Vail Daily column: Is my son ready to be a real estate agent? |

Vail Daily column: Is my son ready to be a real estate agent?

Joan Harned

Dear Joan,

My son has had numerous jobs for several years ​since​ college, but never a career-type job. I had the pleasure of having a long discussion with him over the past holiday weekend. I think he may be ready to get a real job.

He has always valued his freedom and so we discussed that something such as real estate sales might keep him from having to be tied to a typical 9 a.m to 5 p.m. office situation.

I know that your company runs a real estate licensing school and anyone can attend, but how do you know if they will do well and succeed? It is sort of sink or swim, isn’t it, since there is no salary? Is there a test to take to see if you will be successful?

Dear Curious About Real Estate Sales Career,

The life of a real estate agent ​can​ sound good right away, but there is a little more to it than you see at a casual glance. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a fabulous career and I don’t want to do anything else​,​​ nor do I have any plans for retiring. However, it does involve some emotional, physical and time commitments in order to be successful.​

Yes, there is no salary, but, on the other hand, there is no cap to what you can earn, and that is not true of most of the jobs that are available in this valley.

As far as the sink or swim theory, I would recommend that if you chose selling real estate as your career, you totally commit yourself to learning the systems, models and sales conversations from experts who coach new agents, but don’t let go entirely of your salaried job until you either have a good-sized nest egg or you have multiple real estate deals in the works.

When I first started, I had the good fortune to have a job with a lot of days off, but when I was working, I was often out of the country, and that was before cell phones, so it got very difficult when I became busy in real estate to work both jobs. It simply fell into place to leave my old job and follow my chosen career.

Now, regarding your question about testing to see if he will be successful, I think that if your son takes a serious look at the following questions, then he will be able to make a good assessment of his chances for thriving in the real estate sales world.

One, does he like to help other people; two, has he been able to develop sincere, caring relationships with friends and family; three, is he always eager to learn and keep up to date with what is happening in his community; and, most importantly, four, do people who know him, like and trust him?

It is a known fact that we all prefer and feel more comfortable doing business with people we know, like and trust. That is not a complicated concept, but it is absolutely essential in a largely referral-based business.

I hope this helps and he makes the right decision. Best of luck to both of you.

Joan Harned is an owner/broker for Keller Williams Mountain Properties and heads up Team Black Bear, her real estate team. Harned has been selling real estate in Eagle County for 27 years, is a past chairman of the Vail Board of Realtors, past Realtor of the Year, past director on the Great Outdoors Colorado Board and a member of the Luxury and Land Institutes. Contact Harned with your real estate questions at, 970-337-7777 or

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