If you’re busy juggling the responsibilities of a parent, you might feel like it’s impossible to start a complicated and high-earning career like becoming a real estate agent. However, with the right attitude and a good plan to start, you can get the skills you need and start marketing yourself to clients in a matter of months.
Here’s how to do it.
Decide Whether Real Estate Is Right for You
First, you should decide whether real estate is the right career path for you. As a parent, you’re going to have many different priorities to manage, and there may not be room for such a career. There are a few downsides you’ll need to consider before moving forward:
- Time requirements and scheduling. Real estate agents often deal with hectic schedules and massive time requirements. Your clients will need you to be available at unpredictable times, often including nights and weekends. You may be able to sell a property very quickly, or it may take several months. And it may be months, or even years, before you get enough experience to feel confident in your abilities to buy and sell real estate for others.
- High competition. On top of that, you’re going to have a lot of competition. At certain points in the last few years, there have been more practicing real estate agents in the United States than houses listed for sale. If you want to stand out and get more clients, you’re going to have to work hard to differentiate yourself, starting with a unique value proposition for your brand.
- Inconsistent income. Some people find themselves spread thin because of the inconsistent income. During your hot periods, you might make plenty of money, but dry spells can be problematic. If you’re interested in becoming a real estate agent only as a second stream of income, this may not be as big of a concern for you.
- Stress. Being a real estate agent is certainly stressful, no matter how much experience you have. You’ll be managing big and complex transactions with uncertain results, and there’s no guarantee that you’re going to be successful.
But for many people, the advantages outweigh the downsides:
- Flexibility. You can take your career in many different directions. You can join a brokerage or start your own. You can remain independent. You can retire early and start investing in properties of your own. And depending on your approach, you may even be able to set your own schedule and avoid taking on more clients than you can reasonably handle.
- Practically unlimited income potential. One of the most common reasons to pursue real estate is because of the practically unlimited income potential. You’ll make money based on how many transactions you close and how much work you put in, which means you have the potential to turn this into a lucrative career.
- Personal experience. Some people get involved as a real estate agent because they have a long-term goal of becoming real estate investors on their own. This is a great way to gain experience on your path to becoming a real estate investor.
- Connection and support. Other people just like to help their clients find the perfect home. You’ll get to meet lots of new people and forge genuine connections with them.
The Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent
So does a career as a real estate agent sounds like a good fit for you?
If so, you’ll need to take the following steps:
- Background research. Before you do anything, it’s a good idea to do some preliminary research to figure out how real estate licensing works in your state. Licensing requirements and bureaucratic steps are going to vary depending on where you live.
- Pre-licensing courses. No matter what, you’re probably going to need to take some pre-licensing courses to learn the fundamentals of real estate law in your area and best practices for real estate agents. You’ll study and use all this information during the licensing exam.
- The licensing exam. Once you’re adequately prepared, you’ll be able to take the licensing exam itself. Licensing exams are different in different states, but once you get a passing grade, you’ll be able to move on.
- Finalizing your licensure. Send in your test results and an application to finalize your real estate license. You should also consider joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to become an official Realtor.
- Employment. At this point, you’ll be ready to join a brokerage or start an independent practice of your own.
It’s not easy or fast to become a real estate agent, nor are you guaranteed to be successful once you enter the field. However, even if you’re busy with parenting, you should be able to find enough time to study for your exam and get licensed if it’s a good fit for you and your family.