3 Entry-Level Tips and a Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

Over the past few months, there has been many questions from individuals who are thinking of joining the real estate field. The Head of Business Development at 4 Stories and a Licensed Real Estate Advisor, Leah Azizian has created a short guide and provided 3 entry-level tips for job seekers to consider below.


Leah’s 3 Entry Level Tips

  1. Consider whether you want to join the Residential field or the Commercial field.
    In a nutshell, the Residential route tends to be a lot more emotional based. There’s a lot more hand holding involved, so you’re helping people find their homes. You really need to put yourself in their shoes and understand their current living situation, and it’s a totally different ballpark.
    Commercial, on the other hand, you’re working with investors or you’re generally working with clients who are usually focused on the PRACTICALITY of a space and on the level of return that they will be achieving.
  2. Do a lot of research on the firms and brokerages that you want to join. Keep in mind that when you’re going on those interviews, you are learning from them as much as they are learning from you. So be sure to ask the right questions.
    You really want to be able to understand the level of training that they will be offering, you want to understand the culture of the company, and you want to understand what they will expect from you.
    Sometimes, they expect certain GCIs (Gross Commission Income) to be met, so keep that in mind.
  3. Whether you are a beginner agent or a seasoned agent, you might understand this. Think about whether you want to be an independent agent or if you want to join a team. There’s a lot to learn from both ends.
    Generally, when you are joining a team, you’re really shadowing experienced agents more and you’re helping them more just with the efficiency of their day, but you’re also learning a ton.
    As an independent agent, it’s a lot more hands on and initiative involved. There are a lot more mistakes you’ll likely incur, but there will be a lot more that you will be learning from.
    There are pluses to both, but if you can find a brokerage that incorporates both elements, and where you could lean towards both sides, and join a team that offers both – even better.

Leah’s Guide to Joining the Real Estate Industry (NY Edition)

1. Complete 72 Hours at a NYS Real Estate School – Do some research and look into different real estate schools nearby that you can attend. Schools usually offer in-person classes and online classes. Personally, the difference I experienced was that it was difficult to grasp the information during the online classes. The online instructors placed a lot of information on the slides and it was also not copy & paste-able, so a lot of time was spent typing notes from the slides and it wasn’t clear what was key information. But again, this was just my experience…

2. Take your School & State Exams – The rule of thumb is that the school exam will generally be more difficult than the state. The school does this in order to prep you for the state exam. In New York State, the passing measurement is 70% on the exam.

3. Associate with a Brokerage – Just as in step 1, it’s important that you do your research, interview, and speak to agents at different firms. The way I see it, there are usually two routes that an agent can take:

  • Option 1: Associate as an “Independent Agent” – which means starting off essentially on your own, building and relying on your own network, and taking on all essential tasks solo.
  • Option 2: Join a team that is already established and/or form a partnership with another agent you trust. Joining a team that is already established allows you to lean the ropes of the game and rely on a more developed network and steady cash flow. People tend to underestimate how much activity is involved with being a real estate agent. You are the CEO of your business; you are responsible for all tasks from marketing to creating your newsletter to growing your clientele to answering all emails to attending viewings, pitches, meetings etc. Having a team or forming a partnership with another agent, will allow you to juggle more and be more efficient.

Questions to keep in mind when interviewing with different brokerages, or teams:

1. What is the brokerage’s goals in the next year and 5-10 years? How is the brokerage planning to grow? This will help you get a better understanding of the company mission, and whether there is any potential opportunity for you to be directly involved in the company’s growth (this last part is for the overachievers & ambitious ones out there).

2. If interviewing a specific team, what role do they expect you take on when joining the team? What kind of schedules or systems do they have in place as a team to keep themselves organized and productive? What can you expect to learn most from joining the team?

3. As an independent agent, who will you be reporting to (who is your floor manager)? And, how often will you be touching base with them? 

4. As an independent agent, does the brokerage have any expectations from you as to what to produce in gross sales volume?

5. What resources does the brokerage or team offer to its agents; in terms of agent training, tech support, or marketing? (For new agents, understanding what type of training you can expect will be valuable when choosing a brokerage).

6. Does the brokerage or team supply client leads to its agents?

7. What is the commission split? (It’s important to understand this for leads provided by the firm v. leads closed from an agent’s network)

8. Are there any fees that you will be expected to pay (such as, desk fees, technical support, transactional fees)?


Personal Tip:

I can’t stress enough that if you’re thinking to joining the industry for a quick buck, think again. 

Being in the real estate field requires a lot of patience, hard work and hustle. Believe me when I say that clients will easily recognize if you’re in this to make your commission, or in it to genuinely help in their investment. NY has the most dense population of real estate agents, and it’s so easy to filter out which are in it for the long run and which aren’t.

I also get a lot of questions from people who aspire to be developers, investors, or “flippers”. In this case, I always suggest working for the person who holds the position you desire. If your goal is to become a developer, reach out to a development firm and see what they need help with (as an internship or volunteer work). While it isn’t a bad idea to become a salesperson and understand the buy/sell process, I believe you will learn a lot more in the field that you are specifically looking to be in. 


Hopefully, the tips that Leah has provided were helpful to readers who are considering to enter the field or are intrigued to learn more about the field. If you have any other questions or would like to speak more about what it’s like to be in the field, reach out to Leah at lazizian@lgfairmont.com or connect with Leah on LinkedIn.

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