is it hard to be in real estate

Is being a real estate agent hard? Here’s the 5 Hardest Things

Is it hard to be in real estate? We asked real estate professionals across the country that very question to get a sense of what the challenges are for agents who are new to the business. Here are some of the top insights we learned, as well as strategies for how to tackle common real estate challenges.

1. You get paid differently

Julie Gurner, real estate analyst with, has a doctor of psychology and her real estate license. She has renovated and flipped properties across the country.

“The hardest part of being in real estate for new agents is financial and technical,” she says. “It is financially challenging because most people are used to salaried positions. They are accustomed to getting a paycheck every two weeks after putting in a certain amount of work. In real estate, you only eat what you kill.”

What to do about it:

Sharpen your budgeting skills so your finances are in order whether feast or famine. It’s also helpful to have money in reserve before you jump into a new career, so you have savings to draw from while you’re learning how much you will earn as a new agent. We’ve put together a list of costs to consider when starting a real estate business to help you. 

2. You wear multiple hats

When we asked Gurner, “is it hard to be in real estate?” she had another challenge to add: you have to run your own business.

“For the first time,” says Gurner, “you have to think about things like marketing budgets, marketing methods, branding, and generating leads…all while trying to pay the bills. Most real estate agents get training regarding how to do the specific work and the laws around it, but they don’t get training on how to run their own business. Aspects such as generating leads, how to follow up with leads, systems of organization are all foreign concepts you have to learn and learn quickly to survive.”

What to do about it:

These are business skills that take practice to sharpen; they don’t come overnight. We recommend finding a mentor and reading blogs for new agents that can help you develop.

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3. Working off hours

Is it hard to be in real estate? According to Lucas Machado, co-founder of House Heroes Realty LLC, there are two major obstacles he has faced and overcome in his own personal real estate journey.

”The most challenging aspect of the real estate industry off-hours work,” he said. “Working hours for real estate professionals run counter to friends and family working the traditional 9-to-5 workday. People buying and selling their homes have regular day jobs and may only be available during the evening or weekend. This means working while your friends and family are off. It can be depressing needing to be a property while others are enjoying a weekend barbecue.”

What to do about it:

Here’s how Machado has overcome this aspect of the real estate business:

Make sure you are fully mobile. Although important work may have to happen, as long as you are equipped with a laptop or tablet you can make yourself available any place.

“Next, hiring help goes a long way. Include in your budget some help with showing or visiting properties. It’s very common to need to check on the houses you are working – but you don’t have to be the one to do it.

“Another great option to cut down on travel time is a ‘lock box.’ A lock box allows you to leave a key at the house secured by a passcode which you can provide to select realtors.”

4. Feeling like you need to work all the time

Another aspect that Machado mentioned when we asked “Is it hard to be in real estate?” is the compulsion to work all the time. Here are his thoughts on that need and how he’s addressed it in his business.

Real estate agents are responsible for growing their business. You are in complete control – but that means your career rises or falls on your own work. There is always more work that could be completed. This creates a compulsion to work as hard as possible and a feeling of ‘slacking off’ when trying to relax.”

What to do about it:

It’s not all doom and gloom when you become a real estate agent. There are ways to address this feeling of constantly needing to work. Here’s what Machado does.

“Hiring a virtual assistant is a great way to reduce administrative workloads. There are plenty of assistants that are happy to work from home for relatively low costs. They can review listings, make phone calls and process data. I’ve trained my personal virtual assistant for a year now and she is an indispensable part of my business.

Another way to feel good about taking time off is proper prioritization. Identify the work that is important to your businesses growth and success. Don’t be afraid to say no. Saying no to one thing means saying yes to another.”

5. You deal with all kinds of personalities

Something many agents mentioned when we asked, “is it hard to be in real estate?” was the people aspect of the business. Even if you like being around people, the feeling of constantly having to be “on,” especially when you deal with personalities that are much different from yours, can be draining.

Here’s what Nick Oliver, from NYC’s HomeDax Real Estate had to say.

“The greatest challenge and opportunity in being an agent is navigating the wide variety of personalities in the marketplace. The emotional element of real estate magnifies personalities and can bring out the very best or worst in buyers, sellers and fellow agents.”

What to do about it:

While Oliver finds this a challenge, he’s found he can overcome this challenge by changing his outlook and seeing the flipside of it — learning how to deal with different personalities can bring great personal satisfaction.

“One of the most rewarding elements of being an agent is successfully adapting to the various personalities one encounters during each and every deal.”

Just like any business, real estate has its challenges. Is it hard to be in real estate? Sometimes, yes. Yet every challenge is something new to overcome. The challenges are what makes becoming a successful real estate professional so rewarding.

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