Why Are You in Real Estate?

Greg Herder poses the critical question to help you determine the purpose of your career. Learn why having a true purpose – beyond making money – is a critical component of long-term success, and happiness, in real estate.

More than likely you did not grow up dreaming of being a real estate agent. In fact, becoming a salesperson of any sort was most likely something you never aspired to become. You may even have some feelings of ambivalence now that you are in sales instead of more traditional professions like being an architect, engineer, doctor, lawyer or accountant. In the back of your mind you are probably asking yourself: “how did I end up selling real estate and why does it seem so hard.”

If you are like most people, looking at real estate from the outside probably seemed so easy. After buying a home or two, you felt that it would not be hard for you to do a better job than the agent you worked with. You read newspaper articles about successful real estate agents who were making tons of money and it seemed like real estate would offer you unlimited income potential, flexible hours and a chance to be your own boss. So you made the plunge and decided to become a real estate agent.

The Common Misconceptions

What you didn’t understand was what a real estate agent really has to do to succeed, what skills you would need to have and how few agents actually make it in this industry. In fact, the numbers show that three out of 10 people that get into real estate leave during their first year. Only four out of 10 last five years and only eight percent of those who start in real estate make it to that magic 10 year mark – the milestone that most people say is the minimum amount of time that it takes to build a big enough past client and referral base that your business becomes self sustaining and much more enjoyable. Even then, in a recent survey that Hobbs/Herder Research conducted of agents with more than 10 years of experience, less then half of them said that they were earning the income that they had hoped for when they started real estate.

Over the years I have had numerous discussions about how the perception of real estate is easy, has flexible hours with high income and attracts a lot of people into real estate who end up failing. Over the years I have followed all the research studies to try and figure out what the key factors to success in real estate are. The research has looked at age, education level, past experience, broker training, brokerage size, people skills and a wide range of other factors. In study after study, no significant factor for success emerges that could be used to predict success in real estate.

What’s Your Purpose?

Recently, I went back and re-read a book titled Purpose: The Starting Point for Great Companies. As I went through the book, I realized that its message was critical to the success of an individual real estate agent. The message of the book is that if a business is just in business to make money or pay dividends, it would never experience truly great success. As I read the book, it helped crystallize my belief that the number one predictor of success in real estate is the purpose that a real estate agent has being in real estate. If it is simply to make money and have flexible hours, then they are destined to fail.

Identify Your Objectives
The key is to ask yourself why you want those things, what do they mean to you and what does it mean if you don’t have them. Longtime client, Realtor® Peggy Lucas is a prime example of what I am talking about. Back in 2003, she was a police officer and left law enforcement in order to have more flexibility and the opportunity to earn more money. She was smart, disciplined and loved people but found her first year in real estate a nightmare, working 60 hours a week and experiencing a drop in income.

It was only after attending the Hobbs/Herder Marketing Mastery seminar in 2004 that Peggy started really thinking about why she was in real estate. The seminar helped her reconnect with her purpose to become the best mother she could be, and reevaluate her career to determine what skills she needed to have to succeed in real estate on the terms that fit her life and values. Looking back, she realizes that not until she acknowledged that she was not living up to her own values and purpose was she ready to make the necessary changes to succeed. Once she reconnected with what her core beliefs in life were, she was able to make the changes internally that allowed her to develop a plan for her life and her real estate career that allowed her to turn it around and go on to accomplish massive success in real estate.

And now in 2015, more than 10 years down the road, she is a phenomenal success story, outlasting the law of averages, she’s a respected Top Producer and co-owner of her own brokerage, Lucas & Associates, with husband David. She now shares her knowledge and inspirational guidance with her team of agents, giving back to the industry!

The reality is that right now you probably already know a ton of things that could improve your success in real estate, improve your relationships and your financial health, but you simply cannot bring yourself to take the action you know you should. You don’t want to rock the boat. After all, it could get worse. The reality is that the only way to overcome the inertia that is keeping you stuck is to reconnect with what your simple purpose in life really is. You have to answer the question “Why are you in real estate?” If the answer is simply to make money, please do yourself a favor and get out now. It will save you a lot of time and grief. If, on the other hand, you can find a reason (purpose) for being in real estate greater than yourself, your chances for success will go through the roof.

I urge you to set aside some time to reflect on your personal objectives and the real purpose of your career. Then analyze how you spent the first half of 2015 to see if your actions are aligned with your objectives. The answers just might surprise you. Regardless of whether or not your actions have been aligned with your purpose, it will be a valuable exercise for you. Even if you are on track, it’s never a bad idea to set aside some time to remind yourself why you do what you do.