Thursday, July 10, 2014

Career in Real Estate - Part 3 of 4

Real Estate Agent FAQs

1. What are the fees I encounter as a real estate agent?
The base fees required of all real estate agents are the fees to the real estate commission.170 to get the license and --- every 4 years for renewal.  91 to take the state test.the rest is up to the individual brokerage. in bob wood realty's case.  the fees are 254.50 to NAMAR, the local board of realtors. and $22 per month for MLS and internet access.  Things to look out for are E&O insurance, monthly fees, franchise fees, desk fees, phone fees, sign fees, lockbox fees, computer fees, broker call fees, yearly contracts, transaction fees, copy fees.  

2. How hard is selling real estate?
The comparison of Atlanta real estate and Atlanta rush hour traffic. They both have hundreds of thousands of people trying to get to the same goal . . .the gold.  Fortunately, in the midst of people cutting you off, taking shortcuts (and illegal ones, at that), saying a few unkind, select words to you, and giving you a few obscene gestures along the way, there are a few kind, steady paced souls that aren't concerned with how fast you can get there at whatever cost or getting rich quick no matter who they step on in the process.  Some will get their client, show them homes, have a happy customer that never thought they could get a home of their dreams, and you are the one that made it happen . . . the bonus for this type person, you got paid in the process.

3. How do commissions work?
 This is hard to explain in a paragraph, but here's an attempt at a scaled down version. Say John Smith lists his home for 7% total commission.  Generally, this commission will be 3.5% to the listing agent and 3.5% to the selling agent.  When a closing occurs, if you are the selling agent, your brokerage office receives a check for 3.5% of the sales price. Your broker will then cut the agent a check for their portion of the commission earned based upon the agent’s commission split with your broker.

4. Why is training so important once I get my real estate license?
Once you are licensed, an excellent training program will teach you the most efficient ways to make the most of every minute.  Every minute spent on ineffective techniques at getting business is time wasted.  An excellent training program will point you in the right direction and on the path to success in your new career.  You might can learn the industry without training on your own, but if you can get paid one month earlier, if you can get one extra deal that year, if you stay out of trouble and stay legal, and if you know what to do and when to do it so your deal doesn't fall apart, every minute spent in training is priceless.  Considering that the average commission is over $5000 per deal, wouldn’t you be best served getting the training you need to get your business started.  The real estate industry is overwhelmed with agents; however, many of those agents will end up letting their license lapse because they either chose not to do the things to become successful or they never had the opportunity to learn the things they needed to know to become successful.  A high commission split does not mean anything unless you have closings.  100% of nothing is nothing; 70% of twelve closings in a year at $5000 is $42,000 - not a bad start in a new industry!

5. Do you recommend going full-time or part time into real estate?
Either.  It depends on how you like the career, how well it is working out for you, and how much money you have saved for your transition period.  Most agents start out part-time, slowly increasing their business and income until they no longer need or rely on their other income from their other job.  Be sure to check the option of being part-time at brokerage offices.  Many offices have production requirements of their agents, have different commission splits depending on whether you are full or part-time, or simply do not allow agents to be anything but full-time if they are licensed with their brokerage office.

6. How much can I make in real estate?
As much or as little as you work at it.  Real estate takes constant long hours to make the "big bucks".  If you are looking to work leisurely, you will receive leisurely pay; just like any other job.  If you work 40 hours a week with your current employer, you will receive a paycheck reflecting 40 hours of work; if you work 10 hours a week with your current employer, you will receive a paycheck reflecting 10 hours of work.  Real estate is no different.  You get out of it what you put into it.  It's all up to you!

7. What are the pitfalls of becoming a real estate agent?
Being self-employed in any industry has its rewards and drawbacks.  Unfortunately, or fortunately depending on how you look at it, real estate agents usually work the hardest when everyone else is off work.  This means you may be showing properties on Labor Day when everyone else is at the lake; however, you can go to the lake during the week after Labor Day when the lake is not as busy and everyone else is back at work.  Again, it is all in how you look at it.  As an independent contractor, you can work as much or as little as you choose.  Not having a clock to punch can be rewarding; however, many find the transition into monitoring ones own time and becoming self-motivating on those cold, rainy mornings rather difficult.

8. What are the rewards of becoming a real estate agent?
Being self-employed in any industry has its rewards and drawbacks.  The rewards of managing one’s own time, choosing one’s clients, deciding when and how to promote one’s own business is both challenging and fulfilling.  The sky is the limit in real estate. The Atlanta market provides an unlimited demand for your services.  If an agent is willing to invest the time necessary to cultivate their business, they will realize the self-satisfaction of helping thousands of families find their dream home while earning a nice nest egg, themselves, in the process.

9. Why are there so many real estate brokerages?
The State of Georgia used to require five years as an active salesperson to be eligible for broker status; the State now only requires three years.  Many investors have entered the brokerage industry as an investment.  They are not in the industry as a traditional broker, rather they are licensed as a broker to be eligible to hold the licenses of salespeople and collect fees from them.  The concentration of these brokers is on monthly fees, not commission percentages.  When a broker concentrates on collecting monthly fees, rather than being tied financially into every transaction by splitting the commission with you (meaning the broker does not get paid, unless you get paid), many brokers unfortunately choose to become investor brokers, rather than the traditional function of the broker as originally set out by the Georgia Real Estate Commission.

10. Why are real estate brokerages necessary?
Someone has to take responsibility for the professional reputation of consumers.  The broker is the first line of defense at inadequate or improper client representation.  The broker should be knowledgeable of the limits of agents at different stages of their career and put adequate measures in place to train and supervise both experienced and inexperienced agents.  Even the most experienced agent will take something away with them from a training class.  With the fast paced changes occurring in the industry and the prevalence of mortgage fraud in the Atlanta market, the broker is charged with supervising the activities of its licensees and stepping in when necessary to ensure that the consumer is protected against unethical, unprofessional, and illegal practices in the industry.

11. What do real estate brokerages do for you?
It depends on the brokerage.  At one end of the spectrum, the brokerage office merely supplies their name as your broker; there might not even be an official office for the brokerage, choosing to use the broker’s residence address for the brokerage address. At the other end of the spectrum, the brokerage office supplies you with training, administrative support, an office with desk space and meeting rooms, copies, flyer generation and production, signs, lockboxes, and virtually everything you need to be an agent.  Whether you pay for what you need whether you have a closing or not or whether your broker pays for everything and keeps a percentage of your closing when (and if) you have one, is up to you.  There is a brokerage model to fit every agent!


If you have additional questions, give me a call at 
(404) 857-2508!

Natasha Liburd Bazile is a Realtor with Keller Williams Atlanta Partners and the Lead Home Stager with Heart of Decor in Georgia (virtual services available). She prides herself in being a guide to her clients and finds fulfillment in helping them achieve their goals.

Direct Phone: (404) 857-2508 Email - Facebook - Twitter - YouTube

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