[JOURNEY] Becoming a Real Estate Agent (Realtor) from Scratch to Earn Six-Figure Income in One Year

Big Ron

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Hello World!

I've been thinking about doing a Journey thread on my newest challenge: selling real estate. I am native to healthcare (30+ years) and have an on-going Journey thread here which chronicles blogging for income based on niche selection. I enjoy writing which is partly why I enjoy blogging. This thread gives me another outlet for writing while I chronicle the steps I take to earn six figures a year in real estate sales.

So if you don't know a thing about real estate and you are interested in what it takes to sell it, this might be a journey for you to follow.

Case Study:

Can I make a six-figure income working in real estate by the end of one year?

Backstory:

I'm a serial entrepreneur always dabbling in things to make extra income for my family. I've owned a handful of businesses and sold a wide variety of things on the internet. I have finally found a town where my children can thrive and I don't want to keep chasing the corporate healthcare world for the next highest salary in another state. So, I decided to start looking around locally at what is making good money. Here in Idaho, we are in a real estate boom. All the big city people are rushing here to buy a piece of rural America and paying the asking price (and then some) for the property.

My wife casually mentioned real estate to me in sort of a ... "what if we sold real estate...as a couple?"

Intrigued to have a partner and something we could do together, I liked the idea. Plus, it was outside of healthcare which I desperately needed. Working from home is also appealing.

The very next day, I ran into a friend at the UPS store in town. He has been in real estate for about ten years. In our casual conversation, he asked what I had been up to lately. Told him I was looking for something new and he asked if I had ever thought about real estate.

"How funny you should ask," I told him. My wife and I were just talking about that the other night. He invited us to his office for more information the next day and we accepted.

He is a real estate broker and he shared some data with us regarding how many local sales, commissions, etc were happening in our area. The data was encouraging and impressive.

Long story short, I signed up to be an agent for his agency. BUT, I negotiated some things as part of the deal. During our discussion, I learned it takes approximately $2000 in classes, license fees, and other costs just to become a Realtor. Since he was "pursuing" me to be on his team, I negotiated that he pay those fees as a sponsorship and I would work on his team.

And so it begins.

Timeline:

September - take RE (Real Estate) classes. You are required to take 160 classroom hours in Idaho to sit for the exams. That means you take two weeks of 8a-5p class or 5 weeks of 530pm-10pm Mon-Thurs classes. I chose night class to get in the fastest. (classes are not offered very often. like every other month). My classes started Monday, Sept 14 with the last day of the class being Oct 16.

October - finish RE classes and take the National and State exams. Exams are proctored through Pearson Vue. Mine was Oct 19th. Begin to apply to all the associations, software licensures, establish new career fodder (business cards, embroidered work shirts, Facebook Agent page, Gmail accounts and email signatures, business phone numbers, etc.). Basically set up everything you need to start marketing yourself in a new business.

November - learn a multitude of software programs: BoomTown (desktop and separate phone app), Grasshopper, Zillow Premier Agent, Zillow 3D Home, Supra eKey, IMLS (Idaho's Multi Listing Service, unique to real estate), Homekeepr, Twilio, AuthentiSign, RealtyTrac, DotLoop, MailChimp, 5 Keller Williams apps (I joined the Keller Williams agency),...and that's all I can think of at the moment. Also, begin 30-60-90 day onboarding to my new agency. Begin thinking about establishing some goals.

December - continue learning and onboarding which, outside of learning all the software, is focused on practicing "scripts." Scripts are things you say to someone when having a discussion about buying or selling a home. More on that later. Start to shadow team agents to learn how to script both on the phone and in person. Shadow during home showings and learn what paperwork gets printed out for each showing (Covid form, Agency Brochure, Buyer's or Seller's Representation Agreement, and printed home listings from IMLS which include a Realtor version with extra information not for public eyes and a public version for your customer). Note to self: a sturdy home printer is a necessity.

