Transitioning to Real Estate from a Full-Time Job

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Making the leap from a full-time job into the exciting landscape of the real estate industry is exhilarating and could lead to the financial freedom you’ve always wanted.

But like any massive decision, it’s best to learn as much as you can about what awaits before you dive in.

That’s why we’ve put together some insightful advice to ensure you’re as prepared as possible to transition from a regular worker to a highly motivated and independent business professional. 

If you have a specific question that’s not addressed below, please feel free to reach out to us directly and start a conversation. 

Establish Your Expenses Fund Early

Perhaps the most important concern to be aware of first is that it takes time to start earning a regular income in this line of work. Having enough money set aside for months of living expenses is absolutely essential, as you may not see steady cash flow for quite a while.

There will also be a bit of overhead to kick start your career. While your brokerage may provide an office and desk space, it’s wise to invest in a quality laptop and smartphone, and that can set you back several thousand dollars.

Find Your Mentor

In the state of Illinois, real estate agents (“salesperson” in most states) are referred to as “brokers.” In order to earn this designation, you’ll complete a 75-hour prelicensing course, which can be completed online or in a more traditional classroom setting.

Once you pass the exam, the next crucial step is obtaining a managing broker and mentor who will sponsor your license application to the Illinois Department of Financial and Professional Regulation. The cost for the course, exam, and application fee is around $750.

Having the support of an experienced, non-competing mentor is invaluable for new brokers. There are so many nuances to this industry that just aren’t covered during your classes. Since every agent is unique, finding the right coach will make all the difference to your success.

Develop Your Business Plan

Your advisor will guide you through creating your overall business plan. Even if you end up working on a team at a larger brokerage, it’s still vital to do some self-assessment and map out your strategy and individual approach to the real estate industry.

Start with your personal brand. It should showcase your professional personality and include a professional logo, color palette, and headshot as well as your mission statement, social media profiles, and website or blog.

Questions to ponder as you put together your branding kit:

  • Who are you and what are your values? 
  • What will be your main message? 
  • What makes you the most effective choice for your prospective customers? 
  • How can you be the best resource for their needs? 
  • How will you identify and reach your target audience?

An experienced manager can also inspire you to explore your hidden talents. Perhaps you are a wiz at online marketing, a gifted writer or graphic designer, or your passion for art and history reveals a keen eye for architectural details that home buyers will adore. 

It’s also necessary to make a schedule and stick to it. Many new brokers badly underestimate the time it takes to generate quality leads. Don’t fall into the trap of putting things off or sleeping until noon. 

Identifying your strengths will help you stand out from the crowd in a competitive field.

Grow Your Network

Schmoozy after-work mixers and stultifying trade association luncheons still exist, but there are vastly more options available now for making authentic connections and building lasting business relationships.

Online and real-world networking should be a critical part of your business plan. Meeting other real estate professionals in your area is always the right thing to do, but it’s also important to reach a wider audience while gaining local expertise. 

Here are some of the top ways to extend your reach and nourish your ecosystem:

  • Connect with peers and service providers in complementary industries
  • Volunteer for worthy causes in your community
  • Promote your brand on social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram
  • Attend those mixers and luncheons as well as charity events, gatherings, and neighborhood meet-ups 
  • Participate with or sponsor a recreational sports group
  • Become a supporter of a local arts or historic organization

Your managing broker will be a vital guide on where to focus your efforts for maximum ROI. 

Discover the Perfect Partner

The transition from your old job to a vibrant and busy new life as a real estate broker is definitely thrilling, but it takes dedication, research, hard work — and a little bit of luck.

You can achieve anything you put your mind to, especially with the support of a well-connected and experienced real estate organization like Baird & Warner Lincoln Park. Our team of managing brokers will give you the tools, coaching, and confidence you need to craft a successful business plan and exceed your wildest goals.

We foster an innovative and collaborative environment where our new agents can truly thrive. If you’re ready to explore a new path, give us a call today!


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