The role of the real estate agent is to help their clients navigate the real estate transaction. The agent represents a seller by listing the property for sale, advertising the property, and arranging and overseeing open houses and other viewings. Whenever a broker represents a buyer, they determine the client’s needs, find properties that meet those needs and budget, assist the client with their finances, and take them to see properties.
What are the advantages of becoming a real estate agent?
There is a great deal of variety in working as a real estate agent. It won’t be the same thing every day, since there will be different clients and different homes. Besides meeting a lot of people and being your own boss, you get the satisfaction of guiding buyers and sellers through one of life’s major milestones.
In addition to the money, there can be benefits as well. Approximately $51,220 is the median pay for a real estate agent, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics. With additional education, testing, and experience requirements, that figure jumps to $59,720 for real estate brokers. On average, the top 10% of agents earned over $112,410 in 2020, and some earned far more.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent
A real estate license requires an upfront investment of time and money, which varies depending on where you get it. Below is a general overview of how to become a real estate agent, though the specifics vary by state.
Step 1: Research the requirements of your state
Because there is no such thing as a national real estate license, you must meet the licensing requirements of your state. Start your research by going to the website of your state’s real estate regulatory office, which you can locate by doing an online search for “[your state’s] real estate regulatory office” or by visiting the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials’ (ARELLO’s) directory of regulatory agencies.
Step 2: Attend a prelicensing course
In order to sit for the real estate licensing exam, you must take a pre-licensing course from an accredited real estate licensing school. There are different requirements for each state.
In most states, prelicensing courses can be taken online, at brick-and-mortar real estate schools, or at community colleges. Consider enrolling in a class program that will save you money (and time), so shop around.
Adapt your learning style and schedule to the method that works for you. When picking a program, do your research and be selective. How well prepared you are for the exam depends on how well your instructors and materials are.
Step 3: Pass the licensing exam
The instructor should explain how to schedule, register, and pay for the licensing examination (if not, you can visit your state’s real estate commission website). Computerized exams are divided into two sections: a national portion covering real estate principles and practices, and a state-specific portion covering your state’s real estate laws. Multiple-choice exams are given in multiple states, and the number of questions and the amount of time allotted for the exam vary by state.
Step 4: Activate your license as a real estate agent
Once you pass the exam, you’ll need to submit an application along with any required documents and fees to your state’s real estate agency.
Your real estate license certificate will be mailed to you, and your name will be searchable under the licensees’ section of the state’s website. Remember that you cannot work as a real estate agent until your license has been issued by your state’s real estate authority. So wait until you have the license in your hand.
Step 5: Consider being a realtor
The terms real estate agent and realtor are often used interchangeably, but they are not synonymous.
Realtors are licensed to help buyers and sellers throughout the real estate transaction process, but they belong to the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and abide by its strict Code of Ethics.
In the residential and commercial real estate industries, the National Association of Realtors represents 1.3 million members, including salespeople, brokers, property managers, appraisers, counselors, and others.
Although membership is optional, it can enhance your credibility as a real estate agent. Other benefits of being a Realtor include:
- Tools for business
- Research and statistics about the real estate market
- Opportunities for education
- Discount programs designed to help your business succeed
Step 6: Join a brokerage firm
Licensed real estate brokers oversee real estate transactions and ensure that you (and the other agents) follow the required legal and ethical standards as an agent. Generally, you will not be paid by the hour. As a result, you will likely receive a percentage of the commissions that your brokerage collects.
Business cards, marketing materials, desk fees, tech fees, and other expenses depending on the arrangement you have with your brokerage. Additionally, you’ll need to renew your license each year. Attend continuing education, pay for a lockbox, and join a Multiple Listing Service.
The Bottom Line
Real estate licenses are difficult to obtain, but they can help you obtain a rewarding job in the industry. Real estate agents can have as flexible a career as they desire. It is possible to limit your work hours to three mornings a week or never work weekends. It’s a trade-off, of course, since this will limit your success.
As a real estate agent, you can work part-time. However most successful practitioners treat it as a full-time business, being available to clients throughout the week and on weekends.
Also Read: 10 Ways to Become a Millionaire in Your 20s