A CAREER IN REAL ESTATE
As the real estate industry grows and
the demand for housing increases, more and more people are choosing
careers in this lucrative field because of the opportunities it offers;
opportunities such as independence, freedom from routine and set hours,
unlimited income potential, investment opportunities and-perhaps most of
The real estate industry is broadly
defined as the business of selling, purchasing, leasing, managing and
evaluation real property. It is a service-intensive business, and
it is the real estate professional who facilitates these actions.
Real estate is a serious profession,
requiring a great deal of knowledge and skill. Buying a home is a
major investment for your clients, and your services as a real estate
professional will be invaluable in the purchase process.
While real estate careers attract
people from all walks of life, those who achieve success share many
common traits. First and foremost is the ability to work well with
people. Real estate is a contact business and requires constant
meeting and talking with the public. People who like people...like
real estate! Success in the profession also requires maturity,
good communication skills and, most important, enthusiasm.
With a real estate career, you can
forget the 9-5 routine. Real estate sales associates are
classified as independent contractors and not employees, so they usually
set their own schedules. While most real estate offices have
policies on telephone coverage and attending sales meetings, for the
most part, you set your own hours. This aspect of the career
appeals to many people because of the flexibility it allows.
Although real estate companies prefer
full time salespersons, many companies will hire transitional (i.e.,
part time) salespersons with the understanding that they will only be
available for real estate sales activities when they are not working at
their primary place of employment. It is essential that all
parties clearly understand the terms and conditions of the salesperson’s
employment and that the duties and responsibilities of the salesperson
be clearly defined so no conflict of interest occurs.
Real estate offers virtually an
unlimited income potential. Sales associates are paid on
commission, so you will be compensated in direct relation to the
quantity and quality of your efforts. You will have the chance to
be paid what you think you are worth and not what someone else thinks
you are worth.
As a real estate professional you can
get ground floor information on investment opportunities. You will
have first hand knowledge of properties as they become available and
will have the skills to evaluate their investment potential. Real
estate has always been one of the more stable investments, and most real
estate professionals invest their money in their industry.
Real estate salespersons are licensed
by the Georgia Real Estate Commission. License applicants must be
at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and be
a resident of Georgia.
To qualify for
a salesperson’s license, Georgia requires completion of an 75 hour
course at a school accredited by the real estate commission. These
“pre-license” courses are available through certain college,
universities, and private real estate schools such as Williams Academy
of Real Estate.
Georgia now allows you to complete a computer based Real Estate
Salesperson Prelicense Course at home. This method of learning
requires no attendance of in-class hours. The computer course is
also available through Williams Academy.
Pre-license courses include study of
the terms of contracts and other real estate documents, state laws on
transfer and ownership of real estate, state regulations and financing.
They also cover federal and state laws in fair housing and consumer
After completing the required course
work, you take a written examination administered by the state. It
consists of 100 questions on general subjects and 52 questions relating
particularly to Georgia law and the specific real estate practices
followed in Georgia. After passing the exams and affiliating with
a real estate company, you will be issued a real estate license.
Residential real estate sales
associates have a wide variety of responsibilities, falling into two
general categories; working with sellers and working with buyers.
Working with sellers begins with
obtaining listings. A listing is an agreement between a property
owner and a real estate firm. The firm will act on behalf of the
owner to find buyers for the property. Once you have obtained a
listing contract, you will be responsible for marketing the property.
This procedure can involve a wide range of activities including placing
signs, entering data into the Multiple Listing Service, holding open
houses, advertising, creating and distributing flyers and brochures,
conducting tours for other sales associates and many, many other
Working with buyers also involves a
multitude of tasks: identifying their needs, evaluating their
financial capabilities, showing properties, assisting with sales
contracts and handling details necessary to close the transaction are
only a few of them.
How do you find these buyers and
sellers? Prospecting!!! The ability to establish a
broad base of potential clients is the key to success in real estate
sales. Newcomers to the profession can establish their potential
client base in a variety of ways: direct mail, advertising,
telemarketing, knocking on doors, joining groups and-above all-working
with groups of people you already know: friends, relatives, present and
past co-workers. You may already have a built-in client base!
A career in real estate
can also offer several options for specialization. Residential
sales is by far the most popular with 80 percent of real estate
professionals focusing on this area. Some of the options are:
SELECTING A REAL ESTATE FIRM:
One important factor in helping you
establish your client base is the office you chose to join. To do
business in every state, your license will require that you affiliate
with a firm that is managed by a licensed broker. This will be an
important decision because your broker will be instrumental in guiding
your new career. Also, the opportunities available at your office
will greatly influence your success. You will want to interview
several brokers and carefully research what their firms have to offer
before making a decision.
For the new sales associate training is
a critical issue, as you will quickly need to master some basic sales,
listing and financial skills. A company should be able to offer
you access to training in a variety of formats: in-office, group
sessions and field training. They should cover a wide range of
topics and have qualified instructors and quality materials. Find
out when the courses are offered and what the cost are.
Determine what the real estate company
will be able to offer you. Do they have a good location with high
visibility? Are the facilities modern? Do they offer a wide
range of services to clients? A company policy clearly stated in
writing? What will be your commission split with the broker?
Take a close look at the firm’s
visibility. How much advertising and what type of advertising?
Will it bring you new business? Does the firm have good name
recognition in the community? The firm should also have
affiliations with national organizations that will provide you with
opportunities for referral and relocation business. They should be
actively involved in REALTOR trade associations to ensure high
Take a close look at the existing sales
staff. Do they look successful? Do they look like they enjoy
their work? What measure of success have the sales associates
achieved? And very important, will you feel comfortable working
with these people?
There are many options when choosing a
firm: large, small, franchises, and independents, single offices and
multi-office companies. Look carefully at what each has to offer.
If you are a talented, ambitious person
looking for exciting new opportunities perhaps real estate is the career