Just got off the phone with someone who is considering a career in real estate.

Is Real Estate Like Starting a Business?

Their first question to me was about whether a real estate agent is like starting a business. The answer is Yes! Legally, real estate agents need to have a license from the state, and they need to affiliate with a Real Estate Broker and Brokerage in order to practice real estate. But most agents are independent contractors. That means they set their own hours, they prospect for their own clients, in all, a real estate agent gets to create their own business model.
Brokerages will have policies and procedures that might guide how a real estate agent works, and often have systems and resources that can really help agents to focus on their clients, and use the systems to help guide each transaction to a close. But ultimately, it is up to the real estate agent themselves to put in the work, and use their creativity to build the business that they deserve. It can be a lot of work!

How Do You Find Clients? How Do You Build Your Real Estate Business?

Another questions they asked was how do real estate agents get business? How do they find clients? How do they find people that want to hire a real estate agent? The answers are numerous. Most real estate agents use social media, posting about how they can help on their own social pages. They also join various business networking groups on social media, or other hobby groups they are interested in and meet people that way. There are agents who go door to door, knocking and looking for people who are in need of a change, or people who know people who need a change.

Agents send postcards and letters to advertise the ways that they can and have helped people get the best price for their property. There are agents who get billboards on the freeway offering their services. Some agents just talk to everyone they meet, whether at the grocery store, post office, hair salon, in line, at concerts, parks, group meetups, and anywhere! Not in a pushy way, just learning about other people, and sharing about themselves.

Some real estate agents attend business networking groups in person to meet other business owners, meet professionals who might be buying and selling, but also those who might work in a related industry where they could refer business back and forth. Related businesses like banks, inspectors, appraisers, appliance repair, landscaping, electrical and plumbing, utility services, and more. Some agents serve in volunteer positions for non-profits, or they run for public office to help on planning commissions, city councils, and more. There are innumerable ways that a real estate agent can find new clients.

How Hard is the Real Estate Exam?

Another question they asked me was about how hard is the real estate exam? Many of us as adults haven’t been in college or school for a while, so we’re not in that learning mindset. School can be hard work, mentally and emotionally, especially if we aren’t used to it anymore. In Utah, nearly half of the real estate candidates fail their license exam (45% failed in 2023). The license exam is only 150 questions, and you only need a 70% to pass, but it has proven difficult for many students. Here at the Institute of Real Estate Education, our story is different. In 2023, we only had 20% of our students fail to pass the exam on their first try. But something you might not know, is that you can take the exam multiple times. It costs about $60 each time, so you don’t want to plan on multiple tries, but if you are unable to pass on the first try, there is still opportunity to prepare, and take it again. If you don’t pass, they will show you which parts of the exam you didn’t do well at, and we can target your review so that you focus on the areas that you don’t know well yet. We even have a pass guarantee, where we will refund your first exam fee if you don’t pass the first time. We are here to help you all the way until you get licensed.

Can I Succeed at Real Estate if I’m Not Salesy?

Another question they had was they wanted to know if someone who isn’t very salesy could succeed at real estate. The answer is yes, but the details are more complicated. If you want to work in real estate, you will need to overcome social anxiety. You will need to get comfortable talking to people, and you will need to learn some skills in conflict resolution. As you are negotiating between buyers and sellers, you’ll need to overcome their fears and help education both sides about ways that they can find a mutually beneficial arrangement, so everyone gets what they want. You don’t have to be a salesperson to be a good real estate agent, but you do need to be good with people.

How Much Does a Real Estate Agent Make?

And lastly, do real estate agents in Utah make a lot of money? Well, that depends on you. Each agent decides how many clients they want, and how much work they are willing to put in for each client, to get them everything they need. Agents who work hard, respect their fiduciary, put the needs of their clients first, and push through their doubts and insecurities can make as much money as they want. As one of my favorite real estate instructors always says, “Bless lives, make money.”