So, You Want To Be A Realtor?


For years, friends, clients, friends of clients, family of clients and sometimes even clients of friends have called to ask some rudimentary questions about becoming a real estate agent. Usually we get together and have a nice chat and during that discussion I’ll usually hear the phrase “I think I’d like to try out real estate”. Here’s the thing, you don’t try out real estate…real estate try’s you out!

Once upon a time, before I became a realtor actually, I thought this would be an easy job…a lucrative easy job too! Ha! What was I smoking! In 2008, 60% of the agents in San Mateo county sold 1 house or less…86% sold 5 or less. I’m thinking that there haven’t been a whole bunch of agents lining up to buy the new Mercedes E-Class lately. So much for the lucrative part for most folks. How about the easy part?

In 2009 alone I’ve had several clients whose marriages were either falling apart or had recently fallen apart, folks in severe financial distress and folks who just lost a loved one and I’m in the middle of all of it. I have client’s that routinely show up a half hour to 45 minutes late and clients who have under reported their income or down payment, not only to me but to their lender as well, to the extent that I’ve just wasted all of the last couple of months showing them property. Not exactly an easy environment.

If you’re thinking about leaping into the fray and getting your license, here a few great 2009 stories to wet your appetite: An agent I know was on vacation in New York when a client called all excited about a house they had seen held open one Sunday. They insisted that he alone write the offer for them…no substitutes or pinch hittters. He left the family and flew back early, wrote, presented and ratified the offer for the clients…and at 8:00AM the following morning they called him to tell him that they had changed their mind. They didn’t really want that house after all.

Or how about this one: Another agent I know called her clients at a listing she had in Burlingame (the house had been on the market for 2 months) to tell them she would be going on vacation and explain how she would have a partner handle the business while she was gone. The seller said no, she couldn’t go on vacation and that if she did she would lose the listing. My friend explained that this was her 35th wedding anniversary and the trip was a once in a lifetime opportunity that her husband was surprising her with. The seller didn’t care, if you go you lose the listing she said.

Or this one: Yet another agent I know has a listing that a buyer came in paying all cash at the asking price and a week into the escrow the buyer requested to come over to the house to measure and show other family members their soon to be new home. The seller said no and in fact flatly stated that the buyer was not allowed into the house for the rest of the escrow. They have to wait until closing and they get the keys. That would sure make me feel all warm and fuzzy about buying that house…how about you?

Oops…I ranted again! Honestly, I love this business. I see it as a priveledge to be a part of the situations that have been placed before me. It’s not an easy job though.


  1. You have to have tuff skin in this business to say the least.

  2. Buyers, sellers, landlords and tenants are antsy – its the economy and uncertainty…..they watch the evening news and their life changes…..being able to address all of the issues in a given stuation will keep the “pros” in the real estate business….GREAT POST

  3. Jim,

    Good post. However, while every agent has lots of client-based horror stories to tell, you forgot to mention about the agent-related nightmares I’m sure you’ve encountered. As difficult as some clients can make this business, the plethora of flaky and unethical agents don’t make this job very easy either.


  4. Every professional needs to take time off. Customers either buyers or sellers who are not able tio understand that concept inevitably will be the ones who also don’t appreciate your expertise or services.

    That is not to say we shouldn’t be available- but no one has the right to tell you you “can’t go”.

  5. It is a true statement! “You can’t please everyone all the time.”

    And it is a quality to be able to say ‘No’ at the right times.

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