Before we go into our pros and cons list, we must advise that there is no such thing as a commercial real estate license — any person with an up-to-date real estate license can sell commercial properties. That’s the great thing about obtaining a real estate license: you have the flexibility to sell many different types of properties!
With that being said, making any major decision in life calls for a good old-fashion pros and cons list. It is important to understand what the benefits and drawbacks are before taking such a huge next step like pursuing a career in a totally new field. The ultimate goal of creating such a list is to see if the pros outweigh the cons, thus allowing you to confidently move forward with your career change. So take a look below at our list of the pros and cons of obtaining a real estate license and starting your career in this exciting industry.
- Pros: If working in a cubicle at a typical desk job from 9 to 5 or punching a time clock is not your ideal work environment, then commercial real estate is definitely on track to being a great career option. Real estate is a field that is built on strong relationships and social interaction — not based on a clock-in, clock-out basis. In essence, you create your own work schedule according to the demand of your time and clients.
- Cons: It is true that your schedule is fairly flexible and mainly determined by your own needs. But you still will need to cater to the demands and schedules of your clients. They have their own work, meetings, and social schedules that might conflict with yours. Additionally, a lot of clients expect their real estate agent to work on an on-call basis. So being uncomfortable with working outside of normal business hours might be on the disadvantage side of our list.
- Pros: Unlike many fields in the workforce today, real estate has a fairly quick educational process. You do not need a college diploma and, depending on how much time you are able to dedicate, you can finish in just a few months. For example, to obtain a Florida real estate license, you must first successfully complete a 63 hour pre-licensing course for sales associates or a 72 hour course for brokers. After submitting a completed application, you must then pass either the Florida Real Estate Sales Associate or Broker examination with a grade of at least 75.
- Cons: Although the required training may only take around 60 to 70 hours, you are not guaranteed to pass the real estate licensing exam upon completing the course. And there is a great deal of studying and work that goes into even completing the pre-license course. You must take the class seriously and dedicate your time to studying for a chance at passing. A great way to ensure you pass the exam the first time is by taking a prep course and practice exams, like the ones offered by IFREC.
- Pros: Your salary is not based on hourly wages or set incomes — the earning potential of a career in real estate is a direct reflection of the amount of time and effort the individual puts into his or her career. In short, only you can determine what you are worth. This is a great time to brush up on your marketing and advertising skills and enlist the help of friends and family to get the word out about your new business venture. We suggest creating a simple website and using social media to gain the attention of potential clients.
- Cons: Having an irregular influx of income can be scary for some people who have had a regular paycheck they could always rely on. Along with being based on the strength of your own work ethic, real estate is highly dependent on the market and conditions. This means commissions can and will fluctuate, possibly leaving you at times without a steady income stream. However, discipline, planning ahead with savings and investments can safeguard your income from taking a serious hit or wild swings.
Controlling Your Business
- Pros: Almost everyone at one time or another fantasizes about being their own boss. In real estate, this fantasy can actually become a reality. Even if you end up joining a real estate firm, you are still ultimately representing yourself in the world of real estate. This means you have control of your own time, ethics and standards, which will allow you to flourish in your own unique way. Want to only work with seniors who are downsizing, first-time homebuyers, commercial and investment properties, or just focus on selling downtown condos? It’s completely up to you!
- Cons: Business expenses, budgeting and overall management is a responsibility held solely by you as an independent sales professional. In order for your business to run smoothly, you must have great networking skills and a client list that will keep your income stable. For some, this much responsibility and instability could be a challenge, but ultimately well worth the leap.
From impressive potential income earnings to complete control of your own business, getting your real estate license can have many benefits. However, as with any career change, there are potential drawbacks such as abnormal work hours and uncertainty about passing the exam. It truly is up to the individual’s personality, desire, discipline and work attributes to determine if real estate is the ideal job fit for you. Need further guidance to determine if obtaining a real estate license is right for you? Talk to one of our career counselors today to walk through the process of getting your license and succeeding in the industry.