A Career in Real Estate

Would I become a Realtor in today’s market? Hmmm? Not without a long look at how I was going to make a living at it. Business plan and all. Maybe there is a niche that isn’t being served and I am confident I can crack it. I think the biggest mistake Realtors make is getting licensed and then figuring out the plan while they bleed cash in search of that first client. What is your entry strategy? If you can’t put that together in this market it is gonna be tough for you. I started when it was “easy” but we didn’t get to be where we are now by luck. I think joining a team would be good if you can find one that is hiring (we’re not).

Most Realtors don’t have an exit strategy either. I am working on mine though it is a long way off. The simple answer is turning everything off and sitting on the beach. The smart answer is building tools of value that can generate future income or be sold when no longer working. What is this blog worth? The URL? Our other websites? You could argue worthless without me typing but is that really the case?

Blogging about the process to your first paycheck? I can’t see that working out. You couldn’t say enough about the transaction if it involved a true client and I doubt I would want to be that first client with my story spread across the Internet. I’m having a hard time writing about it where I am the client. Having been there, the process of real estate school wasn’t exactly scintillating material either.

Just my two cents. Don’t let me dissuade you if you think you can succeed.

36 Comments on “A Career in Real Estate

  1. Alright. Working title for my new blog.

    Teddy Or Not: A new life in real estate

    Charles is absolutely right, the process of real estate school is not scintillating. I’m hoping that it will, however, provide a jumping off point for delving into different areas of a real estate transaction that might be of interest.

    Charles is correct again in pointing out that someone could not get away with blogging about an ongoing transaction with an actual client. But how about the process of obtaining that first client? If reality tv has taught me anything, its that people enjoy being spectators to real life struggle that has the possiblity of ending in complete, total and abject failure. And this venture could turn out that way for me, no doubt about it. If HG TV has taught me anything, its that theres a huge demographic out there that seems to be intensely interested in getting an inside look at how agents work. Their show featuring agents pricing a sellers house is one of their top rated programs.

    So, in a real estate market that many consider Portland’s worst in the last two decades, in a cutthroat industry that takes no prisoners, will one man be able to triumph in the face of these seemingly insurmountable obstacles?

  2. Maxwell Sinclair quit the Mortgage Biz as a Realtor. He is starting a chocolate biz. Sounds as good a plan as any. I am also exiting the Mortgage Biz (Wholesale Lender) — most are… Those that are not seem to have a martyr complex.

  3. It looks to me that Max had an exit strategy and his website is now featuring another Realtor. I doubt he gave it away. Theory, not necessarily fact.

    Teddy, who is the audience for your new blog? Kudos for acknowledging that it could be a train wreck. More kudos to follow if it works!

  4. Well, Teddy, it appears the website “Realty Baron” is up for grabs as is Reno Realty Blog?!?! Two more casualties of the bursting bubble…

    (see ‘Real Estate Blogs Elsewhere’ to your right)

  5. I see 8549 NW Ryan is pending in the RMLS system. That’s far fewer than 45 days.

  6. WOW, 13 days! Can’t wait to get the scoop, especially the finaning scoop though I am sure there are client privacy issues. I have to say I am quite surprised. Maybe it was all the special advertising the debate providing?!?!;O)

  7. We had our office awards breakfast this morning. Ignoring (mostly) the fact that our team was in the top 3% in the country for Prudential Real Estate in 2007 and #7 for Prudential NW Properties, it should be acknowledged that a Realtor who has been in the business for ONE year was in the top 11%. It can be done.

    That said, numbers were mentioned that 1000 Realtors have left and another 1000 are expected to leave the industry. I think that was referring to RMLS member Realtors.

  8. Silly me, how could I forget this stat from our meeting this morning: 1500 hours and $17000 dollars to get a beautician license. 150 hours and a couple grand (if that) to get your real estate license! Doh!

