Coffee heat rising

Plodding toward a New Career

Spent yesterday afternoon reading Chapter 16 in the real-estate textbook—”Title and Transferring Title”—and filling in four-page single-spaced study instrument on Chapter 15, “Contracts.” All this, by way of pursuing a new career in real estate.

Though it sounds dry as an empty Arizona housing tract, it’s surprisingly interesting. We tend not to think about where these customs, rules, and laws came from, nor, I think, do many of us understand their implications for us personally. Just in reading those two chapters, I came across a number of eye-openers and weirdnesses.

Did you realize, for example, that a person can take a piece of property away from you by openly occupying it for three years, by creating the illusion of owning the title, and/or by paying the property taxes on it? That if you make an offer on a house and then change your mind after the seller has accepted the offer, you may be liable not only to lose your earnest money deposit but also for a number of other hefty fees?

Between now and this evening, I’d like to read Chapter 14, “Environmental Issues and Arizona Water Law.” Exactly how a textbook is supposed to cover the water law of any Southwestern state in one chapter escapes me. There are attorneys who spend three years in law school followed by entire careers studying this subject. But whatEVER. The classmates had already been assigned this chapter at the end of the five-week RE 179 course—I and one other student walked in as the course morphed into the second semester, RE 180. So I’ll need to do a little catchup to come abreast of the other budding Realtors.

Unfortunately, between now and this evening I have to teach two sections of English 102 and drop by Costco on the way home.

One of the magazine-writing students reports that she recently started working in real estate sales, and that she has more work than she can cope with: “literally,” says she, “working from 7am until 2am.”

Welp, it’ll be interesting to find out if one gets paid for all those hours or if, like teaching, it’s just so much unpaid labor.

I figure sales of six $200,000 houses in a year would pay exactly what I’m earning at teaching adjunct, assuming one’s commission comes down to 1.5%. I have no idea whether that’s realistic.

Several online sites say real estate sales people end up with about 1.5% of sales, after the broker grabs half the commission. However, JS says his broker takes 40% of the 6% sales commission, not half (of which the sales rep nets about half). So that would mean he would get something more like two or three percent. Let’s assume he’s pocketing 2%: that would require me to sell 3.75 $200,000 houses in a year to supplement Social Security enough to support a lower-middle-class lifestyle. At 1.5%, I’d have to sell five such shacks.

More than that, actually: you have to cover a variety of expenses, depending on what brokerage you’re working for. And I’d certainly have to get a newer vehicle…can’t schlep prospects around in a 12-year-old dog chariot. So let’s add two houses to each of those: a very modest but for me acceptable income probably could be had by selling five to eight mid-range houses a year. Double that for low-end properties; halve it for upper-middle-class homes.

It’ll be interesting to see how (or if) this develops. I just can’t continue to do what I’m doing at the pay I’m earning.

3 thoughts on “Plodding toward a New Career”

  1. Certainly life isn’t all about money but it’s nice to be able to pay the bills and be able to enjoy life a little bit. And it is all helped if you are doing something that you enjoy.

Comments are closed.