Being debt-free makes you better as a Realtor. In this post, I’ll tell you a little about our journey and why you will want to become debt-free. I’ll also give you some resources so you can do exactly that.
On a podcast episode, I talked about how being debt-free makes you better—how it made me a better Realtor. I hope you’ll go listen to the episode. In the meantime, here is some information about it, and some resources I’d love to share with you. Just click the links to check out anything that interests you.
Starting a business in debt
While I never intended to start a business in debt, it turned out that way. I had consumer debt and a massive student loan debt. And it affected everything. There were options that were not available to us because we didn’t have the financial wiggle room.
When you’re in debt and don’t have financial freedom, you will have to take some clients or jobs that you would not touch if you had the freedom to say no. This is just one way that being debt-free makes you better.
I’m not saying not to start a business if you are in debt. You have to take the opportunities that present themselves, even if you’re not in a perfect position to do that.
My first year in the business, we were, by God’s grace, able to save money and not spend a lot. My wife is frugal and made a lot of good choices. She helped me stay on track, and I helped her stay on track. It was a good thing that only one of us at a time felt the desire to spend. If we both had the urge to splurge at the same time, it would have been bad news.
Eventually as real estate picked up, we were able to become free of all our consumer debt except our house. That included a car loan, some credit cards, and about $50,000 that I had in student loan debt.
As my real estate business grew, we had this goal to become debt-free. If the real estate business hadn’t grown, I might not have been able to do it.
There were times I didn’t even know if I was going to survive and be able to keep my house. At one point, I thought that we were going to have to sell our house and either rent somewhere or try to live with a family member for a short period of time.
But real estate grew, and we were very blessed and thankful to God for that.
The path to financial freedom
Living frugally and following a financial plan is the secret. But there is no “easy way out.” I’d be lying to you if I said there was. You know me. I’m never going to lie to you.
My sweet wife was an angel throughout the whole struggle and is a big part of why we’re debt-free now. She cooked at home almost every night. We did go out once in a while. Some people can cook from scratch every meal, but we would have gone crazy if we never splurged at all.
We took every dollar we could and threw it at our debt. We tracked and celebrated our progress and connected our financial goals to milestones in our life, such as our son’s first birthday and our daughter’s birth. Fully believing that being debt-free makes you better, we worked hard for it.
Once we became debt-free, right before my son’s first birthday, our next goal was to save up about 10 months of living expenses so that after our daughter was born, if real estate was slow and I wasn’t able to sell any houses, we could still pay our bills for the rest of the year.
I posted on Facebook about this. If you saw that, you know we saved over one full year of living expenses.
How being debt-free makes you better
Being debt-free makes you better as a Realtor, and, if applicable, spouse and parent. It sure did for me.
It reduces all kinds of pressure on you and helps you serve your clients better.
Having your finances in order allows you to make better decisions.
It has allowed me to think about the next step of our journey. Is that an investment property? Is it eventually building real estate courses?
Being debt-free makes you better because with it, you have the financial freedom and time freedom that my amazing friend Vincent Pugliese talks about building. You will have more options in life, and that equals more freedom. Who doesn’t want more freedom?
No financial pressure
When you’re struggling financially or not making it, you feel financial pressure. It comes out even if you don’t want it to. You might not say anything, but you’re mentally telling your clients, “Hurry up.” I remember feeling that. But now that we have our consumer debt paid off and a nice financial cushion in savings, there is no financial pressure.
That means I put less pressure on my clients to buy or sell.
As I get more financial freedom, it opens me up for more time freedom. I can sell fewer houses and spend more time with my family. I get to say, “Yes, I’ll do that. No, I won’t do that. Yes. I’ll work with that client. No, I won’t work with this client.”
There’s absolutely no pressure for them to do anything the next day, week, or month. You get to serve their needs and say to them, “We’ll look at homes when you’re ready,” or, “We’ll list this home when you’re ready to do it.” And not just say it but mean it with all your heart because you have that flexibility.
When you have a cushion, a weight is lifted off your shoulders, whether spoken or unspoken. I would really encourage you to become debt-free.
Serving clients better
Being debt-free makes you better because it allows you to meet your clients’ needs without feeling—or applying—any pressure. It has opened me up to just serve their needs. “Hey, I’ll do what’s best for you in terms of the timing for buying or listing.” You can put more time and attention on each client because you will need fewer clients to make ends meet.
People see this on my Facebook. They see that I don’t have financial strain and pressure to buy or sell immediately.
If you can control your finances, it opens you up to so much more success. You can go out and show people houses and list their houses because you love it not because you’re worried about paying your bills.
How to become debt-free
These are some things to do on your path to financial freedom. You might recognize some of this from Dave Ramsey:
- Stop getting further into debt.
- Follow a budget, which is another name for a plan for your money.
- Give every dollar a name before the beginning of the month.
- Life frugally.
Do these after you get going:
- Apply every dollar you can to your debts.
- Celebrate the wins in your life without spending money.
- Have an emergency fund.
- Build up a nice cushion in the bank.
You know now that being debt-free makes you better. Not only will it make you more successful as a Realtor, but it will also allow you to work with people because you want to rather than have to. You’ll get to build whatever it is you want in your real estate career. You’ll be able to do much more of what you’re passionate about if you have financial security.
I hope this is helpful to you. If I can answer any questions you ever have about the following, please let me know.
- Dave Ramsey or his Baby Steps
- Financial Peace University (the course we went through)
- How we budgeted while being on such an inconsistent income as a Realtor
- Anything else
Feel free to text, call, or Facebook message me.
Remember that being debt-free makes you better. Look forward to financial freedom. Traveling this path will make you better as an agent and help you achieve it.
Resources for frugality
Here are some helpful resources for becoming debt-free and living on a budget while still living your life.