Real Estate

Thinking About Starting a Career in Real Estate? Read This First

There are plenty of opportunities for aspiring entrepreneurs, but perhaps none holds as much allure as the real estate industry. Maybe it’s the endless variety of television programs dedicated to buying and selling houses, the many developments in construction that you drive by every day or even the myriad best-selling books available on the subject, but in any case it’s a hot industry.

Without question, there’s great potential for success, whether you’re an investor, developer, agent, or financier. Sure, there’s some risk involved, and often long hours, but if you’re in the right market you can do very well.

Let’s say you’re intrigued by the mammoth mixed-use residential and commercial towers that are being constructed in your local urban center and you’ve wondered how you can get involved in the development end. It helps to start small and learn the ropes.

That’s what Toronto’s Sam Mizrahi, founder of Mizrahi Developments, did. Formerly the owner of several dry cleaning shops, he shifted his attention to real estate. Today, he’s building The One, an 85-story mixed-use tower at the intersection of Yonge and Bloor Streets in downtown Toronto. He recommends being both savvy and hardworking.

Maybe real estate development isn’t your thing. But you might have some money saved up or set aside and you’re thinking that investing in property is the way to go. There’s serious money to be made there as well, as long as you know what you’re doing. Whether you’re setting your sights on residential or commercial real estate, it’s important to learn all you can, writes San Francisco real estate investor David Greene.

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“There is no substitute for knowledge,” according to Greene. “When you see the very best doing what they do, they always seem to know more than those around them. Real estate investors with large portfolios simply know more about what drives markets, how to time market cycles, and which things to watch out for. They are much more likely to recognize shifting markets before others do and are prepared to take advantage of these opportunities when they present themselves.”

Not interested in development or investor, but still want to be involved in real estate?

Become an agent. Successful agents, those who invest the considerable amount of time and money it takes to learn the industry, get licensed and set up shop, can create a substantial income. It’s not easy, though, and 87 percent of agents fail according to real estate coach Tom Ferry, referring to 2014 statistics published by the National Association of Realtors.

Still, you probably know more than a few people who are making great livings through real estate sales, and the possibilities for success are many if you’re dedicated to it.

“You know the old adage about failing to plan, right? The vast majority of real estate agents find it much easier to work in their business, as opposed to on it,” writes David Lawrence, head of sales and marketing at Follow Up Boss, which helps real estate teams achieve growth.

“For many new agents, real estate is their second, third, or even fourth career. You loved the idea of ‘being your own boss’ while making more than you did at your last job. But freedom has a very different meaning for an employee versus a business owner.”

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Lawrence notes that, “The first thing you need to know about starting a real estate business is that, yes, this is a business. Whether you’re a solo agent or new to a team, if you have dreams of outperforming the average Realtor, you need to start thinking like a business owner — and that means planning.”

Being a real estate entrepreneur can mean different things to different people, but if you’re willing to identify opportunities, put in the hours, make the contacts, and continue to learn as much as you can about the industry, you can position yourself and your company for success.

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