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Finding success as a real estate agent seems simple enough. It’s not brain surgery. People are always buying and selling homes. However, nearly half the agents who receive their real estate agent license fail within their first five years.

In 2000, the California Association of Realtors followed 100 new Realtors, chronicling their first years as agents. By the fifth year, 57 percent of those agents quit. Reasons for their career change varied —everything from poor time management, an inability to follow leads, a lack of marketing, and entertaining clients that are unwilling to take the first step into buying a home are among them.

One of the biggest reason real estate agents give for leaving the business is that they are overworked and underpaid. It’s easy for new agents to become burned out. Often agents find themselves driving clients all over town showing houses without ever closing a deal. It’s important for new agents to discern between clients that are motivated to buy and those who are merely window shopping.

Many experts in the real estate field advise new agents to set aside at least six month’s worth of salary to get them through the beginning stage of their career. It may take that long to earn their first pay check.

Jason Stewart, who has been a successful agent for ten years says, “From start to finish, it takes about a year, easily, until you’re licensed and hopefully have your first deal in escrow.”

In order to become an agent, a California Real Estate license is needed. On average this requires about two months of studying. The test consists of 150 multiple choice questions. You must be 18 years of age with a clean criminal record in order to apply for a real estate license in the state of California. In addition, it is helpful but not necessary to have a college or graduate degree in finance, business or economics. The National Association of Realtors sponsors classes that educate perspective agents on the basics in order to succeed in real estate. Fees to obtain a real estate license include a $60 examination fee and a filing fee of $245.00 for licensing.

Each year an eager group of fresh realtors become licensed in San Diego. Their motivations include a desire to set their own schedules and to tap into our lucrative real estate market. Some of these new faces are blissfully unaware of the hard work it takes to be successful in the industry. Real estate is time consuming and can be tedious. The most successful agents usually possess outgoing personalities, strong organizational skills, and marketing expertise.

According to Jason Stewart, “The biggest mistake in any real-estate business is not dedicating at least an hour a day to prospecting for business.”

Stewart also adds that there are pitfalls to being in charge off your own hours, “Being able to control your hours and income is the best part and the biggest downfall to being an agent,” say Stewart.

The reason for this is that with that kind of freedom comes responsibility. You need to be self-motivated and an excellent time manager.

So far in 2014, Stewart has had a slow start to his year. “I have sold less than half of what I sold at this time last year.”

Stewart doesn’t seem fazed. “I have succeeded where others haven’t due to perseverance and a belief that I can.”

Stewart’s advice to new agents starting out is, “Treat it like a business. Model those who are doing well. Make a schedule and stick to it. Lead generate no matter what.”

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