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Regardless of race, gender or sexual orientation, a REALTORS®’ rookie year is challenging when trying to build their clientele, according to a new report from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

NAR recently released its “Career Choices in Real Estate: Through the Lens of Gender, Race and Sexual Orientation” report on Tues. March 30, showing that most REALTORS® cited finding clients and understanding all aspects of the transaction as the most difficult aspects of their first year in real estate.

The report—-which consists of findings from a survey of 18,209 NAR members—-examined why members entered real estate, the skills most important for success, and the typical number of transactions, sales volume and income.

“Everyone is working in such unique neighborhoods that their experiences are going to be very unique because there are 1.4 million members,” said Jessica Lautz, NAR vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights. “We know that real estate is all local, and so are our members, and they are going to have unique challenges that others might not see.”

To mitigate some of their hurdles, members turned to several sources their first year for help. For more than three-quarters of members surveyed, their brokerage and office members were the top places they sought help when faced with challenges, the report showed.

According to the NAR, the report compares and contrasts experiences among participants based on differences in gender, race, real estate specialty—-residential, commercial or both—and sexual orientation.

The latter category is a new addition to the study—NAR asked participants to identify as Straight/Heterosexual or as LGBTQ+.

“REALTORS® from all walks of life share the common purpose of making a positive difference in communities across the country and delivering excellent service to their clients,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler in a press release. “As trusted advocates for consumers, our members bring valuable insight and expertise to all aspects of residential and commercial real estate transactions.”

According to the report, the real estate industry continues to attract self-motivated people to the profession. Three out of five REALTORS® said they chose their career path on their own.

Some also entered the industry because of a referral from a friend or a professional connection.

A flexible work schedule reigned supreme as the most appealing aspect of the real estate field. Other factors drawing in new REALTORS® included interest in the real estate industry and wanting to help families.

LGBTQ+ members shared similar interests, according to the report, which found that they were attracted to the profession because of interest in the field and a love of homes and homeownership.

African-American members were more likely to enter the field for interest in the industry. In contrast, Hispanic and African-American members were more likely to report wanting to help families than other categories.

What skills did REALTORS® find most important? Four out of five members cited people skills and self-motivation as essential skills to have in residential real estate. Women were more likely to cite problem-solving skills at 77%, compared to 69% of men, and negotiation skills at 75% compared to 67% of men.

Financially, half of the commercial specialists have some ownership interest in their firm, compared to 27% of residential members. Commercial members had a gross personal income from real estate of $150,300, compared to $34,100 among residential members.

“Understanding Income and transaction differences among races, genders and sexual orientation is step one, but the next step is learning why there are differences,” Lautz said in a statement. “For some, income may be lower as the typical home price in a neighborhood is lower. For others, they may work only part-time, and others may be new to the profession and have no ownership in the firm.”

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Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to