I Was a Successful Real Estate Agent, Here’s Why I Quit

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As long as people need help finding places to live, there will be real estate jobs. However, traditional buy/sell real estate is nothing like it looks on TV. 

You have to put in years of hard work before you ever feel a sense of career and pay advancement. It can take months to close a deal and get a payout, and during those months you’re still required to pour money and time into your own marketing.

“The reason most agents don’t succeed in buy/sell, in my opinion, is the time it takes to get your business moving even slightly.” Says Hayley, a former real estate agent who left the buy/sell world to work for AptAmigo, a startup that’s disrupting rental real estate. “In buy/sell, you’re really thrown into the deep end. It’s a huge risk, and there’s a lot more to learn than people realize.” 

Waiting Way Too Long to Get Paid

Sure, buy/sell commission checks can be pretty large when they do arrive. But few people can stomach or even afford to wait months without receiving a single penny for their work. 

“The checks were massive when they came in, but I’d look back on my spreadsheets and see that I had four closings one month, one closing the next, and then nothing on the radar afterward,” Says Damien, another former buy/sell broker-turned AptAmigo agent. “I could have gone months without income due to transactional processes, from the day somebody starts looking to the day they close, taking six months or more.”

If you have a family depending on you, buy/sell real estate may carry too much risk. Even if you have no dependents, waiting this long to get paid means you really have to be keen on budgeting.

“My wife was pregnant with our second child, and we wanted to move closer to family. So to best support my family and make the most financially sound decision, I decided it would not be best to potentially put myself in a situation to go six-plus months without income.”

Compounding the situation is the risk of losing time and resources to a client that ends the relationship with no sale. “If you do one thing wrong, all the client needs to do is talk to their mom or sister or friend and ask them if they know another agent. You’re one wrong comment, or missed appointment, or whatever it may be, away from losing a client.”

It’s Not as Lucrative or Flashy as it Sounds

They sure make buy/sell real estate look glamorous on TV. But ask any real-life agent, and they’ll tell you that until you’ve spent years building up your reputation in the industry, it’s anything but flashy.

“I worked for my mom, who owns a brokerage, and she always tells new people: ‘You can’t expect to join and just get an instant 6-figure income.’” says Hayley. “‘You should expect about three years before you’re actually going to have a pipeline of clients big enough to support yourself on.’”

Damien agrees. “I think the ability to make a ton of money exists. Yes. 100%. But all it takes is a simple Google search to realize that the median income for the first two years of buy/sell real estate is somewhere in the $30,000’s. So in order to break in, you either need supplemental income or to get lucky quickly. The rate at which people burn out or don’t have the money to keep going in the first two years is gigantic. I find breaking in to be more about luck than skill, hard work, and dedication.” 

The “Feast-or-Famine” Cycle

The other part of pay instability is the “feast-or-famine” cycle most brokers go through as they try to become established in the market. Many days are filled with silent anxiety, hoping to get a windfall client.

“I couldn’t tell you the percentage of days I spent in buy/sell where, quite frankly, I didn’t do a whole lot.” Says Damien. “It’s not like you can just go out and find somebody who’s wanting to use you to buy or sell a house.”

Even if you are well-connected, buying a house is not a common process for most people. “I mean, it’s a massive life decision. The first home you buy is likely the biggest investment you’re ever going to make in your life. And not everybody is going to be doing it every day.” This results in active clients that are few and far between, even for agents with large networks. 

Marketing is Way Too Expensive

So we’ve established that you won’t make much until you’ve been in the industry for years. But to even get there, agents must dump a huge portion of their earnings (or even savings) back into marketing themselves. Then, once you establish yourself, this expense only continues to grow.

“A typical brokerage will spend about $9,000 a month for heavy marketing,” Hayley says. “And that doesn’t even include billboards. They’ll pay like $1600 to $2,500 a month for each one, and typically have three to five. It’s a lot, but you have to market yourself when you’re an agent, or no one will know who you are.”

Why Damien and Hayley Joined AptAmigo

Damien was wary when he first discovered AptAmigo. “I was intrigued by the commission split and the ability to make real money… but I didn’t believe the comp sheet. I didn’t believe it was a feasible career. It didn’t make sense.”

After several conversations with AptAmigo, however, he took the plunge. “And then by conversation eight and nine, I was finally starting to believe it, and went in for an interview. Looking back, I couldn’t be more thankful that I did.”

Hayley wanted something that didn’t involve cold-calling. “It seemed like a typical post-college sales job.” She says. “I didn’t want to settle for a job where you just cold call all day. I would not be motivated to do it every day.” 

But after a friend in AptAmigo’s Atlanta office filled her in on what working for the company was actually like, she decided to apply for a job. “I just enjoy how fast-paced it is. I get to enjoy the parts of real estate that initially attracted me, but at a much more accelerated pace. Once I wrap up one client, I can’t wait for the next. I also love having a team. Everyone is so supportive and motivating, which is definitely lacking in buy/sell.”

Amazing Growth and Earnings Opportunities

When Damien was searching for a job, he made growth opportunity a priority— and he found it at AptAmigo. “I loved being a buy/sell agent, and it fit me well, but I feel that no matter where I am, I want to be managing people at some point. I saw AptAmigo as a place that would allow me to achieve that, and I did it so much faster than I ever anticipated.”

Hayley was amazed at how much she began earning almost immediately after joining AptAmigo. “Yesterday was a month, and I’ve already made more than my best month in buy/sell,” she says. “I’m proud of myself, especially for working remotely. You learn quickly that the money is there and that it’s very possible to make a great income.”

No More Marketing Costs

Hayley’s glad she no longer has to market herself aggressively. “Yeah, you can market yourself as an AptAmigo agent, but you don’t have to print out flyers. The marketing is taken care of and people are going straight to our website for help. So it’s just all pretty much handled.” Instead of spending money and time on marketing, she gets to meet with clients, close deals, and do more of what she loves.,

More Fulfillment

Damien didn’t just get into real estate for the money— he loves helping people find a place to live. “Being able to help clients find a home that they love, removing the stress of apartment hunting, and working with people from so many different walks of life is awesome. And they’re all equally amazed at how incredible the AptAmigo model is. We get so many rave reviews, it’s crazy to see.” Being part of AptAmigo lets Damien help even more people find their next home.

A Turnkey Real Estate Career

Damien and Hayley’s stories are more common than you think. If you’re looking for all the Damienefits of a real estate career without years of low pay, sporadic workloads, and the high cost of marketing, AptAmigo has opportunities available right this minute. Get support for all the overhead and admin tasks while you help clients find their dream apartment. Check out AptAmigo.com/careers to see all open positions and learn more about working at the best place to start and build a real estate career.

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