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Wednesday, February 8, 2023
ArlingtonReal EstateQ&A: A good time to enter the real-estate field?

Q&A: A good time to enter the real-estate field?

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Considering the different effects the pandemic has had on the real-estate market, local Realtors were asked what advice they would give, say, a family member who might want to enter the real estate field now, and how that advice would be different from before the pandemic.

Here are their answers.

Dee Murphy, Compass: “There was a 60 percent increase in real-estate licenses issued in 2021, so a lot of people tried to get into the business during the hot market. Now that things have slowed down, it all goes back to basics. Master the things you can control while you are learning – know the inventory, sales history, traffic patterns, everything. Finding a seasoned mentor to shadow is critical to learn how to do the job successfully. If you have discipline and are passionate about it, it’s a very rewarding career.”

Jack Shafran, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “It’s never a bad thing to get into the business. But if doing so, they should enter with three things in mind. One, get into it 100-percent motivated. Two, put enough money aside to carry on your lifestyle, because no money will be coming in right away. Three, establish yourself with an appropriate organization that fits the style you need to be successful. To find that, you have to talk to everybody. There are small and big companies. Some like taking on starters and others want nothing to do with them.”


Carol Temple, Coldwell Banker: “My advice would remain the same as always. The real estate business requires time, patience, dedication, adaptability and resilience. And you are going to spend your own money before you ever begin to generate an income. To make it work you need to have realistic expectations and sufficient money in the bank to live at least nine months, as no one is going to be signing a paycheck with your name on it. Dedication to learning as much as you can is a must. It will boost your confidence and ensure that you really are of service to the sellers and buyers you represent. Practice, practice, practice. Complete a listing agreement as though you are the seller. Fill out purchase-agreement forms as though you are the buyer. Read them scrupulously and ask yourself if you would sign them. If you don’t understand every word of every document and understand how one document requires and/or affects another, you are doomed.”

Casey Samson, Samson Properties: “My advice would be to be a professional. This is no place for part-timers or amateurs. You are dealing with the biggest investment of a buyer and seller’s life. Start on a team with training and guidance and never stop learning. The profession is ever evolving and you need to evolve with it. As you grow, find a team that can support you at your next level. This advice never changes based on market conditions. You either have a passion for real estate or you don’t.”

Donna Moseley, Sotheby’s International Realty: “First, I would say get educated, licensed and knowledgeable about the market area you want to work in. Know everything. Be prepared to invest time, energy and resources while you build your business. This is a time when many agents who got into the market in the last three years probably won’t stick it out when the going gets rough because they either don’t have the commitment to work through the market, or they don’t have the resources. Your first paycheck is probably at least 90 days from when you are licensed and with a broker. Find a mentor, whether it’s an agent or a brokerage. You might want to intern or assist them while you learn the ropes with their guidance. Big note here is nobody wants a new agent, so set yourself up to be successful by accessing the expertise of an established agent. Second big note, you may have to modify your personal presentation (wardrobe, grooming) to meet your identified client base.”

Eli Tucker, Eli Residential Group: “My advice would not change. I would point to the last 12 months as a great example of the ups and downs somebody in our profession needs to be prepared for, both financially and mentally.”

Betsy Twigg, McEnearney Associates: “If you are willing to work, it’s a good time to get into the business because there is less competition. Other agents are leaving or aren’t working as hard right now because they are discouraged by the slower market and higher interest rates. Some agents are saying things now are just too much trouble. But a new agent still has to be willing to work very hard.”

Mark Middendorf, Long & Foster: “I don’t think my advice would be any different than before the pandemic. The basic principles of being a Realtor have not changed. Get proper training. Get educated about the market you want to work in. Make it a full-time commitment in order to give your clients the best service and advice. The pandemic shifted how certain aspects of real estate are performed.”

