Al and Cal Homes and Community: So You Want To Be a Realtor

So You Want To Be a Realtor

So you want to be a Realtor

Preface:   I have enjoyed a rewarding and exciting career in real estate for the past 25 years.    This is what I have learned.   

I began my real estate journey over 25 years ago.   Night after night sitting in the Police house kibitzing with some of the officers eventually the conversation would turn towards real estate.    One of the guys in particular kept telling me that I should "get into" real estate.   He was one of those types of guys that was always on the hunt for a good deal.   An owner of a couple of multi families, he always had his nose in a real estate magazine and his finger on the "housing pulse".  a real estate career

It took awhile, but I began taking the course for the salesperson exam.    It came easy enough.    I ate up the material.  It was interesting and for sure the prospects of trading in the uniform for a business suit was nothing short of a wonderful dream!     I thought, this was going to be way easier than dealing with the happenings that came along with the police job.   Little did I know how similar the jobs would be!

SkillsMake no mistake about it.   You will find yourself needing more skills than you can imagine.    You will need a salespersons hat, a mortgage persons hat, an accountants hat, a tax mans hat, a lawyers hat, a septic guys hat, a negotiators hat, a web guys hat, a marketing guys hat, a photographers hat, an ad mans hat,  a knowledge of building and let's not forget a decorators hat.   Oh yes, and a psychologists hat!

Hours - Prepare yourself.  A common misconception about the real estate profession is that, "you can make your own hours!"   Make no mistake about this.  It is  not true!   You are very much on your clients clock!    I can guarantee you that you will not be attending that family barbecue because you have someone that wants to make an offer.

On the job Training - Trust me, it never ends.   You might think you know it all, but you never do.   Every transaction is different and poses a different set of challenges.  If you can not roll with this.  Do not consider this field!

Exceptional Pay - Be realistic.  If someone tells you that you will be making all kinds of cash right away, be wary.   It really doesn't happen that way.   There are many costs and expenses that come with any business.   Ups and downs.  You can go from Prince to Pauper in 30 days.    If it sounds too good to be true.  It is.  You will work for your money.

Working conditions - Trust me.  You will walk into all kinds of homes and all kinds of living situations.   You might walk into homes that house pigs or into homes that smell differently than you would expect.  You might be asked to kill the bees, hang a curtain, feed a pet, call the oil company.   Do not believe what you see on TV!   This is not Bravo's Million dollar listing!

Having said all that...

If you become a Realtor, you will experience the best feeling in the world.  That is  helping someone into their new home.  Done right, you will become part of their family, invited to weddings, baby showers,  and you will attend funerals.      On the negative flip side, you may help someone out of a home that has dragged them down emotionally or financially.   Also a great feeling.   You will be responsible for someones new start!       Doesn't matter.   Do your job right and effectively.  It can be the most rewarding job around.   

So, you want to become a Realtor?

Take the course, take the test, interview for a firm.   But, Be prepared to listen to folks, learn from them and to put your needs on the back burner to help them with the largest purchase they will likely make!


About the author

Carol-Ann PalmieriCarol-Ann Palmieri, a full time Real Estate professional in Massachusetts for the past 24 years along with Al Mussi have helped hundreds of families find, sell or purchase new places to live.

A former US Marine, she grew up in Walpole, MA...  is committed to the serving the community through various volunteer opportunities.   She attended MA Bay Community and Suffolk University and is committed to constantly updating her Real Estate education. 

Licensed in MA and RI...

Al and Cal's primary areas of service Franklin, Bellingham, Medway, Millis, Medfield, Norfolk, Wrentham, Plainville, Blackstone, Walpole, Milford, Holliston, Hopkinton, Mansfield, and Foxboro, North Attleboro, Hopedale, Mendon, Millville but have resourses to help anyone, anywhere....

Her mission....  To exceed your expectations!










