Real Estate Weekly
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Deals & Dealmakers

Donʼt kid yourself that breaking into brokerage biz is easy

By Heidi Burkhart, Founder and President,
Dane Real Estate

As a broker and the president of an affordable housing brokerage, Dane Real Estate, I often hear the misconception floating around that being a broker equals a big pay day.

Unfortunately, that’s not quite the case.

You only ever see the glamorous side of real estate on TV, big money and big deals, but the reality is that it’s a tough industry and becoming a broker, let alone a good one, isn’t easy.

What people fail to realize is that real estate brokerage is almost entirely commission based.

Most, if not all brokerage companies pay their salespeople or brokers nothing outside of commission.
You’re promised a flow of deals and a running start into the industry, but really you’re only provided a database of listings and you need to find the buyers.

Realistically, it takes at least two years to really get your feet planted in the industry — that’s two years of making little to no money.

People in the industry sugarcoat or gloss over the “formative” years (no one wants to dwell on how bad it was), so all you hear about is how high the earning potential can be, or how brokers found success or closed an amazing deal.

I regularly hear stories of new brokers floundering, not being able to make ends meet and ultimately regretting their decision to join the industry.

What is failing to come across is that being a broker is a career like any other. If you want to be successful, it takes hard work, blood, sweat and tears, just like any other field.

Just being a “people person” isn’t enough, you have to pound the pavement for every deal, big or small.
Brokerage isn’t a one-off choice because you think you’ll make money, it’s a commitment and to succeed you need to be passionate about your work.

Personally, I was lucky enough to start when I was only 20 years old and was willing to do anything to make it in this industry.

I suffered through being in debt for three years and was barely able to pay rent before I finally closed a real deal.

Looking back on it now, I don’t know how I was able to make myself push through, but I’m immensely glad I did.

Real estate brokerage taught me the meaning of hard work and afforded me the opportunity to be an entrepreneur.

I started my own brokerage firm in 2008, with a focus on affordable housing, and eight years later, we have facilitated over $1.5 billion in transactions and closed over 11,000 affordable housing units.
Most importantly, I truly love what I do. As Steve Jobs said, “The journey is the reward.”

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