“Normal” people often ask me, “Cathy, could I make it if I’m not genetically predisposed to being a Realtor as you were?” Heredity did play a part in my career
default choice, but that’s not to say that you can’t succeed famously if your path is more circuitous. First, though:
Consider Other Employment Options
Brain Surgeon. Although a career in real estate can pay better, background in this field equips you to determine if the client’s behavior is physiological or psychological. Thus informed, you can stay on track when confronted with aberrant, non-buying behavior. Inquire if they took their meds today. Could couples’ therapy resolve the issue?
Pharmacist. True, $100,000 a year is tempting. But transfer that training to real estate and you can prescribe over-the-counter medications to clients, identify their symptoms as psychosomatic or contagious, and be a full-service Realtor.
Psychic. You may not have been born intuitive. But guaranteed, get into real estate and it will come naturally. Pretty soon you’ll be able to read minds.
It’s important to identify your skills and know your strengths. There is no clear path to becoming a Realtor so no one can say you’re unqualified, that you haven’t done the time. And if, by unfortunate chance, you have done time and can explain away the felony, you’re in.
Consider the Health Risks
Be warned: real estate is a blood condition. Symptoms include a constant ringing in the ears, identified by the American Medical Association as The Calling. It sounds a lot like the uhoooga! tone you set on your cell phone to identify incoming client calls.
It’s extremely contagious (they say three-quarters of Americans experience a form of it to some degree), and can be transmitted over the phone, computer, and carrier pigeon when whacking the heck out of your smart phone does not produce the desired results. It can lie dormant for years between bull markets. There is no cure.
Get to Know the Players
Before you commit, socialize with professionals in related fields:
A. Appraisers. This, for example, would be a joke you could tell an appraiser at a party, if they went to parties: How do you determine the market value of a single family dwelling? Answer: It’s the square root of the parcel number. He wouldn’t laugh, though, because appraisers are deadly serious. I know because I used to be one until I laughed convulsively at the annual cost to maintain my state appraiser’s certification ($495 for continuing education and the license) versus $87 a year to maintain my real estate broker’s license.
Conventions are a good place to get to know appraisers. If a real estate convention and an appraisal convention were held at the same time on the same floor at the same hotel, the appraisal convention would be mistaken for a wake. But they’re really very nice people.
B. Home Inspectors. Learn the words that endear you to them: lead, asbestos, non-conforming use. When you invite one for coffee, mention mold—he’ll pick up the check. Since you’re not paying, invite a termite inspector. It will feel like yoga class, such perfect harmony; they both love finding things that are Wrong.
C. Realtors. We can be found everywhere. For example, the following people I know have their real estate licenses:
- My hairdresser
- The owner of the corner Chinese restaurant
- My dentist’s receptionist
- Half of my Facebook friends
Tour day at your local real estate board is a good place to get to know us. We are a very friendly group and bond well, especially to sellers. Identify yourself as a prospective Realtor versus a lender, home inspector, or home warranty rep, and car doors will open to you. Why? Because we feed on new agents. But don’t let that scare you. Remember, you are there to learn.
We congregate and can often be found at conventions and seminars, learning things. It costs money to attend them. Here’s an important takeaway, insider information that you will only read here: Agents will give you the designer shirt off their back, their last cookie on tour day, but their secrets…you have to buy those. And they cost way more than my book, Laugh Your Way to Real Estate Sales Success (shameful plug) that will only set you back a Venti, four-shot, Caramel Macchiatto, which makes learning my secrets a real bargain!
If you don’t want to pay to get to know Realtors in their natural habitat, other places we can be found are: the grocery store, the Department of Employment, and jury duty. I, personally, love jury duty and take advantage of every opportunity to get reimbursed for mileage.
If you’ve read this far, you have what it takes to be a Realtor! Because, above all, you must have persistence and a sense of humor!