Friday, June 8, 2012

Help Wanted, Real Estate Sales II

Q.  I read your col­umn and really wanted to con­nect with you as I am look­ing into pur­su­ing a career in real estate. Think you could offer any tips?

A. Real Estate as a pro­fes­sion is a full-time com­mit­ment; you can’t work in an office in some other field AND work in real estate, so you’ll need some sav­ings. There are lots of expenses, and your first check is three to six months away. If you are wealthy enough so you sim­ply don’t need the money, that would be help­ful. If you are on unem­ploy­ment and have 99 weeks of ben­e­fits still to come in, that will be help­ful as well.

As a salesman, you MUST work for a Real Estate Company. So find a real estate agency office that needs you (not a huge office some­where where high pro­duc­ers rent their desks and run their own mini-corporations with lots of staff and won’t even learn your name for the first year). You may not believe me, but pass­ing the license exam will only allow you to work in real estate. In fact, you won’t know any­thing. A smaller office will have the time and desire to train you.

When pick­ing who to work for, you may be sur­prised that each Realty Office offers dif­fer­ent “splits” to their agents. Some will offer 50–50, some 60-40, some as high as 100 per­cent. But if you’re a new­bie, don’t worry about get­ting the best split from the bro­ker until you’ve proven that you like the busi­ness and have a few sales under your belt. Then you can rene­go­ti­ate your split, or go some­where else.
Focus on res­i­den­tial homes until you’ve cut your teeth. Then, if you have the desire, con­sider expand­ing to com­mer­cial or leas­ing. The laws are dif­fer­ent in dif­fer­ent states, but, in gen­eral, your sin­gle license will allow you to prac­tice in all those cat­e­gories. You will soon come to under­stand that work­ing up a lease or a con­tract might be thought of as prac­tic­ing law. And most states do not want you to prac­tice law with­out a license.

There are a few other rea­sons why you might con­sider com­mer­cial real estate. Res­i­den­tial agents are busiest on week­ends and many may only take Mon­day and/or Tues­day off. If you have small chil­dren, you will have to decide who will get your time. Com­mer­cial Real­tors gen­er­ally work 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Mon­day through Fri­day. But even though the com­mer­cial deals are larger, there are fewer of them. It’s not unusual for a com­mer­cial agent to make a check for $50,000, but not get paid for 12 to 18 months. Most agents can’t wait that long to get paid. But if you have invested you time wisely, and have “deals” in your pipeline, it’s a good liv­ing and com­mer­cial may be the way to go.

Lots more tips in my old columns, most of them are posted here. Look back to see them

Q. Appre­ci­ate that fast response, Dane.
Unfor­tu­nately, with the econ­omy sit­ting the way it does, a full-time office job dur­ing the day is my only option as of right now. I have some sav­ings to help with a tran­si­tion but it won’t be for a few months yet.
Watch­ing the eco­nomic cli­mate and larger cities that are begin­ning to rebound, I think now is the time to get vested in the indus­try, but with my bills, unem­ploy­ment just isn’t an option right now.
I’ll have to read some of your older blogs to really get a sense of what I have to do. Com­mer­cial real estate is def­i­nitely some­thing I will look into.

A. I come from a fam­ily of Real­tors. My mother was a Real­tor, my wife was a Real­tor, and my daugh­ter is a Real­tor. I remem­ber once telling my daugh­ters that my one career regret was that I hadn’t found real estate sooner. I had a room­mate in col­lege who was major­ing in real estate, but I came to real estate after a pretty good career in pub­lish­ing. Still, you are your own boss, you set your own hours and decide for your­self how hard you are will­ing to work — and how long you will want to work. In reeal estate you don’t have to retire at 65. (On the flip side, if you do get a gold watch when you turn 65, it’s probably one you bought for yourself…)

Dane Hahn is a real estate pro­fes­sional prac­tic­ing in Engle­wood Florida and New Hamp­shire. You can reach him at, or by phone at 941-681-0312. See him on the web at

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