Karen Briscoe, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group, Keller Williams: “If it is their calling and they enjoy relating to people and the opportunity to focus on a service aspect to people, then they should absolutely get in. It is a self-employed employment business and a people-related service. So that has to be understood and enjoyed, and you have to be in the market to learn it. They should join an agency of people with experience so they can learn really fast.”

Brian Wilson, The Hybrid Agent, Inc.: “I started my own real-estate brokerage in 2008 and it feels like we are heading into another uncertain time in real estate over the next 12 to 18 months. I believe in and love the real-estate industry and anyone can make a career in real-estate who has the passion for it. However, you must have a personal strategy. If you are just starting out, consider joining an established team at a brokerage that is strong in training and be prepared to go three to six months before you earn your first commission.”

Lizzy Conroy, Huckaby, Briscoe, Conroy Realty Group, Keller Williams: “I started my real estate career at the bottom of the market in 2009 and it was the absolute best time to enter the industry. Entering the profession in today’s shifting market is also the ideal time to start a real-estate career. Find a mentor whom you respect and are open to learning from. Take time to learn the technical aspects of the business and how best to service and care for clients. People often tell me they want to get into real estate because they love looking at houses. They quickly realize that this business is actually about the people you serve and how, with your experience, expertise, care and skill, you guide them through one of the most challenging times of their lives. If you are willing to commit to the business with a servant’s heart and smart business acumen, then you will succeed in any market.”

Steve Wydler, Wydler Brothers: “The main barrier to entry to this business is the period of time between getting your license and creating a reliable revenue stream. It can be anywhere from two months to a year before you see your first commission check. You should have at least six months of savings to start. Your family and other stakeholders in your life should also be aware and on board. You should know your value proposition and what your business model will be for acquiring clients. Why would someone want to use you? If your plan is to target your social network and/or prior professional network, you should talk to people in those groups to see if they already have an agent to whom they refer friends/colleagues in need of real estate assistance and/or if they would consider giving out your name. Over 90 percent of new agents don’t make it. In my opinion, the difference between the less than 10 percent who do succeed and those who don’t comes down passion, tenacity and competence.”

Dean Yeonas, Yeonas and Shafran Real Estate: “The first thing I tell anyone who wants to get into the business is do they have a passion for it and do they love it? Whether family or not, to me that’s the first and most important thing. A close second is taking the pride in being professional and knowledgeable to help families out with the biggest financial decision most are faced with in their lives. My two sons work with us in our company and represent the fourth generation of my family in the business. Because of that, I have some experience.”

Dave Adams, Coldwell Banker: “I would never discourage a family member from entering into the real-estate field. Obtaining your real estate license requires up-front monetary and time investments. I would tell them this profession requires you to be self-motivated, a problem solver and it can be stressful. To be successful you need to dedicate your energy to becoming a full-time agent. It takes time to establish yourself and you should keep some money in reserves. I would also tell them, after obtaining your license, which can take several months, talk to several brokerages. Determine which one has great training, mentoring programs and which one is right for you. Not all brokerages are the same. It is great way to earn a decent salary, and it will likely not happen overnight.”

Craig Mastrangelo, Re/Max Allegiance: “For the real-estate industry, in which much of our interaction with clients and the public is in-person, the pandemic taught us how to prioritize our social media platforms. While you can’t discount the importance of one-on-one interactions, whether through touring property, meeting for coffee/lunch/dinner, consumers and clients are able to monitor your relevancy through various social-media platforms, which don’t require in-person interaction and which have the ancillary benefit of promoting oneself as an expert in their local real-estate market. Face-time is still important.”

Ann Wilson, Keller Williams: “My advice to a family member is yes, become an agent as long as you always focus on providing clients with superior customer service and honest advice about the local market. When your focus is on your clients and making what is typically a stressful time in their life go easier and smoother, and continuing that service well past the closing table, you will be successful in real estate. Treat real estate as your full-time career, not as a part-time hobby. Educate yourself before you take the plunge. Negotiating is a skill many Realtors did not use during the last couple of years, and now is an essential tool. Get a mentor. You will need a seasoned agent to help you navigate the many myriads of real estate.”

