After serving in the military, veterans may find it difficult to readjust to civilian life. Specifically, it may be difficult for veterans to find fulfilling and satisfying jobs following their years in service. What kind of industry utilizes the skills they have built and perfected during their military careers? An answer may be difficult to quickly arrive to… Perhaps many jumpstart a career in private security. Maybe some find a job with the government. However, what many do not expect is that a great deal of veterans have built successful careers post-service in the real estate sector.

It is a little difficult to connect the dots here. How does serving in the military translate to becoming a real estate agent? Though real estate agents are not out in the field of serving and protecting our country, they are out in the market, serving and protecting their clients. These two positions may be more similar than you would think; both services demand specific traits in order to be successful in the field.

1.    Initiative. Service members are strong and quick on their feet, they are ready to take on and solve a problem at any given moment. They understand that, as states, “more is lost by indecision than the wrong decision” and approach problem-solving without hesitation. Service members are often trained to quickly evaluate and decide on a solution or course of action. Similarly, real estate agents must take on that kind of initiative. Decisiveness is one of the greatest tools an agent can possess, especially in the face of a tough market or an intense negotiation. Whether actively asking for new listings, to testing and trying out the latest technological tools in the industry, real estate agents must also be on top of their game and prepared to act on every opportunity.

2.    Discipline. Veterans and those currently serving in the military went through extensive training and lived a lifestyle very dependent on discipline. These individuals spent a lot of time building their physical strength, endurance, knowledge and spirit, while pushing themselves to achieve more than they ever thought they could. Though the discipline involved in real estate is not as physically arduous or mentally taxing, it is equally important. A successful real estate agent is constantly trying to improve his or her practice and is always setting goals. They realize that their fate and income is in their own hands and that they need to stay motivated and ahead of the competition to succeed. These might include contacting and building his or her network, staying in touch with past clients, providing service to clients, and making cold calls. All of these tasks require the motivation to put such plans in place and even more discipline to execute them.

3.    Integrity. Moral and ethical principles are held in high regard at most every job, but are held especially close in the military, as both the Army and the Marine Corps prize “integrity” as a foundational and absolutely essential leadership characteristic. Possessing integrity oftentimes translates into possessing trust. Leading and acting on honorable values lead people to be inspired by and to believe in you. Service members rely on integrity to make righteous decisions, despite how unpopular or difficult they may be. This value, though applicable in all other industries, is especially important in real estate. It is vital that, through good ethics, real estate agents build positive reputations that allow others to entrust them with their property searches and sales. Maintaining that kind of trust with clients can translate into referrals and sales.

4.    Resiliency. What would this country be without the resilience of our service members? Their ability to cope with adversity and to recover from setbacks is a trademark of those who serve in our military. Veterans and good real estate agents alike have had and continue to deal with their fair shares of problems and issues, but are quick to get back on their feet and continue to progress. Successful real estate agents persevere and refuse to give up. Occasionally, agents will hit a wall when they are on a listing appointment or trying to negotiate an offer, but these agents are not discouraged by hearing the word “no.” Instead, they are focused on their ultimate goals and allow that kind of rejection to fuel their efforts toward future sales and successes.

5.    Teamwork. The military is not just comprised of one person. As we all know, countless selfless Americans dedicate themselves to serving our country. In fact, in June 2013, more than 1.4 million U.S. citizens were on active duty. These individuals work together to upkeep the freedom of our nation—the key term being that they work together because though the individual is a powerful force, he or she is nothing compared to the abilities of a collective unit. Within the same vein, real estate agents must be able to work well with others to ensure successful sales. This position may seem independent, as this person often meets and engages with clients alone, but the work of an agent requires collaboration with so many others: fellow agents, closing attorneys, builders, insurance agents, banks, loan officers, etc. Consequently, it is vital that a real estate agent is able to play nice with others and be a team player.

Veterans can even attain their Real Estate License at no cost thanks to the GI Bill. Reimbursement for the licensing test is specifically approved by the Department of Veterans Affairs; costs associated with unlimited tests are also covered!

At first glance, military service and real estate could not be more different. One requires often risking your life for the safety of your country, while the other is only a little less life threatening. But upon closer inspection, it seems that these two professions share a lot in common. Many of the fundamental leadership traits valued by the military are vital to the success of real estate agents. And for veterans, finding work in this field could potentially be a great transition into civilian life.