Ever wanted to earn money without answering to a boss?
The idea of being your own boss is attractive to most people. This is why the notion of becoming a real estate agent is alluring.
An estimated two million active real estate agents work in the United States today. It’s not surprising, though, as there are always properties to sell and buy.
If you want to become a real estate agent but don’t know how to go about it, this article is for you. Note that it isn’t going to be easy, but it’s not as hard as you think. Learn how to get started in real estate below.
1. Research the Requirements
Each state has unique real estate agent requirements. There’s no national license for real estate agents. However, all of them have similar basic licensing requirements, such as:
- Being a U.S. citizen
- Being 18 or 19 years of age
- Having completed pre-licensing education
The application process and the corresponding fees for each state will also differ. Your state may also require you to meet certain educational background and take special classes. You may also have to submit to background checks and fingerprinting.
There are other things your state might require. Check first with your state’s real estate regulatory office.
After getting a license, you’ll also have to take note of the post-licensing requirements. Depending on your state, you’ll have to take a set number of post-licensing education hours.
2. Build Your Savings
Preparing to be a real estate agent is an uphill battle. Even after getting your license, you won’t be making big bucks right away. This is why it helps to prepare for your future expenses should your income from being an agent not suffice for your bills and daily needs.
Set aside around three months’ worth of funds, or more if you can. In fact, the ideal amount of savings is for six months. You’ll spend your first few months building your client base and studying your market. In fact, some agents go months without an income.
Some agents also choose to have a backup source of income, becoming part-time real estate agents instead. You can keep your day job or look for a job that will shoulder a part or most of your monthly expenses.
3. Get the Qualifications Needed
Once you know what you need to get that license, it’s time to get your ducks in a row. You’ll have to enroll in a course from a real estate licensing school.
Check your state’s website for the list of accredited schools in your area. Take note of how many hours you’ll need to qualify for the licensing exam, as well.
Depending on your state, you may be able to choose where to take your classes. You may do it online, at a school, or at a community college.
Choose one that suits your schedule and budget. The quality of the program also factors into how prepared you’ll be for the exam.
You may also consider getting a college degree, but it isn’t one of the requirements. The truth stands, however, that those with four-year degrees have better opportunities for advancement. You can even major in real estate in some universities, which would be a good starting point to becoming a broker in the future.
4. Take the Licensing Exam
After you get the qualifications needed, apply to take the licensing exam. You should be able to fill up the form and apply online. Once everything is in order, you’ll get notice of where and how you’ll be taking the licensure exam.
Follow through the instructions, including passing a complete background check and registering for the exam. You’ll get to pick the location, date, and time, then it’s only a matter of studying for the exam.
The exam usually consists of two parts: One tests your knowledge on federal real estate laws and principles, and the other covers state-specific laws. Both consist of multiple-choice questions, though the number of questions will vary by state.
You’ll have to pass each part, and if you fail in one or both, you’ll have to retake the exam. Read up on your state’s laws about retakes and deadlines.
5. Activate Your Real Estate License
If you pass, wait for the license to arrive at your doorstep by mail. You can’t practice being a real estate agent without your license on-hand. You can activate it via your state’s real estate commission website.
Note that activating it costs a fee, which is usually somewhere between the $200 and $400 range. You’ll then have to pay the membership fee of your local multiple listing services, the cost of which could vary. It also has annual dues you pay to keep your membership.
In addition, you may also have to join a local board or realtor association. Check out the requirements first, and note that you’ll also have to pay the fees for being a member of the local board.
6. Choose the Right People to Surround You
You must also be working under a broker, for which you must have the right attitude, business plan, and skill set. Be sure to choose the right one for you; ask them their speciality and ask their agents what they think of the brokerage.
You should have a solid broker behind you, but its goals must also align with yours. If, for example, you want to sell luxury homes, choose one that specializes in this area.
Get a mentor, too, so you can have someone show you the ropes as you’re still a fledgeling in the industry. He or she may introduce a working strategy or help you come up with one suited to you.
You may not need an accountant right away, but you’ll need it down the line. Read more now about why this is an important step in the process.
What’s Next After Knowing How to Get Started in Real Estate
Now you know how to get started in real estate, but that’s the easy part and your journey is only about to begin.
The next steps, which are the hardest, include building your clientele and making your first sales. You may also consider becoming a broker in the future, but get some experience first.
If you need more help on real estate, check out our other posts and guides. Here’s one discussing how commission fees work.