Jessica Kaufman is a 2002 graduate of LSA with a major in Psychology. She is currently a Senior Associate Salesperson in New York City, working with residential real estate sales, rentals and investments. Today, Jessica shares her experience and advice on breaking into the real estate industry.
From the get-go, I was fascinated by the study of the human mind and behavior and declared my major in Psychology during Freshman year. I enjoyed taking various classes including those in psychology, film, botany and art. Although I loved learning about the human psyche in the classroom, I found my internships in inpatient and outpatient facilities, a crisis center, and graduate research proved very valuable learning experiences. I found the study of psychology fascinating, but during my Senior Year, I decided to apply to business school and get my Masters degree in Accounting.
After graduation from business school, I moved back to NYC and started working at one of the Big 4 accounting firms performing audits on public and private companies. As an auditor, I was always working on client-sites and developing strong business relationships with my fellow colleagues as well as clients.
However, like my professor always said, you have to start looking for your next job the first day you start your new one. So after working as an auditor for two years, I decided to transition to the non-for-profit world. I was responsible for the accounting work at the largest regional non-for-profit organization in NYC in the Planned Giving and Endowments Department. I enjoyed working with donors on a daily basis, but wanted to get in front of clients rather than sit behind a desk. So with my business background, enjoyment for relationship building and working with people, I signed up for the real estate course to become an agent and haven’t looked back.
WHY REAL ESTATE?
There are many rewards and advantages to being in real estate. One benefit is that it allows you the flexibility of setting your own schedule and setting your own pace. Your income is directly linked to the work you put into your career. With being self-employed, you have autonomy, time freedom, and potential for high earnings.
HOW TO FIND SUCCESS IN REAL ESTATE
In order to be successful in this industry, you must be self-motivated, well-organized, personable, flexible, patient, understanding, trustworthy and knowledgeable. You have to remember that buying, selling, and renting a home is one of life’s necessities and a stressful time for your clients. For a vast majority of Americans, buying a home is the single largest financial transaction.
Most clients will have a hard time separating business from their emotion and won’t understand why their home isn’t worth what they feel it is worth and why somebody doesn’t love it as much as them. As a result, many hire experts like myself, and ignore the professional advice given to them.
Understand that real estate agents are all commission based. So time is very valuable, as agents are not paid based upon hourly or salaried work. You might put in a ton of time working with a client only to get to a closing or lease signing and have them change their mind last minute or buy somewhere else.
If you have a flair for working with people, and want to live in a fast-moving environment, then a career in real estate might be for you. Like venture capital work, high-risk…high reward.
I am willing to speak with anyone looking to get into real estate, and please do not hesitate to get in touch with me if you are looking to relocate to NYC. I would be happy to offer advice and/or help you find your new home. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.