  9. And my last cut at Super Cuts really sucked but hey, it was only $15 vs the ‘hair cut’ I took when I sold my house for 6%. Yeah, your guys’ best bet is to raise your (as in NAR) standards and therefore raise your (NAR) reputations. Hearing Teddy complain about his experiences with realtors and my own experience reinforces the need for raising the bar.

  10. Hey Charles, I remember not too long ago preaching about how easy it was to buy and sell houses up until about Jan 2007 and you and JP ripped into me saying how much work goes into it and now I hear realtors saying how much more work it takes to sell a house/condo these days compared to their ‘taking order’ days…what gives?

    example…Real estate agent Debbie Thomas has sold Pearl District condos since the 1990s, starting with the Chown Pella lofts. “I’ve seen things go shhhh,” she says, raising her hand upward. Sales were so hot from about 2001 to 2006, real estate insiders joked that brokers never had to sell. Like waiters, they just took orders.

    For the first time, Thomas has to sell through a downswing.

    “It’s not taking orders any more,” she said.

    Were we not talking about the same thing?

  11. Charles, how about your view on the quality of supervison provided by most principal brokers. Do you think if the OREA required PB’s to provide a more structured and standardized apprenticeship type set up the first six months after they took on a new broker it would place and undue burden on them? Or would it just increase their interest in being more selective in who they hire, since it seem’s most PB’s will take in anyone off the street with the homes that they’ll at least move a couple of properties for friends and relatives, and cough up some desk fee’s for a year until they bail out.

  12. Sounds like order Debbie Thomas is going to be taking is at a Burgerville.

  13. Hey Charles,

    Completely agree… really I see this approach from people in all kinds of business… but especially in the real estate brokerage and mortgage brokerage biz over the last 4 years or so.

    When people could fall off the “turnip truck” a few years ago and have business thrown at them without even trying… it enticed the people looking for an easy living… rather than a true business.

    Great analysis… and I wouldn’t ask 99% of people to get into the biz of being a Realtor right now… simply because 99% of people don’t want to put in the RIGHT work to build a true business.

    Keep up the good work!

    P.S. – I’m right here in PDX too, can’t wait til the weather gets nice again!

    – Trevor Mauch


  14. Debbie had 5 hot years of RE. If she wasn’t able to save up for the slow down she has only herslef to blame. Who in their right mind believed it was going to last forever?

  15. Next thing you know shes gonna be drifting around commenting on blog posts at 10 in the morning.

  16. Teddy,

    Don’t forget that Debbie will at some point be your, Realtor in Arms, to paraphrase you.

    Prudential Northwest Properties has an excellent and madatory new agent training that is two weeks long. It is one of the reasons I chose PRU. There is no standard training.

  17. Charles, are you going to use some of the cake you haul down from the NW Ryan sale to throw a poster appreciation party at Yoshida’s, or maybe Ten 01… or you know what, its your dime, you pick.

    Would you be able to disclose what your desk fee’s are, or is that something you need to keep on the down low? Just curious.
    I’ve been checking in with different outfits trying to figure out who has the best deal. So far Oregon First is looking to be the fairest, with Windermere looking, lets just say, the opposite of that.

  18. Charles, are you going to use some of the cake you haul down from the NW Ryan sale to throw a poster appreciation party at Yoshida’s, or maybe Ten 01… or you know what, its your dime, you pick.


    Would you be able to disclose what your desk fee’s are, or is that something you need to keep on the down low? Just curious.

    Do your own homework. I am not a principal broker looking to hire (or not hire) new agents.

    I’ve been checking in with different outfits trying to figure out who has the best deal.

    Define best deal. The one that takes the least money out of your commission check or the one that supports you best?

  19. Charles, I love the WTF comment above!

    And I think you might have a stalker on your hands in Teddy. Makes me look positively sane.

  20. Charles, you seem to have an endless need to respond to every peep made in the comments of your blog, and when someone jokes around with you a little bit, this is how you respond? Are you really that uptight? Secondly I have no interest in coming to work for you, not sure why you would infer that I did, I asked about your desk fees because you blather on about everything else in your business, didn’t seem like that nugget would make much of a difference at this point.

