The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly of being a Real Estate Salesperson


It’s one of the very first questions we ask when students convene for the very first real estate licensing class at Garden State Real Estate Academy: Why do you want a career in real estate?

One of the advantages our students say they find about our real estate licensing courses is that we give them lots of career real estate advice in addition to the training and education needed to pass the state exam.

So what is the good, the bad, and the ugly about selling real estate as a career?

The benefits include flexibility: you decide when and where you want to work and even what area of real estate you want to work in. Commercial? Investment properties? First-time home buyers? Shore properties? You can develop expertise in one area and then work with the type of properties or clients that you really enjoy. Some agents work primarily with military clients, or seniors, or even specialize in working with sports stars in the luxury home market for example. And you are an independent contractor, you if you need to get the kids off to school in the morning, or give piano lessons at home every afternoon, you can do so.

But that independent contractor status can also be the “bad” about a new real estate career. There are mandatory expenses such as errors & omission insurance, dues to your real estate board, MLS fees, costs to buy signs personalized with your name—all this can cost you $3,000 or more in your first year.

. . . the not-so-good part of a real estate career

The “ugly” is that you earn no salary, you can drive buyers around for weeks, only to have them buy a home without you while visiting an open house. Or you spend time, money, and effort on a listing, and it doesn’t sell so the seller lists with another broker when it expires. Worse yet, you find a buyer and spend even more hours processing the sale—which falls apart over home inspection issues or an appraisal or buyer credit problem.

You can earn your real estate license today and make six figures in your first year—thousands of newly-licensed real estate agents do. But there are also fine folks who go through the licensing process, join a brokerage that has no training or mentoring, and a few months later they go get a full-time job. Real estate can be a fabulous, exciting, frustrating, enriching, fun, rewarding, exasperating, marvelous business.

So, if you have the motivation to set a business plan and stick to it, the commitment to do whatever it takes to embrace the training and mentoring that will put you on the fast rack to success, getting your real estate license can be a life-changing step to a very financially secure future.

If you are interested in becoming a New Jersey real estate agent—or in earning your NJ broker’s license—check out Garden State Real Estate Academy’s courses at or call us at 609.923.0590. We have real estate classes near you, or you can register for online real estate classes or our new self-study real estate licensing course.

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