Category Archives: Real Estate

Top 3 Real Estate Virtual Assistants to Hire

As the saying goes: Time is Money.

Whether you just got your real estate license or you are a well-established real estate agent, everyone can take their business to the next level by getting some help. I’m sure you didn’t get into real estate to design websites or shuffle paperwork around, so why not focus your time on the things you are passionate about (and are going to actually make you money). Fortunately, we live in a time where it is easy to find help. However, finding high-quality help is another story.

Here are the three best places we have found to find high-quality help, regardless of what the job is or the budget you are working with.

CompanyIdeal forCommitmentCost
1. FiverrSmall projects such as logo/website design, marketing materials, blogging, social media postsLess than 2 weeksLess than $100
2. Onlinejobs.phSeasoned Agents who need a quality assistant without breaking the bank1 to 3 years$5K to $12K/year
3. MyOutDeskBrokers or Seasoned Agents who only hire the bestLong-termOver $20K/year

Fiverr touts itself as the largest marketplace for digital services in the world. Basically, that means you will be able to find someone to help you with anything. It was originally founded in 2010 in Israel with the idea that all the Gigs would be priced at $5. However, they have since grown into a $1 billion company that is publicly traded on the New York Stock Exchange and allow Gigs to be virtually any price now.

There are already a plethora of people offering up services on just about everything. You can filter the search results by price range, seller rating, delivery time, and more. It has a very clean interface and is easy to use. They provide customer support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Signing up is free. You can browse through Gigs that are currently available or post one yourself. You only pay when you order a Gig. Fiverr acts as the middle-man and will collect the payment directly form you to give to the recipient. Fiverr also collects a small service charge of $2 for any Gig that costs up to $40 and then 5% off any Gig that is over $40.

The great thing about Fiverr is there is such a deep talent pool and lots of reviews to go on. I’ve personally used it about a dozen times and never had a bad experience. Of course, I always went with people who were reviewed with the highest ratings. Also, since most Gigs are small tasks, you can get the best of both worlds by hiring the best talent in each area. For example, if you want to setup a website, you can hire a specialist on web-design, a different person for photography, and another person who specializes in marketing. This way, you are not putting all your eggs in one basket by hiring a single person and trusting them with everything., based in Utah, was founded by John Jonas, who was also looking for some help. He hired a virtual assistant from the Philippines in 2006, and it worked out fantastic. So much so that he still is working with that same person even today! He wanted a way to share that experience to help other people.

What I like about this company is not just because there are over 500,000 resumes from the Philippines to choose from, but they seem to genuinely care about everyone they work with—not just their paying customers. They post testimonials from their virtual assistants along with the employers, and you can see how has enriched their lives and created some amazing opportunities for them.

You can setup a free account to post a job and review job applications. However, you won’t be able to see their contact information or communicate with them until you pay for a subscription. Don’t let the word “subscription” scare you though. There are no contracts, commitments, or hidden fees. You can pay for a month, hire your virtual assistant, and then just cancel right away so you won’t pay for a second month. If you are still on the fence about them, they back up their claims with a 100% Satisfaction guarantee. They go to great lengths to make sure you feel like you are not getting ripped off. All you have to do is contact them within 30 days, and they will give you all your money back.

Once you have hired your virtual assistant, you will pay them directly through EasyPay or Paypal. I like this model because it cuts out the middleman, and you don’t ever have to wonder if there are any accounting tricks being pulled behind closed doors. Also, since they are classified as an overseas sub-contractor, you won’t have to deal with the 1099 tax forms.

MyOutDesk (MOD) is the industry leader when it comes to virtual assistants. Founded in 2008, they originally came from the real estate industry, providing virtual assistance to real estate agents. Since then, they have branched out into other industries and grown to one of the largest VA staffing companies in the country with over 5,000 clients and thousands of staff members all over the world. MOD is perfect for brokers or well-established real estate agents who are in need of long-term, reliable help but without the high cost of hiring a full-time employee.

MOD goes through an extensive screening process when they hire VA candidates. They employ FBI-grade background checks, personality tests, and only hire the people they feel are the “best of the best.” Once hired, their employees go through 160 hours of rigorous training and 5 additional hours of continuing education every month. As a result, they have been ranked as having 36 out of the top 100 teams on RealTrends™.

With all of this high quality help, it will cost more than choosing a freelancer. So is it going to be worth the investment? On their Facebook page, you can see that out of 90 reviews, they have a high 4.7 out of a 5-star rating. On Google, they have a perfect 5-star rating based on 199 reviews. What I think gives the best insight into a company is to see how the employees rank their own company, since I’m a firm believer that the best companies have happy employees. On Glassdoor, their employees have given MOD a 4.3 out of 5 star rating and 95% of people approve of how the CEO is running the company.

If you decide to hire someone from MOD, you can expect to spend a minimum of around $20K per year. That’s not too bad compared to spending $35K to $40K per year on a regular assistant that comes in the office. Not to mention all the costs associated with interviewing job applicants, payroll taxes, and dealing with employee turnover.

This probably would not be a good fit for someone who just go their real estate license. However, if you are a successful real estate agent and your business is booming, MOD can save you thousands of dollars by providing you with highly educated and trained virtual assistants.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent | Everything You Need to Know

If you are reading this, the real question you are probably asking yourself is “Should I become a real estate agent?”

People enter the real estate industry from all types of backgrounds, age groups, and for all sorts of reasons. There are teenagers who are still in high school, new college graduates looking to build a full-time career, people who already have a full-time job and want a secondary source of income, or retirees who are just looking for a hobby.

