Why Teachers Make Great Real Estate Agents
10 Reasons Teachers Make Great Real Estate Agents
If you weren’t aware already, I used to be an 8th grade math teacher. Last year I decided to choose a different path for my life which has currently led me to being a real estate agent. When I first came into the business, a lot of my fellow agents were saying that teachers make wonderful agents. I then started to learn that so many of them were also teachers previously. As I thought about it a little more, I realized that there really are some hard to find traits that teachers generally seem to have compared to the average person. Honestly, I would always think there is NO way that the average person can survive teaching.
In fact when I would hear others complain about how much they had to do in their jobs, I wanted to be like “I manage 120+ teenagers, have to teach them math, plan quality lessons, monitor their behavior, keep up with deadlines, and remember specific details about EACH child.” And that’s just some of it. Teachers know what I’m talking about. The to-do lists NEVER end…ever! So I’m a firm believer that if you can be a teacher, you can pretty much handle anything else!
Now let’s be real- every teacher does not embody these traits. However, I would say typically a solid teacher who is doing well would have these traits to some extent.
Probably one of the best traits you can have in any career is organization. As a teacher, you have to keep up with IEPs, 504 plans, notes from parents, e-mails from parents, work to grade, lesson plans, etc. If you do not have an organizational system as a teacher, you lose time that you just don’t have. Students will not wait 10 minutes for you to find material for your lesson. You can’t be 10 minutes late to your IEP meeting because you couldn’t find a grade report.
In real estate, there is a TON of paper work. Thankfully, a lot of paper work is now done electronically, but it’s still a lot to keep up with. As you start to work with more clients, you will have more to keep up with along the way. I have found that using electronic files and physical file folders has helped me keep up with important documents. Whenever I go to meetings at the office, I carry my iPad, my planner, and my real estate notebook. Staying organized is definitely a good trait to have as an agent because time is of the essence in real estate too. You need to know pertinent information fairly quickly and you don’t want to spend hours trying to find it!
Can Handle Difficult People
“Every child is so sweet and well behaved!” – Said no teacher ever!
Because of the fact that some children behave worse then others, it is important that teachers know how to handle them. Not only that, but teachers also need to find a way to teach to those children to help them stay engaged. As a teacher you aren’t supposed to really show who frustrates you, who you wish stayed home for the day, or who drives you insane. Instead, you are supposed to keep going on with teaching and make that child still feel important and valued.We can all agree that’s quite a challenge to bite your tongue when a student is rude or disruptive. However, outside of education, people (yes-even grown adults) can behave the same.
As an agent you may come across a demanding client or perhaps you are working with an agent on the opposite side that is being difficult. No matter what, there is going to be at least one situation where someone will try to rock the boat. Since you have handled many similar situations as a teacher, you will handle this one with pride as well instead of letting it get to you or responding how you really want to.
A lot of people don’t consider themselves creative, even teachers. However, I think to be a teacher you have to be creative to some extent. Teachers don’t just get a textbook with planned out lessons. For some reason, so many non-teachers think that’s how teaching works. You get a book with all the lessons and material. Even if there was that option, it would NOT be encouraged by most school systems. So, teachers have to be creative even if it’s just with planning lessons. How are you going to engage 120+ students? How are you going to get this boring concept across to your students? Is there a way to make the lesson more inquiry-based to challenge the students?
Creativity does not need to be just about being crafty or artsy, it can also be about innovation. In real estate, you sometimes have to get creative with how you are going to market a property. The creative agents are the ones that stand out and probably end up with more success because of it.
In the teaching world we may call this bribery. Although so many people are against bribing, it’s a common thing in the education world. Bribes (which are really a form of negotiation) can be positive reinforcement or negative reinforcement. Heres one: “If you guys can work silently on your own for 15 minutes, then I will allow you to listen to music on your headphones the rest of the time.” As a teacher, you have to find ways to negotiate with students to either motivate them or get them to cooperate with you.
Negotiating contracts is a MAJOR part of real estate. You sometimes have to go back and forth between the other party’s agent and your clients to come to a mutual agreement. This can involve a lot of counter offers. When there is money on the line, you want to ensure that you have a clue about how to reasonably negotiate.
Can Easily Read People
Teachers always have to look after their students and not just academically. If you have a student that comes into class and seems not him/herself, then you will mentally take note of that. Maybe you won’t call on that student during class today. Maybe you will understand if that student decides to put his/her head down in class for that day.
