Larissa Reed

How to Get into a Career in Real Estate

I’m relatively new to Real Estate after spending a majority of my career in IT. I’m now starting to get questions from other people who are also thinking of making a career change, about what I did and how I did it.

For my entire adult life I’ve been interested in property. I bought my first house when I was 19 thanks to a huge amount of encouragement from my mother and financial help from my boyfriend’s mother. We bought a tiny one bedroom terrace in Zetland, next to a factory, which was in truly original condition. The whole family helped us do it up and for five years it was my pride and joy.

How To Get Into A Career in Real Estate

That was the start of my love for anything and everything property. Unfortunately my day job in IT paid way too well for me to consider leaving. So I bought and sold houses, read everything there was to read on design, decoration and property investing, and stuck with the career that paid but didn’t stimulate.

When I was lucky enough to get a redundancy from my IT job, I decided that this was the time to make a big change and start doing what I was passionate about. Rather than jump in head first, I took a part time IT contract which would cover the bills, joined the Real Estate Institute of NSW and gained my certificate in real estate.

I then started working part time at a Real Estate agency as a casual. Learning the ropes in a small agency meant that I was involved in many aspects of the business from leasing and property management to marketing and sales. This gave me a great insight into the entire business and allowed me to work out what it was that I loved best. After a few months I did the accelerated license course to get my full real estate license. I sold a couple of houses and absolutely loved it.

Once I was nearing the end of my IT contract, I started looking for a permanent role in sales in a larger office. I searched for all the real estate agencies in the area I wanted to work, then approached the ones who had made the most sales that year. I also spoke to the three major real estate recruitment agencies so that they could represent me. I met with several of the agencies, and found that Payne Pacific seemed to be the best cultural fit for me.

Choosing The Right Employer

When looking for an employer, it’s easy to think just about whether you are going to be accepted by them, but it’s equally important for you to decide whether it’s the sort of place you would feel comfortable. Investigate whether they will support your career growth, whether they are reputable and whether they have good training and processes. There is a lot of turnover in the real estate industry. If you already have maturity and experience from a previous career, this will be a real advantage and will make you an attractive prospect. If you are also passionate about property, you’ve got it made.

I’m lucky because my husband and family completely support me making this change, despite the fact that it was difficult at first financially until I built my client base. They can all see the happiness on my face whenever anyone starts me talking about my job, and they know it’s what I should be doing.

I’ve also been amazed at the support I’ve had from the real estate industry as a whole. I joined some Facebook real estate groups early on and found them to be an invaluable source of help and advice. I know that real estate agents have a bad reputation, somewhere slightly higher than used car salesmen, but this is not the impression I have received. The people I’ve met have been a lot of hard working professional people who are trying to make a difference to the industry and its perception by the public. My boss is the president of the REINSW, so he is one of the best examples of the modern day estate agent. He does things by the book and leads his team to do the highest quality job possible.

My only regret is that I didn’t do this sooner – I would certainly advise anyone who asked me, to make that change, jump into that deep water, and do what you love.

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5 Responses to “How to Get into a Career in Real Estate”

  • Great article Larissa. Thanks for sharing your insights with the Real Estate Mentor readers. :)

    I totally agree that selecting the right agency is absolutely critical to the success of an agent. When seeking an employer I also feel that in today’s marketplace, having an employer who is open to embracing change is also extremely important,

    This article is also a great insight for any Real Estate Principals who might be out there complaining about not being able to get good staff!

    First and foremost as the leader of your real estate business you MUST make your agency attracting so that you not only appeal to potential customers but, you also MUST appeal to good quality people who are passionate about making real estate a career.

  • Oktay says:

    An insightful article for someone such as myself looking at a career change, thanks for sharing your knowledge and wisdom.

  • Well said Larissa
    Too many people die wondering what life would have been like if they lived their passion. The great thing about real estate is that age is no barrier.
    Great article, well done.

  • Well put Larissa. I think that you have made a career change when it was time for you. You had found what good solid work meant in the commercial world when you were quite structured and directed, in a general sense. As you have now found you are structured and directed but you are your own business and I feel that is where most “new” people fall down in this industry. What you put in is what you get out.
    Further, you have touched upon some keen points that are dear to me – honesty, integrity and professionalism. We don’t have to be like the “norms” of the industry. Our clients and buyers can expect more from us and I feel that with the obvious intellect and drive that you show, our industry will be in a much better position within the community in the future.
    All the very best. Congratulations.

  • Ian Pye says:

    Larissa, a great insight on how to go about entering the real estate industry without just the idea that the grass is greener on the other side. If we had more people that want to enter the industry doing their research thoroughly before making the decision to the industry, we would not have the incredibly high rate of not renewing their real estate licence at the first renewal. (I believe this rate is somewhere above 80% who fail to renew).
    The other issue that you addressed particularly well was that you checked out what was involved so that you were happy to do what the job required. So many get a job and then try to mould themselves to suit that job. This happens across all industries and unfortunately, firstly you need to love what you do before you can be a success.

    Congratulations on the way you went about getting into the industry you so obviously love and embrace so passionately. I hope anyone wanting to enter into this industry takes your advice if they want to be as successful as you are.

    What your clients want is a great customer experience and they will only get that from a professional agent that loves what they do.

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