Do you want to know how to become a real estate agent? Getting started in the real estate industry is a relatively simple process. Many people decide to become real estate agents, whether they’re looking to start a completely new career or just enter the field part-time.
In this post, we’ll go over seven steps to becoming a licensed real estate agent, from taking a pre-licensing course to passing your exam and beyond, so that you know what to expect out of this rewarding career.
Choose a Real Estate Pre-licensing Course
Before you begin your journey in real estate, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, be a legal U.S. resident, and have a high school diploma or GED. Take the time to look at your state’s Real Estate Commission website to see what all the requirements are in your area.
Once you meet these basic criteria, your first step will be to take a pre-licensing course from an accredited real estate school. A pre-licensing course will prepare you for the real estate exam and working as a real estate agent in your state.
You will have to decide if you want to take your pre-licensing course online or in person. Online courses typically allow you to get your real estate license much faster than an in-person class. They are also usually better for anyone who is already working a full-time job and wants to study on a flexible schedule.
Look for a school that has been accredited by your state’s Real Estate Commission. Read reviews to see if the school has a good reputation and high pass rate. If a school does not disclose its pass rate, it’s best to find one that does.
Many states have hourly pre-licensing course requirements that you will need to fulfill. For example, the California Real Estate Commission requires 135 hours of pre-licensing work, while Virginia only requires 60 hours. Check with your state’s Real Estate Commission to see the requirements for your state.
Join a Brokerage
In order to practice real estate as a brand new agent, you will need to join a brokerage. Brokerages are licensed by the state to enforce legal and ethical practices in the real estate industry.
Another benefit to joining a real estate broker is that the right one will provide your name with more credibility as a brand new agent.
It’s a good idea to get a head start by talking to a brokerage before you even take the real estate exam. This way, you can have a spot lined up and get started as soon as you are licensed.
Begin your search by interviewing multiple brokerages to find the right fit for you. There are brokerages with familiar names, like eXp Realty and Keller Williams, or more boutique brokerages that are only known in your local area.
A brokerage with a recognizable name might be better as a brand new agent to give your name even more credibility, but joining a boutique real estate broker can also be a good choice.
Choose a brokerage based on the area of real estate you want to practice in. For example, there are different brokerages that specialize in commercial real estate, luxury real estate, or residential real estate.
Brokerages will take a split from your commission every time you close a deal. This is all the more reason you should take your time to find a brokerage that is the right culture and personality fit for you.
Don’t just look for a real estate broker with the best commission split for its agents. Instead, find somewhere that you will genuinely enjoy working at. Find a brokerage that provides you with tools, training, and mentorship to support your career. Your goal should be to join a brokerage that provides its agents with the most value.
Pass the Real Estate Exam
Of course, the key step to becoming a real estate agent is passing the real estate exam in your state! Your real estate licensing course should have plenty of study materials and practice exams to help you. Take advantage of any resources you find to study and prepare beforehand.
However, don’t worry if you don’t pass the licensing exam the first time around because you have multiple chances to retake it over a two-year period. If you still don’t pass after that, you will have to re-take a pre-licensing course.
The Real Estate Commission in your state will have instructions on how to sign up for the exam to take the exam in your area.
The exam usually consists of around one hundred multiple-choice questions. It’ll cover federal real estate laws, as well as rules and regulations that are specific to your state. The cost to take it usually ranges from $15 to $60.
The required score to pass the licensing exam will vary depending on what state you are in, so be sure to check with your Real Estate Commission. But on average, the required passing score will be between 60% to 75%.
File Your Application and Pay License Fees
Once you pass the licensing exam, you will need to get a copy of your exam results and a certificate of completion from your pre-licensing course. Then, you will submit these documents along with your real estate license application to officially receive your real estate license from the state.
The application process varies depending on what state you are in. It could include other tests such as a background or fingerprint check, which can often take more time to complete.
The license application can cost anywhere from $50 to $250. The amount of time it takes for your application to be approved will also depend on what state you are in.
Some states have an automated process for submitting your application material, while others still use mail. In general, you can expect to receive your official license between one week to two months.
Your license is something that you will need to renew periodically. Again, how often renewal occurs will depend on your state. In general, you’ll likely have to renew your license every two to four years.
Consider Becoming an Official Realtor
Joining the National Association of Realtors is optional, but can definitely be beneficial for brand new agents. First, you’ll officially be able to use the title “Realtor.” This will give you significant credibility and boost your reputation among clients.
Also, you will need to join in order to access most MLS databases, which are necessary if you want to have the most up-to-date information on homes in your area. Other perks include discounts on continuing education courses and access to transaction management services.
The National Association of Realtors has over 1,400 associations across the U.S. You can visit their website to find your local association to get started. To become an official Realtor, you will have to pay a one-time application fee and an annual membership fee of $150.
Make a Real Estate Business Plan
Once you have your license, you can officially start your business. The most successful real estate agents are the ones who write down a real estate business plan and stick it consistently.
This includes creating goals for your income, expenses, the number of leads you want to prospect, the number of deals you want to close, and other aspects of running a business. Break down your goals into yearly, monthly, and even weekly plans.
Create a Website and Social Media Pages
Lastly, once you are officially a licensed real estate agent and/or Realtor, you have to create an online presence for your business and personal branding. This includes purchasing website hosting and a domain name to set up your own real estate agent website.
In addition, make sure you create social media pages, especially a Facebook business page. This will be important so that you can collect reviews from your clients and create paid ads for lead generation.
Reviews will be essential for growing your real estate business and becoming a real estate agent with a solid reputation. Make sure to ask for a real estate agent review from every client you work with.
Final Thoughts on How To Become A Real Estate Agent
While working in real estate is rewarding, the truth about being a real estate agent is different than what most TV shows depict. However, anyone can join the real estate industry and have a successful career as a real estate agent. All it takes is a little studying, a willingness to work hard, and a desire to help people find their dream homes.
Why are you planning to become a real estate agent? What excites you most about beginning your real estate journey? Let me know in the comments below!
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