Everything You Need to Know About Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Estimated reading time: 6 mins

If you are looking for a new career or new ways to enrich your skillset, perhaps you might want to consider becoming a real estate agent. It’s a major move but once you’ve successfully transitioned, learned the ropes, and start selling, it can truly be rewarding. Unlike other jobs, working in real estate is open for people from all walks of life, regardless of their occupations, education, or age. There are many reasons why people turn to real estate, but if you’re really good with making connections with different people and potential clients, you could easily make a living in this field.

The real question now is, how can one become a real estate agent? You’d probably wonder how the people in this field started, if they had any real estate courses or development programs to prepare one for the field.

It really depends on where you want to practice real estate, since the main requirement is a state license. And as you may have surmised, each state regulates their own licensing process, so the rules and regulations vary. But there are basic requirements that’s consistent among different states, and that’s what we’ll explore in the following list. Read through and see which items you’re already qualified, and which ones you still need to work on.

  • At least 18 or 19 years old, depending on the state you want to practice in.
  • Have a legal US residency
  • State examination passer for a real estate license

These are the most basic requirements that apply to all real estate agents in the country, but there are other things to consider if you really want to pursue this career. Of course, due diligence pays off, and it will greatly dictate if you can be successful in the field or not.

Do I really want a career in real estate?

This is the first question that you should ask yourself, before embarking on the journey that involves getting a state license, studying real estate courses, and other labor-intensive tasks. Consider this: a real estate agent works all throughout the week, taking every lead and every opportunity to sell, no matter what time or day it appears. You’ll be handling everything, from office management, to paperwork, and field work. You’ll also be the one searching for leads, building relationships to clients and prospective customers.

You’ll learn how to draw up contracts, review every written word, manage buyers and sellers, and many more. If the items enumerated are already overwhelming, you’ll be surprised at the amount of work it takes to be successful in this field.

You should be honing your office-related skills like time management, scheduling, and data management, among others. You also need to sharpen your interpersonal skills, since you’re always in between the property sellers and the buyers. You’ll be answering questions by email, phone, or face-to-face on a regular basis. Suffice to say, being a real estate agent is not a hobby but a real career that requires full commitment. So, are you still up for the challenge?

If you’re still interested, let’s proceed to the next step, which is preparing to be a licensed real estate agent for your state of choice. The following steps are necessary for individuals who are interested in earning their license.

Step 1: Know more about the state’s licensing requirements for real estate agents

As mentioned earlier, each state has their own licensing requirements, so it is your responsibility to know what they are. Oftentimes, this information is available online, on your state’s real estate commission’s website. Look for the prelicensing requirements section and list them down for quick reference in the future.

If you skip this step, you’re at risk of getting the wrong requirements, which is a great waste of time. Preparation is a big step if you want to succeed in any industry, and it remains true in the field of real estate.

Step 2: Enroll in real estate courses

A significant real estate prelicensing education may be required by your state, so don’t be shocked if you must enroll for a handful of subjects. There are several ways to complete your prelicensing education requirements, not just through old-school classroom education. Aside from live class locations at real estate schools, you can also take them in some realty firms, technical schools, licensing programs, and online real estate courses.

Choose which one matches your lifestyle well, especially if you have other commitments like a current job that you can’t let go of, caring for family members, and more. Also, do your research on which school you enroll in, as it dictates the quality of education that you’ll get from them. Real estate education is often difficult and comprehensive, but it will all be worth the effort once you’re done and already practicing.

Step 3: Take the real estate agent exam

Just like every other type education, you can expect to have exams as part of your prelicensing education. These types of exam are state-specific and would usually require you to pay an exam fee. For details, you can contact your state’s regulatory authority for real estate and ask about exam dates, fees, and other important information.

Note that some states require a background check, as well as submitting fingerprints to checking and database purposes. Processing can take weeks to complete. But it’s only a small hurdle that you need to go over, considering the benefits that you could reap once you’re already a licensed real estate agent.

Step 4: Finding the right real estate broker

Now that you’ve passed the state licensing exam, your next step is finding a real estate broker that you’ll be working under. A real estate agent is licensed to act on behalf of a broker, and not conduct business independently. If you’ve already found one, you both need to complete paperwork with your state. Once done, your license will now be issued, and you can now practice real estate freely, under the said broker.

Becoming a real estate agent is a long and tedious process that requires education, effort, and perseverance. However, it is a very rewarding and lucrative career, so all the blood, sweat and tears that you’ve shed back when you’re still getting a license will definitely pay off.

Your passing grade on your state real estate licensing exam doesn’t quite mean you have a license yet. A real estate salesperson (agent) is licensed to act on behalf of a broker and may not act as a real estate agent independently. Consider finding a real estate broker early in your licensing process. Once you have completed your prelicensing education requirements and passed your exam, you and your broker will both need to complete final paperwork with the state. Once the form is accepted, your license will be issued, and you may practice real estate under the sponsorship of the broker. Keep in mind that there are a number of items to consider when finding the right real estate brokerage.

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