One of the major challenges of choosing a career that you love is that it is often not as easy to enter as you’d like. Many times, it seems just easier to settle for anything that pays the bills rather than work hard to establish yourself in a career that you find completely satisfying. Many people have a desire to break into real estate but are afraid to try.
If you love everything about houses — from differentiating between architectural styles to making the best choices when renovating and decorating – then selling real estate might seem like the perfect choice for you. You intuitively know that once you got qualified, you would be great at it.
However, you may find once you’re in the business that the local real estate market is already saturated with agents who have been in the business for decades. You have almost no chance of becoming a successful independent real estate agent.
How do you even compete?
One way to overcome this apparently insurmountable object is to learn the ins and outs of the home buying process. Working as a mortgage loan officer could be a great foundation for getting into the real estate market.
In Defense of a Temporary Career Shift
Assuming that you enter the real estate field and do your best but find that despite your willingness to learn, you are just not getting anywhere. Despite improving your marketing and prospecting skills and going the extra mile for customers, you just can’t compete against real estate agents who have been in the business a long time. In fact, you are now at a point where you can’t even make enough to pay your bills and are seriously thinking of taking a part-time job at your local supermarket.
What should you do? If you move to another area, you will come across the same problem. If you quit, you won’t be happy.
One indirect route to becoming an excellent real estate agent is to pick up the knowledge and skills of a mortgage loan officer by working as one for a short time and then easing your way back into the real estate business.
Think of the time you spend as a mortgage loan officer as paid training.
Here are three reasons why this detour may help your re-entry into the real estate market after a couple of years:
- First, the average income for starting loan officers ranges from $25,000 to $45,000, which is a lot more than you would earn working at a part-time job to support your real estate ambitions.
- Second, you will be gaining an unusual expertise that will set you apart from all other real estate agents.
- Third, you will still work with real estate agents and people who want to buy houses, except as an expert advisor rather than someone trying to break into the field. You will be building up your reputation as an expert as well as creating a huge list of contacts!
How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer?
1. You will need a bachelor’s degree. If you already have a bachelor’s degree, then you are all set. If, however, if you dropped out, then go back to school and finish your remaining credits. If you want to pursue any kind of professional occupation you will need at least a bachelor’s degree anyway.
2. You will need to get a job in a financial institution. Many employers prefer someone with some financial background. It will be much easier to get a job as a mortgage loan officer if you have some work experience, even if it is just working as a customer service or sales rep for a financial institution for a few months.
3. You will need to get on-the-job training. Once you are working in a financial institution, you will be able to get on-the-job training to become a loan officer. This could include informal training, company-sponsored training, and online training.
4. You will need to get credentials. You will need to do 20 hours of coursework, pass an exam, and get a credit check to get your license as a mortgage loan originator (MLO). You can also look into various types of certifications offered by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and by the American Bankers Association (ABA).
Is it Worth It?
The world of work can be broken up into two distinct groups of people—those who work for income and security and those who do work that they like. Most people respond to the demands of the job market and console themselves with the idea that they can build their career once they have achieved a certain level of financial stability.
Unfortunately, few manage to make this shift, settling for what life gives them instead of trying to carve out a career that resonates with their deep interests.
Though, at first blush, it may not seem logical and even highly impractical to make it a priority to find work that you like, it usually turns out best in the long run. This is because you are willing to learn more, try harder, and overcome obstacles. By not settling for what is easy and convenient, but daring to do what is hard and difficult, you end up becoming an outstanding performer in your field. Although it may have been difficult in the beginning, you will find yourself amply rewarded later on when your knowledge and skills mature.