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How Hard Is It to Be a Real Estate Agent?

By Linda Schneider | October 5, 2012

First, a warning. While the information in this article might seem daunting to someone considering a real estate business, I want to emphasize that it is a fun, interesting, exciting, and rewarding career!

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Is it hard? Yes and no. Like anything, once you learn it, the real estate business becomes easier. The trick to being a great real estate agent is managing complexity. You don't have to be a wizard, but you do have to balance competing demands and create balance for yourself.

Just for fun, I sat down to create a list of the daily, weekly, and monthly activities I do in order to meet my productivity objectives. Once you get involved in real estate, you'll probably have a different list, but at least this will give you a "day in the life" kind of picture of what it's like to be a real estate agent.

Sample Daily Activities

  • Call or knock on 100 doors and ask them if they plan to sell in the next 12 months.
  • Follow up on yesterday’s leads.
  • Call at least 5 people from your sphere of influence. Ask how you can help them. Then ask for a referral.
  • Ask for 5 appointments from 5 people during the day.
  • Attend appointments that are scheduled for the day.
  • Set showing appointments and show houses based on your client’s property search.
  • Attend inspections, closings, and other time-sensitive tasks.
  • Complete tasks from existing appointments or a current real estate sale.
  • Monitor your numbers daily. Track mileage, prospecting time, money spent and earned, etc.
  • Check and sprinkle your weekly activities into your daily activities.

Sample Weekly Activities

  • Preview 5 listings from your firm or other firms. (If you’re not already out showing buyers.)
  • Call someone from a story in your local newspaper (maybe someone from a business article, or a wedding or birth announcement).  Congratulate them on their achievement or event, and find out if the changes to their lives require your services.
  • Do at least one Guerrilla Marketing tactic each week to promote your real estate business.
  • Visit a business and ask if they’d like to do referral exchanges.
  • Read something newsworthy about the real estate market so you are better informed and prepared with ready information during appointments.
  • Practice your sales skills and presentations.
  • Conduct an open house.
  • Attend at least one networking event, and add at least 5 names to your prospect list.
  • Write a new blog entry or post a response to someone else’s blog in your community.
  • Attend weekly caravan or broker’s open so you are better prepared for each client’s property search.

Sample Monthly Activities

  • Create and send a neighborhood or sphere newsletter.
  • Solicit local businesses to advertise in your newsletter publication in exchange for the use of their site as a distribution point or for referrals.
  • Explore new marketing ideas.
  • Review your progress and activities with your adviser or mentor.
  • Attend a Board of Realtor event or class.
  • Balance your books.
  • Plan your next month’s marketing program. Think about improving by one more real estate sale.

This is, as mentioned, a sample of what I try to do in my own real estate business. There are innumerable other permutations and tasks that might be involved, depending on how and where you like to do business. The point, obviously, is that a real estate agent’s life will be very busy. The more real estate sales you make, the more compressed your time will be to do all those other non-transaction activities.

This can and often does lead to real estate agent burn-out. You want to keep making money, but you only have so much you to go around. That's when it's time to consider hiring a real estate assistant.

Hiring a Real Estate Assistant

When does that point hit for most agents? There’s no hard and fast rule. Most real estate agents these days will use at least a transaction coordinator—a special type of assistant who handles the details of the real estate file during a transaction. Beyond that, it varies.

I’ve known agents who needed at least some part time help when they had two transactions per month. Others were averaging three transactions per month before getting help. Agents doing three or more transactions per month will likely have a full-time assistant working with them.

When your business gets going and you get busy with clients, remember that you are the agent, not the assistant. You need to stay front and center with clients. Almost any of your other tasks can be delegated.

The trick, remember, is to manage the complexity. Start with systems. Work with your mentor to create the right filing, time management, lead management, and other systems you'll need early on. This will enable you to focus on getting business, not on recreating the wheel every week.  As busy as I get, I wouldn't trade this career for the world. Go for it!


Be consistent. Be bold. Be smart. Linda Schneider is a real estate business coach for smart real estate agents who want to be more powerful in their business. Drop by for more about selling skills and real estate marketing ideas to take your business to the next level.

Linda is a real estate coach, trainer, and writer. She brings unique real estate ideas to life and delights in helping others reach their goals. She has worked with Franklin Covey, By Referral Only, Re/Max and Coldwell Banker as a trainer, real estate agent, and investor
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