Thursday, April 26, 2012

On Becoming A Real Estate Agent

I feel like I should begin by revealing I grew up with a mom who was a successful realtor, both residential and later commercial. I can still remember days in my childhood when I was hanging out at an open house waiting for my mom to finish what I considered her boring work. I mention my mom because I feel it is somehow relevant to my story. Relevant because despite her very successful career, and the similarities in our personalities, it never occurred to me when I was younger to choose real estate as a career.

Never one to do things the easy way, I smile to myself when I think of how I have entered the real estate profession during one of the most difficult housing markets Atlanta has ever seen. Back when everyone was making money hand over fist, it never crossed my mind. Probably because it felt like there was no shortage of real estate agents in Atlanta.

In contemplating this career decision, it did not go unnoticed to me that many of the real estate professionals I had known for years had left the business because they felt like this market was too tough to make a living. At the same time, I was very curious as to why there were some real estate professionals who were having their best years.

I thought back to last Summer when we listed our house for sale. I had interviewed several realtors, and I was struck by how vastly different their competency levels seemed to be. One realtor wanted to list my house for $50,000 less than any of the other real estate agents I interviewed. Fortunately, I had enough sense to interview other realtors, but I imagine some people would have just trusted the realtor and gone with that bad advice.

I bring up last Summer's experience because I couldn't help but think that I could do it better than most of the realtors I interviewed.

I work hard. Probably harder than a lot of folks, which is why the challenge of this current housing market doesn't scare me. I am good with customer service--probably a genetic thing from my mom because I have always been good at it since I was a kid. I like working with people and helping them with their goals. I am reasonably intelligent--I have an undergraduate degree in Accounting and a Masters degree in social work. I like the housing market, and I love a challenge.

I also believe I understand and have compassion for today's homeowner. This market is tough on all of us who currently own a home. It is frustrating and at times overwhelming to face the losses we have seen in the Atlanta market. Many financially conservative people currently owe more on their house than it is worth. I believe they need a real estate professional who can really appreciate that difficulty, and also one who will do their best to market their house to get the best price if they decide to sell.

I have heard from more than a couple of people that I must be crazy going into real estate in this market.  I believe real estate is probably a more challenging career at this time, but the truth is, there are still lots of people buying and selling. It just takes more work for today's realtor to earn their paycheck.

I am not exactly sure what it will take for me to "win" in today's market, but I am bringing my A game, so bring it on Atlanta!

Subscribe to my blog, and I'll keep you posted about how my career is going, interesting experiences, and my take on the real estate market in general. Stay tuned!