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Ask McEnearney: What’s It Like To Be A Realtor?

This week’s Q&A column is written by Karisue Wyson, Director of Recruiting & Agent Support at McEnearney Associates Realtors®, the leading real estate firm in Alexandria. To learn more about this article, contact Karisue at 703-615-0876 or email [email protected]. You may also submit your questions to McEnearney Associates via email for response in future columns.

Question: What’s it like to be a realtor?

Answer: I love answering this question, chiefly because my answer is never the same from hour to hour. “It’s a roller coaster” is usually what I say and something most of my realtor colleagues would agree with.

Did your client’s offer get hand-picked by the seller out of a mix of 10 others? You’re at the top of the hill and zooming along at breakneck speed! Was your buyer’s offer the one that came in second? You just crashed down the hill and it’s time to console your client and make that next climb quickly because there are (at least) eight other agents who are doing the same thing at this very moment.

Did you just learn your best friend is moving to the area and wants you to help him find a great house? Hurrah! Wait, you’re in the loop-de-loop because he’s got a relocation package and has to use the brokerage that’s been pre-determined by his employer. (Well, at least he can be a referral source in the future.) Ready for that condo rental tour that you’ve meticulously mapped out and researched with all the best amenities in the neighborhood? Look out, tight curve ahead and now you’re eyeing townhomes and need to become a quick expert on school boundary lines.

And all of this happens before noon.

The trajectory of a real estate career (or even a day in the life of an agent) will vary from person to person but there is one thing that is always true: The best realtors are entrepreneurs who can find business opportunities while managing the chaos that surrounds them.

Working as a realtor in Alexandria presents unique benefits and challenges.

It’s a very diverse area — both geographically and demographically — and savvy realtors must help their clients understand subtle differences that can make a big difference in a community: why a home on one side of Cameron Station is in a flood zone and the other is not; the difference in taxable square footage in City of Alexandria vs. Fairfax County Alexandria; what constitutes a bedroom in a historic townhome in Old Town vs. a colonial in Beverley Hills; why are there so many Alexandria natives when the D.C. area is supposed to be so transient?!

Realtors do more than help clients buy, sell or rent homes. They are the director of a home-life experience that takes shape as the parties are moving through it. Not an easy task and there are many skills an agent needs to employ. Some of these skills  come naturally to realtors — an ability to connect with people, good sales techniques, an optimistic and positive demeanor — and some can be taught, like learning to use a database to track prospective clients or understanding inventory absorption rates across the region.

But it starts with a curiosity about the local market and how to make a business of understanding it for your clients. If you can see yourself working daily and diligently to find ways to make great deals come together and build a network of clients who will come to know you as their Trusted Advisor, then you should consider becoming a realtor.

While realtors are independent contractors (meaning you are contracted to do work within a company but not as an employee), in the state of Virginia you can’t be a licensed agent without affiliating with a sponsoring brokerage. Before you take your Real Estate licensing coursework and licensing exam it’s important to think about the kind of brokerage that will help you define your Real Estate goals and outline a path to realtor success.

Ask questions about training, education, marketing support and agent fees to help understand each brokerage’s business model and how their agents work within it.

What’s it like to be a Realtor at McEnearney Associates? If you are considering making a career switch and want to see how your unique skills, background and personality fit with our approach to Real Estate, visit or call me at 703-615-0876. I’d love to tell you more about how thrilling that real estate roller coaster ride can be.

If you would like a question answered in our weekly column or to set up an appointment with one of our Associates, please email: [email protected] or call 703-549-9292.

McEnearney Associates Realtors®, 109 S. Pitt Street, Alexandria, VA 22314. Equal Housing Opportunity. #WeAreAlexandria

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Time flies when you’re having fun! The T.C. Williams High School Class of 1973 will hold its 50th reunion July 21-23, 2023 in Alexandria. All graduates and their adult nears and dears are welcome. Events include a Friday evening icebreaker, Saturday dinner dance, and a Sunday brunch. For more information:, 770.789.3534.

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