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Is It Worth It to Become a Real Estate Agent?

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Becoming a real estate agent can mean setting your own schedule and enjoying earning potential of $100,000 a year or more, but as with so many things, there are two sides to the story you’ll want to consider before making the leap.

While there are some two million licensed real estate agents in the U.S. according to NAR, their salaries vary greatly depending on the location. For example, in Ohio, realtors earn an average of just $41,650 annually – if you reside there, you’re likely to be disappointed when you head to a home affordability calculator to find out how much house you can afford for yourself. On the other hand, agents in New York tend to earn the most with the average annual earnings over $102,000.

Your location might make the difference as to whether you decide to become a real estate agent, but there are other factors to consider, too.

Your Income

While we touched on income a bit, there is more to those annual earnings that you should know. The good news is that working as a real estate agent means there is no cap on how much you can potentially make – your earnings are usually directly linked to how much and how hard you work. At the same time, in this career, it takes money to make money, at least some. Initially, you won’t earn anything at all and you’ll probably have to pay for training and the licensing exam. When you get your license, there are business cards, office supplies, and other expenses to pay too, not to mention all of your personal bills to take care of. That means that it’s a good idea to have enough savings to get by for at least six to 12 months while getting your career started.

There’s No Need For a College Degree

One upside to becoming a real estate agent is that you won’t have to put yourself into major debt trying to pay for a college education. While a high school diploma or GED is usually necessary to get your license and you’ll probably have to have some training depending on the state you plan to work in, you can become a licensed realtor after passing an exam in much less time than it would take to get your bachelor’s degree. In fact, it can happen in as little as 30 days.

The ‘Flexible’ Schedule

Many go into real estate with hopes of enjoying a more flexible schedule. While it does bring flexibility and freedom, and you won’t be stuck in a mundane 9-to-5 job, your schedule may not be what you hoped it would be. You’ll have to be available for your clients’ needs, which often means working when everyone else isn’t, like evenings and weekends. Think carefully about whether you’ll be able to drop everything at a moment’s notice to attend to your clients.

You’ll Get to Help People Make Their Dreams Come True

Working as a real estate agent can be genuinely satisfying, helping people find just the right home, making their dream of becoming a homeowner come true. Or, maybe you’ll help someone sell their place at a great price so they can start a new life somewhere else.