only pay structure for real estate agents isn’t a good fit for you, you can always switch to a salaried real estate career.  

How Do I Get a Real Estate License? 

92% of agents surveyed reported that they had questions about how to start their new real estate careers. In most cases, launching a real estate career starts with a real estate license. 

National Standard Steps to get your Real Estate License

The exact steps for earning a real estate license vary by state, but the overall process is similar nationwide. Here is an overview of the standard process:

  1. Meet the basic requirements (typically age and legal residency requirements).

  2. Complete a state-approved real estate education (could be one class or several).

  3. Pass the state real estate exam.

  4. Find a broker to supervise your work.

  5. Apply for your real estate license. 

Is Getting a Real Estate License Worth It?

On average, agents report investing eight weeks and $1,266 to pass their real estate exams. Considering the fact that most other respectable careers that pay as well as real estate require a four-year degree, this investment is a no-brainer!

Survey data supports the idea that getting a real estate license is worth it. A whopping 86% of agents surveyed feel that getting a real estate license is worth the time and money invested. This percentage is especially impressive when you learn that the cost of getting licensed was higher than expected for 69% of agents surveyed. Even the high-than-expected cost was worth it for these agents.  

Can I Get Started in Real Estate Without a Real Estate License?

Technically, yes, there are some careers in real estate that don’t require a real estate license. However, these jobs are typically limited to traditional employee-style jobs that don’t offer the flexibility of being a real estate agent or broker. And many of these jobs prioritize applicants with real estate experience or a real estate license anyway. 

Some aspiring agents choose to take entry-level employee work in real estate fields while working toward their real estate license. For example, in most states, you can lease apartments without a real estate license as long as you are employed by a licensed property management company. This type of job would give you some real-world experience and a steady income while you study for your real estate exam and launch your career as a real estate agent. 

Start Your Flexible Real Estate Career Today!

With so much flexibility in terms of scheduling, autonomy, income, and job options, it’s hard to go wrong pursuing a career in real estate. So don’t wait another day to start your new real estate career. Enroll in your pre-licensing courses and start working toward your real estate license now!

Want to get your Real Estate License? Begin your Pre-Licensing Course today!

Get Started Now!
Sarah Jeter

Updated 3/8/2022

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