Carol-Ann Palmieri

Al and Cal Realty Group

Remax Executive Realty




Comment balloon 54 commentsCarol-Ann Palmieri • August 23 2012 04:08AM


I have hit Suggest. Good advice for those who want to get a real estate license.

Posted by Gita Bantwal, REALTOR,ABR,CRS,SRES,GRI - Bucks County & Philadel (RE/MAX Centre Realtors) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, you have our profession nailed down to a tee!  Great explanation and so what I do but it the client that dictates my hours!  You show great resolve in knowledge in all that you write about.

Posted by Ginny Gorman, Homes for Sale in North Kingstown RI and beyond (RI Real Estate Services ~ 401-529-7849~ RI Waterfront Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Good morning, Carol Ann.... suggested..... you have this one pegged.... had to laugh at "an exciting and rewarding career"..... I always joked about that!!

Posted by Barbara Todaro, Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team (RE/MAX Executive Realty ) over 6 years ago

Excellent post Cal, but you are not old enough to have been in real estate for 25 years.

Posted by Al Raymondi, Ormond By The Sea Florida - Home and Condo Sales (Ocean View Realty Group in Ormond By The Sea Florida) over 6 years ago

Hi Gita.   Thanks for reading.   A lot of folks ask me about getting into the biz.   


Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Ginny.   haha.   I love that people think we make our own hours.   If they only knew!   

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Barbara.  Thank you!   I think I must have gotten  that saying from you!

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Al.   I know, the time flies when you are having fun!     Hope you are having a good time with the fam!

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann...gave this post a nudge too!  Anyone who thinks this is easy needs to do a ride-along with a local Realtor for a month.

Posted by Anita Clark, Realtor - Homes for Sale in Warner Robins GA (ColdwellBanker SSK Realtors ~ 478.960.8055) over 6 years ago

Click, Very good post Carol Ann.  This is a good intro into becoming a Realtor®.  Most think that getting into Real Estate is easy money...they soon learn otherwise :)!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 6 years ago

I'd like to add, if you're a new Realtor, it's important that you get a real estate CRM so you can store and organize your leads and contacts and do some email marketing :)

Posted by Rich Gaasenbeek, Real Estate CRM & Marketing Made Easy! (IXACT Contact Real Estate CRM) over 6 years ago

And make sure if you are a one income household that you understand the costs associated with being a Realtor and have a cushion until those mega millions start flowing in :-)

Posted by Cindy Jones, Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News (Integrity Real Estate Group) over 6 years ago

Great post and advice for those looking to get in - hard work is what it takes and it can pay off. Regards Dave

Posted by David Grbich, Orange County Real Estate - 949-500-0484 (Realty One Group - over 6 years ago

Yep... I thought I would be off on Sat, no appts.  Then a client freaked out and I had to spend several hours with their family - not mine.  In the end I got an email that said, in part, "Thank you for your kind words and support. It's been a rough weekend.  I knew you were a great agent, I knew you were a good person, but it wasn't until this weekend that I learned you are also a great friend.  Thank you." and it reminded me of how my then 5 yr old described my job to her teacher.  She said "My Mommy sells houses, helps people and makes new friends."  It's not just what you do but how you do it that matters.  Great post. 

Posted by Vicky Chrisner (Fieldstone Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, excellent, excellent! I think a flyer with your post should be handed to everyone who comes to sign up for real estate course :)

On another note: your previous career helped you in real estate, right? Did you work with any of your previous coworkers? 

Posted by Anna Tolstoy (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 6 years ago

I thought Realtors had the best job in the world when I was in Corporate America. Wow, we work hard for the money. Wake up people!

Posted by Harry F. D'Elia, Investor , Mentor, GRI, Radio, CIPS, REOs, ABR (Real Estate and Beyond, LLC) over 6 years ago

Oh so true Carol Ann we do where many hats and need a variety of skills and at times we work way too much. But I wouldn't trade it for any other job. Thanks,

Posted by Adrian Willanger, Profit from my two decades of experience (206 909-7536 over 6 years ago

Thanks for providing a realistic view of this profession.

