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When I decided to obtain my real estate license, I had some pretty big ideas of how I would finally have everything I wanted. I’d be able to pay off my mortgage, pay off all of my credit cards, buy my mom a Cadillac, and I was going to do all of this within a two-year period. I actually had a timeline that went something like this: six weeks to get my license, one month after that I would have my first sale, two months after that I would have closed two transactions. Basically, I was thinking within three months, I would have had closed three transactions.

I was brand new, and I had no idea what I was doing. My sights were set on big commissions and finally living the life I wanted! I was going to live life on my terms and set my own schedule and stop making money for everyone else. It was my turn to start making money for myself!

Those of you reading this who’ve been in the industry for a long time are most likely rolling your eyes, and laughing to yourselves because you know I couldn’t have been more wrong.

I think a lot of people who decided to do a complete career change and venture into the world of real estate sales have unrealistic expectations of what it’s really like to buy and sell real estate.

New agents have an amazing opportunity now to join a real estate team. With the right team, agents can focus on their strengths, while the other team members can also focus on their strengths. Then the team has the ability to obtain operational excellence. This of course can’t happen if new agents join a team with the same mind-set that I had. I wasn’t ready for the team, nor was I ready for the amount of really hard work I was going to have to put in to see even a portion of the rewards I had in my mind just starting out.

Real estate is hard work, harder than I ever imagined it would be. But to create the life you want to live, a life on your terms, you have to be willing to put in the hard work and put in 150 percent every day. You need to be ready to focus and take the hits, change your mindset and learn from the people who are trying to help you.

Joining a team with working processes already in place would be the best place for a new agent to start. Ask them if they use mentors or coaches, do they use certain systems or products to help keep them organized? What do they use the DISC for, and how does it help create the best culture in the office?

Knowing the right questions to ask the team leader, and even spending a few days with the team in the office before you dive in, would be the best way to make the most informed decision of which team to join when just starting out in your career.

April Critchfield works with real estate team leaders and coaches and is a team member of Workman Success Systems in Salt Lake City Utah, she is also a REALTOR® with Keller Williams in Utah. Contact her at For more information about real estate teams, or real estate coaching, please visit