What to Consider When Plotting Your Real Estate Career Path
There are so many career options in the real estate industry, but most people only think of becoming real estate agents when they venture into the business. They imagine making a comfy living while working on their own schedule and being their own boss. What they don’t picture are the occasional 16-hour work days or frequent sleepless nights it often takes to make it as a real estate agent.
While it’s a worthy and attainable goal for some to make it big selling real estate, it’s not the only path for people who earn their license and build a career in real estate. It’s easy to obtain your license, but it’s not so easy to succeed as an agent. If a sometimes-grueling workload and uncertainty over your next payday don’t appeal to you, there are other extremely rewarding and lucrative careers in real estate. Some personalities are better suited for more behind-the-scenes roles, and the trade-offs (e.g. normal business hours, a steady paycheck) aren’t so bad, either.
Whether you become an agent, a transaction coordinator, marketing manager or something else, the secret to being happy in the career you pursue is a combination of knowing yourself and knowing your options.
Which real estate career suits your personality?
One of the most common mistakes we see by people looking to get into real estate is pursuing one career path when their personality and skills are better suited for another.
Pro R.E.A. and many hiring managers in real estate swear by the DISC, a behavioral assessment tool that’s extremely useful for helping determine people’s personalities, strengths, and weaknesses, and even whether they’re better suited to be a realtor or someone on the operations or administrative side.
While these are generalizations, years of research have determined that for most, the following outcomes are true:
- People who score as a high D/I or I/D have a strong sales behavioral style.
- People who score as a high S/C or C/S have a strong administrative behavioral style.
- People who score as a high I/S are a strong fit for a client-facing position such as buyer’s agent or showing assistant.
- People who score as a high D/C or C/D are the holy grail, tending to fall into many different roles successfully, although, they can be difficult to work with or manage.
Reading your DISC assessment can be eye-opening if you’re not sure what role might be a good fit for you and it can even lead you toward career paths you hadn’t considered before. Knowing where your strengths lie and which roles are well-suited for your behavioral style can help you avoid wasting time in the wrong job and build toward a career you’ll love in the long-term.
If you want to learn more about your own DISC behavioral profile, purchase the assessment for $20 here.
The secret weapon in real estate: admins and operations
Behind every successful real estate team are the assistants, transaction coordinators, and marketing managers—among others—who keep the engine running smoothly. They’re organized, are always improving upon their systems, and take ownership of their work and how it affects the bottom line.
One of the best things about these roles is there’s lots of room for growth. If you pursue a real estate career on the administrative side of the equation, your career trajectory can go from entry-level admin to a single agent, to an executive assistant or transaction manager for a small team, to director of operations for a large team or brokerage. It’s not impossible to go from an hourly wage to earning $150k-plus a year supervising staff, supporting buyer’s agents, documenting systems and procedures, even doing a few real estate deals of their own—all in a matter of a few years.
Many admins hone in even further on their strengths along the way and choose to specialize in an area they’re most talented in. For example, a highly organized licensed assistant who’s well-versed in the escrow period might become a transaction coordinator, working with a number of agents on multiple deals at a time, making sure all the files are accounted for. Others might love creating social media content and advertising campaigns and become a marketing manager for a team or brokerage.
The best part of working on the administrative side is the option to take the parts of real estate you’re best at managing and leaving sales to the salespeople.
The path to sales
If it’s a sales role you’re seeking, it’s just as important to plot your moves strategically, as some paths can pave the way to success better than others.
Every week, we receive emails and phone calls from candidates looking for jobs in real estate. Many of them are newly or soon-to-be licensed and want to learn the ropes in a supportive administrative position for a year or two before going out on their own as an agent.
While it sounds logical to learn from the pros before diving in, most realtors have no interest in training you just so you can become their competition, and they’re likely to sniff out your motivation anyway. You’re far better off learning the sales aspect of real estate, because if you truly have the talent to thrive as an agent, you’ll only be delaying learning the skills you need to get clients.
A great place to start is by working in a lead generation support position, like an inside sales agent. You’ll learn how to cold call and set appointments early on and be way ahead of much of the competition who dread doing lead gen activities. A natural next step would be to join a team as a buyer’s agent or showing assistant, setting up tours for buyers and writing and negotiating offers.
Of course it’s listings agents covet most of all, and eventually you’ll learn how to win listing clients and market a home for sale. As your team grows, you may transition into becoming a team leader with multiple buyers agents, assistants, and a transaction coordinator. Many agents find well into their career that they want to step into a managerial or coaching role, training and recruiting new agents and being a resource for an office or team. This can be especially rewarding if you are an expert, love what you do, and want to help other agents succeed.
Clearly there’s no one right path in real estate—only the one that’s right for you. If you’re ready to take the next step in your career, visit our job board to see what positions are available near you. Then complete your DISC behavioral assessment online by visiting our DISC page here.