Pros and Cons of Being a Real Estate Agent (Plus Tips)

Updated July 24, 2023

Person stands in front of house with a sold sign in the front yard

Real estate can be a rewarding and challenging career. Before you start a career as a real estate agent, you may study what the role entails and the pros and cons of pursuing it. Weighing these pros and cons helps you make a more strategic decision regarding your future career. 

In this article, we explain the role of a real estate agent, list the advantages and potential drawbacks of this career and provide you with tips to help you overcome the challenges you may experience in this position.

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What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent refers to an individual that represents real estate sellers or buyers. While some real estate agents work independently, others work for a licensed broker. Working on commission, they earn part of a property's sale price. Real estate agents have a combination of administrative, research and marketing duties.

Some of their duties include providing buyers and sellers with assistance, performing real estate analysis, looking for open property listings, running advertising campaigns, scheduling property showings, answering phone calls and networking with potential clients.

Related: Learn About Being a Real Estate Agent

Pros of being a real estate agent

Being a real estate agent comes with several advantages for both your personal and work life. Knowing the benefits this career provides makes it easier for you to determine whether you'd find fulfillment in this career path. Here are some of the advantages of being a real estate agent:

Flexible schedule

As a real estate agent, you're your own boss and can schedule your day to fit your personal life. This means you don't clock in and out, nor start or end work at a specific time. Setting your own hours and making your own schedule gives you more time to spend with your friends and family, providing a greater work-life balance and increased job satisfaction.

Related: How To Succeed as a Real Estate Agent: 11 Ways To Success

Unlimited income potential

Unlike other careers, real estate agents don't have an income cap. With strong business knowledge and plenty of dedication, you can get more out of your career as a real estate agent. You also don't work for a set amount of time before you receive a raise.

Related: Real Estate Broker vs. Salesperson: Which Career Is Right for You

Helping your clients

After getting your real estate license, you get to help your clients find their dream homes or properties. This means you get to be there for one of the biggest moments of their life. Helping them find the perfect home for their family not only gives you a sense of purpose in your job but can also motivate you to do it again for your future clients.

Related: FAQ: What Is a Real Estate Consultant? (With Types and Duties)

Career mobility

When you're a real estate agent, you have the ability to work for yourself. Essentially, you have the opportunity to build your own business and brand. You can also seek out other opportunities both in and outside of the real estate industry with your real estate agent experience. For example, you can transition to a career as a real estate investor, residential appraiser, property manager, leasing consultant, office manager, customer service representative or sales associate.

Related: Learn About Being a Property Manager

Business growth

Since you're your own boss, you have the ability to make your real estate business as big as you want it to be. While you may start off as a one-person business, you can grow the business by hiring one or more assistants. You can also get your broker license and build a brokerage to help with your potential.

Related: Real Estate Agent Skills: Definition, Examples and How To Improve

Client referrals

Whether or not your clients choose to use your services again, they may recommend you to their friends and family. Their goodwill can help you grow your client roster and, therefore, your earnings as a real estate agent.

Related: How To Start in Real Estate

Cons of being a real estate agent

While being a real estate agent comes with several advantages, it's important to look at the cons to help you make a well-informed decision regarding this career. Consider the following cons of being a real estate agent:

Longer hours

While many jobs follow a standard workweek of 40 hours, real estate agents may work beyond this schedule. Rather than have a set schedule, they often work around their clients' schedules. They may have showings or open houses when their clients and potential buyers are more likely to be out of work. This may mean you work during weekday evenings or over the weekend. While you may have time off during a weekday morning or afternoon, you may also miss out on time with family and friends over the weekend.

Related: How To Prospect in Real Estate and Why It's Important

Slow periods

As a real estate agent, you earn money based on your own transactions. Without a set salary from an employer, slower months can negatively affect your income. If you're not selling property, you won't receive a paycheck. Therefore, while it's nice to have an unlimited earning potential, this can be a challenge if you don't have a set amount of money to fall back on during a slow period.

Stressful process

Though you get to experience the excitement of getting your clients into a new home or property, the process often comes with some stress. Your clients may make a significant financial decision and often feel conflicted. While it's exciting to help your clients, this career comes with its challenging moments. Developing your real estate knowledge and skills like communication and empathy can help you connect with your clients and talk them through these challenges. 

Related: How To Become a Real Estate Broker (Average Salary and Steps)

Different personalities

As a real estate agent, you interact with clients and other agents with varying personalities. While some people may be friendly, others may be harder to work with. In addition, some people may find it hard to separate emotions from business. Developing conflict resolution and communication skills can help you interact effectively with different people.

Hard work

When you don't earn money as quickly as you thought you would, it can leave you easily discouraged as a new real estate agent. To attract clients, you often work extra hours to promote yourself. This involves managing your own marketing, clients, listings and various transactions all at once. Therefore, it's essential to have both passion and discipline to succeed in this role.

Single transactions

Many of your clients may only need help purchasing or selling one home or property, so it can be challenging to rely on repeat business. Some of your clients may come to you for help in the future, for example, if they want to move or find a larger or smaller home. If they liked working with you, they're more likely to recommend your services to their family and friends. These referrals can help you grow your client base and increase your income.

Related: 5 Degrees You Can Pursue To Earn Your Master's in Real Estate Online

Tips for being a real estate agent

Though being a real estate agent comes with both pros and cons, you can make the most of the job's disadvantages with the right mindset and strategy. Here are some tips to help you overcome the challenges that come from being a real estate agent:

Improve your time management skills

Even with a flexible schedule, you may end up working hours that go beyond the standard 40-hour work week. To help with this, use a planner or calendar to effectively manage your day. This helps you identify essential tasks and determine what appointments or meetings you have coming up during the week. Overall, effectively managing your time makes it easier to achieve a greater work-life balance in this job.

Open a savings account

A slow period may result in less income than you're used to. To make up for this, create a savings fund to help with your cash flow during these times. If you take out of your savings during one month, you can always add more money to it once your earnings pick up. Make sure to consider your expenses and create a budget to help you determine how much to save.

Widen your network

If you're having trouble with a client, reach out to other real estate agents. Having a mentor who's undergone similar experiences or challenges can share approaches with you to help you make the most of the situation. Get to know other agents in your area and the various ways they work through challenging times as real estate agents. You might also have a network of mortgage brokers and inspectors which could greatly help with your success. For example, you can refer an inspector or broker to your clients.

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Jobs similar to real estate agents

If you're interested in a career in real estate and helping others sell property, there are many jobs to consider. Here are 10 jobs similar to real estate agents:

  1. Realtor

  2. Real estate broker

  3. Leasing consultant

  4. Real estate investor

  5. Property manager

  6. Home stager

  7. Appraiser

  8. Property inspector

  9. Real estate developer

  10. Real estate attorney

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