Sunday, October 25, 2015

I know some of these words!

About eight weeks ago Wyatt and I came across a house that we simply couldn't live without. It was our dream house, but we couldn't afford the down payment.  Heartbroken we went home to consider our crushing student debt and how it would affect our lives for years to come.

We then decided if one of us were a Realtor we could use the commission from the sale towards the downpayment. WIN! Thus began my Real Estate career.  Three days later I started my three week course.  Classes were held Monday, Wednesday and Thursday nights from 6:30-10:30 pm, and on two weekends (Saturday and Sunday) from 8:30-5:30pm. 
This binder was gigantic, it was a pain lugging it around 

Because I was pregnant, the experience sucked--sitting for four and a half hours was hard.  My legs went numb all the time, and I was exhausted--I forgot how draining school could be.  I was suprised there was so much more to Real Estate than just chauffeuring clients around and showcasing homes.  A LOT more.  It felt like I was taking two years worth of law school in the span of three weeks.  Essentially you learn nothing about how to be a Realtor; instead, you learn the rules of being a Realtor, and once you get out in the world you learn how to play the game.  In the state of Arizona you need to have a minimum of 90 classroom hours from 18 lessons.  With the exception of two or three, each lesson felt like I needed to learn a new language.  Finding the time to read the lesson chapters, take quizzes and memorize vocab words was tough.  Basically our house fell apart and Wyatt claims to have gotten a taste of single parenthood. wah.
Land descriptions, surprisingly, one of my favorite classes 

Contract writing class

 I was incredibly stressed and consumed with guilt.  I know it was only three weeks, but it felt like an eternity.  Every time Netflix pointed an accusing finger at me by asking if we wanted to "Continue watching sesame street?" I needed to study, so we didn't get out much, and the TV was always on.   Not only that, but piles of dirty laundry littered our hallways.  Dishes in the sink piled higher and higher, forcing us to rely on tupperware for breakfast and dinner dishes.  Wyatt and I became like two passing ships in the night.  We would see each other for thirty minutes in the morning and thirty at night.  I was gone all weekend so we didn't do many family outings.  One such evening when I came home we decided to take a swim.  I was already in a bad mood, exhausted and drained.  While we were swimming Danny pointed out  some birds flying overhead.  As I watched the birds fly by I admired how blue the sky was and how pleasant the weather was.  I realized that my bad attitude was a waste of my energy and how deeply grateful I was for my life and the ability to even take this course.  That experience left a lasting impression on me.  Unfortunately the next day I got some fullness in my ears.  Then the roaring.  I suffered through another week of roaring in my ear due to Meniere's Disease.  It drove my anxiety through the roof and every night I cried myself to sleep. Awful.  When it finally cleared up I was so happy and relived; I thought I would never complain about anything again--still working on that.

I was amazed to see how many people were taking this course.  This school must have hundreds of students enrolled at any given time during the year. What's more, were the students enrolled.  I would estimate 40% of the students were over 40 years old, and they all had full time jobs, families and other responsibilities to attend.  They looked exhausted, just like me.  Despite all this, they were excellent students.  They took detailed notes, never missed a chapter quiz, and had answers to all the questions.

After your 90 hours, you have to take not one, but three separate tests for certification! Then surprise, if  you pass you then have to sit through an additional six hour contract class.  That's right, six hours of contracts.  I am however, extremely pleased that I took the class and paid attention--there are many different types of contracts in Real Estate, and it was good to be immersed in it.  Finally, you begin your hunt for a broker--which was actually a little overwhelming.  There are so many to pick from and each offers different incentives to hang your license with them.  That process alone took me two weeks.

The investment...good grief--we invested so much money into my Real Estate career.  Here's a breakdown of the fees.

$25-Snacks bought at vending machines (I know, so unnecessary, but after three hours a bag of chex mix sounded really good)
$75-Tests: the national and state specific exam costs a total of $75 to take.  If you don't pass the first time, you pay another $75.  I'm so grateful I passed the first time.
$60-Babysitters: my classes were in the evenings but I needed to leave Danny with a babysitter for around an hour or so.  We honestly had the best babysitters too, they are cute young women from our ward and we love them!
$40-Contract writing class
$50-Lunch on weekends

Remember how I told you I had all day classes for two weekends?  Well the only place to eat nearby  was Paradise Bakery Cafe, which was delicious.  I really could have packed myself a lunch, and I should have, but I thought sitting through four 4.5 hour classes was torture enough.  I treated myself.  Thanks Wyatt

$285-Arizona Association of Realtors: once you have finished your course, tests, and found a broker, you need to join an Association.  I joined SEVRAR because it covers the area I live in.
$210-RMLS: Multiple Listing Service. Essentially it allows you to use the online database of listings put out by brokerages and submit listings yourself.
$50-150-Broker initiation fee:  every brokerage is different and will offer different incentives; however, they will also have different fees.  Some Brokerages require you pay $150 dollars just to hang your license with them!  What?!  They might also charge $200-300 upfront for your Errors and Omissions fee (think Doctors Malpractice insurance).  My broker is a champ and reasonably priced.

Total ~ $1,145


Wyatt's parent's actually helped us with the costs--thank heavens--we are so grateful.

If you are looking into real estate you can expect to pay $1,000-1,500 out of pocket a year, depending on your broker.  This amount does not include the amount of money you invest in "For Sale" signs, "Open house" signs or business cards.

To sum things up, my Real Estate experience has been hard, exhausting and incredibly expensive. Would I do again?  Yes, in a heartbeat!  Can't wait to get started!

Also, not everything I learned was completely useless.  I learned a lot of interesting things and heard some pretty outlandish stories.  Because of this, I want to try and share a bit of what I learned each month on my blog.  Sort of a "Real Estate" spot light. We'll see if that happens.



PS. Our post title, I am ashamed to admit, has been used on a previous post before, but it summed up my test taking experience so well I had to use it again! Here's a meme and the clip from "Good Burger".

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