When you have a client it is important to notice their pain and pleasure points. So if they start to back out of a listing or purchasing a house, there is probably some deeper meaning to it. As an agent it is important to notice those signs from the client, and help them through the process. Being able to read people in real estate can also help with negotiating and trying to realize what it really is that the other party wants.
Dedicated to Service
“I’m in teaching for the money!”- Also said no teacher ever!
Let’s be honest, teachers are typically in the career because they either have a passion for kids, education, a subject, serving others, or a combination of those. As a teacher, you are serving your students on a daily basis. You have to wake up each day ready to embrace them for who they are, teach them, and help them grow along the way. Sometimes the students don’t like you, sometimes you are just mentally exhausted, but you still have to serve.
When asked, “what kind of business is real estate” a lot of people will say “sales”.Really we are in the business of customer service and relationships. We only get paid if a deal closes. So we can show houses to buyers, give advice to potential clients, and then not even get to the closing table with those people. So what is the point of even helping those people to begin with? Because a GOOD real estate agent will focus on service and the relationship versus just the commission check at closing. People can typically see when you are genuine and have good intentions, so it can actually help your business prosper.
Now I would say most careers require employees to be professional. However, it is much more challenging when you are dealing with peoples’ children. Kids are a parents’ pride and joy. You do not want to mess up in that field, so it’s highly critical to communicate with parents. Some parents would want to know so much about grades, tests, missing assignments, etc. As a teacher, you can’t just ignore the parent or give a half-hearted response. These people want you to think their child is a priority too. Whether it be through e-mails, phone calls, or meetings, it is expected that you communicate professionally with parents.
As an agent, you must communicate professionally with other agents and clients. Sometimes that can be a challenge if the other party is being rude. You will probably want to act the same way, but that’s where being a teacher is handy. Sometimes parents can be rude and outspoken, but you cannot just retaliate. It is important to remain calm and speak with a level head. Teachers are pros at this, so dealing with it as an agent isn’t too bad!
As I mentioned before with the organization, teachers have a lot to keep up with in the classroom. Paying attention to details is just as important as being organized. Think about the fact that teachers have to grade TONS of papers. They have to look for specific details within papers or tests. As a math teacher, I had to be quick at identifying errors students made as they did math problems. I would have to pay attention to the small details to see what mistakes they were making to prevent them from making the same mistakes again.
As an agent you have to focus on various details for contracts. There is a lot to read in real estate. If you miss something important and have your client sign it, that could be a major issue later on. You want to be that person who checks and double checks things before submitting them. This protects your client and yourself.
It’s not easy to get in front of teenagers who mostly hate math. Some are even at the age where they like to judge others. Some days that would really get to me as a teacher, but most of the time I just had thick skin. I somewhat excepted the fact that I won’t be everyone’s favorite teacher. Even if I was doing everything right, there would still be at least one student that didn’t like my personality or hated my lesson for the day. And that is OK! I would try my best to achieve that, but I knew that it ultimately was unrealistic all the time. So you just have to learn to accept it and have thick skin.
Is everyone going to love you as an agent? Nope, we are humans.We are not all going to have personalities that mesh well together. However, we still have to learn to work together and deal with any challenges that come our way. So if you come across a rude client or agent, you just have to remember that is one person who is dissatisfied. That does not mean everyone hates you or doesn’t want to work with you.
Can Handle Multiple Tasks/Demands
There are SO many distractions that can arise as teaching. I’d be in the middle of a lesson and another student or teacher would come in the room to talk to me. I would have to stop my train of thought, answer to them, and quickly get back into my lesson so that I wouldn’t lose too much engagement from my students. There’s kids asking to use the restroom, fire drills, technological issues, students who are misbehaving, and the list goes on. Plus, you have to keep up with the demands of the administration and/or school system such as registration, attendance, meetings, picture day, school events, etc.
As an agent, you have to be able to juggle a lot too especially with working with multiple clients at a time. You may be in the negotiating stages of one contract and then have to look at comps for another client. You have to quickly be able to switch your mind from one task over to the other in order to get things done in a prompt manner.
These traits could definitely help any career, but I definitely think it can help real estate agents particularly. If you or someone you know is thinking about a career in real estate I’d be glad to answer questions or assist! Even if it’s something you just want to do as a part-time gig or side hustle, I can help you there as well.
Update 12/14/19- Since writing this post, I have had multiple teachers reach out to me from across the country asking questions about my journey from teacher to real estate agent. I decided to make a separate FAQ post using questions people asked of me.
Feel free to give me a call/text or e-mail!