I almost always get a few questions from new acquaintances. They usually go: How’d you get into real estate? What’s the market like here? Are you from the area? How did you end up here?
Well, friends, let’s start from the beginning. I moved to the DC area shortly after graduating from college at the University of Colorado at Boulder. I had received two degrees – one in Journalism: Public Relations and the other in Spanish: Reading and Writing. So when a U.S. Senator from Nevada offered me a job as press assistant in Washing, DC, I felt like I had hit the PR jackpot. Let’s be honest, after a couple of years of long hours and little pay on Capitol Hill, I was dissatisfied, though I will always be appreciative for this opportunity. I then did a short stint as a marketing programs manager with a local trade association following that. This was an improvement, many more work perks, but still didn’t ignite any passion in me. Though I had discovered that these initial job experiences out of college were not necessarily what I wanted as a long-term career, I’m thankful because they catapulted me into taking a big risk and diving into real estate full time.
I grew up in Carson City, Nevada. Both my parents were entrepreneurs, my dad a financial advisor and my mom a Realtor. With them, I saw hard work and high risk but also great reward. It is really them who gave me the inspiration to believe in myself and dive into this career I love.
So how does one get started? Well, first every new agent has to complete the educational courses with the credit hours necessary to sit for their real estate exam. In Virginia, the requirement is 60 hours. From there, one needs to pass the exam, select a brokerage, and send in their application to the real estate board so that their license can be sent and hung with their brokerage of choice. They then need to sign up for the local real estate associations and get their Sentrilock account in place. On average, getting started costs right around around $2,000.
My best recommendation to any new agent is to research. Learn about the different brokerages available. Dig into whether or not a team would be a good fit. Don’t be afraid to ask about commission splits and costs of joining an office. Ask about fees to be part of the office (is there a desk fee, technology fee, etc). Ask about office culture – do they have a good training program in place?
I decided to join the Wethman Group with Keller Williams Realty in McLean. I highly recommend joining a team, and feel very fortunate for the opportunity I was granted. With my team, I was able to learn quickly with great mentors and obtain leads faster than your typical solo agent. My first year I sold 15 homes, and had built the foundation to be knowledgeable and confident in this new career. I was named Rookie of the Year with the highest sales for first year agents in our office and was identified as a Rising Star by NOVA Real Producers magazine, all within my first 18 months. I’m still with the same team, enjoy the company of my colleagues, and know I have found the right fit for a career.
To all my friends out there on the fence – go for it! Start that business you’ve always dreamed about. Dive into a new career. Don’t be afraid to take a risk. No such thing as failure, but an opportunity to learn and make your dreams a reality. That said, starting a business takes hard work and persistence, so in order to obtain your goals make sure you are ready to put in the work.