From the outside, real estate agents appear to be empowered, successful, independent, and financially secure. In many cases, that’s true.

Many real estate agents are able to achieve financial freedom through their career achievements, and they’re glad to tell anyone who asks how much they love their jobs. 

What you may not see from the outside is the amount of responsibility and skill necessary to achieve that level of success in real estate. Many people enter the real estate industry underprepared for the amount of work that awaits them and the obstacles they’ll have to overcome to find the success they want.

Is real estate a good career for you? Before you switch careers, here’s what you need to know. 

1. You’re Responsible for Your Own Salary

Real estate agents usually don’t make an hourly wage or a traditional salary. They’re not getting a paycheck at the end of the week, and it doesn’t matter how many hours they put in. Real estate agents only get paid when they help their clients successfully buy, sell, rent, or lease a property.

When the deal is done, the real estate agent gets a percentage of the sale price as commission. This number is based on negotiations and can change between every sale. 


The amount you make is highly dependent upon your ability to find clients and make successful deals happen. You can have three clients at a time or three clients all year: a potential feast or famine situation.

It all depends on how much effort (and hours — full or part-time) you’re willing to put into lead generation and fostering beneficial professional relationships. 

Your job outlook may also depend upon the real estate market you live in. If there aren’t a lot of homes for sale where you live and work, you’re going to have to be willing to branch out or cover more ground in this new career. You’re always on a competitive hunt, especially because you are often considered an independent contractor.

Some people may find the thought of being their own boss exhausting. Other people love the challenges and rewards that come from successfully netting clients and providing them with a positive experience.

It’s a game that involves a little bit of skill and a little bit of chance. Successful real estate agents have calculated a formula that allows them to win most of the time. 

2. Your Work-Life Balance Will Change

Real estate agents don’t work set hours. This can either be a blessing or a curse depending on how you roll with it. If you like to make your own schedule and you need some flexibility, you’ll like being a real estate agent. You’ll have an opportunity to take time off between clients, and you may have natural lulls you can use to spend more time with your family and friends.

On the other hand, there’s a lot to be done. Real estate agents have to be constantly reading, learning, and chasing leads. It’s easy to work way more than 40 hours a week when you’re really committed to finding clients or completing a deal. 


There will also be situations where you can’t take time off. If a client needs you to be in a specific place at a specific time, you need to put that on your schedule in permanent marker. You’ll have these inflexible moments, but they won’t dominate your flexible schedule. 

You need to know how to make a personal schedule and commit to it in order to be a successful real estate agent. You have the privilege of enjoying more personal freedom, but you need to be able to balance it with the amount of responsibility and professionalism necessary to succeed. Don’t burn yourself out, but don’t miss opportunities.

3. You Need To Be a Self-Motivated Person 

Real estate agents answer to their managing brokers to a certain degree. Most of the time, they’re calling their own shots. They don’t need to adhere to an itinerary someone else made for them. Their successes and failures in the real estate business are their own. They don’t need to abide by deadlines imposed by a boss. In short, there’s no one micromanaging you.

No one likes to admit that they’re the kind of person who needs to be micromanaged, but deep down, you know whether or not you are. Personal accountability and self-motivation are the most vital professional traits for a real estate agent to have. If you don’t like to think and plan and you prefer having a list of duties and an identical routine every day, you probably won’t be happy with this profession.

If you’re the kind of person who can see the challenge and rise to the occasion, you’ll likely love being a real estate agent. You can do things however you want to do them, just so long as you’re abiding by ethical standards, laws, and regulations as covered in your licensing exam. There’s no one standing in your way, and you aren’t under anyone’s thumb.

If “Get out of the way and let me do it” is your personal motto, you were born to be a real estate agent.

4. Much of the Job Is Marketing

Many people who love architecture, gardening, and decorating gravitate towards a real estate career because they feel like it would be a good fit for their interests. While being interested and knowledgeable in topics related to homes and decor is certainly helpful, it’s nowhere near the focus of real estate jobs. 

As a real estate agent, it’s your responsibility to market and advertise to your niche. You brand yourself and market your image and testimonials to promote your services, and you market properties to potential buyers while persuading them to make an offer.

Being a real estate agent is very similar to purchasing luxury cars. It’s a salesperson’s job, but one that requires an extraordinary amount of empathy regarding the needs and desires of buyers and sellers

You’re selling something expensive. People don’t buy a lot of properties throughout their lives. They’re very selective about the home they’ll ultimately choose, and it’s important to pair the right buyer with the right property.

You have to know how to list and advertise homes in a way that makes them inherently appealing to their ideal future inhabitant. It’s just as much an art as a science. 

5. On-Demand Communication Is Crucial

People trust real estate agents with the largest transactions they’ll make in their entire lives. Nothing most people regularly buy or sell costs as much as a property does, and everyone you work with is acutely aware of the gravity of that transaction. They want to know what’s going on every step of the way.

Real estate professionals need to be excellent communicators. You have to be able to speak knowledgeably and keep your information organized. You need to be great about answering your phone and responding to texts or emails.

You have to make time to have lunch with your clients periodically and get them up to speed. It’s nearly impossible to communicate too much. 

Is real estate a good career option for people who use as few words as possible? Probably not. Real estate can be a difficult industry for introverts and people who prefer desk jobs. You need to be extremely extroverted during work hours, and you need to be just as good at listening as you are at talking. 

Real estate agents need to feel confident and comfortable when they speak. They need to be in the right mindset to feel secure in their own knowledge and authority. If you’re not there yet, don’t fret.

Practice makes perfect, and no real estate agent began their career as a phenomenal communicator. You’ll learn along the way. Whether it’s your first client or your millionth, working with new people and the housing market is a lifelong learning experience.

6. Education Is Flexible (but Ongoing)

One of the most appealing aspects of becoming a real estate agent is how simple it is to become qualified. You don’t need a special college degree to become a real estate agent. You only need to take your state’s required course and complete the real estate exam. 

It takes less time to become a real estate agent than it does to become a professional manicurist. The tuition and related costs of the educational courses are very affordable when compared to required training or education for other occupations.

This makes real estate more accessible than other career choices. Real estate can make an excellent career path for people from all walks of life.

There’s only one problem. Your state’s real estate course will teach you the foundation of the industry and the laws and regulations that govern the way the industry works. They don’t teach you how to be a successful real estate agent. You won’t learn a thing about advertising or lead generation. You have a lot to figure out on your own. 

Is Real Estate a Good Career?

If you want to succeed as a real estate agent, you need to hit the ground running. That’s what Harris Real Estate University is designed to help you do. Your required real estate course won’t teach you anything about lead generation, market-tested strategies, or finding the mindset you need to succeed. We will.

Our real estate coaching programs are designed to help real estate agents of any level of experience grow and thrive. One-on-one calls can help you identify your strengths and weaknesses while setting goals and holding yourself accountable. It’s exactly what every new agent needs to thrive from the moment they receive their real estate license. 

You can schedule a free coaching consultation call with one of our Harris certified coaches to learn how coaching can help you rise through the ranks.




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