  21. Teddy,

    when someone jokes around with you a little bit, this is how you respond?

    How was I to infer your comment to be a joke? Doesn’t read that way to me. I take my job and this blog very seriously. If you are being a smart ass, put a smiley face next to it so it is obvious.

    you seem to have an endless need to respond to every peep made in the comments of your blog

    If you are paying attention, I get called out for not responding. I thought you were serious at one point but now you seem to be becoming a troll.

    Secret agents don’t make it in real estate so maybe you want to step out from behind the alias, blog about your experience, and then see if anyone wants to hire you. I think my clients appreciate the results of my “blathering.” 🙂

    Don’t feel any need to reply but you seem to have an endless need to respond to every peep made in the comments of [my] blog.

    And to all a good night.

  22. What a relief, I was thinking I was the only one who thought Teddy was a little off.

    And yes, I have called Charles on some of his “LACK of responses’. So Teddy, you must be a newbie to the blog.

    Keep up the good work, Charles. I learn best from those who can articulate their difference opinions and perspectives.

  23. As for a company that supports you as an employee, this was a big reason why I took my current position…10 weeks of training plus extended internship if needed. Why be set up for failure? Well trained and supported employees are confident and more productive, IMHO.

  24. Wow bearlee, your just so superior to everyone. I wonder how, since your so superior, you wound up so pov you couldn’t even afford to stay in your own house?

  25. a) your you’re, in both cases. I hate pointing this out but man, somebody’s got to fight the grammar battle.
    b) Let’s not beat the “have/have not” drum yet again. Seems like every time this gets a bit emotional, people start resorting to baseless cheap shots. I’m also quite sure that isn’t true at all in bearlee’s case, at least according to what I’ve read in the past.

  26. ohhhh, far, far, from superior. Like mentioned by loadimmed (what does that mean?!) I have stated my history. Charles, I wish you had past posts archived for easy access. Any way, I posted my brief history under the post discussing first homes and mentioned my history a few times in various other places. I am the first to admit our mistakes: 1) bought more house than we could afford, zero down, even financed our loan fees 2) didn’t prepare for the layoffs/recession that hit high tech hard in Portland. Mistake #1 made mistake #2 vary difficult.

    I see many folks making the same mistake #1 which is why I am so critical of Portland’s current housing situation and folks getting into funny loans, etc, etc, just to have the ‘American dream/nightmare’.

    I heard an NAR commercial today at work promoting homeownership. One of the arguments used was that 60% of an individual’s wealth is in the home, ie equity. Does that freak anyone else out given today’s situation across the country. How many folks in their late 30’s-50’s got into their homes with little down and now are upside down. How many got in w/ 20% down only to see it disappear with falling prices. Sure it will rebound but think about those near retirement and were (foolishly) counting on their equity to fund retirement…

    This is huge folks. Prepare!

  27. Charles just forwarded my comment, thanks:O)

    My comment from about a month or so ago:

    Our principle, interest, insurance, taxes, utilities were about $1740 from the start in 1999. We refinanced a year into the layoffs and took out money for business start up costs and money for a safety net since we did not know how long the slow down would last. Remember, we were in over our heads at the start so we were not able to save for the rainy day that was coming our way. The great year of tech contracts was going to last forever, right, so we did not save then (hind sight 20/20). Business never took off, hard to compete w/ 10K other laid off engineers. Had a baby, accrued debt there and debt fixing up the place. Thought we were going to have to relocate for spouses schooling and predicted the stagnant market and drop in prices so got out in early 07. Paid off debt, created an emergency fund, stuck some $ aside for DP in a few years. Go ahead, throw it at me.

    My living expenses now: $1300/month includes utilities and insurance vs $2000 in the house.

    Key point: in over our heads from the start, bought too much house so never really able to get on top of things. Young and naive.

  28. From foreclosure.com:

    Sw Multnoma NFS Sinclair,Max…

    I would be surprised and shocked to see a realtor foreclosing on a home!

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