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Choosing a Career Path in Real Estate

Sydney Spence has been licensed in the State of Texas since 2006. Sydney is a notary and author living in the Greater Austin Area of Texas.


Considering a Career in Real Estate?

So, you are entertaining the idea of entering the world of real estate. You may be nervous, have a lot of questions, or be completely excited about the new venture without hesitation. You are not alone. Whether you have been considering a career in this ever-changing industry for quite some time or this is a new venture you're looking to take, real estate can be a lucrative career for the right person. You just need to have a clear understanding of what it entails so you aren't blindsided with the unexpected.

There are so many paths in real estate that many don't consider when entering this industry. Most people think holding a real estate license is strictly limiting them to buying or selling homes. That is far from the case. Knowing your options can help ensure you make an informed decision about the real estate path you are best suited for.



License Required: No

Leasing is usually done on-site at an apartment complex. Your duties include showing the unit that is for rent, processing application to ensure they qualify, and retaining residents.

The ultimate goal is to reach 100% occupancy.


Property Management

License Required: No

Property management is a way to get into real estate and provides a more stable work environment because you are typically hired by companies to manage their properties. While this position doesn’t require a real estate license in most cases, keeping your license up to date will help you in keeping with Fair Housing Laws, changes in regulations, and more. Not to mention, it will enhance your value in the real estate industry.


Apartment Locating

Licensed Required: Yes

This is my top pick for getting started in the real estate market. Especially if you are not financially able to rely on zero income for at least your first six months.

Apartment Locating allows you to get started immediately in real estate without having to join the expensive boards required to be called a Realtor®. Once you have passed your exam, you are officially a licensed real estate agent. Apartment locating does require a license however, you are able to generate an immediate income as you are paid by lease.

As an apartment locator, you are in control of your schedule. That schedule will revolve around apartment complex business hours. Typically, Saturdays will be your busiest day of the workweek as that is when most people are conducting searches.

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Each and every client you help move into a rental property will remember who got them there. This is a great way to build up your pipeline for possible home purchases. Gather contact information for every client and be sure to stay up on marketing to them. (Marketing is covered here.)


Advertising to potential renters should go something like this so you get the point across that your services are FREE to them. Apartment complexes pay your "finder's fee" or commission since you brought them a new tenant.

"You are in the market to rent. Nothing wrong with that. In this case, use a licensed real estate agent to find you the apartment or rental home you need. Also known as apartment locators or rental specialists, these pros serve the rental market. They are able to access listings that you or the general public are not able to and can find those awesome move in specials for you."

​Recap the Benefits of Becoming a Locator:​

  • Not required to join a board
  • You are a licensed real estate agent
  • Dedicated to rental market
  • Flexible schedule
  • Referrals create a pipeline
  • You are your own boss

Buyer's Agent

License Required: Yes

Expect to spend a lot of money if you go straight into residential or commercial home sales once you have obtained your license. There are board dues, business cards, lockbox fees, memberships, additional designations, etc. associated with getting started. This is all before you have obtained your first client. (Unless, of course, you had a friend waiting for you to get your license so they could buy a home.) You should expect to spend the first six months without an income while building your client list and marketing yourself.

A Buyer's Agent represents a buyer in the purchase of a house or property.

Simply put, this is an agent licensed in real estate who represents a buyer in the real estate buying process. A buyer's agent will ensure the clients are knowledgeable in the transaction, treated fairly, and their interests are protected.

​Needless to say, a buyer's agent is an important piece of the real estate puzzle when someone is looking to buy a home. Not only will a buyer's agent help them find their dream home, an agent will also help with:​

  • Obtaining a credit report
  • Setting a budget
  • Finding a lender
  • Choosing an area
  • Searching for your dream home
  • Obtaining an appraisal
  • Submitting an Offer
  • Setting Up Utilities
  • Researching Home Warranty Companies

Seller's Agent

License Required: Yes

A Seller's Agent represents seller's looking to sell their home.

You may be wondering what a seller's agent is. Simply put, this is an agent licensed in real estate who represents a seller in the real estate selling process. A seller's agent will ensure their clients are knowledgeable in the transaction, treated fairly, and protect their interests.

A seller's agent is an important piece of the real estate puzzle when clients are looking to sell a house or property. Not only will a seller's agent help them market their home to ready buyers they will also help with:

  • ​Obtaining a market analysis of the area
  • Setting a starting price
  • Finding a ready buyer
  • Recommending repairs
  • Obtaining an appraisal
  • Negotiating offers
  • Turning off utilities

New Home Sales

License Required: Yes and No

Manufactured home sales are in high demand and though those types of home sales don’t require a real estate license, having a license doesn't hurt. In some cases, the company that hires you requires your license to be inactive but that doesn’t mean you are giving up your license, just putting it on temporary hold.

There are two ways to enter new home sales. Work in the manufacturer's model home, attracting new customers. Or, be a licensed agent that brings buyers to the model home.



Licensed Required: No

Investing is as simple as scooping up properties for your own purposes such as flipping, developing, or renting. Investing has a whole host of opportunities but you will need start-up capital to get going.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

Questions & Answers

Question: What do you think is the best method for setting up a website for an independent licensed agent in Sydney who sees opportunity in the current market to offer apartment locator services? Should I contract a service or try to build one myself? Also, do you have any recommendations on website developers who are familiar with building an apartment locator website?

Answer: I use WIX. They have great templates that are specifically real estate related!

© 2016 Sydney Spence


Patrice on February 28, 2017:

This information was very helpful.

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