The truth is that anyone can get into real estate because it involves something that we all have in common: wanting to find a place that we can call home. And the only thing better than achieving your own dream is the satisfaction of helping others to obtain theirs.

In this blog post, we will give you a brief introduction about what it takes to get started in the real estate industry so you can determine if this is something that you want to do. We will go over what you need to know, and most importantly, what you actually need to know.

The Basics

If you want to work on anything related to the real estate industry, you need to obtain a license. This is needed because there are a lot of shady and unethical people out there and issuing a license allows the government to track an individual’s work history. For example, if a person is caught breaking the law, then the government can revoke a person’s license to prevent them from working in real estate in the future.

Because every state governs itself and makes its own laws, there is no such thing as a national real estate license. This means that all 50 US states have their own real estate commission to establish their own criteria for obtaining a real estate license. As you can imagine, there are similarities across states, so some states will have reciprocity with each other. If you are licensed in one state, a different state may grant you partial or full credit for having an existing real estate license. Reciprocity is not widespread among states, so it is usually the exception rather than the rule.

Each state not only set their own rules and regulations, they use their own terminology. Fortunately, they are the same in principle. Each state has two levels of real estate agents: people who own the company and the people who work for them.

Below are some examples of what they are called.


License Type #1
Sales Associate

License Type #2
Managing Broker

When you begin your real estate career, you begin on the first level-Type #1. Keep in mind that although you technically work for a company, you still operate as an independent contractor.

If you want to run your own company and get to the second level, all 50 US states require between 2 to 4 years of previous experience in the real estate industry. If you are an attorney, some states will exempt you from the experience requirement.  

Getting Licensed

Every state has different requirements for each license and each level. However, all states generally have the same steps. To obtain the real estate license for Level #1, there are 3 basic steps:

  1. Complete real estate pre-licensing courses
  2. Pass the state exam
  3. Find a broker to work for

Generally speaking, most people can finish the whole process and get their license in about 2 to 3 months.

Let’s look at a few examples to see how the requirements can vary by state.

Course Requirements


Number of Courses

Total Course Hours

State Exam


Number of Exam Questions
80 National/ 30 State

Time (Hours)


Passing Score

License Fees


License Term (Years)

State Exam Fee

License Fee

Choosing a Real Estate School

If you haven’t done a Google search for a real estate school yet, you will soon discover there are an overwhelming number of schools to choose from. How do you decide on which one?

No one knows you better than yourself, so the answer is really up to you and your own preferring way of learning.

There are 3 formats to take these pre-licensing courses:

  1. Online Courses
  2. Video Webinars
  3. Classroom

Online Courses

The vast majority of people today get their license by taking online courses. This is the cheapest, most convenient, and typically the fastest way to complete the courses. This is essentially just like reading a book online. At the end of the chapters are multiple-choice quizzes and at the end of the course is a final exam. You can study from anywhere and at any time. Online schools will typically give you about 6 months of unlimited access to finish the courses. If you are working full-time or just have a busy schedule, this will be the best option for you.

All online schools have different levels of packages available. Their lowest (and cheapest) package just gives you the required prelicensing course. From there, they offer more expensive packages that add on study materials to prepare you for the state exam, such as practice test questions and instructor support.

For example, the biggest online school is Real Estate Express. Regardless of which state you are in, they have 4 different packages to choose from. Their Exam Preparation package gives you over 1,000 multiple-choice questions to prepare for the state exam and is backed with a money-back guarantee. That means if you do not pass the state exam, they will give you 100% of your money back. The Exam Preparation Plus package gives you the ability to interact with live instructors through the Instructor Q&A. The instructors are on a webcam, so you can see their faces as they answer your question.

If you want the best chance for success, you will want to go with their Ultimate Learning package. This includes everything in the other packages plus they will mail you copies of the hardcopy books, which makes studying a lot easier. What I really like about this package is that it not only helps you get licensed, but it also provides additional training for after you are licensed with the 90-day boot camp and 1-year Professional Development membership. You get access to hundreds of video tutorials and a video course led by real estate expert Sherri Johnson, who will teach you how to close your first deal within the first 90 days.

Video Webinars

If reading a book is not going to work for you and you need something more interactive, Kaplan Real Estate Education is the most trusted brand and one of the only schools that offer a webinar format. This is basically a video course that you can take from home where you watch an instructor teach the material. There are live webinars, which require you to login at specific times, and on-demand options that allow you to watch at any time of the day or night. 


If you are old school and want to sit in a classroom, you will have to check with your area to see which school is offering. There are no big real estate schools that offer live classes around the country. They are usually offered at small, “neighborhood” schools. While this does give you a more intimate and engaging setting, taking a live class is generally the most expensive option, doesn’t come with any money-back guarantees, and requires you to show up on time, every time.

How much does it cost?

The cost can vary widely depending on which state you are in, what format you choose, and how much exam prep and support you want. Online programs are the most popular and cost-effective route. You can get an idea by looking at some examples listed below.


Online Courses
$119 to $419
$117 to $399
$507 to $797
$189 to $404
Check Your State

Video Webinars
$399 to $749
Not Available
$429 to $1,089
Not Available
Check Your State

$749 to $949
Not Available
$989 to $1,189
Not Available

Preparing for the State Exam

Most schools offer some kind of exam prep to study for the state exam. They are either in the form of a video course or multiple-choice practice test questions, just like what you will see on the actual exam. You will definitely need to get some exam prep to successfully pass the exam. A lot of people make the rookie mistake of thinking they can just study the material in the pre-license course. The problem is that the state exam is not testing you on that. Your pre-license course already came with its own final, so the state is not going to test you on the same material twice. The state exam deals more with real-world scenarios and testing your ability to put learned principles into practice.

