Real Estate: What a Flexible Career Looks Like
Real estate is the long-haul career; you start young and stick with it, right? Or, is real estate the unexpected career, where you jump in blind and two decades later you’re still selling properties? Or maybe it’s the career that lets you come and go as you need it? The fact is real estate is all of these things – it’s the career that can adapt to your needs, moulding itself into the profession that your life demands. Offering endless opportunities, flexibility and unlimited achievement, the REIQ caught up with a few professionals to learn more about the potential shape a real estate career can take for you.
The Chance Young Gun
Meet Jarrod Willis, who started in real estate way back when he was only 15-years-old – a bright-eyed high school student with a passion for people and in search of success. In approaching businesses for an opportunity to start his career, Willis approached both local dentists and real estate agencies, having an interest in both careers. It wasn’t long before he secured himself an traineeship in real estate. “I knew I wanted to be successful and I was confident with dealing with people, and real estate ultimately seemed like a fitting career choice,” he says.
In those early days, Willis spent a number years learning the ropes as a trainee and an assistant to seven different agents before taking on the role of sales consultant, ready to do it all on his own. “I first stepped into the sales consultant role knowing that my income had infinite potential, dependent on the effort that I put in, and that’s always motivating,” he remembers. “That, combined with the feeling of guiding families through the process of buying and selling property is an amazing feeling, and something that I’ll never tire of.”
Willis speaks to his unique brand and way of selling as a culmination of all he’s learned as an assistant, reciting the lessons and ideas from the various agents he worked alongside when he was younger. “I was able to see first-hand how each agent grew their own personal brand and how they conducted their day-to-day business,” he reveals. “I took a few traits from each agent, adjusted them to suit my personality and that, for me, was the best way to grow and learn real estate.” That learning never ends though, as Willis admits chiefly because “every client is different and presents a unique situation, meaning you need to approach each one differently.”
Nine years on and Willis can’t see himself ever wanting to leave. “I definitely want to stay in real estate, that’s the career for me,” he says. “I’d love to see myself in the long-term still working at R&W Caboolture, and in the even longer term I could see myself being a shareholder or even a director here.”
Willis’ love for real estate centres on its people-focus, and the fact that every day is different. “Real estate is definitely more about people than it is the property,” he said. “And no matter how many deals you do or how much money you make, you always keep learning.”
The Transient Careerist
Fortunately, real estate isn’t a profession you need to begin in your teenage years, and all around Queensland people of all ages are making the switch – sometimes even more than once. Rebecca Kennedy is just one example, when she first began working in real estate admin while studying marketing in her early 20s. “At the time it was a way for me to make some money while at university,” she tells. “And as soon as I graduated I started applying for other jobs.”
It wasn’t long before Kennedy found a great marketing opportunity working with a tourism company in Far North Queensland, where she worked for six years before deciding she wanted to return to the great southeast. “Obviously that meant I had to find another job, and I thought ‘well I have some experience in real estate, so I’ll try that’,” she explains. “About three months later I was back in Brisbane working in real estate – it was a bit of déjà vu.”
Since then, Kennedy’s put her marketing experience to good use as a sales agent for close to a decade. Still, she says she isn’t yet married to the idea of spending the rest of her life in the same job. “Transitioning from tourism marketing to real estate sales made me realise it’s not impossible to change careers,” she states. “Changing jobs like that was just really refreshing, and I could see myself changing again at some point in the future.”
While Kennedy isn’t ‘married’ to a single profession, but the ease in which she got back into real estate gives her some comfort of a “safety net” for if she wants to take a risk. “It would still have to be related to marketing and sales,” she adds. “That’s what I studied, that’s what I’m good at, and I think that’s where I really thrive the most.”
Should you find yourself in a similar professional crossroads, what’s unique to a come-and-go approach to real estate is that there’s no requirement to start again from the bottom or from scratch. The only limit to any sales agent’s earning potential is their own drive and effort. If your like Kennedy and decide to venture elsewhere with your career and ultimately come back, you’ll be able to pick up right where you left off.
The Unexpected Dream Job
Kathleen Luck’s introduction to real estate could hardly be described as anything short of serendipitous. “I was working in hospitality and just really struggling with the lack of flexibility in life,” she tells. “One Sunday I was reading the Courier-Mail and there was a lift-out talking about what you should be doing in your 20s, 30s and 40s to set yourself up career-wise.”
According to the paper, those of us in our early 20s should be trying out a range of various industries and sectors to see what we like and what suits best. “I just remember having a blinding flash of the obvious – a moment where you go ‘holy #%&@, what am I doing!?’,” she exclaims. “I was 22, in hospitality, and I hadn’t known anything else.”
Without delay, the following day Kathleen threw caution to the wind and quit her job. Then, by some remarkable coincidence (fate, some may call it) just two days later a flyer found itself into her letter box that read ‘Are you interested in a career in real estate?’ “I thought ‘ah yeah, I’ll give it a go’, and two weeks later I was working at Harcourts,” she says. “I started as admin and went into sales about a month later.” After two years, Luck’s mind was made up: Real estate was her calling, and she was in it for the long haul.
“I’d never bought a place, never sold anything, I had no idea how a transaction worked, but I was fortunate to work with someone who’d done hundreds of deals,” she adds. “She very much took me under her wing and showed me the ropes, and after two years I thought ‘I’m going to make my own ropes now’.” And with that, she did. Since then Luck’s day-to-day has become so busy that her husband quit his job too, transitioning into real estate to work alongside her in partnership.
Despite jumping in blind with no solid career goals, Luck has created a life for herself that she’s in no rush to leave behind. “We have a great income, it’s now become a family business for us, and we have a level of flexibility I never thought imaginable for our family,” she explains. “And the community that we’ve created in The Gap… neither of us are from Brisbane but we’ve started our own family community here, which is so nice.” That community aspect is Luck’s favourite part of working in real estate. “Real estate has been more than just real estate for me; it’s been creating a family in an area where we had no family – I love that side of it.”
So, it time to ask yourself if you’re ready to change careers? As a snapshot of what a few real estate careers look like, everybody’s journey is unique and a career in property has the capacity to be whatever you make of it. For more information about real estate careers, visit https://www.reiq.com/training/why-real-estate/, and for information about real estate training, visit https://www.reiq.com/training/