Posted by Charlie Dresen, Steamboat Springs, CO e-Pro (Steamboat Sotheby's International Realty) over 6 years ago

You are so much more politically correct than I would be.  To every one considering a real estate career, think about the worst part of the job you have now, imagine doing it for free...Now do you still want to be a Realtor?  I know I do because the best parts of my best job aren't as good as the best parts of being a realtor but it really is a personality thing.

Posted by Tamara Elliott-Deering (Central Metro Realty) over 6 years ago

I agree completely. The real estate business requires a lot of skills that even a lot of real estate agents don't take into consideration. 

Posted by Gabrielle Jeans, Real Estate Web Solution, Real Estate Trainer and Coach (WebTech Dezine, Gabrielle Jeans Real Estate Coach) over 6 years ago

You have laid out a wonderful description of what we really do in real estate.  To the untrained eye, it looks like an easy job.  

Posted by Gary Frimann, CRS, GRI, REALTOR and Broker (Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, that could be the back cover of a book written about the life and work of a real estate agent.  It is a great blog, and I think we would all agree, that each sub paragraph could be expanded into a full fledge chapter.  Most poignant for me was the "Prince to Pauper in 30 days" statement, and the rewards of the hard work if one makes it under "Having said all that...".  I would think and hope that those two ring true for every agent in the business.

Posted by Daniel Walsh (Re/Max of Santa Clarita) over 6 years ago

Hi Anita.   Thanks for the nudge.  That might be the perfect prerequisite!


Hi Brenda.    Thanks for the click.    It is amazing how many folks think that!   We know better!


Hi Rich.  Oh Boy, do I wish I had known that in the beginning!    Thanks.


Hi Cindy.   Thanks.   Yep, learned that too the hard way!     Sounds like a kindred soul!


Hi Dave.   It is hard work.   Not the heavy lifting kind, but very hard work. 



Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann, I'm too late to hit "suggest" but this is a great blog. Things certainly are different between taking the class and actually working with clients, isn't it?

Posted by Eric Michael, Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519 (Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI) over 6 years ago


Wow another featured blog and an excellent blog to boot. I like your description of the key things of being a Realtor. I saw Bravo the other night with the Million Dollar plus homes and I was reday to head west (LOL). Anyone who thinks it is that easy needs to let me give them my swamp land I own in FLorida sales pitch.. Good job.. 25 years in this business means you deserve a medal!!

Posted by Robert Bob Gilbert, Your Katy TX ( West of Houston) Real Estate Expert (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Anderson Properties) over 6 years ago

Hi Cal,   Amazed at how often I have to wear the psychologists' hat.

Posted by Bill Gillhespy, Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos (16 Sunview Blvd) over 6 years ago

I got into this business because it was an ez way to make money during the summer and on weekends (education background). If I only knew...

Posted by Doug Rogers, Your Alexandria Louisiana Agent (Bayou Properties) over 6 years ago

Cal, it's so much fun reading about what people did before real estate, and how the skills from former lives helped them be successful. 

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Carol Ann:

Your post is what every newbie should read.  You were a cop?  What a transition, or maybe it wasn't such a big change. 

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 6 years ago

Many times, I am asked "What do you do when you are not showing houses"  It must be great to have all that free time. What do you do alll day - if they only knew!

Posted by Elaine Koecher over 6 years ago

What? Everybody's not out there making $60,000+ commission per deal like on Million Dollar Listings?


Posted by Paul Francis, Las Vegas Real Estate Agent - Summerlin Homes (Francis Group Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Vicky.   We all thought that it would be different, didn't we.   But have to say I'm sure most wouldn't do anything else!   Thanks for weighing in.


Hi Anna.   I did work with some of my former co workers.   In fact, my first sale was to the children of a great guy that I worked with for years.   I have sold them several homes since!    Thanks for checking in.