The only way to study this is to practice with study materials specifically designed for that state exam. Don’t try to skimp on this just because you want to save a few bucks. Trust me. You will thank me later.   

Finalize Your Application

Once you complete the courses and pass the state exam, you just need to finish your application with the state. Typically, this just means a quick criminal background check and sending them a check for the license fee. They will issue your real estate license to you after everything is done.

Finding a Broker

A lot of people have concerns about finding a broker. They think, “Why would someone hire me? I’m new, I just got my license, and I don’t know anything.”

This is irrelevant. This position is 100% commission-based, which means brokers are always trying to recruit new agents. In fact, some brokers will try to lure new candidates by offering to pay for their real estate courses. As a side note, I would advise against accepting an offer like this because there is always a catch. Typically, they will lock you into a contract at a low commission split or tack on additional hidden fees on your first commission check. Think about it. If the broker is so wonderful and great, why would they feel the need to lock you into a contract? Wouldn’t you want to stay there without one?

There are all types of brokers with their own strengths and weaknesses. You want to visit at least 3 to 5 brokers and pick the one that will set you up for long-term success.

When you interview with them, think of it as a 2-way street. You are there to interview them and see what they have to offer you. After all, you are the one who will be making them money.

As a new agent, you want to focus on finding a broker with a strong mentorship and training program. Try to absorb and learn as much as possible, especially in your first year. A good broker will help you develop your business plan and path to success.

For example, eXp Realty is a large, nationwide brokerage that offers its agents 25 hours of training per week, stock options, marketing materials, etc… If anything, they overwhelm you with too much information.

Keep in mind that you are not married to a broker for life. You can always quit and join a different one. You should not feel stressed about this part at all.

What to Expect in Your First Year

The first year is always going to be the hardest. You are new and still learning how the industry works. It takes the averages real estate agent 6 months to close their first deal. That means that you won’t be with a paycheck for at least 6 to 9 months.  During this period, you may feel discouraged and be questioning your life decisions. Keep in mind, building a business takes time. I strongly recommended investing in a mentor if you can’t find one who will coach you for free. They will not only bring you up to speed faster, they will build your confidence.

Renewing Your License

As you get your real estate business is chugging along, you will need to renew your license every 2 to 4 years, depending on your state. Every state requires its agents to complete continuing education courses and pay a license renewal fee.

Some states also require post-license education on your first renewal. This is basically just an extension of the initial pre-license education. Instead of making you do it before you get licensed, they allow you to take this afterward.

Here are some examples of what the renewal requirements look like.


Post-License (Hours)

Continuing Education (Hours)

Final Thoughts

If you have been considering getting a real estate license, I would encourage you to do it. It doesn’t cost a lot and isn’t hard to get. As for the potential payoff? It could be the best decision of your life. Ryan Serhant was a broke, 24-year-old pursuing an acting career when he decided to spend a couple of hundred dollars to get licensed in New York. Today, his real estate team is ranked #1 in New York City, and he has a hit TV show on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.”

5 Reasons To Get Into Commercial Real Estate

Have you chosen real estate as a career and now you are confused whether you want to choose commercial real estate or residential real estate? There are pros and cons to working with both types of properties, but you have to choose the career that leads you towards success the best. Although it is easier to break into residential real estate, if you want to make more money during your lifetime, you need to choose commercial real estate.

Commercial real estate brings you the big deals because you are dealing with corporations instead of someone who wants to rent, sell, or buy a single house. Although you need to work harder in commercial real estate, hard work is necessary to be successful in every job, so why not get paid fairly for your hard work? Today we would like to tell you about the top 5 reasons why you should go commercial instead of residential real estate.

1. More Commission

If you are dealing in commercial real estate, you will definitely make more money because the percentage of commission is more significant as compared to residential deals. The properties are more expensive as compared to a residential building, and the clients are willing to pay more because they need the property for putting their business on the ground. A commercial deal may take 9 to 10 months to be closed and fully funded, but it would definitely pay off commensurate with your hard work.

According to the National Association of Realtors, a commercial real estate agent makes $85,000 per year on average and a residential real estate agent makes $35,000 per year on average. You can see such a massive gap between the earnings and decide which one would suit you the most. If you can become a commercial realtor, you may even receive up to 100% of your commission.

2. Career Growth

A commercial real estate agent needs to have a proper degree to work in the market, which helps him or her to make full use of their knowledge in the field. On the other hand, residential real estate agents don’t need a degree. Regardless of college education, both types of agents are required by law to have a real estate license.

If you are working in the commercial market, you’ve got better chances to grow because you are in contact with different businesses outside of the market. The connections you make in the business community can lead you towards getting even bigger clients shortly.

A residential real estate agent is only in contact with small families most of the time, which cannot help them to take their career to the next level. Even if a small business needs to find a property, it would have to contact a commercial real estate agent, so you would be in contact with almost all the companies in your area looking for property to expand their operations.

3. Work with Large Companies

The environment of commercial real estate is really different from the residential market. You get to talk to the big fishes in the industry. This is not a side hustle. The commercial side introduces you to the real corporate sector, and you get to see more serious buyers and sellers. It is more about making the business happen and allows you to earn tens of thousands of dollars with just one deal.

