This article was republished from the tctimes.com.
Real estate is like farming. You have to plant the seeds, nurture the crop and then bring in the harvest.
That’s the analogy from Denise Penwell, a Realtor for two-and-a-half years with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Michigan in Fenton. As a relatively new agent in the field, Penwell is still doing more nurturing than harvesting, but feels well positioned now for a strong future in a very competitive industry. She recently joined with Melissa Redmond to create the Penwell/Redmond Real Estate Team.
With an 80-percent failure rate for new associates in the first year, according to trulia.com, taking on a new real estate career can be a challenge for the beginner. “You’ve got to be a self-starter,” said John Tremaine, owner/broker for Tremaine Real Living Real Estate. “You have to be proactive in finding leads and taking initiative. The good thing is, you have no boss. The bad thing is, you have no boss. There’s no one telling you to get out of bed or get to the office.”
It also helps to have a financial cushion. “You should plan to put 25 to 50 percent of your first earnings back in your business,” added Tremaine. “The other reason new agents fail is that their outflow of money drowns them before they produce an income.”
Realtor Donna Anderson of Tremaine Real Living earned her real estate license in February after her 20-year career in manufacturing human resources ended. Her biggest challenge is not having a regular paycheck, since her income is now all commission based. “You have to think about it like you’re starting a new business and won’t see a regular paycheck,” said Anderson. “You have to have other resources.”
She’s enjoying her new career so much, being a part of the excitement for a family who’s either buying or selling a home. At age 57, she sees her age and long business career as an advantage in real estate. “People know I have life experience, even if real estate is a new career for me. I’m very determined to succeed.”
Ed Constable, 26, has been a Realtor for nearly three years, getting the “itch” for a real estate career after graduating from Northwood University with a degree in business management.
He grew up with an exposure to the excitement of real estate, and knew that’s what he wanted to do. “I was 6 years old and running around every piece of land my dad was buying,” said Constable, whose father was a real estate developer.
Working under broker John Tremaine at Tremaine Real Living Real Estate, Constable hit the ground running with his real estate career, soon abandoning his other job to pursue real estate full time. “It can be brutal in the beginning, because you’ve spent $1,000 to become a Realtor then another $1,000 for signs and cards, etc. and it’s 60 days after your first sale before you collect a paycheck.”
He estimates he works about 80 hours a week, crediting his supportive wife, Laura, with letting him pursue a career he loves. “My biggest three things are, you’ve got to be reliable, persistent and passionate.”
He adds that it helps to be confident in what you’re doing. “I don’t think there’s another agent who’s going to do a better job marketing and selling your home,” he said. “If there is, I’ll send you to them.”
Darwin Conley, broker/manager at Coldwell Banker Professionals in Fenton, has been in 37 different states teaching real estate associates how to sell. “The big secret is career development, not just training,” he said. “New associates often underestimate what it really takes to be successful in this business. They have to understand what the real world of real estate is.”
For Conley, the biggest thing is lead generation. “Houses sell houses. It’s all the stuff that leads up to that point that requires all your efforts. What we really do as real estate agents is fix problems for people.”
Failure to understand the world of real estate causes a huge turnover in agents. Conley estimates that seven out of 10 leave before their first year is up, 80 percent are gone in two years and nine out of 10 in five years.
As a career, the real estate business is more about people than houses. That’s why a successful real estate professional has to understand people and their needs.
How to start your real estate career
- Complete your required education. Agent applicants must complete a 40-hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals course. The closest one to the tri-county area is the Michigan Institute of Real Estate in Flint. Tuition is $335.
- Complete and submit your real estate salesperson license application. Visit www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for your license.
- Receive your authorization to test. Once your application has been approved, you will receive an email from the State of Michigan notifying you of your authorization to register for the exam.
- Take the Michigan Salesperson Licensing Exam. Register and pass the salesperson’s exam with the exam provider, Psychological Services, Inc. To schedule your exam, visit the PSI website at: http://candidate.psiexams.com/index.jsp
- Obtain an Employing Broker Sponsor. In order to practice as a real estate sales person, you must be sponsored by a licensed Michigan Employing Broker.