How to Become a Real Estate Agent

What is real estate

So you want to become a real estate agent? Great choice! The real estate market is booming right now, with home prices and sales reaching record highs in many parts of the country. This creates huge opportunities for aspiring real estate agents to build a lucrative career.

But how exactly do you get started in this field? Don’t worry, I’m here to walk you through the steps. Whether you’re switching careers or just starting out, this guide will prepare you to pass the real estate exam and launch your career as an agent.

Get Your Real Estate License

The first and most important step is to obtain your real estate license. Every state requires real estate agents to be licensed in order to practice.

To get licensed, you’ll need to complete a few prerequisites:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Pass a background check

After meeting those requirements, you can enrol in real estate pre-licensing courses. These courses are typically offered at community colleges, technical schools, or privately through real estate schools. They cover topics like law, financing, taxes, and brokerage relationships.

The pre-licensing education requirements range from 40 to 90+ hours depending on your state. Once you complete the coursework, you’ll need to pass the real estate licensing exam. The exam covers national real estate principles as well as state-specific laws.

Most states require you to have a licensed broker sponsor you before you can take the exam. So it’s wise to start exploring brokerages and interviewing brokers early in the process.

Join a Brokerage

In most states, real estate agents must hang their license with a brokerage to practice real estate. The broker essentially oversees the agents’ work. This protects consumers by holding a principal broker accountable for the agents.

That’s why the next step is to affiliate with a brokerage. Look for one that offers the support, training, and resources you need to succeed. Consider the company’s commission splits, fees, and policy on teamwork. Joining a productive team can help tremendously when you’re first starting out.

Some key factors to evaluate include:

  • Training programs – Look for brokerages that offer coaching or mentoring around sales, marketing, contracts, and technology. This will expand your skills.
  • Lead generation support – Does the brokerage provide any lead generation tools or support? This makes a huge difference in getting clients.
  • Commission splits – Brokerages offer different commission split models, such as 50/50 or graduated commission splits. Look for a favorable split.
  • Fees – Watch out for hidden fees around desk fees, transaction fees, franchise fees, etc. These can cut into your commissions significantly.

By choosing the right brokerage, you’ll get the foundation necessary to build a thriving real estate business.

Pass the Exam

Now it’s time to put your real estate knowledge to the test by taking the licensing exam! Real estate exams are administered by third-party vendors approved by each state’s real estate commission.

You’ll take the exam on a computer at a testing centre. The exam typically consists of 80-100 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll have 2-3 hours to complete it.

To pass the exam, you’ll need to demonstrate an understanding of:

  • Real estate concepts – This includes basics like agency relationships, deeds, contracts, financing, etc. Know the national principles cold.
  • State-level laws – Each state test includes questions tailored specifically to that state’s real estate laws. Study these closely.
  • Math calculations – You’ll need to know how to calculate items like prorations, commissions, mortgage payments, closing costs, etc. Brush up on your real estate math.

With diligent study, most people are able to pass the exam on their first try. Just focus on comprehending the material versus rote memorization. Many find real estate exam prep courses helpful for digesting a large amount of content.

Get Ready to Practice Real Estate

Congratulations, you now have an active real estate license! But don’t start showing homes just yet. There are a few more steps to take before you begin practising real estate transactions:

  • Finish new agent orientation – Your brokerage will likely require some orientation sessions for new agents to onboard you smoothly.
  • Create brokerage agreements – There are contracts you’ll need to execute with your brokerage around commissions, fees, termination, etc. Get the paperwork in order.
  • Set up tools & infrastructure – Compile the technology, equipment, and systems you’ll need to market properties and serve clients. This may include a printer, lockbox, website, CRM software, etc.
  • Line up mentors – Find more experienced agents at your brokerage who can show you the ropes. Many new agents apprentice under a mentor for their first few transactions.
  • Review laws, principles, and contracts – Keep brushing up on your real estate foundation leading up to your first deals. Having this solid base of knowledge will help you navigate initial transactions confidently.

Once your infrastructure is in place, you’ll be ready to start practising real estate! Begin prospecting for clients, marketing your services, and tapping into your sphere of influence. Lean on your mentors and training materials from the brokerage. Before you know it, you’ll have your first listings and deals under your belt.

Unlock Your Potential as a Real Estate Agent

Launching a career in real estate is an exciting milestone. As you can see, it takes dedication and hard work to get your license and start practising. But the investment is well worth it. A career in real estate offers skills, flexibility, and income potential that few other careers can match.

So if you’re up for a challenge that delivers tremendous rewards, there’s never been a better time to become a real estate agent. Follow the steps above to get licensed, affiliated, and trained. Stay determined through the licensing exam. Before long, you’ll be building your own book of business and experiencing the fulfilment of helping clients achieve their real estate dreams.