Thinking about becoming a real estate agent? We spoke to Ryan Howell who gave up his 9-to-5 for the real estate life.
Ryan grew up in Hendersonville, earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering, and moved to Arden for work. His first taste of real estate was remodeling his grandparents’ former home so he and his family could live there.
His friend’s dad owned rental property, so Ryan always knew that was a way to make passive income. He’s a competitive guy, so when a work colleague bought a home to rent out, Ryan had to get into investing. He read books and sought out ways to learn quickly. He recommends the Bigger Pockets podcast, Brandon Turner’s books, and The Millionaire Real Estate Investor.
The more he investigated the real estate business model, the more he liked it. It’s something you can scale and grow as much or little as you like. He also liked the approachable nature of the industry, the flexibility, and the freedom.
Becoming a real estate agent full-time
At the end of June 2020, Ryan quit his day job and went all in on real estate. Despite low inventory and the pandemic effects, he wanted to make it happen while interest rates were low.
Ryan gets a lot of business from investors, as he can speak to them on their level. He understands their goals and what they want in a property, which is unique for an agent.
The amount of and scope of work was a surprise to Ryan. You have to wear every hat and be prepared to switch gears at any moment. You’re marketing and seeking leads, taking care of existing clients, closing and dealing with contracts… you can get caught up and could work 24/7 if you’re not careful. He tries to be mindful and take time for family, but as he’s still in a startup phase, he’s grinding.
Why be an agent and not just an investor?
To Ryan, the agent route seemed more clear-cut with less guesswork. He liked the idea of helping people find their perfect home and helping investors as well. Instead of joining a team, he opted to brand himself as Ryan Howell Real Estate Group. He may add his wife or an assistant to the team in the future, and is setting himself up for growth.
Ryan placed his license at Keller Williams because he liked the incentives they offer. He is also a fan of Gary Keller’s books and work within the real estate industry, helping those becoming real estate agents as well as established pros. One big effort he admires is Gary taking control of data and being ahead of the technology in a changing market.
Although he focuses on the Hendersonville County market, he’ll travel up to an hour throughout the region.
When making the career change, he had coworkers who were jealous because they saw his vision for the future and knew he’d succeed. Others thought he was out of his mind for leaving a stable position for an uncertain gamble. They said he was throwing away his degree and experience.
Ryan believes you only live once, and he is building on that professional experience although it may be a totally different field. Becoming a real estate agent was one of the best life moves he’s ever made. He urges people to get out of their comfort zone and take a calculated risk.