Residential real estate gives you the chance to make great relationships with various families, and get more time for yourself. A commercial real estate agent is always on the move and trying to earn more instead of finding time to relax. Working in the commercial area is a full-time job, and you definitely get paid for the months of hard work you put in to close a deal. If you are looking to make a name for yourself in the market and work with big corporations in your area, you need to choose the commercial side.

4. Exclusive Clientele

As a commercial sales agent, you do not have to deal with a variety of clients because not everybody can buy a retail center worth $3 million. You will get to see more people from the corporate sector dealing with buying and selling in the commercial sector. This is where you can build a vast network with the people in high places in your area.

You will get invited to parties where you will meet people who are ready to invest in millions. You don’t have to bargain for a few thousand dollars because these people know how business is done. You can get straight to the point and close a deal if you give these clients a real proposition which suits them as they have a lot of money at their disposal.

5. Fewer Competitors

A bigger chunk of real estate agents chooses residential real estate because it is easier to get into and you can even do it as a side hustle. You can see evidence of this whenever you attend a networking event for real estate agents, or when you see signs of homes or apartments available for sale or rent.

On the other hand, there are only going to be a handful of commercial real estate agents that you’ll see attending networking events. So there is a lot of competition in the residential market, and if you can market yourself in a better way, you may find it easier to get the top spot in the commercial real estate market in a few years.

There are not many agents contacting commercial property owners with property worth millions of dollars so you can get a great deal done in a few meetings. All you need is someone who needs a commercial property and someone who needs it right away. Several commercial properties worth less than $4 million would be a long shot for a residential investor, but it is not a significant investment for a commercial investor. So you can easily hit the jackpot if you are persistent and willing to work hard in the commercial sector.

Top 10 Best Real Estate Books for Agents in 2020

Whether you are new to the game or an experienced real estate veteran looking to polish up your skills, we have come up with the best books for taking your career as a real estate agent to the next level. 

This list was compiled from the feedback we got from actual real estate professionals. If they found these books helpful, we are confident you will too!

By Gary Keller

If there is one book you read from this list, this is it. This is a great book for everyone. It will motivate struggling real estate agents who just got licensed and teach experienced ones how to build a business that lasts. What sets this book apart from the rest is that it gives you step-by-step instructions on how to be successful. There are diagrams, charts, and tons of details. If you are serious about a career in real estate, this needs to be the first book you read.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Kevin Ward

If you are tired of saying the same thing or looking for better results, this book is for you. This book helps you take your sales game to the next level by teaching you how to come up with better sales scripts. The first part of the book gives you the foundation for making the scripts work for you. The second half of the book is putting what you learned into practice by developing the actual scripts. Kevin Ward has a no nonsense approach to guiding you through the steps and will build your confidence when you close your next real estate deal.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Michael J. Maher

Michael Maher takes you on a journey through the eyes of Rick Masters, a real estate agent who has fallen on hard times during the Great Recession. Rick meets someone who has built a successful business in the mortgage industry. She shows him a whole new world and convinces him that her methods do work. Basically, you can imagine yourself in Rick’s shoes and simply apply the same steps he took to take his career to the next level. You will learn about the 7 levels of communication for the purpose of strengthening interpersonal relationships.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Og Mandino

This book has been around for a while and for good reason—it’s a staple for any sales professional. This book follows the adventures of a boy named Hafid. He encounters ten ancient scrolls that contain invaluable lessons. This book doesn’t go over technical aspects of selling. Rather, it guides you into forming a winning mindset to not only succeed in sales, but in life in general. The book is filled with words of wisdom that will keep you inspired and motivated to improve your life from the inside out.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Bob Burg and John David Mann

Joe is a go-getter. He is ambitious, motivated, and puts in 100% effort all the time, yet doesn’t seem to be getting anywhere. Joe gets help from a man named Pindar, who is a successful consultant. Pindar shows him that instead of being a go-getter, he needs to be a go-giver to truly achieve success. This means putting yourself in other people’s shoes and trying to help them achieve their dreams before yours. This book is a quick and light read but conveys a powerful message of selflessness.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Larry Kendall

The author gives you a new approach to selling. Instead using old sales methods, Larry Kendall will show you a selling system that is based on science so that you get consistent results no matter who your prospect is. He has tailored the book to the sales professional, keeping it simple and easy to understand. In a nutshell, he says you should focus your energy on providing value to your customer. Don’t focus on closing the sale. By doing that, you will build wealth in more ways than one.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Hal Elrod

This book is designed to get your day started off on the right foot. It will help you feel more energized, motivated, and focused. While some readers feel this is just a regurgitation of Tony Robbins and other well-known life coaches, Hal Elrod gives you the concrete steps to make it happen. He shows you that by waking up a little earlier each day and spending some “me” time first, you will be more productive and get more done.  

Click here to see on Amazon

By Chris Voss

Chris Voss is a former FBI hostage negotiator and consults Fortune 500 companies through complex deals that are high-stakes. He shows you how the negotiation tactics and skills he’s learned on the streets can be applied to the business world. This book will help real estate agents primarily during the middle and ending parts of a deal. However, you can apply the same negotiating principles to virtually every aspect of your life, from buying a car or settling a dispute with your significant other. If nothing, you are sure to be entertained reading about some of his stories from the field.

