Ask Us: “considering joining the business” (of real estate)

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Where readers ask, and we try to answer.

I was wondering what advice Alex [the editor] and the other experienced Realtors on this blog would give to someone considering joining the business. I have my broker’s license (I am a lawyer so I took and passed the test last year). I am employed full time but considering making the switch late next year (primarily due to my interest in real estate). One thought I had was to work with Ziprealty for a year or two. I realize that the commission split would not be very attractive but they have an extensive training program and they generate leads for their brokers so it might be a good way to get some transactions under my belt before heading to another brokerage. Thoughts?

Well “anon”, the answer to this is easy. Don’t do it! ;-) As we said in a previous comment that you may or may not have seen, there are currently 5200 Licensed agents in the city of San Francisco. How many are practicing is a different story. Regardless, there are a lot, and there aren’t that many deals to go around.

That being said, this business is fun, exciting, and has unlimited earnings potential, but you have to make it happen. Nobody will do it for you, and there are certainly lots of peaks and valleys. If you’ve never worked a commission only job, beware. If you don’t have the stomach for not making a dime for 6 months at a time when you start out, don’t do it. There is something to be said for having that pay check come every two weeks.

However, with essentially becoming your own boss, comes tons of freedom to do whatever you like, and it often gets you thinking out of the box. It got me to start sfnewsletter and this blog, which is leading to all kinds of opportunities I never would have had in a desk job. I can leave town whenever I want, surf in the middle of a Wednesday, ski when the snow is good, and what I make is dependent entirely on how much effort I put forth.

Regarding starting at ZipRealty…why? If you’re going to work in San Francisco go with a reputable company like Zephyr, Hill & Co, McGuire, Paragon, Vanguard, etc. etc. They all provide training in some form or another. If you plan on working outside of SF, again..why Zip?

Bottom line, this business is not easy, not in the slightest. If you’re going to go for it, go full steam. If you’d like to start out at Zephyr, I happen to know a good broker. ;-)

Best of luck, and I hope this helps.

alex (the editor)

2 thoughts on “Ask Us: “considering joining the business” (of real estate)

  1. Alex – thanks so much for your response!

    What about the lead part. If I join one of the big realtors I will need to shake down my friends and family to get any business

    [Editor's note: Anon, let's continue this over email. Please contact me directly, thefrontsteps@gmail.com. The short answer...yes, most of your business will come from friends, family, and referrals.]

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