By: Elizabeth Porter
I recently had two family members ask me about starting a career in real estate. It happens to be a subject I love to discuss. Real estate is the industry that changed my life and gave me a great career.
To rewind a little, my construction career started in the late 90’s. I was working with a semi-custom homebuilder in Brevard County, Florida. In homebuilding, there are several different aspects of the business: administrative, finance, sales and construction. I started with the production team and learned how to read blue-prints, the construction process, and warranty. I also learned about construction financing.
As new contracts came in, I got to know the sales associates that worked in the model homes and began to show interest in that aspect of the business. The sales associates were always happy, perfectly dressed and seemed to have a dream job.
After about four years learning construction, I checked around with local real estate schools to explore my options. There were a variety of courses available with private instructors along with classes held at the local board of realtor offices. Most of those are a week to two weeks long in an “accelerated” pace. I went a slightly different route. I found a semester long course at a local community college so I could keep my full-time working schedule and attend classes at night. It was also a little less fearful for me, since I could learn at a slower pace. (This was before online pre-licensing courses were available)
After a semester, I passed my class test and was ready to take my state exam. My instructor encouraged us to test right away before we forgot class content, so that is what I did. The test environment is a little intense but once I got settled in, I completed my test and got my state sales associate license.
I was so excited to tell my employer that I got my license and was ready to work in a model home. Unfortunately, there were no openings available and none in the foreseeable future, so I took a huge step and went into “general real estate”. I left my salaried job and went straight into the commission-based pay world. Eeeekkk! I was 21-years old and had a tough start. All the “good” leads went to senior agents and I was struggling to get customers. I also had to join the board of realtors and MLS (multiple listing service) and both require financial investments. They are an essential part of the job, but the initial costs were more than I had planned for. I was only 21, so budgeting for the big move wasn’t even a thought that crossed my mind. Since my experience was new-home based, I tried to focus my business around new construction. I had also had a couple “used home” transactions fall-apart due to failed home inspections so I was happy to take every customer I worked with, to every new home community possible.
While my husband-to-be and I were building a new home for ourselves (with Adams Homes), the sales manager offered me a chance to work in a model home on a part-time basis. I started part-time, working on other sales associate’s days off and within a few months; I was offered a full-time position.
That day was the start of my career. I worked full-time in a model home and spent my days chatting with prospective customers to help them choose the perfect homesite, the ideal floor plan and then help them select all their personalized color selections for cabinets, paint, flooring, etc. When I started with Adams Homes in 2001, it was 10-12 months for a newly constructed home to be completed. Sales associates, like those in general real estate, only get compensated when the customer closes. So initially, there was a long time period without income. I wanted this opportunity more than anything so we lived off a tight budget and I got a $5,000 credit card to help cover the gaps until my closings were consistent. I also worked at my sister’s restaurant a couple nights a week so that helped too.
Real estate is not a part-time job so you have to choose how to spend your time carefully. I was so young that all I really needed was gas money and lunch money. It was worth it to me to work on my days off, to have a chance at a dream career. Working for Adams Homes, they paid for my signs, my business cards, all the copies I needed for flyers and even paid for me to take local real estate agents to lunch. In general real estate, I paid for all my supplies and even paid to use the copy machine. Working in new home sales took the financial pressure off the “overhead” costs associated with real estate and let me focus on sales.
In a “normal” market, sales associates typically sell 2-3 new homes per month. On average, sales associates with Adams Homes make about $3,500 per closing. I found that when I followed a process to make my calls and ask prospects to come back and visit, dropped off fliers to real estate offices and took extra special care of the customers that gave me an opportunity to service them, success followed. The sales managers at Adams Homes are fully committed to not only on-going training for themselves, but also sharing that wealth of knowledge with their sales team. Speaking of team, this is one of the most fun parts of the job. The sales teams are often a close-knit group that work together to succeed. Most real estate offices are strictly geared for individual success but at Adams Homes, your colleagues are your teammates and the sales manager is the coach.
If a career in real estate has crossed your mind, I would encourage you to follow your heart! New home sales is a very rewarding career with few income limitations. The harder you work, the more money you make. Sounds simple, but it is true. Commission-based sales do have a little more risk but a lot more reward. At Adams Homes, we have a proven sales-training program that if followed, nearly guarantees success. The sales team is an integral part of most every company and sales associates here are truly treasured. Plus, you get to work with one of the largest privately-held homebuilders in the southeast. Adams Homes has sold more than 35,000 new homes. You do the math. The income potential doesn’t get much better than this.
People will always need housing. Aside from the necessity of shelter, homeownership is part of “The American Dream”. And you get to be a part of it. How cool is that. You get to pick the perfect piece of dirt and watch hundreds of skilled tradesmen and women take sticks and bricks and complete a new home where families come to live and make a lifetime of memories. No other job will give you such personal satisfaction.
Email me anytime if you have any questions regarding becoming a new home sales associate. You can also keep an eye on our CAREERS tab online for openings in your area.
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About Adams Homes
Founded in 1991, Adams Homes is known as the premier home builder and is one of the largest privately-held home building companies in the southeast. Adams Homes has built more than 35,000 new homes since 1991 and builds in seven states including new homes for sale in Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina and Tennessee with corporate headquarters in Gulf Breeze, Florida.
Discover all Adams Homes’ communities, model homes and homes for sale on our website, www.AdamsHomes.com. We have new homes for sale perfect for the first-time buyer, move-up home buyer, who desires to upgrade to a more accommodating new home, and the empty nester who desires to downsize to a smaller home.
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