A Day in the Life of a Realtor

Today I had the privilege of shadowing a Realtor from Century 21 and boy was it an eye opening experience! From regulatory paperwork, to visiting the house soon to be on the market, and even grabbing some grub for lunch, today was a day I won’t soon forget.

The day started with some paperwork, a little learning about the real estate industry, and some chatting about life and such. The guy who I was shadowing was a previous alum from Penn State so we had a lot in common to talk about right off the bat. But the paperwork was mostly getting ready for his big meeting tonight with a man hoping to put his house on the market.

The basic story is that the man bought his house about 5 years ago, fairly recently in real estate terms, and is now relocating because of work and needs to sell it. The company that he works for has a program that contacted Century 21 and another company to put the house on the market, so essentially the guy I was shadowing had some competition to deal with. He needed to break all the ties in his favor between this other company in order to win the client over.

To start, we put together a listing of about 10 other “comps,” or houses that we could compare to the one we were putting on the market (same school district, size, bedroom and bathroom #, age, etc.) to get an idea of how to price the house. We looked at houses currently on the market, houses currently working on being sold, and houses previously sold to get an idea.

Once this was done, we took our information and drove over to the house before he planned to do the meeting there in the evening, both to get an idea of where it was and possible perks or downsides about the property. The house was an adorable, light yellow, two story, two car garage house. Unfortunately, the street that it was located on wasn’t the greatest. The street looked like there were original plans to build about 15 houses, but there were only 3, surrounded by overgrown brush, in the back country of the town we were in. This was very unfortunate, and troubling, considering everything else about the house was looking good! But hey – where is the challenge in that?

We ended up consulting a few colleagues about how to price the houses and ended up pricing it lower than the owner bought it for until the owner is able to get the county or the people who own the land plots to do something about it.

This was one of the main challenges we faced today, making me realize that there is no NORMAL day in real estate! But that is why the person I shadowed loves his job so much. He is able to be moving around most of the day, not just sitting in a cubicle from 9-5, but instead he is on the road, making phone calls and house calls and meeting with clients for meetings. He works at his own pace when he wants to, he is his own boss essentially. He told me that normally realtors aim to either put 2 houses on the market or sell 2 houses to customers or a combination of the two each month. Some months are empty (October-January specifically) where he did no business. But other months are packed with opportunities. In May he sold or bought NINE total houses!! That blew my mind.

To make his money, he makes a 3% commission for putting a house on the market, and 3% for selling it (taking it off). And when houses run about $200,000, that’s around $12,000 a month for 2 sales, or $144,000 a year. Not bad I would say… BUT, this only applies if you’re motivated and work your butt off. It’s a dog-eat-dog work in real estate, but the rewards can pay off generously if you work for them.

To get started, about a $2,000 investment to obtain your real estate license is necessary. Only then can you be hired by a company such as Century 21. The next step for my shadowee is to get his Broker License, which he is currently taking classes for.

I’m really not sure how I feel about this job. While working on your own can be challenging, it can also be fun. Also the lack of early mornings or late nights is also a nice bonus! The only downside the person I shadowed mentioned was that you need to be self motivated, but I see that more of a challenge or mantra than a downside… I suppose this could be a fun career is all else fails, but I feel like I would need a side job during the winter months to make ends meet…maybe as a snowboard instructor…hmm… 🙂

If you have any questions about my AWESOME day, feel free to ask! 🙂 I hope this provides some people with some more information than they already knew!


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