Click here to see on Amazon

By Darren Hardy

This New York Times and Wall Street Journal bestseller shows you how small decisions in your daily life can have an exponentially big result later. The book walks you through an easy-to-use system and guides you every step along the way to track your progress. The author gives you real life examples of how making even the smallest changes, when applied consistently, can yield great rewards. If you need proof, this book has over 3,000 reviews on Amazon with 85% of those reviews giving it a 5-star rating.

Click here to see on Amazon

By George S. Clason

This book is a great read for any age, and the timeless lessons inside will apply to many aspects of your life. The story follows a rich and powerful ancient Babylonian named Arkad. He’s the richest man of Babylon who describes tales of building wealth. Although this doesn’t directly deal with real estate, it does deal with topics such as saving money and learning how to invest wisely. After all, a big part of being a successful real estate agent is knowing how to stay successful by managing your money prudently.  

Click here to see on Amazon

What do you think about our list?
Do you have any better suggestions? 

Let us know in the comments section below!

Top 10 Hottest YouTube Channels by Real Estate Agents

There are a lot of well-known speakers in the real estate industry who have popular YouTube channels, such as real estate coach Tom Ferry or celebrities with their own TV show like Ryan Serhant. This list isn’t about them. 

This list is made up of regular real estate agents. They may not be big enough to show up on YouTube’s algorithms, but they are passionate about being real estate agents and enjoy sharing their experiences with the world.

Here are the 10 best real estate YouTube channels made by real estate agents, for real estate agents. 

1. Loida Velasquez

2. Mariah Kristine

3. Luna Ge

4. Chastin J. Miles

5. Lillie Nefwani

6. Aram Ghazaryan

7. Chauncey Pham

8. Jeff Wybo

9. Bryan Roach

10. Noelle Nielsen

Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent in 5 Steps

If you are looking for a new career and considering getting into commercial real estate, there are some things you need to know. We’ll break everything down in this article, and go over the things I wish I knew when I started.

What Is Commercial Real Estate?

Commercial real estate is property for business. They include things like hotels, shopping centers, office buildings, retail stores, etc.. 

The vast majority of commercial deals are leases, which rent out the space to tenants. The lease terms are typically longer than a regular residential lease. The average lease is between 5 and 10 years long and usually correlates with the size of the company (i.e. bigger companies will typically take out a longer lease than small ones). Leases don’t just include the monthly rent payment. It also includes who takes responsibility for paying property taxes, insurance, and maintenance costs.

There are different factors involved in commercial vs residential real estate. Just because an office space is available for rent, doesn’t mean any business is allowed to operate there. There are zoning laws and regulations to consider. 

What Is The Job Like?

Not all real estate jobs are the same. If you are thinking about working in commercial real estate, you should be prepared to commit to this 100% as your full-time job. You won’t have the flexibility of doing this part-time like you can do selling single-family houses. Pursuing a career in commercial real estate is lucrative and very stable, but it takes a while to get there.

In commercial real estate, you’re not selling a dream home to a family. You are providing demographics, environmental research, and statistics to your client. You are not going to know all of this information when you first start. If you want to truly succeed, you will have to become an expert and learn as much as possible about your area. Basically, you’re showing them how they can make lots of money by buying/renting your property.

It’s a different type of sale. Commercial real estate deals take an average of 6 months to a year to close, which means you won’t see a dime for awhile. However, when you do get that big commission check, it will definitely put a smile on your face. A single $20 million deal can result in a $400,000 to $500,000 commission check.

How Much Money Can You Make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all real estate agents (commercial and residential) were making $48,690 per year in 2018. Commercial real estate agents generally make more than residential real estate agents. According to Indeed, the average salary for commercial real estate agents was $82,345 per year. Agents are typically paid on a commission plus bonus structure.

What are the Qualifications?

First things first. You’ll need to get a real estate license.

There’s no such thing as a commercial license. They (residential, commercial, and industrial) all fall under one license for the entire state. It’s usually pretty easy to obtain. Every state has its own requirements.

However, all states have the same general requirements. You have to take course(s) and a state exam. The courses educate you on basic real estate laws and terminology. The whole process is not hard. The hardest part about it is the content can get a little boring at times.

How do you Find a Brokerage Firm?

If you are new to real estate, you won’t be able to start your own company right away. You legally have to work for a brokerage firm. 

Although you’ll be eligible to set up your own company after several years of experience by getting a broker’s or managing broker’s license, the vast majority of agents in commercial real estate will work for one of the big firms. They already have a deeply entrenched position in the space and competing against them on your own will be like David going up against Goliath.

Jumping straight into commercial real estate is hard. Really hard. Here are the 5 steps you should go through to get started in commercial real estate. 

Step 1

Reach out to family members, friends, friends of friends and network to see if anyone knows a commercial real estate agent who will show you the ropes.

Attend networking events and seminars. The great thing about the real estate industry is there is no shortage of conferences, trade shows, activities, etc… to go to. Make sure you go to these “dressed to impress” and have your business cards handy.

Step 2

If you want to get into commercial real estate right when you get licensed, you really need to know someone. If you don’t have anyone in the industry, your best bet is to start with residential real estate first to get your feet wet for a couple of years. You never know. You might actually enjoy residential real estate better and stay put.

Step 3

Like any sales job, the key to success is persistence. Keep reaching out and applying to the commercial brokers. Hopefully, you will be building your resume as time goes on with experience and accomplishments. This could take months (if not years). 

Working in commercial real estate is fiercely competitive—even more than residential because there are fewer “spots” available. It is important to have a good-looking resume. Unless you have connections already, a college degree is a must for standing out.

