How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a real estate agent offers an exciting career with many opportunities to develop a personal passion into a brand, and ultimately, a successful business. While a rewarding future is the possibility presented to everyone that becomes a licensed agent, but the road to get there requires persistence and knowledge to navigate. From testing to licensing, the process can be broken down into five parts:

Real Estate Pre-licensing Exam

Before sitting for the full real estate licensing exam, you’ll have to complete a pre-licensing exam in order to gain the necessary foundational knowledge needed to continue onto the licensing exam. Pre-licensing seminars and testing materials will introduce you to the vocabulary you’ll most often encounter as an agent, as well as tax and accounting terms that will be necessary when explaining properties to potential buyers. Also, this is where you will be introduced to the mathematical aspects of being a licensed agent. Being able to calculate the taxes owed on a property, prorated taxes, and similar costs will help paint a clear picture of the costs associated with purchasing a property, allowing you to provide exceptional service to your clients. Generally, the cost of the pre-licensing exam can be anywhere in the range of $200-500.

Real Estate Licensing Exam

Once you’ve completed the pre-licensing course, you can continue onto the licensing exam. Typically, you have a two year period within which the exam must be passed, otherwise you’ll be required to complete the pre-licensing exam once again. The test is usually administered in two parts; the first part of the exam covers federal laws and rules, and the second part of the exam covers the laws for the state you’re obtaining a license in. Also, a good portion of each test will include mathematically intensive questions that will require multiple steps to complete. Most states will offer a small collection of questions as a practice test, as well as some materials to get you acquainted with the real estate exam. The average cost of the real estate licensing exam will be between $300-400.

Complete Final Steps of Activating your Real Estate License

After you’ve become a licensed agent, you have to activate your license. Activation costs vary, but usually float between $250-350. Join a local Multiple Listing Service (MLS), that way you can gain access to platforms such as Zillow, Realtor, and Trulia, as well as data about the properties in the area. Access to such information can make it easier to predict trends in certain markets, allowing you to tailor your client’s experience even more, and allowing you to grow your business.

Find a Real Estate Broker/Brokerage to Work With

Once you’ve become a licensed agent, you will need to work with a broker that will oversee your transactions and make sure they remain within ethical boundaries. When considering brokerage firms, look for places that fit your personality as an agent, somewhere you are comfortable working, and somewhere you feel will help you grow as an agent. In the future, you can attempt to become a real estate broker yourself, but until that day comes you will need a broker to look over your transactions.

Understand Your Real Estate Market and Budget

Breaking into a market as a new agent can be difficult. Depending on the size of the market you are entering, the condition of the market at the time (prices, availability, etc.), and the cost of getting the word out about yourself, the cost of doing business can easily turn into an intimidating number. With that, it is important to understand the market you are getting into. If you can market through local pages on Facebook, or on the webpages of local newspapers, you can often save money compared to printing thousands of pieces of marketing materials. Also, buying a domain can often be done for less than $20, and hosting can be found for as little as $100 per year, which makes it easy to create and operate your own website.