Learn the ABCs of Real Estate

By Christopher M. Leporini, REALTOR® Magazine

Your Successful Real Estate Career By Kenneth W. Edwards (AMACOM) 240 pp., $18.95

Among the most sustaining introductory books about real estate, the new fourth edition of Your Successful Real Estate Career provides guidance for anyone new to the real estate industry and those who are considering real estate as a career. The book’s 18 chapters explore the basics of the real estate profession—from deciding if it’s the right career for you and how to get your license to the choices you need to make once you make the leap.

Author Kenneth W. EdwardsGRI is no stranger to the real estate business. After retiring from a 28-year career in the U.S. Air Force, Edwards began practicing real estate in 1978, and has been a licensed broker for the past four years. He has taught real estate licensing courses at an Oregon community college for more than a decade and devotes most of his time now to teaching and writing. He is the author of two other real estate books (Homebuyer’s Survival Guide and Homeseller’s Survival Guide). He also is currently book review editor for The Real Estate Professional magazine.

Your Successful Real Estate Career was first published in 1987 and has gone through three previous editions, with the fourth edition just released this year. According to Edwards, he based much of the book upon his own direct observations. Additionally, he conducted a written survey of several hundred real estate brokers and salespeople nationwide to examine what factors cause salespeople to leave the field; he quotes respondents throughout the book.

Tips for Real Estate Professionals

  • Research carefully before choosing a brokerage. Deciding on a brokerage is a big decision. Talk to salespeople at local brokerages to get their insight on work atmosphere and employee satisfaction. You also should examine other factors, including local market share, support facilities (what the broker provides), MLS services, training programs, and office ethics. If possible, speak directly with the broker on policy questions since that person is ultimately in charge. Finally, narrow your list to a few top choices and begin contacting them. If your No. 1 choice doesn’t have an immediate opening, ask about the likelihood of future placement. If the company might have an opening within several months, it might be worth the wait.
  • Hone your listing skills. Listings are the basic inventory of the real estate business, the author writes. For this reason, you should work on your listing skills early in your new career in real estate. Sources for finding prospects include your circle of influence, customers of salespeople no longer in the office, builders and remodelers, absentee owners, for-sale-by-owner properties, and expired listings. Preparation is key before the listing presentation. Your goal is to gather information to help the sellers decide how to price their home based on the prices of similar homes that have sold—or not sold—in the market recently.
  • Prepare yourself to deal with difficult people. As a real estate professional, you’ll encounter many different personality types—not all of them pleasant. “Be on the lookout for indication of serious character flaws,” the author writes. If a customer seems dishonest, be careful to document everything in writing, double-check all information that you are given, and generally cover yourself. “It’s much better that you be overly cautious than end up trying to explain to a disgruntled broker why you were naïve enough to get conned.” Another problem arises from customers or clients who have you show them multiple properties but never commit to buying. Gauge buyers’ motivation and qualification early on to avoid wasting time.
  • Consider expanding your career possibilities. Real estate is a broad profession that encompasses many areas besides residential sales. Appraisal, real estate finance, real estate counseling, and land development are just a few options that you might encounter in your early years. Explore these venues to find your perfect fit. Or you might decide to pass along what you’ve learned in your career by teaching real estate, either at a community college, real estate school, or through individual training seminars. “I can assure you that nothing will keep your batteries charged more, or your ego in check better, than teaching prospective real estate licensees,” the author writes.

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This post was contributed exclusively for REALTOR® Magazine.

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