Tips on becoming a successful real estate agent
As the job market evolves and changes, the lack of good jobs with good benefits available to those who don’t have a master’s degree or a doctorate has caused people to look for more self-starter careers. If you have some knowledge of home repair and a desire to get into real estate sales, you can sometimes get into house sales even without acquiring a license to sell homes initially.
Of course, you can take the traditional route of getting some courses under your belt and taking a real estate licensing exam, then becoming an agent with a local real estate firm. That is an excellent way to break into real estate, and many have gone on to be very successful, running their own firm after branching off. On the other hand, if you are already working too much and you are a committed fan of the DIY mentality, you can begin flipping houses without any kind of license to sell real estate.
There is no shortage of shows about “flipping homes.” Heck, the “Home and Garden Channel” almost exclusively exists because of shows featuring house flippers. The question is: can you do what those people do? Can you start doing what they do without knowing a lot about real estate? The answer is: maybe.
There are hundreds, if not thousands, of self-help gurus out there who want to sell people “foolproof” ways to become rich by flipping houses. It seems as if these people all did ok, and maybe even did a fantastic job of flipping and selling real estate without any kind of inspirational guru to get them going on flipping houses. The question that seems to be the elephant in the room is: if the people who made the self-help tape on how to flip real estate were able to do well, and in some cases, even create a tremendous amount of money without buying some schlocky self-help program to do it, why does anyone else need a self-help program?
If you are broke, start researching
The internet is a fantastic place where free online classes are given every day and where there is a ton of information (and disinformation) floating around, free for anyone to read or watch. Here are some free places to find information on real estate sales and how to flip houses that don’t cost anything at all:
- com: if you are unfamiliar with Reddit, it is a reader-submitted forum that has any kind of subject matter you could ever want to read about and some things that you probably never wanted to know in this lifetime or any other. The sections are called “subreddits,” and some subreddits are devoted to free learning. Subreddits like r/IWantToLearn connect people who want to learn a field or subject with those who can teach them. Also, r/SelfImprovement and r/GetMotivated are both excellent general forums for those who have a lot of energy and a lot of dreams. If you want to learn how to make basic improvements on a home, start with r/DIY and then look around for more specific subreddits that have to do with house flipping because they are most certainly out there. Doing a few searches will most certainly lead you to some threads where you will sometimes be amazed at a depth of knowledge of the responses that are available to learn from.
- gov: the federal small business association website has a surprising number of great resources for people who are trying to start any sort of small business or work for themselves. Finding answers about things like getting loans as a real estate flipper can be researched at this well-made resource of a website.
- YouTube: While you will find a whole lot of people trying to sell you “get rich quick” programs or books on YouTube, you will also find lots of handy tutorials on everything from buying your first house to fixing the pipes under a bathroom sink. The amount of knowledge stored in YouTube is pretty outstanding, and you can spend a whole day watching helpful clips for things like flipping houses and learning to sell real estate, all for free.
Beware that a Google search of “house flipping resources” is a virtual landmine-filled field of thinly veiled ads for “free classes” that aren’t free, and at its worst, could lead to some kind of MLM scheme to throw your hard-earned pay at. Instead, you’ll want to find the best real estate software to start. You will probably need to be a little stealthy when trying to learn house flipping skills for free since so many “I DID IT AND SO CAN YOU!” types of salesmen will be chomping at the bit to find you through Google.
Choosing your investments
The hardest part of finding investment property is finding areas to purchase houses or land at a low cost and predicting that the same spot will become more valuable within the next few years. This is usually easier in urban areas, where gentrification is a never-ending cycle. As areas lose value and become run down, there are always people who don’t want to pay a premium in a very wealthy neighborhood. If you are looking solely for investment properties, the ability to predict what neighborhoods, suburbs, or even cities are going to be the next biggest thing for the upwardly mobile to flock to has been the making of some major fortunes, historically.
Try to find properties to flip in neighborhoods that are on the fringes of developing upscale neighborhoods. You can usually bet that a neighborhood in the ghetto that is three blocks from a different neighborhood that is quickly becoming gentrified is probably going to become the next area to be gentrified (barring some catastrophic nationwide financial crisis, of course).
The only problem with this is that the owners of the properties near the gentrification might realize their buildings or homes might finally become lucrative if they can sell. The only way to get around this is to haunt the neighborhood or area you have decided is an up-and-coming area soon. Check out every “for sale by owner” sign, and knock on doors if you feel comfortable asking the current resident if they are looking to sell. This hobby requires some commitment, but if luck goes your way, you could potentially make a whole lot of money on the right house at the right time.
Get your real estate license
If you have the time and the extra money to obtain your real estate license, and you are committed to the idea of real estate as a career in your future, then starting by taking the courses to take the licensure test, sometimes called the PSI. Each state offers licenses independently, so you will need to know what state or states you want to sell real estate in to figure out which state test to take.
Although a lot of people aren’t keen on the idea of going back to school and will do just about anything to navigate around this while trying to carve themselves out a career in real estate, if you start to pick up steam as a house flipper, you will probably need to pass that test eventually to expand your business.
Even if you don’t have a desire to work for a real estate franchise for another agent, like Century 21 or ReMax, you will learn a lot of handy information about the legalities surrounding the purchase and sale of real estate, as well as lots of other industry-specific knowledge that can’t be anything but useful as you build toward your real estate empire.