I met with some other Realtor-buddies last week to discuss industry issues and new tactics for dealing with shortsale lenders and things like that. Predictably, it deteriorated into a bitch-fest about everything associated with being a full-time Realtor in the hot Arizona sun during the worst recession the country’s seen since the Great Depression. The conversation sort of rolled around from which bank is currently the worst to work with, to what Real Estate Attorney we are all each recommending right now, to how much our kids detest riding with us all over the valley showing property, to health insurance and what we’re doing (or not doing) to stay covered. We also talked about various financial issues we had each encountered in the last couple of years due to the ebb and flow (and you know, mostly ebb) of the market and economy. There were some ugly stories that bummed me out for my friends who are generally a really clever, hardworking, ethical bunch.
One agent, in particular, has had a hard time of it lately. When I asked her if she’d ever considered trying to get another job she told me she actually used to be an engineer and a pretty successful one. But she’s been out of that field long enough that she’d have to start from the very bottom rung. Plus, interestingly enough, she said, ‘I really do like real estate. I really like what I do, and I want to make it work.’ And that is why I like these people. The stories we have to tell contain some harsh realities that we have to deal with on a daily basis. We are a sarcastic, somewhat jaded bunch. All in all, however, we have a cheerful outlook on what we do. We’re here because we want to be.
That doesn’t mean we don’t constantly reevaluate our lives and our decision to be in real estate. Or maybe that’s just me. I’m a constant reevaluator of everything, though, so it’s nothing different. To feel confident with where I am and what I’m doing, I need to know the score at all times. So here is the Pros and Cons list I run through whenever I get stressed about my next paycheck or exhausted by the long hours and time away from my family:
Sometimes I have to show property for 8 hours in 112 degree heat and then come home and do 5 hours of computer/paper work (but then again, I can drink wine while doing it).
Occasionally I go months with no paycheck (not at all stress-inducing, swear).
I am often spending time and energy for which I will never see a dime (check out this video by Kristin LaVanway of how it would go if Realtors were paid hourly).
People assume I’m a scumbag in a scumbag career.
No vacations (except the ones I can write off as business expenses… what? I looked at houses there! Out of the corner of my eye while I was lying on the beach…).
No health insurance benefits (this one makes me cry a little bit).
Clients call me on Mother’s Day pretty regularly and say, ‘I know it’s a holiday, but I really need to see this house today’.
Failure to complete a deal is usually not my fault, but always results in a lack of paycheck for me.
I get to make professional calls while wearing flannel jammie pants covered in tiny pink rosebuds and a t-shirt that says ‘sake two me’.
In theory I could totally make a bajillion dollars this year if I tried really hard (although I’ve been trying really hard for five years).
I get to be home to gather my kids from their various school activities (wait, was this one a pro or a con?).
I get to work with my friends and family on a regular basis (again, I’m getting into the gray pro vs. con territory here. Kidding! Always use me!).
I get to hear people’s life stories (I’m a total voyeur, I love that stuff).
I don’t have a boss-man who can call me and yell at me to do something right now! If a client does that to me, I always have the option of firing him.
I get to see super rad houses (like the one in Fountain Hills with the Monet).
It’s no ‘same crap, day in, day out’ job. Sure, the lows are depressing, but the highs are fantastic.
If I really, really, a lot, don’t want to work today, I can just not answer my phone. Sure, I might lose a client or two, but I won’t get ‘fired’ from the business. I would never actually do this, but it’s nice to always have it in the back of my mind as an option.
It makes me super-duper happy to hand over keys to a buyer who cannot wait to move into that house.
So there you go. It’s pretty clear why I always end up back at the ‘of course I want to be in real estate’ camp. I do love it. No job is perfect, but mine is pretty perfect for me.