Demystifying real estate agents: pros and cons

A real estate sign advertising a home for sale in Vienna, Virginia, USA last October. Photo/REUTERS
A real estate sign advertising a home for sale in Vienna, Virginia, USA last October. Photo/REUTERS

There are many reasons to choose a career in real estate, but as it would be, there are two sides to every story. Here is a straightforward look at the pros and cons of being a real estate agent.

1. Getting started is quick and painless

It has been said before: the best way to get rich is to start your own business.

Pros: Real estate is one of the easiest businesses to start with high profit potential. You need very little capital and assets to get started. To be a successful realtor you have to treat your work as a business not a job.

Cons: There is an investment in time, money and effort required. There are no guarantees in this business, and there is a very high failure rate with new agents. However, if you do your homework, there is no reason not to try.

2. Flexible work schedules

Pros: As an agent, you are not chained to your desk on a mundane 9-to-5 job. You set your own hours and operate under a work schedule that suits you. Most agents speak highly of the freedom and independence that comes with their job. Many estate agents work from home and those who don’t do not have regular office hours. Much of their time is spent networking, socialising and making new business contacts.

Cons: Having a flexible schedule means being flexible with the client’s needs, and that could mean working when everyone else is not. The client comes first, so whatever they need, you have make yourself available.

3.You are your own boss

Pros: You are an independent contractor in charge of your own book of business. You make the business work. In fact, you are the business. To achieve success in the real estate business, you have to be self-motivated and driven. You do not need someone hovering around you to make sure you get things done. Houses are not going to sell themselves, you will have to.

Cons: As in independent contractor or briefcase agent, you are in charge of building your own client list, growing your network of contacts, getting referrals and marketing yourself. This can be hard work, but it also pays off in spades.