Real Estate Salesperson | About the Job

Most people can’t buy or sell real estate property on their own, and for good reason. There’s a ton of paper work involved along with important legal regulations that need to be followed. So, they need to enlist the help of a licensed real estate agent, who acts as the liaison between the buyer and the seller.

What does a real estate agent do?

Here are some of the responsibilities you’ll encounter as a real estate agent:

  • Try to drum up business by finding people who need to buy, sell, or rent properties
  • Provide consulting services on the real estate market and home prices
  • Help clients search through listings and find their dream home
  • Accurately list properties for sale highlighting their features
  • Meet with potential buyers/renters and walk them through the property
  • Help clients sell their homes through advertisements and open houses
  • Present an interested buyer’s offer to the seller
  • Negotiate the best deal for your client
  • Prepare legal documents
  • Ensure that all the i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed in the purchase contract
  • Close the deal!

This single real estate license covers all types of property: residential, commercial, agricultural, and industrial. Once you obtain the license, you can work in any of these sectors.

Real estate agents typically represent a buyer or a seller. You’re legally allowed to represent both. It’s called dual agency. However, it’s not recommended due to potential conflicts of interests.

If you’re representing the buyer, then you’ll meet with people to find out what they want and how much they can afford.

If you’re representing the seller, you’ll advise them on the listing price for the property and ultimately, close the deal with a buyer.

What does their work schedule look like?

Working in this profession requires a lot of travelling. Most of your time will be spent out in the field, showing property and meeting with clients.

If you’re doing this full-time, you’re probably going to work more than 40 hours a week when you factor in all the time on the road travelling. You’ll work at all types of odd hours, including nights and weekends. Remember, you’re working for your client and have to accommodate your schedule around theirs. This spontaneity will keep you on your feet and make each day interesting. However, it can also get emotionally exhausting if you’re not prepared.

Your office environment will depend largely on what type of broker you choose to work with. There are large companies with regional offices like Keller Williams and Century 21, where you may share office space with dozens, or even hundreds, of employees. You might also join a boutique or mom and pop broker that only has a handful of agents.

How much do real estate agents make?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, half of all real estate agents made $45,990 in May 2017. The bottom 10% earned less than $23,130 while the top 10% made over $109,490.

This position is generally 100% commission based, so how much you make is largely up to you. You get to set your own hours and be your own boss.

Here’s an example of how your commission breaks down:

Let’s consider that a single-family home was sold at $800,000 on a 6% commission, which is $48,000. The commission is split down the middle between the broker for the buyer and the broker for the seller, meaning they get $24,000 each. From there, your broker will split the commission with you, let’s say, 50/50 for this example. That means you’ll make a $12,000 commission.

Keep in mind that commission splits are all negotiable. This is just for illustration purposes.

Some people choose to do this part time and as a secondary source of income.

There are certain factors that will impact this job that are beyond your control. This could be the state of the national and global economy, interest rates, or changes in government polices/legislation.

What can I expect during the first year?

Unless you’re well connected or already have a big book of business to bring along with you, you won’t be making that much money in your first year. You can expect it to take up to 3 months to 6 months before you close your first deal. As the saying goes, you have to pay your dues.

If you stick with it for a couple of years, your income will increase as you become more experienced and knowledgeable about the real estate market. 

If you want to take your career to the next level, you’ll want to continually try to improve your hard and soft skills. This means staying up-to-date on current technology and tools as well as honing your sales techniques. It’s also a good idea to be an active participant within your community by joining associations and attending networking events.