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5 myths about working in real estate debunked

December 18, 2019

Considering a career in real estate? If your idea of the industry comes from what you’ve seen at the movies, it might be a little skewed. The days of slickly dressed men screaming at each other and lying to get the best leads are long over—if they ever existed. Today’s real estate agents are collaborative, passionate and hard working, with an ability to build connections and put clients first.

To help separate fact from fiction, we’ve taken a look at the top five myths about working in real estate.

1. You have to be cutthroat

In the world of movies, real estate agents will wheel, deal, lie and cheat to get more sales than any one else. But as today’s agents will tell you, an adversarial approach sets everyone up to fail.

There might be a bit of healthy competition, but dedicated agents gain strength from collaboration and sharing industry insights. And once you’ve experienced firsthand how your peers work, genuine respect is sure to follow.

A good real estate company will encourage camaraderie and collaboration between its agents so that everyone can play to their strengths and learn from one another. If you’re considering working in real estate, look for somewhere with a mentoring program and a culture of teamwork. Being able to share strategies and tactics to benefit the client is essential to your success.

Market leaders invest in their staff, providing opportunities to attend real estate conferences, continual learning and events that are a healthy mix of learning, challenge and fun. This keeps their top performers at the cutting edge of the industry so that they can stay at the top of their game.

2. You can sit back and collect the commission

Put in a couple of hours at an open home, return a phone call or two and collect the commission? Not so fast.

If you don’t want to be tied to a 9-5 schedule, real estate can be a great career. But like everything, you must learn your craft and put in the effort required to do so. Once you have this sorted and you are successful, real estate becomes a flexible gig.

For people with a real passion, the driven nature of real estate is a huge drawcard. Work hard and you can build a career that comes with rich rewards. But it’s important to understand what it involves.

Meeting with potential vendors means working around their schedule. For most people, that means after they finish work. Photography and video marketing are often timed to take advantage of the best light. Want a sunset shot? Come summer, you’ll be working well into the evening.

Many weekends, a real estate agent can find themselves battling traffic in the rush to get from one Saturday open to the next—all while dressed in their sharpest suit. It might be fun for an adrenalin junkie, but it’s certainly not easy!

Agents can’t relax once they’re at an exhibition, either. They’ll do a last minute primp and tidy before switching on the lights to greet a queue of buyers keen to see the property.

Once it’s all over, you can put your feet up and pour a glass of wine—as long as you’ve remembered to call all your weekend buyers.

3. Anyone can do it

It’s true that you don’t need a university degree to be a real estate agent. It’s a career that is open to anyone - even if you didn’t finish high school. Training is provided from the ground up and much of it can be done on the job under the mentorship of office principals and senior agents.

Just because real estate is accessible to all, though, doesn’t mean anyone can do it.

This is a people-driven career, so you need a personality that allows you to connect with others. Relationship building, delivering exceptional customer experiences and establishing trust are all integral to success. If fifty different conversations through five open inspections puts a smile on your face, then you just might be cut out for this career where solving people’s problems is the number one goal.

Good real estate agents genuinely enjoy meeting new people and making connections. And that authenticity shines through.

Because it’s a commission-driven role, real estate also requires dedication and drive. You must be tenacious about following up opportunities and willing to fit in around client needs.

Real estate suits people with certain types of personality. There’s an element of risk vs. the reward of uncapped earning potential for those that are willing to dive into it. If you’d enjoy being your own boss - and you don’t mind putting in the hard yards to achieve your goals - give it a second look.

4. It’s all about making the sale

A real estate agent works hard to get the property sold. They’re not just zeroing in on the dotted line, though. A passionate real estate agent looks at the big picture.

Success as a real estate agent is all about building relationships.

In fact, the best real estate agents are committed to work to their clients’ best interests. That might mean advising them not to make or accept an offer if it doesn’t match up with their goals. At the heart of what a real estate agent does is the idea that everyone deserves the perfect home for them. That passion and customer-centric commitment extends a long way past the closing.

Relationship building extends to buyers, too. While you work for the seller, it’s important to make sure the purchaser is also satisfied at the end of the transaction. Treat them well, and they’ll call you first when it comes time for them to sell.

5. You need to be an extrovert

Most of us think of real estate agents as fast talking and flashily dressed. But if that’s not who you are, it doesn’t mean you aren’t a good fit for a career in property.

It’s true that real estate is a people-focused career. Still, you don’t have to be the life of the party to succeed.

Real estate is about understanding client needs so that you can help them. That makes empathy and good listening skills key. A good agent will ask questions and listen properly to the answers, not launch into sales patter right out of the gate.

Be willing to connect with your client to understand their real motivations. Selling property can be stressful, exciting, scary and aspirational all at once. It’s your role to reassure and excite throughout the property journey.

Some clients prefer frequent updates, whereas others like to be left alone unless there’s something important. Some are phone talkers, others prefer a quick text message. By adhering to your client’s preferred communication, you’ll have happier, more satisfied sellers. That takes empathy, not extroversion.

Want to know more about what it's like to work in real estate?

Visit our sales agent careers page to learn more about the industry and how to be successful. From there you can take an online real estate training course.

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