Craig Burns, The Redux Group: “I would tell a family member to have six months to a year of capital before entering this, or any new business. It could take up to a year or two to begin showing any kind of profit, and a lot of patient perseverance will be required. I would also recommend joining a proven team, to ensure they would learn the best habits and practices of being in the real-estate field. Finding a mentor that one could help and learn from is a huge part of being able to be successful, during and after any kind of pandemic or global crisis of any kind.”

Barbara Lewis, Washington Fine Properties: “To become a trusted and knowledgeable Realtor is an admirable goal. I would say, just do it. It takes a lot of work as there are many educational requirements plus the importance of learning the market where one wants to specialize. Also, those entering the field need to realize that it requires long hours, seven days a week. My advice is the same now as it would have been before the pandemic.”

Carol Ellickson, TTR Sotheby’s International: “Real estate will always have its ups and downs. Some agents who got into the field during the pandemic are finding it’s not so easy now. Opportunities are not falling into their laps. Like any type of profession it takes consistent work and systems to establish your business to weather any market, if you want to succeed. In my opinion, the best time to get into real estate is when it is challenging. That is when you learn so much to become a seasoned Realtor.”

David Howell, McEnearney Associates: “Despite the current slowing of the market, this remains a great business. I think the opportunities are greater now than before or during the pandemic. In the frenzied market of the last two years and, given the volume of transactions, there was hardly time to focus on long-term business development. Demographically, we are nearing the beginning of a significant wave of new buyers coming into the market as the largest population ever in American history is entering their prime, first-time-home buying years. We should see a healthy market for a long time to come. But make no mistake – this is a business that requires focus, commitment and willingness to stay the course. For someone willing to make that commitment, jump in.”

Dawn Wilson, TTR Sotheby’s International: “My advice would be the same as before the pandemic. If you really want to be a Realtor and plan on being a full-time Realtor for the long-term, then pursue getting your license, joining a good brokerage and getting as much training as possible. It can take awhile for income to come in and it can also cost more money than you might expect for licensing, marketing, and other tools you will need. You should have at least six months of personal and business expenses saved up before you start. Pursue being a Realtor as your career and work on it every day. It can be time-consuming and may require working a lot of evenings and weekends. Some may get their real estate licenses thinking the job will be easy, and they may just dabble in it. Talk to other Realtors before you start about the hours and costs involved and their experiences, about what aspects of the job they enjoy most and why, and what aspects they enjoy lease and why, and what they wish they knew when they started.”

Rob Ferguson, RE/MAX Allegiance: “I do not think the advice is different now compared to pre-pandemic or during the pandemic. The bottom line for us has always been that your house is your home and finding the right house for you and your family is the top priority no matter the market or timing. So if you find the right house that fits your needs then everything else will fall into place. In terms of selling, the messaging is similar – sell when the time is right for you and do not try to time the market. We are fortunate to be in an overall strong market so making sure the purchase and sale timing is right for you is more important than trying to time the market.”

Tracy Williams, TTR Sotheby’s International Realty: “I would advise they look past the headlines and focus on value. Rising interest rates have impacted buying power and have therefore driven many buyers to the sidelines. However, those choosing to take advantage of the decline in competition and slight increase in inventory stand to gain in the long run. There are many economic indicators that suggest things will settle, and I believe buyers who choose to purchase now will potentially avoid what could be another imbalanced market when rates stabilize.”

Joy Deevy, Compass: “Once COVID hit, the market slowed, then sped up considerably. Second home sales became popular, homes were going off the market quicker, and sellers were able to command contract terms like those of previous markets during 2003 to 2005. When you are buying and selling a home in the same area, you are like a boat in the harbor, rising and falling with the same tide.”

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