Step 4

You’ll want to consider moving to a large metropolitan or urban area. That is where the biggest brokerage firms have their offices. This will increase your chances of any job openings that become available. A typical office can have 10 to 40 agents. However, you will be spending the majority of your time out in the field with clients. 

That also means you will need a reliable source of transportation and professional business attire (i.e. suit and tie).

Step 5

Research, research, and research some more.

If you want to work in commercial real estate, it’s a good idea to see who the big players are and what they are looking for. They all list their job openings on their website, so you can see exactly what qualifications they want in an ideal candidate.

Here are some of the biggest commercial brokerage firms in the US:

  1. CBRE – 90,000 employees – $21.3B annual revenue in 2018
  2. JLL – 88,000 employees – $16.3B annual revenue in 2018
  3. Cushman & Wakefield – 51,000 employees – $8.2B annual revenue in 2018
  4. Newmark Knight Frank – 16,000 employees – $1.5B annual revenue in 2018
  5. Colliers International – 17,000 employees – $2.8B annual revenue in 2018

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, working in commercial real estate is a sales job. At the heart of it, it’s about connecting with people and building relationships. Learning the terminology and laws is the easy part. To succeed, you having to be patient, persistent, and committed. This is a long-term game. 

What You Need To Know Before Working In Real Estate

Millions of individuals envy the lifestyle of successful real estate agents and their astounding income levels. It is no wonder that a large number of men and women switch careers and leave their jobs every year to become real estate agents.  

Yes, anyone who is hardworking and can deal with other people can hope to do well as a real estate agent. However, there are many things about the profession of a real estate agent that most people are not aware of.

It is a good idea to have complete knowledge about the career as a realtor before jumping on to the bandwagon. This will help you in making an informed decision about a career as a real estate agent and what you can expect from it.

1. You need to go to school to get a license.

It is true that anyone can hope to become a real estate agent irrespective of his educational qualification. But you still need to enroll in a training course and then appear in an exam to obtain the necessary license to become eligible to work as a real estate agent. You can do the course in a classroom setting or complete it as an online course.

Every state has a specific requirement in terms of hours of course. After passing the course, you need to pass state and national board exam to become a qualified real estate agent.

2. You will have to find and work for a broker

After passing your state and national board exam, you are given a period within which you have to become associated with a brokerage.

As a newbie realtor, you need the help and support of a brokerage to give direction to your career as a real estate agent. You have to do your research to find a reputed brokerage to get the kind of experience you need to develop your career. Find out what the brokerage is offering in terms of training, tools, and help in a real estate transaction.

These aspects prove crucial during your learning curve and help you in starting as an independent realtor later. The brokerage charges a fee to allow you to work as an associated agent and you can expect to pay nearly $10000 a year in the form of a technology fee, desk fee, and other expenses. You can manage the cost of the brokerage with the split in a commission that you earn through your real estate transactions.

3. You have to learn to market yourself.

Once you start your business as a realtor, you are just like a doctor or a lawyer providing his services to clients. You will face fierce competition from already existing agents, and your task will be to set a unique identity for yourself in your area of operation.

It is your marketing efforts that will make sure that people in your area come to know about your knowledge and skills. You will need a good quality website where you can give information about your services and expertise. You will need a significant online presence including accounts on various social media networks to interact with your friends and followers. It will be your job to establish yourself as an authority in your chosen real estate niche.

4. Real Estate is not a 9 to 5 office job.

If you think that you will get to enjoy the comforts of an office where you can work from 9 in the morning till 5 in the evening, you are wrong. You will be your own boss with a flexible schedule to work at your own pace and liking.

You can decide your hours of work, but you will have to keep in mind the convenience of your clients to suit their schedules. You can find yourself working at odd hours of the day and during weekends. You will find that you are meeting clients and showing them properties in evenings and on holidays more than in mornings and weekdays.

However, you can take a break from work whenever you desire and enjoy a movie or a vacation on the beach with your family and friends. In a nutshell, there are no set hours of work when you take up a career as a real estate agent.

5. The first year is the most important

The first year as an independent real estate agent will be the hardest, but most important phase of your career. You are on your own, and you must work hard to secure leads and clients. This is the hardest phase of your job as it could take many months to earn your first commission after successfully closing the deal for a client.

You may be required to utilize funds from your savings account to manage your household during this phase. Once you pass this critical phase, your career as a real estate agent takes off, and you can expect decent income through commission. On average, agents from both sides get around 2.5-3% of the total value of the transaction as their commission. Even if you sell one property worth $250,000 a month, you can expect an income of around $75,000 in a year.

6. It will be important to build long-term relationships

Your success in your chosen career as a real estate agent will hugely depend upon your ability to develop strong relationships with your leads, clients, vendors, contractors, investors, and lenders. You can easily iron out wrinkles from a real estate transaction through your expertise as well as your network in the real estate industry.

In fact, highly successful realtors get most of their business through referrals from their previous clients. You can hope to get high volume of business without making hard efforts if you have great communication skills and seen as a reliable and honest real estate agent. For this to happen, you will have to learn to manage your relationships with your clients and other realtors so that they remember you whenever they need your services.

Sales Agent License vs. Broker License

In an age of specialization when good paying jobs are few and far in between, a large number of men and women become attracted to the profession of a realtor. With very low barriers to entry and substantial earning potential, the career as a broker in real estate has become extremely popular these days. 