January - start flying solo selling homes. I was hired as a Buyer's Agent which means I focus on helping people BUY homes only. I don't try to sell homes for Sellers. But that will come in time. Based on established goals, contact X number of people every day in some fashion (email, text, call, doorknock), get them qualified (how many beds, baths, square footage, price range, bank loan or cash, etc), use my software to find homes that match desires and schedule showings.

February - December - wash, rinse, repeat. I'm sure I'll have something more to add to the timeline as I learn more about the industry. For now, this is exactly where I am in the timeline. Today is January 2nd.

To skip to some good stuff...

The Money
Commissions are 3% for each transaction (buying or selling). If you can do both for one client, you can get the whole 6% commission. But this varies on a lot of things. Percentages can change.
Also, know that RE sales payout when all paperwork is done and the banks and title company are finished. Cash deals can payout in days. Bank deals can take months. I'm expecting average bank payouts to be about six weeks from the offer.

For example: a $300,000 sold house pays 3% or $9,000 to the RE Agent who assists the Buyers in buying the home. The Seller of the home also pays another 3% to the RE Agent who helped them Sell the home. Who pays the Buyer's Agent and Seller's Agent can vary depending on negotiations during the deal. Regardless of whether the Buyer or Seller pays it, the Agents still get paid.

With those numbers, if I can sell one $300,000 home each month, I'll make $108,000 for the year (12 months x $9,000 = $108,000). Because I am new to RE and getting a lot of help, I am splitting my commissions with my brokerage. This varies from agent to agent and brokerage to brokerage. Also, the average sales price of a home varies from location to location.

Upcoming posts:

RE School
How long is it, what are the classes, what we learned, what books we used, prepagent.com, two main tests to graduate the class, national and state exams, many classmates did not pass state, costs, how to find classes, how to study for national and state exams

Choosing an Agency or Flying Solo
In my opinion, it takes MUCH longer to start solo and build up. I prefer to find a great mentor and hit the ground running. I chose the Keller Williams agency and my mentor, and friend, is one of the top-selling agents in my area. There is a list of questions you should ask brokers to see if they are a good fit for you.

Agency Dynamics
A well-thought-out org chart can make an average agency thrive and rocket into record-breaking status. As an agency grows, should you grow your agent ranks or spread out laterally with ancillary support? Having spent 30+ years in healthcare and 10+ years in senior leadership, I can already see the potential in the agency I have joined based on their org chart structure and use of high tech software.

The Costs of Being a Realtor
Wow, I had no idea how much the costs were. I'll write up a breakdown of all the fees I've paid or had sponsored up to this point. If I had to guess, I bet there have been at least 25-30 fees already. Some become monthly fees, some are annual. There are also ongoing educational requirements, much like the healthcare field. Every two years you have to take a certain number of classes to keep your license current. Then you add in business cards, company logo shirts, maybe some logo pens to leave with your clients or at open houses. Oh, and passport photos with fingerprint background checks are required to sit for the license exams. It is quite extensive...and expensive.

Available RE Software
I had no idea how many different software applications were involved in the RE game but it is quite extensive and fairly high tech. Boomtown, for my agency, is the backbone.

The Steps of an RE Deal
Qualifying, scripting, showing, contracts, listing, inspections, appraisals, title, offers and counteroffers, contingencies, and on and on. Still learning this one.

Generating Leads
Sphere of Influence (your own network of friends/family), cold calls, software leads (Boomtown is genius here), networking in associations, advertising on billboards, local marketing at schools, Open Houses, click funnels, Facebook ads, purchasing leads, vehicle advertising wraps, etc. I'm really looking forward to researching how my blogging experience can play into driving more Google traffic to our real estate site.

Networking in RE
Just like my blogging journey, join RE Facebook groups and start reading, lurking, reading, lurking...then start asking questions when you are ready. Join associations, get to know your fellow local agents, sponsor events, etc.

Setting up your Home Office
Desktops, laptops, phones, business phone numbers (BoomTown), email signatures, banners, Facebook agent page, content, business cards, RE gear (measuring tape, business shirts, masks/booties, printer, etc)

How to Show a Home
A good way to land new buyers: staging, giveaways, social media marketing, snacks and drinks, flyers, which days, which hours of the day, etc.

