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How About a Career in Real Estate?

So you’ve graduated. Now what?!

If you’re a recent high school or college graduate with people skills and a strong work ethic and you’re looking for a career that offers flexibility and plenty of money, may I suggest becoming a real estate agent?

While a liberal arts degree in sociology or political science may have broadened your worldview, it may not be immediately clear to you how you can use that new degree to get a job. Although high school and college can teach you many important things, the information isn’t always directly applicable to the jobs listed on monster.com.

Especially in college, you learn to “adult.” You learn to work independently (since mom and dad are no longer there to look over your shoulder and prompt you to stop watching YouTube), to set goals, schedule your time, meet deadlines and, if all goes as planned, become responsible for yourself. If, in the process, you also learn to think logically and relate well to others, you might find that real estate can provide you with a rewarding career.

Most licensed agents can find a job within a day or two in almost any city in the nation. There are some requirements, of course. First, you must pass the state exam to get licensed. Then, you must have the wherewithal to run your own business, even if you’re working for a broker.

As with any startup, a new real estate business requires some capital, so you’ll need to figure out how to afford basic living expenses while also covering some business costs until your commission checks start rolling in. Although being a successful Realtor requires hard work and long hours, it also affords you the flexibility to schedule time off when you like and to be in control of your own financial future.

Many high school graduates living in Ukiah wonder how they can support themselves financially in such a small town, especially without a college degree. Becoming a Realtor does not require a college education.

When I’m trying to figure out if someone is a good fit for a job, I look at two things: whether they can learn the skills required and whether they have the right personality or character traits. Some things can be taught. Some can’t.

To be a successful realtor, the top requirement is that you be interested in meeting and working with people. In addition, you need to be a self-starter. Being a Realtor isn’t like having a regular office job where people notice (and care) if you aren’t there during regular business hours. You have to be disciplined enough to prioritize and schedule all your own activities.

Furthermore, it’s best if you enjoy solving problems, since that’s what you’ll do most of the time. As a Realtor, you’ll work on behalf of your clients to find homes, invest money, sell homes, borrow money, and lots of little details in between. Since a Realtor works on commission, your financial success depends on your ability to solve problems for your clients.

Real estate sales can be the lowest paying easy job or the highest paying tough job you’ll find. You can make $5,000 a year or $250,000 a year. Depending on the market, your income is largely up to you.

I graduated with a degree in business administration and immediately began a career in real estate. I’ve been doing this for more than 40 years and I cannot imagine doing anything else.

If you think this might be a good fit for you, come and talk with me or make an appointment with other brokers in town. We love what we do. When you think about it, you’ll spend a lot of time at work over the course of your life. Might as well pick something you’ll enjoy.

If you have questions about getting into real estate, please contact me at rselzer@selzerrealty.com or call (707) 462-4000. If you’d like to read previous articles, visit my blog at www.richardselzer.com. Dick Selzer is a real estate broker who has been in the business for more than 40 years.