Texas has one of the fastest-paced, most robust real estate markets in the country. And it’s understandable — it’s four times the size of most states. Becoming a real estate agent in Texas is an excellent career choice, as there are many areas you can specialize in, and the real estate market is very resilient. But first, you’ll need to know how to become a real estate agent in Texas.
The Requirements for Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Texas
The TREC (Texas Real Estate Commission) puts forth some basic requirements to become a real estate agent:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Complete 180 hours of TREC-approved classes.
- Find a sponsoring broker (necessary to become a real estate sales agent).
- Submit your form and fees to the Texas Real Estate Commission. You can submit a form for an active or inactive real estate license at this time. If you request an inactive license, you’ll have to submit another form to make it active later.
- You will need to pass your licensing examination.
Once you have taken and passed the license exam, you will receive your license. You will spend the bulk of your time taking the 180 hours of TREC-approved classes, which you can take at an in-person or online real estate school. You will also likely need continuing education real estate courses after you’ve settled at a real estate brokerage.
If you fail the Texas real estate exam, you can retake the state exam later. A pre-licensing course can help you study.
While you can see that the education and exam parameters are quite robust, the actual qualifications for becoming a real estate agent are minimal. You need to be 18 or older, but other than that, no prior education is required. Real estate courses generally start at around $500, and the real estate exam is just $43.
Any 18 year old who is willing to study can become a real estate agent within a year or two. And that makes it a field that is extraordinarily open for opportunity. If you’re a hard worker who does well with people, it could be an excellent field for you.
How Do You Study to be a Real Estate Agent in Texas?
To meet TREC’s qualifications for an inactive or active license, you will need to have the right qualifying education.
There are numerous real estate education schools in Texas. Make sure you’re taking classes, whether online or in-person, that meet TREC’s standards.
In addition to passing the pre-license education classes, it’s a good idea for a real estate professional to undergo exam prep. There are many companies, such as Kaplan, that provide exam prep materials for the real estate salesperson license test.
Do You Need a Sponsoring Texas Real Estate Broker?
You don’t need a sponsoring broker to acquire a salesperson license. You can take the exam and become a licensed real estate agent before you have a broker.
But aspiring real estate agents are going to need a designated broker in addition to a state license to practice real estate. You can be licensed, but you can’t be an active Texas Realtor without a sponsoring broker.
A Texas real estate agent can wait until they have acquired their sales agent license to find a sponsoring broker. However, it’s usually best to find a sponsoring broker during the license application process.
Can You Make It as a Real Estate Agent in Texas?
Now you know how to get a Texas real estate license. But a Texas real estate license isn’t all you need for success. If that were true, Realtors wouldn’t have such a high failure rate within the first few years.
Real estate school alone doesn’t prepare you to become a real estate agent, nor are the requirements everything you need. As an agent, you will:
- Need to be an extremely self-motivated individual. You have to get up every morning and tell yourself to work. Your broker isn’t going to force you to work the way that a boss would.
- Have to be able to network and socialize very well. Being a real estate agent is a people-oriented field. You have to be able to interact well with other people and create a large, bustling network.
- Need to understand the basics of marketing and the web. The role of a real estate agent today has changed swiftly. Now, SEO and online marketing are critical to success.
Most people know that being a real estate agent is difficult. But the licensing exam doesn’t prepare people for how hard being a Realtor can truly be.
To build a real estate career, a Realtor will have to be extremely dedicated. They will need to put in a tremendous number of hours, far beyond the 30 classroom hours required. They will need to be a talented salesperson, find the right sponsoring broker, and be personable and easy to work with.
How is real estate different in Texas from other areas of the United States?
A real estate professional needs a real estate license in the state in which they work. A Realtor who has a real estate license in California can’t complete a transaction in Texas; they would need a real estate license from Texas. This is why licensing is specific to the state.
Texas doesn’t have reciprocity with any other state.
There are ways to transfer an out-of-state license into Texas. It’s a faster process than going through the licensing process step-by-step again, but you will still need to repeat a lot of the steps.
That being said, real estate in Texas is not substantially different from real estate anywhere else. A Realtor who has already passed their licensing process somewhere else should find it relatively easy to do in Texas. Likewise, a real estate agent in Texas should find the transition elsewhere easy.
Is a commercial real estate license different from a residential real estate license?
No. Whether you’re interested in working with commercial real estate or residential real estate, you will need the same license in Texas. A licensed real estate sales agent in Texas can work on a commercial or residential real estate transaction without additional licensing.
Fundamentally, commercial and residential real estate are similar. Real estate agents will need to know the ins and outs of both commercial and residential real estate to get their real estate license. A real estate agent who wants to specialize in a specific area may want to find a broker who specializes in that area.
How do you get a broker license in Texas?
At a certain point in your career, you may want to become a real estate broker. A real estate broker generally makes more than a real estate professional because they earn commissions from the sales professionals under them. But this will require more than just a Texas real estate license.
A broker license differs from a traditional real estate license. A broker license allows an individual to operate as a business entity, sponsoring licensed sales associates. Brokers are highly skilled real estate professionals who take the role of facilitating and mentoring other professionals.
What if you fail the real estate exam?
After so many hours of classwork and study, it can feel like a disaster to fail the real estate exam. But it’s actually not that big of a deal. It’s certainly not optimal. But just taking and failing the exam can help you better prepare for taking the exam the next time.
In Texas, you’re allowed to attempt the exam three times. You don’t need to take the entire exam again, either, just the portion you failed. So, you can take another exam prep course and tackle the exam again.
Other states have unlimited tries at the exam. So, in that light, Texas is a little more challenging than other places. But most people will have no problem passing the exam within three attempts.
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