Communicating with Customers
On-going comms is key because they may not be ready to buy/sell at that moment but will at some point. Use texts, calls, emails, handwritten letters, typed cards, recurring e-alerts, smart drips, phone apps, concierge services (outsources and inhouse), Facebook posts, Instagram, and all the other social media platforms.

Wish me luck and by all means, if you know more than me...please share!
 

Boriss

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This is quite an interesting journey.

Good luck with the journey.

Don't forget to update the thread.
 

Bleach17

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You have a solid background behind you. It should be easier with that much of experience. Hope you reach your goal fast!
 

JohnH8Man

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Wow, that's a very detailed post. I am glad that you're putting in the effort to become an agent. Good luck on your venture.
 

detriot

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I also have a local friend with a RE agency getting me to go into RE with him to digitalize his business flow with my IM experience. Good to see this detailed RE post here on BHW. Good luck, I am excited to read your updates.
 

Chocolope

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Hey Big Ron

I've been following your other thread as we, pretty much from the very beginning.

I've subscribed to this one was well. :)

Rreally looking forward to your upcoming posts.
 

Big Ron

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Hey Big Ron

I've been following your other thread as we, pretty much from the very beginning.

I've subscribed to this one was well. :)

Rreally looking forward to your upcoming posts.
Welcome aboard Chocolope! Should be entertaining!
 

Big Ron

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I also have a local friend with a RE agency getting me to go into RE with him to digitalize his business flow with my IM experience. Good to see this detailed RE post here on BHW. Good luck, I am excited to read your updates.
Oh and feel free to share some knowledge. I have a feeling my agency doesn't know much about SEO and digital marketing. I could expand in a big way that direction. Like adding a blog to our real estate site to draw traffic from Google.
 

Ibukole

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I have a feeling that the real estate market is going to get super busy once the moratoriums on evictions expires. A lot of small landlords have been falling behind and they might end up with tenantless properties and little prospect of ever recouping their losses. I would not be surprised if once we start getting back more to normal people start selling their properties like crazy. Wishing you the best of luck. Back in the 90s I had a friend who was a realtor and she did really good.
 

Big Ron

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I have a feeling that the real estate market is going to get super busy once the moratoriums on evictions expires. A lot of small landlords have been falling behind and they might end up with tenantless properties and little prospect of ever recouping their losses. I would not be surprised if once we start getting back more to normal people start selling their properties like crazy. Wishing you the best of luck. Back in the 90s I had a friend who was a realtor and she did really good.
It is already picking up steam here in Idaho. Our inventory is about 65% of what it was a few months ago. Boise is low so people looking there are starting to spread out and look further north and south. We are are out of rentals too. I airBnB'd my summer trailer last year and pretty much kept it booked for $179/night. Anything and everything is getting rented out, including AirBnBs.
 

Matta28

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This was something new and interesting post! This is bookmarked for sure!
 

EntertheDeals

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@BigRon Wife and I are contemplating moving to Colorado and a realtor had started a Facebook group. They called it, Move to Northern Colorado. Might be a good idea to start yourself a group now and get a head start on building some leads.
 

Big Ron

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@BigRon Wife and I are contemplating moving to Colorado and a realtor had started a Facebook group. They called it, Move to Northern Colorado. Might be a good idea to start yourself a group now and get a head start on building some leads.
Believe it or not, and you probably can believe it, but I already got kicked out of a Facebook group. It was for new realtors and every time somebody would ask a question 50 people would come out of the woodwork offering to sell them something. So when a friend of mine made a comment on there I was quick to say I’ve got the perfect solution for just $99.95. And they banned me. LOL
 

Big Ron

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@BigRon Wife and I are contemplating moving to Colorado and a realtor had started a Facebook group. They called it, Move to Northern Colorado. Might be a good idea to start yourself a group now and get a head start on building some leads.
I’m thinking about that and building up the blog associated with our agency website. Right now it is only used for searching properties. I think I could build up the blog side of it just like we’ve been doing in my other journey thread. The same SEO and everything else should apply.
 
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