A career in real estate can be extremely rewarding. It’s a job with plenty of independence, flexibility, and opportunity. You can also earn a great living in a fast-paced environment where you control how much you make. You’ll meet and interact with plenty of people, help them buy and sell homes, and share in the excitement of finding the perfect fit.
If it’s your first ever job, we’ve put together this guide for what you should expect.
Who You Work For: Your Broker, Your Clients, and Yourself
After you get your real estate license, you’ll go to work for a brokerage. You can consider them your boss. A broker manages the real estate agents they employ and provide access to the tools and services you need. They’ll manage the office, market the brokerage, and coordinate any leads that come in.
Aside from that, you’re really working for two people: your clients and yourself. You can make a lot of money as a real estate agent, but it will take hard work. While you have a lot of flexibility in what you do, it will take self-discipline to stay on track.
Pay Structure: You Won't Earn an Hourly Rate
You likely won’t have a regular paycheck. Most agents get paid a commission on sales. This can mean some big paydays, but they’ll come at irregular times. So, you’ll need to budget your personal finances accordingly to handle the peaks and valleys.
Commissions generally range between 5% and 6% of the final sales price, but it’s split four ways. First, it’s split between the agents representing buyers and sellers. Then, the broker you work for takes a portion of the fee. Your agreement with the broker will determine how much of the commission you get to keep. If you’re lucky enough to list a property and find a buyer, you’ll keep more of the commission.
Work Schedule: Tons of Flexibility
In most cases, you can set your own schedule as a real estate agent. You won't have to submit availability or schedule vacations months in advance like at other jobs. That said, a lot of your schedule will be determined by the clients — both taking care of their needs and finding them. You’ll be responsible for finding new clients, finding matches for buyers and sellers, and helping negotiate deals in addition to showing homes.
While your schedule will be flexible, it also means you may have to work nights or weekends to meet your clients when they are available.
A Typical Day Can Look Different From Other Careers
If you like variety, a career as a real estate agent may be a good fit. Depending on the day, an average day for a real estate agent might include meeting with clients, generating leads, touring homes, meeting with others in your brokerage, or polishing up your skills.
There’s a fair amount of administrative work that goes into being a successful real estate agent. It’s like running your own business within the brokerage. You’ll need to do your own scheduling, budgeting, marketing, and forecasting. You’ll also be solving problems and helping people through the buying and selling process.
You may get some help and guidance from the brokerage, but much of the job will be up to you. To keep your license current, you’ll also need to take continuing education to stay current.
It's a lot to manage for your first job! So if it seems overwhelming, you might want to try another temporary office job first to gain some experience.
Build a Career as a Real Estate Agent — Get Started Now
Aceable is an online real estate school, designed to create and support agents to become the best. Educational content and tools help prepare you to get your real estate license completely online, on your timetable. We also have veteran real estate expert support to help walk you through the licensing process.