The 9 Hardest Parts of Being a Real Estate Agent

The 9 Hardest Parts of Being a Real Estate Agent

Is Being a Real Estate Agent Hard?

Before considering a career as a real estate agent, you may ask, “Is being a real estate agent hard?”

It is no secret that working in real estate has its challenges. There are obstacles that real estate agents and brokers overcome that are unlike challenges found in other careers.

It takes a lot of work to build a client list and become established in the industry. But the best part about the real estate industry is that you take away as much as you put into your career. Working hard upfront in the real estate industry means you will receive a greater reward in the long run.

Real estate industry careers are unlike any other job. Part of what makes them an attractive option for many people is the unlimited potential to gain wealth and influence in the industry. While there are many reasons to choose a career in real estate, it is important to remember that a real estate agent overcomes many hurdles before their career can take off.

Before considering a real estate agent job, here are nine of the most complex parts of being a real estate agent (and ways to overcome each of those challenges).

1. You Are Paid a Commission

Real Estate Commission

Most careers offer an hourly wage or a salary. It is easy to predict what your next paycheck is. These salary or hourly-paid jobs are steady and provide a stable income.

In real estate, agents earn a commission payment. Commission pay is when an agent gets paid a percentage of a sale. On average, real estate agents make between 2.5% - 6% of a sale. Most agents then need to pay a certain amount of that commission to their managing broker.

Earning a commission can mean an unstable income and an unpredictable inflow of money. It is difficult to predict your finances when you make a commission.


Earning a commission means that you have more significant earning potential. Unlike an hourly-paid or salary job, your income is not capped by the number of hours you work. Your rate depends on the number of properties you sell and the price for which the property is sold.

It may take time to get to a place where you earn a lot of money. As you gain more experience and build your sphere of influence, your income can start to skyrocket.

Because your income fluctuates, make sure to keep a budget and track your expenses.

2. Time Management Can Be Difficult

Real Estate Commission

The freedom of a real estate job also means you can pick your hours. However, it may be difficult for some people to motivate themselves enough to build a schedule. Many real estate agents find it challenging to decide how to spend their time when they start their careers. Working as a solo agent, you may not see how other real estate agents spend their time.


Making your schedule is one of the best parts of working in the real estate industry. It is essential to write out a prioritized list of things you need to do. When you are first starting your career, reach out to other agents in your brokerage and ask how they spend their days.

As time passes, you develop your schedule and find the motivation to stick to it.

3. You Become Your Own Boss

Become Your Own Boss

Becoming your own boss has its challenges. There is no hierarchy or management to help you deal with any issues that arise. You oversee the navigation of your career and are responsible for resolving any challenges that arise. This skillset is new to the majority of new agents.

Because you now manage yourself, you need to understand how to market and expand your business. You also need to know how to track your business expenses and taxes.


When you are your own boss, you get to oversee your career and make the decisions that will dictate your growth. You can decide how to handle your career and make the choices that are best for you.

The broker you work with guides you as you begin to navigate your career. Use your managing broker as a resource as you learn more about being your own boss.

4. It Is a Relationship-Based Industry

Business relationships

Much of an established real estate agent’s clientele come from what is known as a “sphere of influence.” A sphere of influence in real estate is the group of people that you have some impact over. It is challenging to build trust among strangers and build a quality list of people who refer to you as their agent. But the few people who trust you to help them buy or sell homes may refer you to their friends and family.

Most people do not buy and sell houses very often. Maintaining a relationship with people over a series of many years until they are ready to use your real estate expertise can be tricky.


Increasing your sphere of influence should be an ongoing goal that pays off in your real estate business.

One way to have a consistent sphere of influence is to find a group or cause that is important to you. Volunteer your time by helping others in need or find a hobby group that meets often. This networking method is a great way to meet people and maintain relationships. When someone in one of these groups needs a real estate agent, you will be there to help.

5. The Real Estate Market Can Change

Real Estate Market Trends

We all know that the real estate market is constantly evolving. What agents fear is a market crash, much like the housing crash of 2008. There is no way to accurately predict the market, which seemingly makes this career a risky choice. However, there is not much to fear.


Since the housing crash of 2008, many programs and laws were established to prevent a similar housing crisis from ever happening again.

People are always going to need shelter. The demand for homes is ever increasing as the next generation floods the market. As couples grow into families, someone is looking for their first house, or parents become empty nesters, there are constantly people in transition who require an agent.

6. Difficult Work-Life Balance

Work Life Balance

When you work with people looking for a home, you must adjust to fit their schedule. This means that you work outside of “normal” working hours to meet people for viewings after their workday or on the weekends. It is difficult to find time for yourself or your family when working late nights and long weekends.


Set boundaries for yourself. Tell your clients when you are available and when you have other obligations. Make sure you track your hours and allow for an amount of time to rest or get your errands done.

If you have many clients that require evenings and weekends, then adjust your work hours to be primarily free during the day to do your personal tasks or relax.

7. There Are Many Continuing Education Requirements

Real Estate Continuing Education Requirements

Every state has different continuing education requirements before a real estate license is renewed.

These requirements typically require 10-30 hours of continuing education courses and must be completed every one to three years.

These classes serve as a refresher to the information you learned in real estate school and they inform real estate professionals about new practices.

With a busy schedule, it is difficult to find time to take these courses. The added expense of taking these courses is also not exciting.


Take your continuing education classes online. VanEd CE courses are 100% online and available 24/7. You can take these courses anytime, anywhere. Many sponsoring brokers pay for their agent’s CE courses.

8. You Wear Many Different Hats

Job Responsibilities

Working in real estate means you have many jobs. You are a trusted professional to your client, a negotiator to your seller, a legal professional for contracts, and a financial and market state professional.

It can be exhausting switching from working with buyers to working with contracts to working with other agents.


Keep at it.

Any new job seems overwhelming at first. As time goes on and you deal with more real estate transactions, your experience will take over any challenges you face. With knowledge and expertise, your career will become increasingly more manageable.

It is essential not to give up right away. Many agents give up within their first few years. But with determination and a quality team to support you, your ability to fill your many roles will become second nature.

9. What if I Don’t Want to Be an Agent Anymore?

Real Estate Property Manager

After working as an agent for a few years, you may decide that you are ready to move on to other things. Being an agent is an exciting and lucrative career, but the fast pace and busy schedule may become tedious as you transition into different phases of your life.

The good news: there are many opportunities to grow within the real estate industry.


After working as an agent for a few years, your experience in the industry is massive. There are many options to choose from to grow or change your career path. You can, for example, take classes to become a managing broker and oversee other agents, become a real estate appraiser, or become property manager.

Written and Published by: VanEd

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