If you’re looking to trade in your day job for a meaningful career, becoming a real estate agent is the perfect solution. Real estate agents have freedom, flexibility, and no salary limit. The more you’re willing to learn and work, the higher the ceiling for your success will rise.
If you’re wondering how to become a real estate agent, we have plenty of good news. It’s likely a lot easier than you had envisioned, and you’re only a few steps away from obtaining a real estate license.
Why Become a Real Estate Agent?
Becoming a real estate agent is an attractive option to people for the freedom, flexibility, and earnings potential of the career path. If you dislike working in a corporate environment and you feel you perform better when you work on your own terms, you’ll likely love being a real estate agent.
- You can create your own schedule and number of hours
- You’ll enjoy a better work-life balance
- You’re granted the ability to self-manage
- You like to work with people and have a strong code of ethics
- There is no salary limit
- You can work from home
- The topics engage your creativity
- The real estate business provides rewarding challenges
If this currently sounds much more appealing than your current career, it’s time to start looking into how to become a real estate agent. Nothing is more important than a rewarding career that allows you to thrive while you’re supporting your family or building up your savings account.
Despite the perks of the position, many real estate agents give up and leave the industry after a few years. It’s essential to remember that there’s always a “give and take” in every career path.
Although you’ll see unlimited potential for success, you need to be a highly driven, motivated, self-starting, and persistent person to realize that success. Real estate careers are perfect for type “A” personality people, extroverts, and the naturally energetic.
What Are the Educational Requirements?
Most career paths that offer freedom, flexibility, and the potential for a substantial salary will require a bachelor’s degree or higher. You don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent.
Although some real estate professionals choose to get a degree in a related field, like banking, advertising, or business law, this isn’t a prerequisite to enter the industry.
All you need is a high school diploma or a GED or an equivalency. If you don’t currently have either, many states now allow adult learners to take their GED exams online with a virtual proctor. The process is very affordable and very quick. It shouldn’t significantly delay your plans to become a real estate agent.
Even though you don’t need a special degree to become a real estate agent, learning is invaluable. It helps to read books written by successful figures in real estate. Pick up a copy of Harris Rules: Your No-BS Practical Step By Step Guide to Finally Become Rich and Free by Tim and Julie Harris.
Listen to real estate industry podcasts during your commute or while you’re cleaning up your house. Keep the flow of information constant. Slowly by surely, you’ll absorb all the priceless insights you need to help you succeed in your real estate education.
Check Your State’s Requirements
Every state has different requirements for becoming a real estate agent. Find out your state’s application process. Some states require that real estate agents pass a background check. To be a licensed agent, you may need to be fingerprinted.
This seems excessive, but it’s a step states take to keep the public safe. Since real estate agents don’t require lengthy formal education and there are very few barriers to entry, states want to assure that people who pursue this career won’t pose any danger to the public.
Real estate agents often have keys to people’s homes. They have access to their clients’ personal and financial information. This step assures that potential buyers and sellers aren’t being put at risk when they choose to work with a real estate agent.
Take Your State’s Mandatory Real Estate Course
Every state has its own mandatory course that must be taken before real estate agents can take the licensing exam. The requirements vary from state to state. Usually, the mandatory course is a minimum of 60 hours worth of coursework.
This is a workweek and a half worth of your time, making it substantially easier than most trade licenses, certifications, and a college degree.
Some states, like Texas, have extensive pre-licensing requirements. Real estate agents in Texas are required to complete a 180-hour course. All things considered, it’s still a simpler way to enter the workforce. Pilates instructors have to complete 450 hours to become certified, and barbers have to complete 1,500 hours to become certified.
When you put things into perspective, even the longest licensing courses are still comparatively short.
States sometimes provide learners with a syllabus or some type of written description of the information that will be covered in the course. In addition to utilizing the course material, you can use this handout as a starting point for independent research and learning.
If you encounter something tricky, you can independently research the topic before you take your real estate exam. With the proper exam prep, you’ll feel a little more confident in your approach.
If you’re planning to move to a different state, make sure the state you’re moving to will accept the transfer of your real estate license (reciprocity). Some states will allow real estate agents from other states to practice, like Colorado. But licenses don’t always translate across the board. If you’re unsure, wait until you move to register for your pre-licensing course.
