For some, chaos is motivating, for Angela and her husband it was a wake-up call. “We worked too much and too hard and didn't have the family life we desired and quickly realized we wanted more.” They sat down and decided somethings had to change. Angela had spent years building her professional life in education as an Assistant Principal alongside her husband climbing the ladder toward corporate leadership. "What good is the hard work if you’re not enjoying it?" she remarked. The couple stepped back, weighed the what ifs, sorted out work options and landed on uprooting to Florida (from North Carolina) to pursue her husband’s push toward the top. “This meant giving up my career I had worked so hard for. BUT I got to be with my babies, I wasn't sure for how long, but I knew it was what was best for us at this time.”
Angela joins the over 43% of women leaving the career to find explore work/life balance (Light, 2013). Soon after she settled in Angela felt an itch to get back to work. But, like many of us moms, she felt a strong pull to be at home and having tread the waters of a full-time load wanted something with more of a work/life balance. Angela reflects, “I was craving work and my personal battle with anxiety and depression was getting worse. Being a stay at home mom vs. a career mom is such a personal journey. It is absolutely individualized.” And like life happens, the realtor who sold Angela their new home in Florida turned acquaintance turned friend, and called Angela to ask: “Would you be interested in doing a little work for me?”
I love this! Career counseling ideology, chaos theory , is built upon these scenarios. Stating that for many it’s not necessarily the path you’ve planned for yourself that propels you to career success, rather your connections and saying YES to new opportunities that lead you to explore career possibilities.
Angela responded with a huge YES. The little bit of work assigned to Angela was returned in stellar condition and the realtor asked her to do MORE. Then through the realtor's stewardship, Angela earned her real estate license and began selling on her team; “My journey in real estate changed as I started working for myself along with for her. It all just fell into place and was truly meant to be.” All the while Angela has been able to take and pick up her children from school, attend all after school activities, make dinners, read books, implement the educational activities in her home that have been so important for her.
"It all just fell into place and was truly meant to be."
Interested? So-what does it take to get into Real Estate?
Every state is different in their courses, requirements and licensing necessary to become a real estate agent. Here’s a list of requirements by state.
Here’s Angela’s experience: “I decided to take the cram course- so I took the entire state course requirements in 7 days and took the test the very next week. From here-there are requirements for my first 2 year renewal and then different requirements for each 2 year renewal after that. In addition to state requirements, your brokerage will require certain training. Because I have my boss as a direct mentor- she hired me on her team- I have the extra support and access to a wealth of knowledge at my fingertips whenever needed. Being on her team and learning from her for an entire year before beginning my own transactions was the best decision for me as a total career chance realtor.”
What’s your typical schedule?
"Drop off kids at 8:30 and 9
Work in office or with customers from 9-12
Pick up youngest at 12:15- lunch with him and then put him down for nap
Work from home on computer and phone call to dos from 1-2:45
Get oldest off bus and spend time with her from 2:45-3:30 when little wakes up
Typical family stuff for the rest of the evening
I may need to show property when customers get off work- so neighbors help if it's before husband gets home, and I sometimes need to finish up some work after kids go to bed.
Open houses or home showings on the weekends occasionally.
The VERY best part about this career is the flexibility of the schedule. If there is a school performance- I go. If someone is sick- I stay home with them. It's a blessing in that aspect- but can be a curse- I have lost a few customers because my schedule didn't work for them. I generally cannot work from 12-4. It's a give and take- but in my eyes- it's the absolute best of both worlds."
"It's a give and take-but in my eyes, it's the absolute best of both worlds."
Transition to Real Estate
Mothers embody a host of realtor-ready transferable skills to capitalize upon. Motherhood births a new perspective to really notice your surroundings; mothers research their community in a different way, understanding its people, events, parks, neighborhoods. This is valuable information to be a successful realtor as you are incredibly knowledgeable in market information.
Additionally, becoming a mother helps to solidify a network. Angela states, “…everyone you know is a potential customer or referral- using your networks as a mom is a huge plus. I coached soccer, I am a girl scout troop leader, I am a mom of a competitive gymnast, I am a mom of a child in preschool and in Kindergarten, I am a neighbor, I am a wife of a corporate husband- ALL of these connections are potential customers.” Lastly, motherhood requires more organization, scheduling, documentation and attention to detail all very important as a realtor. Angela builds on this point in stating, “There is so much about school administration that mirrors running a business- budgets, communication, customer service, organization, and so on. These skills - especially my skills learned from online courses- helped me be successful in my boss's needs.”
Before You Jump In
In my research, I found many publications boasting the benefits of choosing real estate as a return-to-work option, authored by mom agents and real estate companies. Berkshire Hathaway even posted a return-to-work mom article encouraging mama readers to consider a career in real estate; part-time, full-time or somewhere in between. Please note, Angela has joined an all-mama realtor team and she receives salary plus a commission for her own work. These two factors are huge in her success in work life balance and overall fulfillment in her new gig. Angela states, “It balances because I choose for it to balance. I could put my youngest in full time day care and I could put my daughter in after care and I could work every evening and every weekend- but I choose not to. I choose to do what my boss needs me to do first, then in my time left I choose to work for me when my schedule allows. We are so fortunate that my husband can support our must haves and I simply support our wants and holidays and vacations. If this is not the case for a family seeking real estate as a financial solution- then the hours can be very different- especially when first starting out alone.”
As with any career venture, do your homework. Angela’s story proves working under an existing team builds a foundation of knowledge, mentorship and potential leads. If you are transferring into the real estate industry it pays to do your research and discover teams that will honor your career goals.
Check out these link to begin your research:
Women’s Council of Realtors
National Association of Realtors
Top 20 Best Real Estate Companies to Work For, As Rated by the Women Who Work There
How to Get Into Real Estate
Already a mama realtor? We’d love to hear your experience in the comments below. Many thanks to Angela for her incredible insights.