By Karen Davala, president of Columbia-Greene Board of Realtors
For Columbia-Greene Media
Anthony Acquista’s career in real estate is the ideal path for his particular set of interests and skills: he has an eye for design and architecture, and he likes helping people “get from here to there.” In his world, that means helping guide people through life transitions involving real estate decisions. He began his career in New York City’s real estate scene, but soon leaned into the draw of the country and the outdoors and relocated to the Hudson Valley. At age 34, he’s among the younger demographic of real estate professionals in the Columbia-Greene area who are helping others to buy and selling property. And seasoned REALTORS hope more young people like him will consider the field as a rewarding career option.
Acquista works with Halstead Property Hudson Valley with broker-owner Nancy Felcetto, who’s in her 50s. Felcetto reflects a more typical demographic profile for real estate professionals: According to national data, the median age REALTORS is a 53-year-old woman.
“As an emerging broker, you have to find your own personal style,” said Hardy, who is also a member of the Columbia-Greene Board of REALTORS. “I try to be informative, fun and effective for my clients. Real estate is lots of work — you have to be a self-starter and self-motivated, sometimes you work odd hours and weekends. But my mantra is, you’re dealing with people’s life savings and their nest eggs. It’s important to be respectful of that.”
About 93 percent of REALTORS have some post-secondary education, and 30 percent hold bachelor’s degrees; 12 percent have a graduate degree. There are a variety of college-level degree programs supporting a real estate career, but degree is not required to buy and sell real estate.
First and foremost, a personality for a real estate career is key: being a self-starter, a hard worker, a problem solver, a good listener, a strong advocate and a patient, flexible person with collaborative instincts. Add to that the skills that real estate training provide — property valuation and financial calculation skills, marketing, legal and contractual understanding, negotiating skills and more — and you may have a real estate professional in the making.
Most importantly, aspiring real estate agents must think of real estate as a business — not as a job. Real estate agents, even if they work in an existing agency, are responsible for building and managing their own inventory of houses for sale, attracting their own clients and marketing their properties. In addition, all real estate professionals — regardless of their expertise — must keep an ongoing commitment to continuing education, since laws and regulations change on a regular basis.
To qualify as a New York State salesperson, an aspiring agent must complete a 75-hour pre-licensing course that takes place either online or in the classroom. Brokers and associate brokers need two years of on-the-job experience as a sales person or three years in the real estate field. The National Association of Realtors requires ongoing ethics training and New York state requires training in fair housing and discrimination laws as well.
Once trained and in the field, a real estate agent or broker has other options: get involved in a variety of career tracks: real estate development, buying and selling commercial property, property management, mortgage banking, urban planning, real estate counseling and appraising, and other tracks are open for exploration.
A real estate career provides flexibility and freedom as well as opportunities for strong earnings for a motivated professional; in 2014, REALTORS with 16 or more years of experience had a median gross income of $73,400. Brokerage ownership is an option for the most ambitious pros as well.
If you are interested in taking the next step toward real estate licensure, consider a position as an office assistant, rental agent or in the mortgage division of a bank or lending agency. Once you are sure of your path, contact the Columbia-Greene Board of Realtors for information on next steps toward certification.
Saturday, July 09, 2016