Pass Your License Exam and Activate Your Real Estate Agent License
At the conclusion of the course, your instructor will provide you with the resources you need to take your state exam. You’ll take this exam on a computer in a monitored setting.
This test is technically two tests. The national portion of your exam will relate to federal real estate laws, terms, and practices. The other portion of your exam will consist of state-specific knowledge.
Each part is graded independently, meaning that your success in one portion won’t outweigh your shortcomings on the other portion. You need to pass both of them to obtain your license.
Although the test will differ in the number of questions and the time limit from state to state, every test is made of multiple-choice questions. There are no written portions or demonstrations.
All you need to do is click on the right answer from a list of answers, which may put your mind at ease if you have test anxiety. If you fail, you’re allowed to study and retake the exam at another time.
When you pass your exam, you will need to complete the licensing application. You’ll be given information to relay to your state’s real estate regulatory board. You submit that information along with a formal application and payment for required fees. The regulatory board will approve and activate your real estate license and send you a physical copy in the mail.
Even though you’ve passed your exam, you aren’t allowed to practice real estate until you have a physical copy of your real estate license. While you’re waiting, start researching brokerage firms you’ll want to approach when your license arrives.
Find a Real Estate Brokerage Firm
Real estate agents technically work for themselves, but they do so under a real estate broker. A real estate broker is an experienced real estate agent who has pursued additional courses and licensure.
Brokers open real estate firms and hire new real estate agents, which are often referred to as “hanging licenses.” You hang your license on that broker’s wall, and they’re technically responsible for keeping you on track.
While you work for a brokerage, you’ll have the reputation of the brokerage to back you. This can help you get a head start in the industry. Most brokerages offer teamwork opportunities, mentorship, and resources to help new real estate agents succeed.
While you work for a brokerage, you’ll be giving them a percentage of the commission of every property you sell. This split can be as high as 50/50 or as low as 70/30. Brokerages sometimes negotiate these rates, while others have standardized splits written into their contracts.
Investigate Company Culture
Since you’ll be working with these people for at least a few years, it’s important to choose a brokerage that feels right to you. You want to be treated fairly. You want to know that if you need a little bit of extra support that someone will be there.
You want a helpful individual to guide you through your many “firsts,” including your first successful sale of a property. You have to get along with most of the people around you, or you won’t like coming to work.
Take your time choosing a brokerage. Speak with a few reputable local firms and get a feel for the office culture. Ask about what the team does to bond. Will you have a real estate buddy who is willing to help you? Will you all go out to lunch once a week to share your success stories and celebrate your victories?
Maybe you prefer to be left to your own devices and team-building activities aren’t up your alley. Will you have enough space to breathe?
How To Become a Real Estate Broker
After you’ve spent a few years at a brokerage firm, you’ll be able to take your state’s brokerage courses and pass a brokerage license exam.
Every state has its own requirements for the number of years worked as a real estate agent and other experience-related credentials that make a real estate agent eligible to become a broker.
Once you have your real estate broker license, you’ll be working entirely for yourself and may take on the responsibility of hiring new real estate agents to work underneath you. This has the potential to be the most profitable move for successful real estate agents. You can independently sell properties while fetching a portion of the commission of every real estate agent that works for you.
If this is your end goal, enter the real estate industry with this mindset. You’re in it for the long haul, and your position as a real estate agent is merely the first rung on a ladder that will exponentially increase your success with each step.
You’ll need to make the most of every day you spend working as a real estate agent. Never turn down good advice and accept help from any agent or broker who is willing to give it to you. Everything you learn along the way will make your future substantially easier.
Thriving in the Real Estate Industry
Once you’re in, everything you do is completely up to you. Your brokerage firm will provide you with some assistance. You may be lucky enough to find a mentor you really connect with. Everything else is experience, and every day is a learning opportunity.
Knowledge and drive are the two factors that separate successful real estate agents from average real estate agents. You want all the great perks that come with the position, and you have to be willing to work for them.
Harris Real Estate University’s coaching programs are designed to teach new real estate agents everything they need to know about succeeding in any real estate market.
Our one-on-one coaching sessions help new agents achieve their unique career goals while providing a sense of accountability. You won’t slip when your coach is there to keep you on track.
Our massive learning library features hundreds of market-tested strategies for lead generation, pre-qualifying buyers, and handling objections. We even feature educational content that teaches real estate agents how to achieve the right mindset, building the confidence and productivity they need to take their success to new heights.