If you are a sociable and driven person, it is possible to make a good living through real estate. Working with families and homeowners can be deeply rewarding, as well as profitable, if you can maintain a steady income of commissions from successful home sales. However, working on commission also adds an element of uncertainty to your household finances.
For any professional shifting from a salaried job, the financial changes can be profound. You can’t always predict what your clients will do, whether they delay a purchase, drop out of the market, or take a while to deliver your commission from the sale. However, you an develop a few good habits to stabilize your finances while working in the more dynamic real estate career.
1) Maintain a Safety-Net Savings Account
Unlike salaried work, real estate commissions don’t always come at predictable times. The best way to keep your finances stable is to maintain a safety-net savings account. Keep two to six months worth of household expenses in a savings account before relying completely on your real estate income. This way, you won’t have to stress if a client’s payment is delayed.
2) Set a Conservative Household Budget
During your career transition, look into reducing your household expenses. Set a conservative household budget and keep an eye on your total “burn” each month so that you have a clear view of how long each commission can carry your finances. Get a baseline for household spending so that you can make decisions about additional spending with a clear view of your complete financial plan.
3) Build a Pipeline to Secure Steady Commissions
While real estate doesn’t pay a salary, you can secure a reasonably steady rate of pay by building a pipeline. A pipeline is a business model approach where you cultivate a steady stream of clients that ensures a delivery of commissions on a more regular basis. For example, if you secure 5 – 10 clients per month and they complete their purchases within 2 months, this helps you to predict your future income in a more reliable way.
4) Gain Access to Your Commissions Without Waiting for Fulfillment
One of the biggest worries for real estate agents is a delay in commission delivery. Clients don’t always make your commission available right away after a home closing, and you might be eyeing your bills as you wait for that payment. Fortunately, you don’ have to. There are services available like Commission Express that can give you an advance on your already-earned commissions so you don’t have to worry or hassle your clients to pay quickly.
5) Develop Multiple Real Estate Specializations
Most real estate agents have a favorite type of client or property that they like to work with. You might love first-time home buyers, lakeside properties, or helping seniors to downsize, but why limit yourself? The best way to build a steady pipeline is with multiple specializations. The more types of property and people you work with, the more commissions you can secure throughout the year.
6) Don’t Turn Down the Little Jobs
No job is too small for a real estate agent building their financial stability. As long as you are still putting in an appropriate amount of time for the return, little jobs are hardly chaff. Instead, they are an opportunity to add smaller payments into the pipeline while you scope out those larger, more lucrative opportunities.
7) Cultivate a Professional Network
In a salaried position, networking might not have been necessary. But in real estate, a good network can be the key to cultivating steady work and steady pay. Get to know the other agents and agencies in your area. Build relationships with local home repair, inspection, staging, and moving services. Hand out your card and make yourself available when your phone rings or o your email box pings.
You might get jobs from other agents who need their clients’ buyer to have a representative. You might get calls from moving companies or storage facilities who know of families in need of an agent. At the same time, you will be able to provide better service when you know many reliable teams who can fulfill the other real-estate-adjacent services that your buyer or seller clients may need.
8) Develop a Few Financial Contingency Plans
Lastly, have some contingency plans. Real estate work comes with an element if instability. A big client who requested months of work might change their mind. The market will likely slow down during the winter months. Have enough savings or an alternate source of income to tide over times when commissions just aren’t in the cards.
You might do some gig work, sell your crafts online, or even take contracting jobs related to your previously salaried career.
Secure Your Real Estate Income Plans
Becoming a real estate agent can be a rewarding and profitable career choice, but it’s important to be financially prepared. If you are leaving behind a salaried position to work real estate full-time, plan ahead and take on a few of these good habits to keep your finances in order. Should you need an advance on an earned yet delayed commission, Commission Express is here to help.