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The Real Life of a NYC Real Estate Agent

Updated on March 27, 2013

Are you thinking about becoming a real estate agent in Manhattan? There are many companies who would gladly hire you, their ads look very promising and offer you a start towards the luxurious bright future you've always dreamed of. It certainly can turn out that way for you, but before you jump in blindly expecting to make a six figure income your first year, you might want to be prepared if things don’t exactly go your way.

It's important that you get a true perspective about the life of a real estate agent. Aim high but be prepared for the worst.

The Plus Side

Freedom is priceless - As a real estate agent, you're an independent contractor, not an employee therefore you are not required to show up to work on a specific schedule. Although most companies will want to see that you are working and producing` on a regular basis you still have more freedom than most jobs on the market.From lunch breaks to spontaneous vacations, you get to set your own schedule and have your job waiting for you when you get back.

Unlimited income potential - There is no limit to what you can earn. It all depends on the rent of the property or selling price, your commission and the amount of deals you make. Whether your goal is 4K a month or much much higher, the potential is there. The idea of being able to earn an income based on your effort is far more exciting than getting a flat hourly wage on a 9-5 job.

It's never boring - It's hard to get bored as a real estate agent. You will be meeting new people on a daily basis and you never know when a client can turn out to be a friend for life. You'll also get a chance to see some dream homes you're going to wish you owned.

You'll never be unemployed - Real estate agencies are looking for new agents all the time. The more agents they have, the more money they make, it's that simple. Want to move to a larger company? Your broker won't pay you enough? Whatever the case may be, as long as you have your license you will most likely be able to find a new broker to hire you in 24 hours.

What they won't tell you at the interview

Income can be unstable - While your earning potential is unlimited you can also go without a paycheck for months. Unfortunately, this is the case for many agents. This business can be very unstable, nerve-racking and exhausting. There is nothing worse than working so hard only to get nothing in return. Every other agent has found himself in this situation at one point of his career.

Tip : Save some money on the side, I would suggest a minimum of 3 months worth of your expenses. You can definitely start earning money your first or second week as many agents do but you may also close your first deal after a full month and may not start getting your checks for a while so the more the better, just to be on the safe side.

The Clients - Although it is fun to meet new people every day, especially in such a diversified city, you might find that many of your clients get on your nerves. I will spare you the stories about the clients who don't show up for lease signing(means no check for you) and don't even have the courtesy to call and let you know, this is after hours of your work for them, not including negotiating back and forth and dealing with their paperwork. Although this may not happen everyday, bottom line is that as a real estate agent you will be working for your clients free of charge; unless they rent or buy a property through you. People will take advantage of this and waste your precious time in one way or another.

Tip: It will save you a great amount of time and give you a head start if you learn to screen potential clients from your first day. Ask the right questions to find out if your potential client is realistic about prices and is serious about moving or if they are just planning to window shop at your expense.

Tip: Many companies require their agents to collect a good faith deposit from a client before presenting the offer to the owner. Some companies don't have this requirement, if you work for a company like this, make it a requirement of your own. Refuse to present an offer or start any kind of negotiation prior to collecting a deposit. This will not only save you from situations where clients don't show up to sign a lease, it will also assure that property owners will take you seriously in the future


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