Now the fun of becoming a real estate agent begins. We actually go to a real estate office. I should say I interviewed at three offices here in Georgia before I decided on the one for me. I had already determined that Keller Williams was the real estate agency I wanted to work with as I saw their signs everywhere and they are also the largest real estate company in the country—with good reason as it turns out. I also knew that they were heavy on education and coaching and I felt I needed everything I could get. (I’ll tell you more about Keller Williams in a subsequent post.)
Before I picked this particular office, I had determined from real estate board rankings that average sales price of houses they closed on varied. The first office averaged about $210,000; the second about $300,000; and the last about $320,000. I figured it wasn’t any harder to sell a house for $320,000 than it was a $210,000 house and obviously my commission would be higher. All the real estate brokers I talked to were very nice, but I related well to the third person, and she presented the strongest growth trends, introduced me to staff and other real estate agents that were there that day to give me an idea of the culture, and she took the time to answer my questions (as really all the brokers did). She was satisfied with my background and told me to come back after I passed the licensing exam. She was like the second person I texted when I passed the next week. We set up an orientation the following week.
There was still an awful lot for me to learn and I was not at all confident enough to begin working with actual clients. Everyone was very helpful but the first major step was to take a class at Keller Williams called Ignite. It is a 3-week course for new real estate agents that provides 25 education credits (something required by the licensing board in the first year). The cost was $100 and includes a $50 note book—probably the cheapest education credits available. I don’t know what other real estate offices offer, but this is crucial to begin to learn the nuts and bolts of being a real estate agent.
Soon after getting a license, you should apply to the Real Estate Board to obtain the restricted designation “Realtor” (which is trademarked, and, therefore, capitalized). This was taking 2-3 weeks when I applied. You need the number they give you to access important information as well as things like access to lock boxes. Since I’m here in Atlanta, Georgia, I joined the Atlanta Board of Realtors which costs $425 per year plus $70 for new applicants. They do provide a number of services and it’s a necessary part of being a Realtor.
You will need a key to open lock boxes. I got it from First Multiple Listing Services for $50. It is actually an app they put on your cell phone (regular fobs or security tokens are available if you prefer) and it costs $ 15.81 a month to keep it up to date. You should get business cards as soon as you have all the information you need—office numbers, your phone number, physical address, and website address (more about that in a upcoming post), and your picture. I got 500 cards with the Keller Williams logo etc., and my picture from VistaPrint for $14.98.
Next, you will need regular items covered by your local office. My monthly basic expenses are $111. This covers various software and technology services, marketing package, and Error & Omissions Insurance, etc. If you had to purchase many of these items individually, it would cost considerably more. Making copies, preprinted items, folders, and other items are extra.
I purchased one basic For Sale sign with the metal stand and a rider (which is a smaller sign that you can afix to the top of the basic sign) for $84.53 from Image360 (AKA Signs by Tomorrow). I also bought four directional arrow signs from Home Depot—$12.68 including stands (only $3 a piece – much better than other options). I ordered two name badges online from House of Magnets—2/$10 plus $2.95 shipping.
And, finally, I bought ink for my printer, black and color, from Walmart for $57. You will definitely need a printer at home and I don’t want to run out of ink. I also got a ream of paper for $4.
The total of the above expenses come to $896.95 and we’re ready to go! If you want a check list of all this stuff, just email me.