Hi Harry.   If the public only knew!   We are the masters of making it look easy!    Thank you.  


Hi Adrian.   Neither would I.   It is rewarding most of the time.   Thanks.


Hi Charlie.  My first "boss" told me I would be making tons the very first year.    Haha.  


Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Tamara.   That is funny.  Kinda true though.    Thanks for checking in.


Hi Gabrielle.   Doesn't seem like much till you break it down.  :)   TY.


Hi Gary.   Thank you.    The diversity is what makes it such a fun job.  


Hi Daniel.   Thank you for your kind words!  Very much appreciated.


Hi Eric.  You betcha!   I think that is true of most professions, but for some reason, we make ours look easier than it really is.   Thanks.


Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Bob.    Can I tell you that one of my guilty pleasures is watching those million dollar guys from NY.    If only....   :)  Thanks for checking in!


Hi Bill.   A blog in the making I would say!   


Hi Doug.   They say teachers make the best Realtors.   Neither is easy but for some reason, folks think both are!


Hi Patricia.  I agree!    Seems like a lifetime ago!


Hi Evelyn.    Hard to even remember.     That night shift was for the birds!


Hi Elaine.   Haha.    If they only knew!   and, when we are not doing anything we are worrying about what we need to be doing!


Hi Erica.   That is exactly what keeps us going year after year. 


  Hi Paul.     Haha, and that's why the call it "reality" TV!





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Interesting story and excellent advice for those thinking about getting into the business.

Posted by Lloyd Binen, Silicon Valley Realtor since 1976; 408-373-4411 (Certified Realty Services) over 6 years ago

It is not an easy job or a Make your own hours" job.  The fictional real estate agent is much more glamorous!

Posted by Gary L. Waters Broker Associate, Bucci Realty, Fifteen Years Experience in Brevard County (Bucci Realty, Inc.) over 6 years ago

One big failure I see from agents is: the inability to get your personal life under control.

Posted by Ron Aguilar, Mortgage & Real Estate Advisor since 1995 (Continental Mortgage) over 6 years ago

Good morning Carol Ann - We've been in the business for only 6 years and have managed to learn something new pretty much every day. I'm not sure how I feel about your continued on the job training!

Posted by Wayne and Jean Marie Zuhl, The Last Names You'll Ever Need in Real Estate (Samsel & Associates) over 6 years ago

Good Morning!


Your post hit our career right on the head!  Currently in our office we are interviewing for new agents.   They range from just starting classes to already passed the test.  We always always ask them "so what made you want to get into real estate?"   Some answers are great others are down right pie in the sky.  What you have posted is basically what we let them know in our interview.   I think this ties in.....About 20 years ago I was in an office with a wonderful older Realtor.  She made a statement that has stuck with me.  "You must be crazy as h***  to get into this business but Lord I love it!"  Truer words were never spoken.   Have a great weekend!

Posted by Andrea Curtis United Country Premier Properties Certified Military Relocation Professional, U C INTERNATIONAL DIRECTOR OF MILITARY PROPERTIES (United CountryPremier Properties) over 6 years ago

Fantastic post! This offers really good advice for someone that's thinking of getting into real estate. It's not as easy as "outsiders" think - we wear so many hats!

Posted by Amanda S. Davidson, Alexandria Virginia Homes For Sale (Amanda Davidson Real Estate Group ) over 6 years ago

You look too young to have been in Real Estate for 25 years! Congratulations!

