By Linda White
Special to the Toronto Sun
Their days can be spent checking out new listings and sales, touring new properties for sale, holding open houses or contacting prospective buyers and sellers. At the drop of the hat, they can be negotiating a closing and calming the nerves of a first-time homebuyer.
Ozzie Logozzo, director of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Real Estate College, says a lot of people can't cope with the freedom of being a real estate agent.
For thousands of real estate brokers and salespeople, being successful in real estate means being able to juggle any of a number of tasks on any given day.
It also takes self-discipline.
"A lot of people can't cope with the freedom," says Ozzie Logozzo, director of the Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA) Real Estate College. "You have to bring a measure of organization and structure to the career. Any kind of computer knowledge, negotiation and people skills will do you good. You should also be a problem solver."
Eager to cash in
It's a career that attracts many eager to cash in on hot real estate markets. OREA enrolment reached close to 50,000 in the late 1990s, dropped to 11,000 in 2000 and climbed to 37,600 in 2004. But only a small percentage become licensed salespeople.
"Those are interesting statistics, not because of the number of people who enrolled in the program, but because the number of graduates is low," Logozzo says. "The program is a lot more complex than most people expect. Last year, only 5,000 people graduated."
The first step is to successfully complete a three-phase pre-registration program offered by OREA Real Estate College. It develops and offers courses on behalf of the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), which administers the Real Estate & Business Brokers Act on behalf of the Ontario Ministry of Consumer & Business Services.
Shawn Greer of ReMax Spirit in Whitby says one of the biggest challenges is time management.
The first phase is offered online or through correspondence and typically takes 30 days to complete. You can complete remaining courses online, in the classroom at locations throughout Ontario or through correspondence.
"Prerequisites are built into phase one, which requires English language and math proficiency," Logozzo says. "After that, it's an attitudinal thing. You must be prepared to work hard, be self-disciplined and a go-getter."
The second phase typically takes 60 days to complete. The third phase takes 80 hours to complete -- at least half of which must be completed in class. It will cost you $1,420 to complete the three phases.
You then have one year to register with RECO and a broker to obtain your probationary licence. During a two-year articling period, you must take an additional three courses at a cost of $1,430. Once you've obtained your permanent licence, you can sell both residential and commercial real estate.
Continuing education is mandatory. All registered salespeople must complete 24 credit hours every two years.
It's important to plan your finances, especially when starting out. After all, it can take weeks from the time a property is listed until it's sold and another month or two before the deal is closed and you receive your commission.
It's difficult to predict how much you'll earn in a year until you've got a few years under your belt. Income can vary dramatically from one salesperson to another because it's largely dependent on personal sales ability and people skills.
CAREERS IN REAL ESTATE|
A career in real estate requires strong math, communication, technical and time management skills.
The career offers opportunities in the following:
New Home Sales
Rural and Recreational Sales
Commercial Sales and Leasing
Brokerage Owner or Manager
For more information, visit the Ontario Real Estate Association at www.oreacollege.com.
For those starting out in the business, it takes determination.
"It's not nearly as easy to make even an average dollar in real estate as quickly as you think," says Shawn Greer of ReMax Spirit in Whitby. He worked as a real estate agent in the Beaches for three years before moving to the suburbs more than a year ago.
"One of the biggest challenges is time management and budgeting," says Greer. "You have to set a schedule. If you don't manage your time, you'll find yourself spending more time in supportive functions like making flyers than on productive functions like cold calling."
A portion of every earned dollar should be reinvested in your career. "You have to spend money to make money," says Greer. "You've got a desk fee, real estate insurance, advertising and car expenses."
Motivation is key to continued success. "You have to be in it for the customer, not just for yourself," says Greer. "They're the ones who will give you referrals, which makes your job easier. It takes time and effort. You only get out what you put in."
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