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What I learned in my first year in real estate

By Tina Plett | Real Estate Magazine | May 12, 2015

People have this idea that being a real estate agent is a high-paying endeavour. After all, the four to seven per cent an agent might charge on a 250K property is a quick $10,000-$17,500, so why not? At that rate, a person need only sell five houses a year to make a nice living. It sounds easy and profitable.

But that kind of monkey math gets a lot of people in trouble.

By forgetting to count the cost, they become either unprepared real estate agents or clients who think agents should work for free. Allow me to debunk that a bit by telling you about my first year in the business.

I had taken all the courses, had outlined my goals for year one, and was ready to begin my first year in real estate. From my first day on May 1 to the last day of December that year, guess how much I made?

I’ll tell you my expenses were $22,000 for that half year. From what, you ask? Licensing, office fees and supplies, MLS fees, advertising, fuel for the thousands of miles I drove, and the list goes on. These expenses were deducted from my income. Which was zero. In my first year I sold absolutely nothing. By the end of year one, I was in the hole $22,000. Not exactly the fast track to riches.

What kept me going when all seemed lost?

The reason I got into real estate was to help people. I did not get into real estate to get rich. I wasn’t in it to burn piles of money either – I did mean to make an income. But because money was not my primary goal, I was not deterred by the lack of it. Neither was I “just trying it out” as many do. I wanted so badly to help people find a home, I would have done it for free. And I did. Maybe that sounds crazy, but it’s really what I’m passionate about. It’s my favourite part of this job and worth every frustration.

What we love, we are willing to do, even in the face of opposition or great cost.

If you’re new to the real estate game and it feels like it costs $40 to make a dollar, I understand.

If it feels like talking to a brick when trying to wheel and deal with the old pros, or you question your sanity for having chosen this job, I want to encourage you with this.

Pursue your passion. Chase what you love.

If you do that, all the confusion and hardships and tough times won’t matter as much, because you’ll be pursuing your passion and that will propel you forward.

What challenges do you face as a real estate agent?

What is the passion that drives you forward during tough times?