Once you’ve set your sights on a career in real estate, it’s time to start mapping out your next steps. This begs the question - just how do you become a real estate agent, and what exactly are those next steps?
It can seem like a daunting and bewildering process if you’re just starting out, but with the right tools and support you’ll be on your way in no time!
Here’s how you can start:
Know your state’s requirements
Licensing and education requirements vary state-to-state, so you’ll need to explore what they’re like in the state where you want to operate. We have a comprehensive list of the requirements on our home page. Just double click on your state, and you’ll find all the information you need to tackle the education requirements in that location. Remember that the process will take some time, so don’t expect to start selling homes tomorrow!
Enroll in a pre-licensing course
Depending on your state’s requirements, you’ll need to take a certain number of courses to make sure you gain the expertise and skills to become a real estate agent. You’ll learn more about exactly how much education you need by referencing the requirements of your state.
Consider brokers to work with
Real estate agents don’t work strictly on their own - they work under a real estate broker. While you may decide to become a broker yourself in the future, you’ll have to start off working under the direction of one. It’s best to start looking for your ideal brokerage early! Find someone who you align with and establish a connection with them. This way, you’ll be that much closer to starting your career once you pass the test.
Pass the licensing exam
You’ve enrolled in the required courses, you’ve explored potential brokers, but you still need to pass the licensing exam before you can begin! While your courses have set you up with the knowledge you need, you’ll still want to consider additional study aids to ensure you get the techniques for passing the exam down. Once you pass the exam, you’ll be licensed and able to sign up with the broker you researched earlier.
Set a budget - including savings
Be prepared to go without a commission for the first few months of your career. It’s typical for new real estate agents to go about 6 months before turning a profit on their efforts, so it’s best to have savings lined up for this in-between period. Studies also show that the most significant gains are made after the third year in real estate, so don’t depend on making hefty profits in your first year!
As in any industry, one of the greatest ways to advance your real estate career is to network, network, network. Finding experienced mentors is a great way to increase your skill and knowledge of the playing field as you’re starting out. So make efforts to join associations and make connections. Our message board can also help you get started by connecting you with real professionals who are ready to answer your biggest questions.
Consider becoming a realtor
You may want to sign up to become a realtor (yes, there is a difference between a real estate agent and a realtor). To be considered a realtor, you’ll need to sign up with the National Realtor’s Association (NAR) and pay annual dues to the organization. As a realtor, you’ll have access to the association and that means one more place where you can network and market yourself.
Build a client list
As you find and impress your first clients, you’ll be simultaneously building a list of people who will refer others to your business. Don’t be afraid to reach out for testimonials for your website, and ask satisfied clients to refer you to friends in need of real estate assistance. Building a client list can be difficult, but once you’ve made a positive impression it can grow easier as you leverage your good reputation.