Why Do People Go Into Real Estate?

why people go into real estate

Yesterday I received a call from a guy who said he would like to talk to me about why people go into real estate. Did I have a few minutes to spare? Just some random guy seeking out a random agent, he said. For starters, I should say that happens because of my extensive exposure online, especially due to all of the articles I published over the last 12 years about homebuying on what is now The Balance. My voice somehow encourages a lot of people to contact me.

Unfortunately, there is no money in it to talk to some of these people. Every so often they want to buy or sell a house in Sacramento, but there are also telemarketers who want to sell me something. Lottsa luck there, I say; and there are people who genuinely do not know who else to contact. Or, maybe I am self delusional. I could be wrong. But I do try to help, regardless. They could be people who regularly contact strangers online to try to squeeze information from professionals for free. It’s better to think the best about people, because by thinking the worst, the worst has a better chance of becoming reality.

I feel an obligation to give back all the great pieces of knowledge I have acquired over the years. Self reflection helps. Engaging in open lines of communication; heck, just talking about it brings up ideas to analyze. But back to why people go into real estate.

This is not a new concept, but I truly believe many people go into real estate because they don’t fit well in any other occupation. Real estate is a business comprised of misfits. Losers, if you may. People with nothing else going on in their lives. Maybe they were fired. Maybe they quit job after job. Downsized. Dropped out of college. Or, simply aimless. Maybe they are like me and do not respond well to positions of authority. I resist every time.

Truth is to be wildly successful at real estate involves tremendous sacrifice. Many sacrifices. Intense focus. And running the business has got to come first. What? I know a lot of you are probably thinking, you know maybe that’s your take but that’s not my take. My family is always first. I say either you are deluding yourself or you won’t make it in real estate or both. It takes constant drive and self motivation, which makes it impractical to try to achieve balance.

If you want to make it into the big time in real estate, stop believing the myth you can have balance in your life.

Some people consider themselves wildly successful if they can sell one house a month. To me, that is the bare requirement to exist in this profession, and 90% of agents in Sacramento sell 12 or fewer homes a year. That is perfectly respectable for an agent, but it is not what I call wildly successful. Let me add there is nothing wrong about not wanting more that real estate has to offer. But the guy who called me wanted to know about extreme success.

My definition to become wildly successful in real estate involves production and sales volume. Most superstars on the lower end earn annually at least a quarter of a million, but I would imagine the average is closer to half a million. Agents who work in higher end markets easily make a million+.

People go into real estate to make money. To make a living for themselves. But it is hard work, long hours and involves a lot of rejection when you begin. If you have a pipeline for business, contacts that routinely feed you clients, you’re way ahead of most other agents. Some of us don’t rely on our “sphere of influence” i.e. people we know. We build our clientele from taking buyer calls, doing Floor, hitting the pavement to knock on doors and beg for work like some homeless person asking for a bowl of soup, holding countless open houses in the rain. We are too busy for lunch. You get the idea.

Fact is most agents do not make a lot of money. Only a few people who go into real estate will become millionaires. Along the way, you’ve got to develop a passion for the work, the people and focus on positive outcomes.

The secret to success is to always put your client’s needs above your own. Easy to say, hard to execute.

Further, to consistently produce a large volume of sales, one must also ensure the quality remains, the personal touch, the fact that clients feel they are my only client. It is a myth that agents who do volume cannot provide quality service, and agents who rattle that cage of nonsense are sucking on sour grapes.

People who go into real estate will tell you they want to help other people. If that were totally true, they’d volunteer at Loaves and Fishes or come up with some other brilliant idea to save the world. Of course, we will feel very rewarded by helping a seller or buyer, but it is extremely challenging to manage how others react to you. I often say I do not sell real estate, I manage people and their expectations.

Over the past 40+ years in real estate, I have created amazing transactions out of thin air, saved many folks from their own destruction and blazed an incredible trail in real estate. If I had to do it all over, I would. I am turning 67 this year, and still going strong in Sacramento real estate.

Elizabeth Weintraub

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