Most Agents Say Real Estate Wasn’t Their First Career
Switching careers can feel intimidating, but if you’re considering making real estate your second or even third career, you’re certainly not alone.
Many prospective agents enter the industry later in life, bringing skills and experiences from previous careers that make them top-tier real estate professionals.
A March 2021 report from the National Association of REALTORS® found that the majority of REALTORS® are in the second or third stage of their careers:
- Among commercial agents, 34% said real estate was their first career, 37% said it was their second career, and 29% said it was their third career or more.
- Among residential agents, 17% said real estate was their first career, 49% said it was their second career, and 34% said it was their third career or more.
Jessica Stone, an agent in Charleston, South Carolina, is one such professional who made a major career change earlier this year when she switched from education to real estate.
She shared her story with The CE Shop, offering tips for others considering making the leap into a new career in real estate.
Stone’s Start in Real Estate
Stone’s career in real estate was inspired in part by her cousin, who works as an agent. Stone and her husband were her cousin’s first clients.
“My husband and I bought our first home and had our first kid, and then we were getting ready to have our second kid and debating on whether we should renovate or move,” Stone said. “My cousin had just relocated to Charleston and was coming on board in real estate with her mom, who had been doing it for decades.
“We were her first transactions. We bought and sold, and she was able to learn the ropes through that process.”
Fast-forward to 2021, when Stone was forced to consider a new career because she was laid off from her job in education. As she was deciding what to do next, Stone’s cousin encouraged her to try real estate.
“I was getting my resume together to maybe think about a different path … and she was like, ‘No, come do this with me! You’ll love it, it’s so fun. It’s really just about helping people, and you do that all day every day. You get to be your own boss,’” Stone explained. “She just really had the right words, the right level of encouragement, to [help me] take this really big leap of faith.”
Stone said that although it might not have felt like it at the time, getting laid off might have been a blessing in disguise because it led her to real estate.
“If I had not been laid off, I don’t know that I would have [made a career change],” Stone said. “So, I think it’s important to remember that really good things can come from really bad experiences, where you think you’ve just hit rock bottom, and so you just go a completely different way.”
With the help of The CE Shop, Stone was able to complete her Pre-Licensing education while staying home with her two young kids.
“The CE Shop was instrumental in helping me do this, because I was able to do it completely on my own time,” she said. “The coursework was great — I was able to get everything I needed to get that license and just do it completely at my own pace. Really, the only way that I could have pulled this off was through [The CE Shop].”
Tips for Launching a Real Estate Career
Stone entered the real estate industry at a time that presented unique challenges, such as the incredibly hot, low-inventory housing market that has been booming in recent years, but she said she’s enjoying working as an agent because “no two days are the same.”
Switching careers isn’t always easy, but Stone said it’s been incredibly fulfilling.
“For people that haven’t considered going into business for themselves, it’s a transition, but to me, it’s just so worth it,” she said.
For others who are considering launching a career in real estate, Stone has three pieces of advice:
- Plan ahead for expenses that will arise while you complete your education and start as a new agent. “Be prepared to dip into your savings or work that side hustle [as you build your client base] — it’s just going to happen,” she said. “You’re kind of just paying yourself forward. It feels uncomfortable, but if you’ve got the savings, feel good about [using] it. It’s there for you to use to do this incredible thing for you and perhaps your family.”
- Get to know other new agents as you begin your journey into real estate. “It’s important to have your mentors and the people who have been in the field for a long time, yes, but I also think there’s a lot of power in just being able to commiserate with someone who gets it 100%,” Stone said.
- Do your research before joining a brokerage. Stone recommends “making sure that the person that you pick is there to look over the contacts that you’re signing; is there to answer your calls, your texts, your emails; is there to provide you with training… Most of us are not going to feel very confident in those first few transactions, so having a Broker that’s mindful of that, has steps in place to help you feel better… [is crucial].”
Becoming a Real Estate Agent
Looking for more tips on switching careers and becoming a real estate agent? Check out our ebook, The Career Switcher’s Guide to Real Estate, an ebook that walks you through the process of becoming a real estate agent, including the education and exams that you’ll take on.
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