Even though tens of thousands of individuals join the profession of real estate with high hopes, nearly 90% of them fail miserably and quit within the first year. The success rate of newbie brokers may be minimal, but thousands continue to jump on to the bandwagon every year. In such a scenario, it is worthwhile to ask yourself whether you should get a broker’s license or stick with a sales agent license.

Difference between a sales agent and broker

There is a fundamental difference between the job as a sales agent and a broker in real estate. Brokers can work independently while a real estate agent must work under a brokerage with the necessary license. You can become a real estate agent by doing a course and then passing the state and national board exam, but you need to obtain an additional license to work as a broker. A broker is a professional who has also obtained the other license and experience required to function both as a sales agent and a broker. All brokers are real estate agents whereas all agents are not brokers.

Understanding the responsibilities

It is not just the function of a broker that is different from that of an agent. Both have differences in their responsibilities also.

Agents are salespersons in the sense that they represent buyers and seller. They do prospect for buyer and seller leads. They are required to market the properties and find buyers for owners. They show different properties to buyers. A significant function of a real estate agent is negotiating on behalf of their client. They help in drafting the contracts, sales agreements and help their clients during the closing of a deal.

The main job of brokers is to train and manage agents. They recruit new agents and resolve conflicts in their real estate transactions. They review contracts drawn by agents and make sure that they comply with the rules and regulations put in place by the state governments. They must market their brokerage and market the leads they get to their agents.

Once you know the functions and responsibilities of both agents as well as brokers, it becomes easy for you to decide on what you want to grow in the future. If you have an outgoing personality and you believe you can convince others in buying and selling properties, becoming a real estate agent is a good career option for you. On the other hand, if you are better at managing your office and staff, it is a better idea to become a broker.

Benefits of having a broker's license

You can work as a real estate agent without obtaining the broker’s license. However, you must pay the fee of the brokerage that is licensed to conduct real estate sales. It is not just the savings on your commission but also the control you get with a broker’s license that is important while working as a realtor. You also get the freedom to hire other real estate agents to work for your brokerage. This means you can increase your earning potential by having a team of agents working under your brokerage. With a broker’s license under your belt, you can enjoy many more real estate investing avenues that aren’t possible with a simple real estate agent’s license.

Brokers can earn more by recruiting agents under them

Of course, you need a bit more training and education to be eligible to work as a broker. You are one step above an agent who must work for you whereas you can run your independent business. The exam to become a broker is lengthy and requires in-depth knowledge about real estate. It is undoubtedly more difficult than the exam needed to become a real estate agent. Once you get the broker’s license in your state, you can set up your own real estate firm and hire agents to work for you.

How do you become a broker?

Different states have different criteria for obtaining the license of a real estate broker. You need to find out the educational and licensing requirements in your state before you take a step in this direction.

You must be over the age of 18, completed the required broker pre-license courses for your state, and passed the broker state exam. You must have experience as a real estate agent for a specific time depending upon the state in which you are living.

You also need to have accumulated a certain number of points based upon real estate transactions done as a real estate agent. Broker licensing courses are generally on the same subjects as a sales agent’s license.

The bottom line

At the end of the day, it is entirely your personal choice whether you want to work as a real estate agent or a real estate broker. Both professions are in high demand, and both earn attractive income yearly. You can choose to continue as an agent. But if you want to take a different path in your career, you always have the option of becoming a real estate broker.

7 Tips To Nail Your Interview

The legal structure in real estate undergoes various changes regularly, so it is crucial to know what you need to ask a broker before starting to work under his or her supervision. There are many financial factors involved that can impact your career, so it is in your best interest to get the clarity of the situation as early as possible.

You can structure your career in a better way if you get the right experience working at a reputable brokerage. You have to undergo an interview with the broker before you can start working in a firm, and we would like to give you 7 tips to follow while interviewing at a real estate broker to kick start a great career.

1. Ask about their Training Programs

First of all, you need to receive a clear vision of the type of training you will receive in the brokerage. Various mentorship programs are going on at different brokerage firms, and you need to ask whether you will be provided with one or not.

You also need to know about the mentor you will be assigned, and whether he or she has the credentials and the experience to give you the training which will be helpful for you in the real estate market. With the best available training in the market, a real estate agent can enhance his or her potential to perform better in the market.

2. Understand the Structure of the Company

Try to ask about the business entity formation you would have with the brokerage firm. Most of the real estate brokers offer you a sole proprietary contract, which won’t be in your best interest if you don’t have savings because it does not provide litigation protection as well as a tax reduction.

You should find a real estate broker that can provide you with an LLC contract because not only you will get protection from any potential lawsuits, but you will also be able to save a lot of money through tax deductions.

3. Find Out the Costs Involved

Ask your broker about the costs involved in working with the brokerage firm. It will be essential to buy error and omission (E&O) insurance because if you can buy the right coverage, you can definitely save a significant amount of money, and instead, put that capital to work in other parts of the business.  It is necessary to understand the coverage you will be provided by the brokerage and how you can maximize it to help you in sustaining your business in the real estate market.

It is pretty tricky in the beginning to run a business solely on your own savings, so you need support from the brokerage firm. Make sure that the broker you are talking to is not greedy, and is trying to take every penny you earn without even giving you value in other ways, such as services or training. It is essential to look out for yourself because nobody else is going to do it for you in this field.

4. Will They Provide You with Marketing Support?

One of the most important tips regarding when you interview with a real estate broker is to ask him about the marketing material his or her firm will provide for you. Marketing is one of the most critical factors of success for a real estate agent.