Posted by Karen Steed, Associate Broker Haralson Realty (Tallapoosa, Bremen, Waco, Buchanan, Temple, Carrollton) over 6 years ago

you described this crazy business pretty well ... and it is one of the most rewarding careers that is out there ... work hard in it and the rewards will come .... thank you for this post

Posted by Lehel Szucs, REALTOR of choice (All Seasons Real Estate, Inc.) over 6 years ago

I know an agent who used to be a cop, I am sure a lot of skills learned in that job come in hand in Real Estate. Especially when it comes to "reading people" and have that six sense:)

Posted by Elisa Uribe Realtor #01427070, California Homes for Sale in the East Bay (Golden Gate Sotheby's International) over 6 years ago

Excellent post and congrats on the feature, Carol Ann.  People keep suggesting that I, too, become an agent... No thanks, I like what I do just fine!  But, I do appreciate all the hard working agents that I know.

Posted by Peggy Hughes/pha logistix, inc., SF NYC LA (pha logistix inc) over 6 years ago

I especially like when people think they're going to be making a ton of money right away.  I began my real estate career in June of 2008 and from June through the end of December that year I listed and sold ONE HOUSE!  If it hadn't been for a serverance from a previous job, I wouldn't be doing this today...

Posted by Brad Baylor (ERA Coup Agency) over 6 years ago

Al and Cal, we have never worked so hard for so little, but we love it!

Posted by Bob Miller, The Ocala Dream Team (Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty) over 6 years ago

Could not have said it better!

Posted by Joy Jones, find joy in home ownership (Bluecoast Realty, Real Estate, your Regional Broker) over 6 years ago

I told one of my favorite teachers in High School I wanted to go into Real Estate.  He talked me out of it - too many of them.  30 years later here I am.  Wish I had started sooner.

Posted by Gene Riemenschneider, Turning Houses into Homes (Home Point Real Estate) over 6 years ago

Hi Lloyd.    It has been an adventure. 


Hi Gary.  I have seen that fictional Realtor on YouTube, have you?  


Hi Ron.  Guilty!  as, I write this at 5:45 on a Friday evening.  :)


Hi Wayne and Jean.   It continually changes and that is what continues to hold my interest.    Have fun!


Hi Andrea.  That's perfect.  Except, now I am that old Realtor!   haha.


Hi Amanda.   I had my elder attorney hat on today, what about you???





Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Hi Karen.   Thanks.  Black and white works wonders!


Hi Lehel.   Thank you!   It's a tough job, but someone has to do it, right?


Hi Elisa.    Many aspects are similar.  Did you read my post about fleas?


Hi Peggy.   Something tells me those folks are right, you would be a great Realtor.   But make no mistake about it.  We need folks like you to make us look good! 


Hi Brad.  I think that happened to us all.   Someone asked me the other day what they could expect to make.   Although I thought she would be a super star, I could not give her an answer that I felt would adequately portray a first year income.  


Hi Bob.   Isn't that the truth!   Takes a "lickin' but keeps on tickin'".   Do you remember that?  


Hi Joy.   Haha.    Thank you.   I see you have been around for awhile!    :)


Hi Gene.  I have to ask.   How and why?   What made you think that in high school??     You are only the second person that I have ever heard say that.     I would love to know the answer!  

Posted by Carol-Ann Palmieri, "Cal" the Real Estate Gal (RE/MAX Executive Realty, Al and Cal Realty Group) over 6 years ago

Cal ...Great post and CONGRATS on the feature!  Have a great night!

Posted by Rob Thomas, Bristol TN-VA & Tri Cities Agent, ABR, GRI, e-Pro (Prestige Homes of The Tri Cities, Inc. CALL....423-341-6954) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol,


   Police officer...

      Real Estate Agent...

What a great career path!


Posted by Phil Leng, Phil Leng - Retired (Retired) over 6 years ago

Hi Carol.  Great post.  I've talked to a lot of people who think Real Agents make loads of money with little effort.  They should read this post to get a true perspective on what's really involved in being a Realtor.  


Posted by Sharon Sanchez, Your Number "1" Source For Real Estate. (Ace Home Realty) over 6 years ago

Well said!

Posted by Bonnie Vest, Your Deltaville and Northern Neck Realtor ("Go with Long & Foster's BEST, ask for Will or Bonnie VEST!") over 6 years ago