realtor career path

The Pros and Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent

Million Dollar Listing. Property Brothers. Selling Sunset. Have these shows inspired you to want to become a Realtor? But how much of these shows is based on reality? What is it really like to become a real estate agent? What are the pros and cons of being a real estate agent?

Before you go through the process of becoming licensed, it’s important to understand the full picture. Yes, it’s a great industry with many rewards, but there are some drawbacks you need to understand before you leave your current job to help clients buy and sell houses full-time.

Pros and Cons of Working as a Realtor

We’ve gathered the following list of pros and cons when considering a career as a real estate agent. Here’s what real estate agents say about their jobs.

Pro: You’ll have a flexible schedule.

It’s nice being able to arrange your schedule so that you can be home with the kids when they get off school or help care for an aging parent. In fact, many people go into real estate because they don’t want a 9 to 5 job.

Con: You’ll work nights and weekends.

Client meetings, open houses, and showings often occur weekday evenings and weekends. Yes, you can schedule those work events so they suit your schedule. But when you work on commission, you may feel pressured into planning events according to your client’s preferences.

What you can do: Use your time wisely and outsource tasks.

Time management skills are essential for a real estate agent. You must learn to work on the go – from your car, an open house, or your kid’s soccer practice. Luckily, some new real estate technologies are making daily professional tasks easier.

Also, look for brokerages that employ real estate assistants and ask them to complete some of your tasks.

Pro: Real estate agents have unlimited income potential.

As a real estate agent, your salary will be based entirely on your commissions. If reading this statement excites you, you might be ready to become a real estate agent.
After all, it’s exciting to think you have unlimited income potential when working as a Realtor. Perhaps you have never been rewarded financially for working hard at a job, and it’s always frustrated you that your mediocre coworkers earned the same salary.

Con: You have no safety net during slow periods.

You don’t automatically get a paycheck as a real estate agent. If you don’t make any sales, you don’t get paid.

What’s frustrating to many is that sometimes those slow months are caused by things out of the real estate agent’s control, such as a downturn in the economy, increased interest rates, or a pandemic.

What you can do: Save part of your earnings for a rainy day.

Some real estate agents grow their businesses while working another job. Others depend on the regular income of a spouse or a partner to get them through the rough patches. Some save up cash before starting their business to have a backup fund to draw from during months with no income.

You must also know the standard real estate agent expenses and Start-Up and First-Year Costs for Real Estate Agents.

And for more info about the income of real estate agents, read our article: How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Pro: You get to help make your client’s dreams come true.

Homeownership is a goal for many. As a real estate professional, you get to be part of some of life’s biggest moments with your clients. It can be exciting and rewarding.

Con: The buying and selling process can be stressful for clients.

Buying a house is a significant financial decision. The process can be tenuous and stressful – especially if your client is trying to buy a home in a hot market or sell in a cold market.

What you can do: Develop a robust professional network.

A network of like-minded professionals can support you when you’re struggling with a client. Mentors can share approaches that have worked for them in the past.

Spend time getting to know other real estate agents in your area and discuss ways they approach working with demanding clients.

Pro: You are a business owner.

Yes, beginning real estate agents must work under a broker to legally sell real estate. However, for all intents and purposes, a real estate agent is a small business owner. You will create your own schedule, decide what clients to work with, and market yourself in the community.

Con: You’re responsible for taxes, insurance, and retirement.

Some brokerages offer health insurance options. But as a real estate agent, you will be responsible for paying your own self-employment tax and insurance – and saving for retirement.

What you can do: Hire professionals to help.

Work with a qualified accountant who can help you with your quarterly taxes and seek the advice of a financial planner to plan for retirement. The National Association of Realtors offers many such resources for real estate agents.

Colibri Real Estate School Can Help You Succeed

As you can see from our list above, the pros and cons of being a real estate agent can be easily addressed with a strategic plan in place. Additionally, a quality real estate education will not only help you earn your real estate license, but it will also help you succeed in this highly competitive field. Are you ready to be your own boss and earn commissions in the tens of thousands of dollars? Then, begin your pre-licensing coursework with Colibri Real Estate.

Colibri Real Estate (formerly Real Estate Express) has helped real estate agents succeed in the industry for over 25 years. We offer pre-licensing coursework, test prep materials, post-licensing courses, and continuing ed classes. We can also help you earn your broker’s license when you are ready to take that step in your career.