There are different kinds of marketing material provided by various brokerage firms, and every one of them will give you a different angle. You need to know that the firm you are going to work for is committed to going to provide you with the best kind of marketing material, both in word and graphics form.

5. Request a Copy of their Policy Manual

Before starting to work for a brokerage, it is essential to read their policy manual, so you are aware of all the guidelines and policies. This way, you will not risk making a mistake after you get hired.  Often times, real estate agents forget to ask for a policy manual, and they later realize its importance once they get into a situation where they break one or two policy guidelines. Then, its damage control, and they have to pay for it.

If your real estate broker is not comfortable in sharing the policy manual with you, it is definitely a sign that there is something fishy going on in the organization, and you should leave immediately.

6. Inquire about the Percentage Commission Split

Starting from the very first meeting with the real estate broker, you need to know the percentage split of the commission to save yourself from any issues in the future. Finances are the backbone of any kind of business, and you will earn most of your money in real estate with the help of a good commission structure.

Get to know the industry standards of the commission split, and then bargain with your broker. Make sure the commission split being offered is reasonable and acceptable to you because it will affect your future goals.

7. Request an Independent Contractor Agreement

It is vital that the brokerage you are going for provides an independent contractor agreement. Get it done before starting your career because you have to ensure you’ve got the bargaining power in your hands.

Legal help could also enhance your chances of getting an independent contractor agreement, and you should pursue it legally if necessary. If you are in an interview with an experienced real estate broker, he or she will agree to provide you with such a contract if you can impress them as a promising real estate agent.

Such a contract builds a trustworthy relationship between both parties, and you won’t have to worry about your rights being violated at your time with the brokerage firm. On the contrary, if you are working without a contract, even if your rights are being violated, it won’t be possible for you to legally fight the brokerage. It is this kind of an agreement that leads you towards having a more honest relationship with the broker. You can start working without being worried about facing issues in the future which could negatively affect your career as you will have a legal foundation to stand on.

10 Tips To Pass The State Exam

You can’t wait to become a real estate agent!

What is standing between you and this dream is the real estate exam. It is an essential step if you are to get the license and become a full-fledged realtor.

Here we will explore a few tips that can help you prepare for the estate exam and increase your chances of getting a real estate license. While at it, just know that these are tips, they are not guarantees for success. However, if you take them into serious consideration, they can help you in maximizing your chances of passing the test, at least the first time you take it.

1. Focus on the Exam Materials

You will find that the amount of materials that are supposed to be covered for this exam is overwhelming. However, there are several study packs that you can rely on. Focus on these materials and gauge yourself, you will be able to know your strengths and weaknesses. Aim at improving on areas where you feel inadequate. Familiarize yourself with mathematical formulas that need to be known when sitting for this exam, practice working on them, so that during the exam you will not experience difficulties.

2. Get a Study Buddy

They say two heads are better than one. Nowhere else can this apply than in preparation for an exam. You can find a real estate friend who is also preparing for the exam. You can study together and help each other out. This not only an effective way to study, but it also makes it less dull.

3. Seek Advice

If you want to learn the experience of something, talk to those who have been there and done it. Talk to real estate agents who have successfully sat for the exam, ask them what is required to pass. These guys will give you tips that have worked, they will also tell you precisely what is needed on the actual day of the test, and how you should present yourself.

4. Relax

People tend to be tense when they are preparing for an exam. They become anxious. You need to control yourself, prepare yourself with ease, and relax your mind and body as anxiety can be a source of stress, something that can affect your success in this.

5. Understand the Scope of the Exam

This should have been the first tip owing to its importance and the effect it can have on preparation. With that note, I will cover it extensively. When we talk about scope, we refer to what is included and by extension, it also refers to what is not included if you look at it from a different perspective. Knowing the scope of the exam will help you concentrate on what is covered and essential.

Given that you have limited time to prepare yourself, you will not waste time on content that will not be examined. If you feel that any area which is not part of the exam is essential, you can also go back to it later when you are done with the exam.

6. Get a Good Night's Sleep

The test day is tomorrow, and now you feel that you are well prepared. Even with thorough preparation, lack of enough rest or sleep can interfere with normal functioning during exams. You need to ensure that you have had enough rest and sleep days before the exam.

If you do this, you will be relaxed on the very day of the test and will be in a position to concentrate. Lack of sleep can make you sick, and you do not want to have such kind of an experience when you are sitting for such an important event.

7. Wake Up Early

Here comes the exam day, make sure you wake up early, and in a relaxed manner, scan through your materials. You are just doing this to remind yourself. If you find that there are some areas that you may not have grasped, you can either decide to read through it, but if you feel that it is too much for you, just leave it. It may be difficult sinking in something new at this time. All of this should be done quickly. Do not strain at all.

8. Be Thorough

Prometric Test Center

During the exam, make sure you read each question carefully. They give you plenty of time to take the test, so go slow and answer them correctly the first time.

It will take more time if you try to speed through it and have to go back through the questions. Take the time, if you need it, to re-read the question until you are completely clear about what it is asking you. 

9. Attack the Easy Questions First

Although questions are numbered, you do not have to start with the first one. You need to start with the questions which you feel are easy and can finish quickly, this will save you time and also increases the chance of completing the test. This will also make you less anxious because you will have more time to spend on the difficult ones.

10. Double-Check Your Work

Once you have answered all the questions, go through them all to check whether you may have missed any or change an answer. This will ensure that you don’t lose points for making any silly mistakes.

With these tips, you are ready to go, wish you all the best with your real estate exam!

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