Pros and Cons of a Real Estate Agent Career
Updated: May 2
Hi there! Sorry for not writing more frequently as I was really busy for the past month. The property market in Singapore is booming, much like what is happening in many other countries.
During this period when you see so many property agents earning lots of commission, do you also start to think if you should pursue a real estate agent career?
As with any other occupations, a career in property has its pros and cons.
In this article, let me share with you the benefits and challenges you will face when you embark on this exciting career!
PROS Of A Real Estate Agent Career
1) You are your own boss
One of the biggest draws to becoming a real estate agent is that you get to be your own boss. Yay!!!
Having worked for corporate companies before making the switch to be a property agent, I understand what it is like to have to answer to so many people and navigate your way through the complex office hierarchy.
And oh ya, I have not mentioned the office politic that is happening in almost every workplace!
On the other hand, as a property agent, the people whom you need to report to are probably only yourself and your clients.
I have always enjoyed meeting people, and what I like most as a real estate agent is the ability to journey with my clients through real estate as they progress in life.
And what about the people whom I probably will not enjoy working with? I make the decision to continue or to stop.
2) Flexible Working Hours
I love the flexible working hours of a real estate career.
Gone are the days when I need to wake up early and squeeze with others taking public transport during peak hours.
Neither do I need to pay expensive ERP just to get into the CBD during peak hours for work.
And did I mention I get to avoid the lunch hour crowd and have my meal in peace? Oh and shop when there is a lesser crowd? Haha... please do not be mistaken that I am anti-social :)
For parents of young kids, flexible working hours allow us to plan our work around our kid's commitments - school, tuition, enrichment lesson etc. It is especially helpful as we get to spend more time with them as they are growing up.
3) You Decide Your Income
As many will say, the sky is the limit when it comes to the income you can earn as a real estate agent.
Yes, it is true.
In the course of my career, I have seen so many property agents clocking in 6-digits commission. It is no small feat.
And the best thing is, you have a choice to decide if you want to continue making the big income or take a break when you want.
Many agents worked very hard starting from the beginning of the year. Once they hit the sales target they have set for themselves, they go for a long break.
And this is especially important as we enter the different stages of life.
Many parents choose to slow down on their sales so that they can spend more time with their children.
4) Great Work Satisfaction
Many people relate property agents to money. They have this impression that property agents are in the business only to earn big money.
Quite the contrary, many real estate agents are able to last in the business because there is great satisfaction in helping people through real estate.
I remembered many years ago, I helped an elderly man in his 70s sold his 5room HDB flat in order to downgrade to a 3room unit.
This client of mine has a daughter in her 40s and is wheelchair-bound.
He told me he needed to downgrade. Age is catching up and he can no longer work like before.
One of his requirements for the flat he is buying is it must be located on a lift level. And it must also have easy access to at least 2 lifts.
I can understand why he needs a unit on the lift level, but why need access to 2 lifts?
He explained that his daughter needs to go for frequent doctor appointments. There were times when the lift is under maintenance, and he is totally stuck. Unlike before, he can no longer carry his daughter down the staircase.
I managed to help him sell his flat and move to an ideal 3 room flat.
Work satisfaction does not come only in the form of monetary rewards. When we can use our knowledge and experience to help others, it gives us greater satisfaction.
CONS Of A Real Estate Agent Career
1) You Are A One Man Show
While being your own boss gives you a lot of flexibility, it also means there is a huge responsibility as you are running your own show.
A property agent is basically a property agent, marketer, financial controller, human resource manager, coordinator etc all in one.
You have to make decisions that are beneficial for your business.
All these might seem daunting for a new real estate salesperson, especially if you have been working for others and are used to the corporate culture.
Need more tips on which agency to choose? Read my article on "Which Real Estate Agency Should I Join After Passing My RES Exam?"
2) You Need To Be Really Disciplined
While one of the pros of a real estate agent career is the flexible working hours, it also means you have to be really disciplined.
One of the top reasons why property agents could not succeed in this industry is really down to the lack of discipline.
We do not have a fixed time to start work, neither do we have to report to an office at a stipulated time. We are our own boss and thus do not need to report to someone at work.
All these benefits can easily be abused unless we are really disciplined.
One good way to counter the lack of discipline is really to plan.
Have a monthly plan at the start of each month to break down the work needed to achieve your goal.
Then have a weekly plan at the beginning of each week to go through the work that has been done for the previous week, and the work to be done for the upcoming week.
A clearly defined goal with a good plan and discipline is almost the key to success.
3) You might face a cashflow problem
It is not uncommon for real estate agents to sometimes go months without making a sale. You may be working with many sellers and buyers, but sometimes the sale just cannot be closed.
Also, the procedure for a transaction could be lengthy.
A sale and purchase transaction for a resale property takes around 3 months. Coupled that with the time needed for marketing (averagely around 2 months), we receive our commission 5 to 6 months later.
The lead time to receive our commission is shorter for rental transactions. We typically receive our commission after we found a tenant for our landlords.
Learning to manage cash flow is a very important aspect of our job.
Many real estate agents are not able to survive in the industry simply because the income is inconsistent and they face cash flow issues.
It is not difficult to overcome this problem. The key to having a smooth cash flow is simply to have consistent income.
And how to make sure we have consistent income? It is down to a good plan and discipline :)
4) You Need To Spend Money To Make Money
Property agents, especially those who are new to the business, are concerned about the costs involved to start their real estate business.
I totally understand the concern.
Real estate business is, after all, a business. And you will need capital for any business.
After you have passed your exam, there will be application and registration fees which you need to pay before getting your license.
To help our new agents kickstart their business, we absorb the application and registration fees (information correct when writing).
Prospecting is the most important aspect of our business. As a business person, it is important to spend money to make money.
Modern prospecting methods include our personal website and social media marketing.
Traditional prospecting methods include telemarketing, flyers, door-to-door canvassing and roadshow etc.
In this era, it is important to have the most updated information at your fingertips. While we can get a lot of information from HDB and URA websites, they are not as updated as some of the paid subscriptions to EdgeProp and SRX.
As part of the Navis group in OrangeTee & Tie, we are given access to a very powerful app called Navis Analyzer. This app gives us the most comprehensive and updated information that all real estate agents will find useful.
While we cannot eradicate the cost of starting and running a real estate business, this app greatly reduces the costs that property agents need to spend in order to kickstart their business.
A career in real estate is definitely exciting and challenging. It can be lucrative and comes with many benefits, but the work is definitely not a walk in the park.
To all my fellow agents in the industry, we know it is not an easy feat to be where we are thus far.
If you are thinking to explore a property agent career, let's have a non-obligated discussion on how I can help you achieve what you hope to achieve in this career.
Drop me a whatsapp or schedule an appointment with me using the link below.
See you soon!
About The Author
Vivian joined the real estate industry in 2002. Having been in the real estate business for almost 2 decades, she knows the rewards and challenges that a real estate agent face.
While the real estate career offers lucrative income and flexible work hours, it also presents many challenges - financial insecurity as we do not have basic pay, time management as we juggle work, children and family all at one time.
Only those who have walked the same journey will understand.
Vivian would now like to pay it forward by mentoring fellow agents, especially women who want to build a real estate career.
It is her vision to see women achieving their dreams, and live their lives with purpose and passion through a successful real estate career.
Call Vivian at 98577714 to embark on this journey.