Evaluating the Potential of Real Estate as a Career

By Ciprian Morariu Published: July 9, 2024

Real Estate as a Career

Is Real Estate a Good Career in California?

Understanding the Real Estate Market in California

Do you wish to pursue a life-changing career where opportunities are abundant and achieving job satisfaction is easier? 

If yes, then a career in California real estate might just be your pathway to success and growth. 

Thanks to a diverse economy, strong job market, and beautiful natural views and landscapes, California is one of the most sought-after real estate markets in the country. 

California is home to some of the world’s best corporations, big tech companies, great weather, and relatively low taxes. All of these factors make it a popular state for life and work.

California’s real estate market is continuing its meteoric rise over the last few years and despite the slowdown caused by the pandemic and rising mortgage rates, it has bounced back to show resilience and robustness. 

The Golden State is home to cities like San Francisco, Los Angeles, and San Diego…some of the most popular real estate markets that continue to attract homebuyers and investors from across the country. 

With an average median home price of $800K, California continues to show strong demand for housing. In fact, Californian homes have appreciated by 40% in their value in the last five years. 

These statistics and insights point toward the fact that there are still numerous opportunities for real estate agents and brokers in the Golden State. 

Many first-time and experienced professionals are choosing real estate as a lucrative, rewarding, and flexible career option. 

If you are on the fence about working in real estate, now could be a good time to begin your journey in one of the best careers in California. 

However, you need to understand the profession, your role, and the associated pros and cons of working in the real estate industry. 

In this article, we are going to give you a detailed look into the many realities of the real estate industry. 

You will learn about the pros and upsides of working as a licensed real estate professional and we will also share a few downsides of the profession. 

We will share information about all the steps required to become a licensed agent or broker including all the requirements set by the California Department of Real Estate.

We will also walk you through the steps on the potential challenges associated with a job in the real estate industry along with the tips on how to navigate them. 

Benefits of Pursuing a Real Estate Career in California

For aspiring real estate agents and salespersons, one common question is - is real estate a good career in California? 

The answer is yes - becoming a real estate professional can be a life-changing professional opportunity, especially if you are seeking a high-earning job where you can work on your own schedule. 

We have laid out the numerous benefits of working in real estate so you can make an informed decision. 

1. Lower entry barrier

Compared to other professions with similar earnings, working in real estate is relatively easier for anyone who fulfills the basic eligibility criteria. 

To become a real estate agent or broker in California, you need not have a graduate degree or specialized education - all you need is a certificate of completion of high school education. 

You can obtain a California real estate license by completing 135 hours of state-approved pre-licensing education from a real estate college or school. 

Most importantly, you will have to pass the California real estate licensing exam.

Once you have received your salesperson license, you can start participating in real estate deals and transactions. 

This means if you meet the basic eligibility requirements and qualifying criteria, you can easily start a career as a real estate agent, broker, or realtor. 

The best part? You don’t need to pursue any advanced specialization or post-graduate education to maintain your licensure. 

By completing a minimum of additional course hours, you can easily renew your California real estate license

2. High earnings potential

One of the most important reasons that make real estate one of the best careers in California is its high income potential. 

Industry data and job sites estimate that you can make around $100K annually as a real estate agent in California

Imagine earning a six-figure salary while helping people achieve their homeownership dreams and goals. 

To sweeten the deal, you can also make an additional 2 to 3 percent commission on every deal you close. 

The best part? You can work as hard as you wish and the more deals you participate in, the more commission you can earn. 

Since California is home to a diverse array of luxury and ultra-luxury real estate, you can easily earn around a handful by working with affluent clients and high-net-worth individuals. 

Imagine earning $50K in commissions by helping your client sell their home worth $2 million dollars or more. 

3. Higher flexibility and independence:

Working in real estate is a popular career choice for those who seek work-life balance and the freedom of working for themselves. 

A career as a real estate broker or realtor in California can give you the opportunity to choose your clients, working schedule, and other terms. 

