Having sold real estate since the last time the market was hot I know a little something about what makes Realtors tick. Some are lazy and got into the business only because they thought it would be an easy way to make a living. Or at least that’s why I like to say I got into it.
I remember buying my first condo with a family friend and she made it look so easy. Look at how much money she made and how little work she did, I thought. I could do that! Years later another good family friend of mine who also got into the business would tell me on his way onto another profession, after a futile year of selling not one property, ‘If I had known selling real estate was a ticket to poverty I’d never had gotten into it.’ We might make it look like selling real estate is an easy way to make a living, but it’s not.
Those gleaming automobiles my real estate sales brethren drive are often mistaken for success. Why do I still drive my 2004 Camry and not some kind of late model Lexus or BMW? I abhor unnecessary expenses. That’s another way of saying I’m cheap. Seriously though, why start shelling out car payments when I’ve got something already bought and paid for that’s dependable too? So people will think I’m more successful? I have yet to be hired because of the car I drive.
The cogent question though, is could I be not hired because of my beloved, miserly Camry? That’s one of the reasons I never park in potential client’s driveways. I rarely park in people’s driveways anyway and it’s not because my car is leaking oil either. It doesn’t.
The one thing all Realtors leak though is cash. Every day we pay for the privilege to live in Marin, one of the most beautiful places in the world. And while we pay, we are never assured of our next paycheck because we work on 100 percent commission. How crazy is that?
In my MBA program at SFSU, I paid attention in my finance classes where we learned, the greater the risk the greater the potential reward. If you’re in an investment for the long term it’s going to pay to take the greatest risk because you can make the most money, theoretically. Or you can crash and burn. I know too many Realtors who have either lost their homes, gone through bankruptcy or both. I am treating my career like an investment. So far it’s been a good one.
Looking back on my career I was very naive when I got into the business in 2004. I had no idea how difficult it would be to make a living selling real estate. There is so much on the line with every sale, you are helping people make the largest sales they may ever be involved with and effecting where they will spend the next several years, if not their entire lives. That’s why I like it so much. Despite making some transactions look easy, selling homes can be extremely stressful. I’m not the only Realtor who has lost sleep over a property in escrow, or experienced a real estate related nightmare or two. And I’ve lived through my share too.