Wow, I missed this post when it first came out--
I'm a full time real estate agent in Texas with a seven year track record. It does take work and a little time to get rolling in the biz. Once you get going, well, I've made some very decent money and I know people who make even more than I do. We take the adult kids and the granddaughter on a yearly vacation to build family memories. We are also slowly buying rental property to aid our retirement years.
In May and June (and oddly enough, February where I am) it can take over your life, but otherwise it's a job. I regularly take Sunday's off and random afternoons from time to time. I take short trips with my husband when I can. Yes, I have negotiated deals on Christmas day or on New Year's Eve--which is not an issue for me. My husband has a crazy career so the family is used to oddness. Plus my kids are grown adults. Every year we do some sort of vacation together and they know RE has paid for the majority of it. My office is in my home, so I can take a break to play with the dog or walk around the gardens.
Let's see--a typical week for me looks something like this...
Mondays--it's delivering earnest money and option checks where they need to go if I have a buyer newly under contract. Most Mondays are office days--computer work, phone calls, paperwork.
Most mornings are computer/office time or they are spent getting coffee with friends (potential clients. I'm a much more involved friend than I used to be--and I was a good friend prior to this career.) I schedule doctor and dentist appointments in the mornings.
Some mornings and most afternoons can be spent showing property, interviewing for a listing, popping into an inspection, attending a closing, or other work of that sort. I spend a lot of time following up with my clients after their sale--so if I'm in a neighborhood I might spend 10-15 minutes dropping by a former client's home--usually a few times a year.
I need to be a bit more community and socially involved. I'm a natural introvert so all that follow up is about all I can handle. The more people you know--and know well--the better your bottom line with be at first.
My car gets about 20K miles per year on it.
The hardest things about this business--it's your business, if you put effort and energy into it, you'll get a good return. If you don't, you won't. You are fully responsible for saving part of your income for taxes--usually about a third. The second third goes to dues, fees, and marketing. Finally you get the last third.
The single hardest thing is understanding that someone you've known forever will use someone else to list or buy their home....it happens every once in a while and wow, can you say, stab in the heart?....while a total stranger who got your name from a postcard mailing will trust you and send you many referrals. Weird.
The third challenge is the search for business--if you don't market yourself in some way, you'll find a lot of extra time on your hands. (See challenge number 1)
Lastly--there will be times when deals fall apart, or or clients act like jerks. A saying I have on my office white board is 'Tough Skin, Light Heart, Positive Attitude.
In short, I love it. I've gotten a lot of fun benefit out of it. And, oh my, I've seen some fabulous houses--and some appalling wrecks. I've cried some tears and stomped around at times. I wake up at 3am and worry about my young buyer or my older seller or I sleep in because everything is under control. It fits me better than any other career I've had. Technology makes it much easier to have a life than 30 years ago.
Feel free to ask questions--I love to help new agents get started. Naturally since I'm a former homeschool mom, I can recommend a number of good books you might want to read if you are interested.