Article By: Jim Porter
Television shows like “House Hunters,” “Fixer Upper” and “Million Dollar Listing” make becoming a real estate agent look fun, glamorous and easy. Back in the old days, Century 21 agents wore flashy gold sport coats and everyone was trained to dress for success.
Top producers usually drive expensive cars and even the average full-time agents must have a presentable car, or at least pre-Covid they did, because buyer’s agents drive people around all weekend to show homes and an agent doesn’t want to park out in front of a potential listing and have the seller see a rundown 1979 Ford Pinto.
Many people outside of the real estate business have a perception that most real estate agents make a lot of money and have a relatively easy job. Holy cow, this is the farthest thing from reality.
First, there are costs involved in becoming a licensed agent for the required education and paying the Department of Real Estate for the license. Once the person passes the DRE test, the newcomer chooses a broker to work for and pays all the dues required to become a Realtor, which is what happens when an agent becomes a member of the local, California and National Association of Realtors.
A Realtor is a licensed real estate agent who belongs to the National Association of Realtors, the largest trade group in the country.
The Realtor apprenticeship is like becoming a pilot for any of the airlines or a journeymen carpenter. A brand-new pilot makes $36,000 per year for the first two years and then jumps to $150,000 per year if they survive the two years. A journeyman master craftsman carpenter may take three to five years of labor, hard work and studying under a mentor before they make $100,000 per year.
It usually takes two to three years of working 50 hours per week, attending every sales training seminar or webinar possible, studying under a proven top producing mentor or multiple mentors and training from the broker owner before a Realtor can make $100,000 net profit per year.
Almost all Realtors are independent contractors and must pay for all their own expenses. New Realtors must constantly be marketing, making sales calls, following up on leads effectively that they are given by their broker or that they buy from entities like Zillow, and be willing to accept rejection while building a database of clients and potential clients.
There are 3,000 licensed real estate agents in Solano County and only 500 homes sold per month. Fortunately, for an ambitious, hard-working, full-time Realtor apprentice, 2,000 of the licensed agents are part-time, possibly lazy, semi-retired, many are not NAR members, and some are just old veteran Realtors satisfied selling two or three homes per year because they have lots of income-producing assets or their spouse works and makes enough monthly to support the household.
Yes, selling homes can be fun and super rewarding helping people achieve the American Dream, but it is by no means easy.
Jim Porter, NMLS No. 276412, is the branch manager of Solano Mortgage, NMLS No. 1515497, a division of American Pacific Mortgage Corporation, NMLS No. 1850, licensed in California by the Department of Financial Protection and Innovation under the CRMLA / Equal Housing Opportunity. Jim can be reached at 707-449-4777.
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