Becoming an Orange County Realtor

Recently I was approached by a friend who is taking courses to pass her California Real Estate Sales Person Test.  She is in the process of learning how to become an Orange County Realtor.  She was given an assignment to interview a full-time Orange County Realtor.  I gladly offered my help.  I am sure there are numerous people out there in a similar situation.  Perhaps not for the pure purpose of completing a homework assignment, but more so for the purpose of learning how to become an Orange County Realtor.  I felt I should post the questions she sent me and my answers.  Please understand this is a very lite overall picture of a much more complex set of answers to become an Orange County Realtor.  Answers that I am willing to expand on to anyone who reaches out to me with similar curiosities.  IE beginning a career as an Orange County Realtor or looking into changing Orange County Real Estate brokers, or even interests in selling or buying Orange County real estate.  Maybe looking for options or perhaps even insights to how the Orange County Real Estate industry works and the mindset of Orange County Realtors.  I would gladly answer any and all questions.  Call 949-235-8614 or fill out a contact form.

> What made you decide upon becoming an Orange County Realtor?

My father is a general contractor in Orange County so housing always interested me.  As I got older finance and economy seemed to grab me more.  Real Estate is also the most proven investment.  So it helps to sell a product you truly believe in.


> How did you begin your career as an Orange County Realtor?

I took classes at California State University Fullerton (CSUF) where I received my Bachelors in Business Finance.  We had the option to take real estate finance classes.  After college, I took a crash course for the test and took the exam.  I got my California Sales Person license in 2007 and really did not use it until 2012.  You will find out you are running a business as an independent contractor and need a healthy book of business to be profitable.  Starting in a down-turn in Orange County Real Estate it is difficult without past clients.  I decided to get into the business in 2011 but I was attempting to do Short Sale Flips in Orange County after signing up for one of those Guru investment courses with weekly coaching and support.  In 2012 I had friends I knew that wanted to purchase property in Orange County so I was able to represent them on a traditional Orang County home sale.  I decided to continue those pursuits as I was also bar-tending (something I went back into after attempts at other careers)  I worked in the industry part time as an Orange County Realtor for a year and then was able to quit the bar and focus full-time on the business.


> What types of research did you do before you decided on your Orange County Real Estate brokerage firm?

Mainly research on how I will be supported to grow my Orange County Real Estate business.  Training and transaction support is helpful, but it means absolutely nothing if you cannot get deals in Orange County Real Estate.  First and foremost it should always be a question of how the brokerage will help you build a profitable business as an Orange County Realtor.  The other side is the transaction split.  Many brokers will take up to 50% of your first 2-3 Orange County home sales.  Most Orange County real estate brokers will take more than they give so picking the right company to work for is an enormous decision, and can make a large difference in the early stages of your career as an Orange County Realtor.    



> How did you get started with your current Orange County Real Estate brokerage?

I actually lost a potential listing in Aliso Viejo to the owner of the company who is also in sales as a full-time Orange County Realtor.  He specializes in a the city I wanted to start focusing on and we created a partnership nearly 3 years ago.  It has been a great relationship that keeps building both of our Orange County Real Estate businesses.  I truly think having a mentor and manager who was or is successful as an individual Orange County Realtor is mandatory.  Never understood mentors and managers who take on a role giving advice to people in something they themselves were never successful at.

> Are there any monthly, quarterly, or yearly dues you have to pay to your Orange County Real Estate broker?

Nothing to my broker.  He only gets paid on each transaction.  Most Orange County brokers charge a monthly desk fee and on top of their split from the transaction will charge an Errors and Omissions fee and usually a franchise fee ranging from 3%-6%(not the case with my company)  Orange County Association of Realtors (OCAR) which is a necessary membership to be considered an Orange County Realtor and take advantage of the MLS (the Orange County Realtors’ life source so to say).  That will run roughly $1,000 a year.  That is a cost every individual agent has to pay no matter the company.     


> On average how many Orange County Real Estate transactions do you do per year?

12 Orange County Homes sales about 6-7 million in volume in Orange County and growing.   



> How many hours do you spend working per week as an Orange County Realtor?

It varies.  Some weeks 15-20 some 30-40 some 50-60.  The main variable is deal flow and how much motivation I have to constantly be doing lead generation related activities.  IE open houses, calling expired listings, calling past leads, calling past clients, walking neighborhoods and door knocking, and dropping flyers.  When you get more seasoned you will start spending less time doing these activities because you have proven marketing that provides the results you want and more time focusing on closing clients and closing transactions.  Also, the marketing will free you up to have more free time to enjoy life.  In other words, you can work as much or as little as you want.  Efforts you put in today usually pay off in 6-12 months.  There is the occasional deal that falls in your lap just because you decided to put your shoes on that day.  Most deals, however, will take months of efforts.  The majority of the efforts are primarily earning a potential clients trust and their business.  



> What strengths do you feel are necessary for an Orange County Real Estate sales associate to embody to be successful in this industry?

Grit.  Being able to take numerous no after no.  Patience.  Understanding that their timeline is not yours and knowing when to apply the correct pressure to build a proper relationship with a client and also to help them with the correct decision to make an offer, lower their list price, accept an offer etc.  You are not here to sell a house you are selling a service.  The home will sell itself if it is the correct fit.  Your job is to make sure the Orange County Real Estate deal is properly structured and your client is getting the best possible situation the current Orange County market will allow.  This includes everything from the purchase price, house repair agreement, escrow timeline, contingency timelines and safeguards.  The deal is all about leverage and you cannot negotiate without identifying proper areas where you have leverage and using that leverage to your clients best interest.  As an Orange County Realtor you really must embody these to be successful and build a strong reputation as an Orange County Realtor.   


> Can you recommend any trade journals, magazines, or professional associations to help my professional development in the Orange County Real Estate industry?

National Association of Realtors(NAR) and the California Association of Realtors(CAR) websites.  Orange County Association of Realtors(OCAR) is the local association of Realtors and they have free information on their site as well.  They have local offices in Laguna Hills and Fountain Valley.  Also, Realtor Magazine and reading local economic and real estate articles to stay abreat of what is happening in the Orange County Real Estate Market.   


>What does a typical day (or week) look like for you?

There is no typical day as an Orange County Realtor.    


> How does your career as an Orange County Realtor effect your general lifestyle?

The main thing is the freedom from a mundane 9-5 schedule.  I am my own boss.  Also, the income opportunity is very high.  Every day you spend in this business brings more growth in long term.  The major downside is you need to always be available.  You do not answer a call from a random number it could cost you 10s of thousands. 

> What advice would you give to someone who is considering this career path as an Orange County Realtor?

Know the challenges ahead.  You are running an Orange County Real Estate business.  This is not a job!!  You will not be handed leads you will need to work for them and will need to be extremely social.  There is no guarantee pay and you will be spending money on a monthly basis.  There will be an overhead that should increases every year you are in the business.(a majority of that will be marketing and advertising) 


> What do you like most about being an Orange County Realtor?

The freedom of my schedule and knowing I am building a business.  The efforts I put in directly have an impact on me.


 > What part of becoming an Orange County Realtor do you find personally satisfying? Most challenging?

You become close with your clients and develop long lasting friendships and partnerships.  It is an unfamiliar process for them that will be extremely stressful.  You take the weight of those burdens off them and in the end they are beginning a new chapter in their life.    

The most challenging part of becoming an Orange County Realtor would be the inconsistency and the high competition.  Potential clients will be lost daily and you need to be aggressive in your pursuit in a way that displays honesty and reliability.  Almost like a courtship.