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Real Estate

Become a real estate agent in 5 simple steps

Kim Mercado image
By Kim Mercado
Sep 7, 2021 min read

Becoming a real estate agent is a popular choice among people looking to change careers at all stages in life. Real estate is considered a potentially lucrative field with many benefits for those who want to be self-employed. 

But there are many factors to consider when determining if you want to become a real estate agent. What kind of training and licensing do you need? Are your personality and career preferences suited for work in real estate? What is the real estate market like in your area?

In this post, we will discuss the various aspects of starting a real estate career, how to get certified and more. If you’re interested in how to become a real estate agent, follow these simple steps.

1. Think about the qualities that make a successful real estate agent

Becoming a real estate agent can be exciting, but it’s also a very crowded field to enter. According to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), there are around 1.5 million in the U.S. Numbers fluctuate depending on the housing market. 

To succeed, you’ll need to stand out. Even more, it’s important to consider if you are a good match for the field before getting started.

If you’re interested in being a real estate salesperson, here are a few of the most important qualities required to be successful:

  • Negotiation skills: You’ll need to negotiate deals and sometimes be aggressive about it. It’s important that you feel comfortable with this and not be afraid to talk about money.
  • Persuasive: Selling homes is about much more than the home itself. You’re selling a lifestyle and often a dream. You’ll need to be able to connect to people’s emotions and earn their trust.
  • Networking skills: Connections are everything in this field. You’ll need to connect with other professionals, agencies, and brokers.
  • Determination: Selling real estate can be difficult. You’ll face obstacles along the way, and you’ll need to be resilient to keep going.

And while not a quality, you should also consider the lifestyle. Being in real estate sales — whether full-time or part-time — can take a toll on your work/life balance. It’s important to talk with other real estate professionals to understand this aspect of the career.

2. Check out requirements for becoming a real estate agent in your area

The requirements for being a real estate professional differ from state to state. It’s important to check out what you’ll need to do and the requirements for becoming a real estate agent in your specific area. Most states have the same basic requirements:

  • Minimum age of 18-21 years old
  • U.S. citizenship
  • Background check, including fingerprints (certain states only)
  • Coursework for exams
  • Licensing exam (the exam to get your real estate license)

Beyond the licensing exam, there are no higher education requirements for getting into the real estate business. In most cases, you don’t need a college degree to become a licensed real estate agent. However, it does help potential job seekers. At minimum, most require a high school diploma.

3. Choose real estate agent training

There are various options available for real estate agent training. These include face-to-face classes and courses, online real estate agent training and more. 

As you consider pre-licensing courses, take into account which method is best for your studies. Also, make sure to check the licensing requirements for your state. There are states which do not allow for online studies.

If you decide to go for online courses, there are various real estate schools specializing in online training and exam prep. 

If you prefer (or your state requires) in-person courses or classes, check out the leading real estate education courses in your area. You’ll have to take into account location, time, requirements and more when making your decision.

Real estate courses teach you the requisite knowledge of the real estate industry. You’ll learn about real estate law, modern practices, ethics, and closing transactions.

4. Take the licensing exam

To become a real estate agent, you’ll need to pass the certification exam. Once again, different states have different requirements, so make sure to enquire about your location.

The first step is to register for the exam. Do this by visiting your state’s real estate commission’s website. You’ll have to provide proof that you took the pre-license course. 

Once approved, you’ll be able to pick a time and location for the exam. You’ll also have to pay a fee which is typically between $50-$100.

After registering for the real estate license exam, it’s time to start studying. One of the best ways to do this is by completing practice exams. These exams are in the same format as the real exam (usually 100-120 multiple choice questions). You may find it helpful to form a study group with other aspiring real estate agents or attend a course in your area.

If you pass the exam, you can continue in the certification process. If you fail (don’t worry, many people fail the first time), you can retake the exam after 24 hours.

Once you pass the exam, you’ll have to find a sponsoring real estate broker. Some states may even want you to have a broker before you take the exam. These brokers can help provide support through your first real estate transactions.

Research real estate brokerages and schedule meetings with potential sponsors. Getting a sponsor is a requirement to receive your certification. Once this is arranged, you can submit your license application to the state.

5. Get to work

Once you’ve completed the licensing and certification process, it’s time to get to work. Branching out into a new field can feel overwhelming at times but also very exciting.

As a new real estate agent, you’ll have to decide how you plan to work. Most agents will join a franchise or work with an independent broker when getting started. A broker often has more managerial experience and supervises a team of agents.

To land your first deal, you’ll need to get started marketing, networking in the field and joining professional organizations. Don’t forget to build a website, update your social media profiles, create printed materials to give to clients and buy the appropriate real estate agent insurance.

Choosing to become a real estate agent is an exciting step towards a new career. As we’ve mentioned, the steps are relatively simple, and you’ll be able to get to work before you know it. 

NEXT helps fledgling real estate agents build their confidence 

When you first become a real estate agent, you don’t think about what can potentially go wrong in your business. However, it’s very important to protect yourself if something doesn’t go as planned. 

Every small business needs to have business insurance. We recommend getting real estate agent insurance specifically tailored for your needs.

NEXT Insurance is a one-stop shop for real estate business insurance. We’ll help you get insurance online fast at an affordable price so you can get back to your next open house and helping clients close deals. 

Coverage begins right after payment, and you can access your certificate of insurance immediately. If you have questions at any time, our licensed, U.S.-based insurance advisors are ready to help.

Get your free instant quote today.

Kim Mercado image
By Kim Mercado
Kim Mercado is the managing editor of NEXT's small business blog.
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