It is up to you to choose your work hours and decide when and how much you need to work to meet your financial and professional goals. 

Whether you are employed with a brokerage firm or run a real estate agency of your own, you can set your own boundaries and define your working schedule. 

The high level of autonomy and independence is one of the major benefits of working in California real estate. 

You will be the one in control of your professional destiny - from the pay check to the clients, you can choose how to shape your real estate career. 

4. Networking opportunities: 

If you are someone who likes to work with people and make new connections, working in California real estate might just be your dream job. 

The real estate industry works with the help and skills of a diverse network of professionals. 

From agents and brokers to home appraisers and attorneys, you will meet and work alongside many professionals while helping your clients buy and sell real estate. 

There is a plethora of networking opportunities for professionals working in real estate. 

If you are a people person and want to expand your network, you will find yourself at home amongst the numerous communities and events in the local and national real estate landscape. 

Working in real estate can provide you with opportunities to find people and forge new connections. 

This means you can expand your network, reach new markets, and grow your client base. 

Challenges of a Real Estate Career in California

Now that we have discussed in detail some of the most important benefits of working in real estate, let us give you an overview of some of the challenges you might face in your career. 

1. Industry saturation: 

Due to the relatively easier and lower entry barrier, California’s real estate market is saturated with over thousands of agents, brokers, and realtors. 

This means that there is going to be stiff competition for a limited pool of clients and that is not going to change anytime soon. 

Amidst tough competition in a saturated industry, it can be difficult to stand out and attract business opportunities. 

2. Fluctuating conditions

Real estate is a highly volatile industry sensitive to numerous macro and microeconomic factors, government policies, and industry regulations. 

This means that no matter how hard you work or try, your end outcome is always going to be a derivative of the current market conditions. 

The more volatile an external event or trigger is, the more unexpectedly the real estate market will react to it.

In the event of a recession, industries like real estate are worst hit, leading to a lot of trouble and unwanted stress even for experienced agents and brokers. 

3. Requires patience

Contrary to what most people believe, earning a six-figure salary and being your own boss is achievable only after you have put in the effort and hours. 

Success in a competitive field like real estate requires dedication and patience. You will face rejection a lot and it might deter you from pursuing your dream. 

For new agents, it might take them many months to close a deal on their own. In fact, many experienced agents still have to work under a supervising brokerage for years. 

Due to the long and tiresome journey full of struggles and challenges, many agents quit their careers and give up on their dreams. 

If you are still wondering is real estate a good career path then here is the short answer - it depends on your professional goals and expectations. 

If you dream of becoming financially independent and living a comfortable life on your own terms, then working in California real estate can help you achieve your goal. 

However, if you are afraid of rejection and challenges in your career and dislike working with other people, then a career in real estate might not be for you. 

Is Real Estate a Good Career Path?

The Pros of Choosing Real Estate as a Career Path

Let’s take a look at some of the most valuable pros of a career in real estate from the perspective of an agent or broker. 

  • There is literally no limit or cap to what you can make as an agent, broker, or realtor. The more deals you close and the harder you work, the more money you can make. 
  • You can choose what schedule and work timings work for you. The flexibility of working in real estate can give you the ability to manage work and life better. 
  • You get to meet and work with skilled people from the industry. From loan officers and appraisers to attorneys and real estate developers, you will cross paths with many people. 
  • You get to help people make one of the most important financial and emotional decisions of their lives. 

The Cons of Choosing Real Estate as a Career Path

  • You are always competing for a limited pool of clients and deals in a highly saturated field with professionals who have similar skills as yours. 
  • You have to continually educate and upskill yourself to keep up with the changing times, trends, and laws. Continuing post-license education is mandatory to renew your real estate license. 
  • Getting a real estate license is not an affordable process as it requires completing a set of requirements and steps. Maintaining your agent or broker license also requires recurring expenses and costs.