Becoming a real estate agent

Your Questions Answered

At Ashlar, I firmly b that an educated home buyer or seller is best equipped to make their own decisions. That’s why I take time out of my day each and every day to answer someone’s real estate question.  And, when I think the answer can be useful to you as well, I share it here.  So without further ado:


Should I become a real estate agent so I can save on commission and closing costs?

If you’re not interested in doing it full time, do something else. Being a Realtor isn’t a side hustle you can do after work in a couple of hours.

The only exception to this would be if you have a huge sphere of influence (friends and family) and enough trust built with them that they would use you or use who you recommend. In that case, you can refer those friends and family to another agent and take a referral fee, typically in the 20%-30% range of 1 side of the transaction.

The main issue is flexibility. While the “sign call buyer for an immediate sale” is mostly a myth, the truth is that you will have to be available at various times of the day, and it will change day by day.

One week you will have people that can only look after work, 6-8 pm. Next week will be weekend showings, do an open house, then you have showings Tuesday at 10 am cause they’re flying out.

If you want to do it full time, then yes, you can transition from your current job to a Realtor full time. But if you just want to make some extra bucks there are way easier ways to do it.

And that’s if you’re busy, which the vast, vast majority of agents *aren’t*. The 80/20 rule is more like the 95/8 rule in Real Estate. The misconception is that you get your license and friends and family fall over themselves to buy or sell a home immediately, the broker is there with perfectly manicured prospects for you to work, and the entire process is easy, open a few doors, get some signatures, and fat checks roll in effortlessly.

The truth is that while it can be lucrative, the industry overall is like trying to straighten 2-day old spaghetti to go back in the box. It takes time (months to years) to learn how to be effective at it. Why? Because each agent HAS to be their own business. Meaning you are responsible for marketing, sales, process, quality assurance, and accounting. And the broker-provided leads (if any) are probably Zillow / Trulia purchases that go to 30 other agents across the area.

The only shortcut through that is to join a team (which I am currently looking for Realtors both listing and buyers agents to join my team on both sides of the bay currently if anyone is reading this is interested).

But the problem there is teams usually want an agent that is committed, meaning full time or with a set schedule. An agent only interested in doing stuff after work is of little use because most of the major stuff happens 10-5, 7 days a week, with paperwork and contracts occasionally going later into the evening.

Your thought about saving closing costs is also a little off. Funny enough, the state classes for licensing don’t even cover the contract or listing agreement everyone uses, but here’s a brief overview.

The listing agreement is between the property owner and Brokerage, and it sets the commission both for the listing agent and the buyer’s agent on a transaction. So listing agent is getting their commission no matter what, and the title company and the state via taxes are also getting their closing costs from you as the buyer, and one of the other main chunks is lender origination and prepaid (basically paying for property taxes and insurance for the month upfront).

So what you *may* save would be the 2%-3% buyers agent commission which would go to you or you could maybe apply towards the purchase, however, that is highly dependent on the Broker. After all, brokers make their money either off commission split with you or via transaction fees.

Plus, as I said, the licensing classes cover absolutely NOTHING about the contracts, how they work, how to successfully negotiate, and how to make sure you’re protected.

Anyways, it’s not a cakewalk, it’s an actual profession. Only go through the hassle of getting your license if you actually have a passion for it.

Kyle Sasser

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