Becoming a realtor can be both a rewarding and challenging career path. Whether you choose to work for an agency or run your own office, you will spend a great deal of time networking, negotiating with both sellers and buyers, and organizing a significant amount of paperwork. You’ll also need to do this throughout the everyday commitment of helping others achieve their real estate goals and dreams. However, there’s something great about being a real estate agent. A person purchasing a new home feels great. Assisting people in finding their dream homes can be rewarding to the mind, and rewarding to the pocketbook!
General Requirements to Become a Real Estate Professional
There are many things, however, to know about becoming a professional, licensed realtor. Entering this field means that you are essentially starting your own business, so you should have a general understanding of all that is required, including licensing course fees and other costs typically associated with this commission-based profession. Although licensing varies by state, a candidate generally should be at least 18 years old and a resident of the United States before embarking on the journey to obtaining a realtor's license. If you meet those basic requirements, here are the next steps that must be taken in order to become a licensed realtor.
Steps to Getting Your Real Estate License
1. Take a Licensing Course. The first thing to know is your state's licensing requirements, which can be found on the state's real estate commission's website. The hours and topics of study for licensing courses vary by state and are usually offered through local universities, real estate companies, or even through an online platform. Licensing education can be rather intense and challenging, so it's important to enroll in a good, reputable course with quality instructors that are committed to helping ensure your success in a career in real estate.
2. Take and Pass the Licensing Exam. After the licensing course is complete, you must prepare to sit for the state-specific licensing exam. Exam preparation is an ongoing process, usually requiring a significant amount of extra study time outside of class, that you should feel reasonably confident about before attempting to take the exam itself. Licensing exams are comprised of both national and state portions, which you may take together in one sitting or on separate occasions. Once you pass the exam, you must obtain a copy of your school transcript or course completion certificate in order to apply for your license.
As with licensing requirements, licensing fees vary by state. You should also verify whether a background check and/or fingerprinting is required in your state.
3. Locate a Broker. Although real estate agents essentially work for themselves, they are still required to act on behalf of a real estate broker. For that reason, the next step in the licensing process is to locate a real estate broker who will help you complete the state-required paperwork and act as a sponsor during the start-up phase of your new real estate career once you've passed the licensing exam.
It's a good idea to start looking for a broker early in your licensing process. When you make initial contact or have interviews with potential brokers, you will want to find out whether they are well established in the same areas that you will be working in, if they are members of the Multiple Listing Service (MLS, and how many other agents they have working in their office. Finding the right broker is crucial to the onset of your career, so it's important to choose one that you will be able to work with effectively.
Additional Information About Real Estate Licensing.
Taking and passing the exam, however, is not the end of the journey. Like many other career fields, real estate has continuing education requirements that are necessary to keep your license active and in good standing. You will learn about your state's continuing education requirements at some point during your initial licensing course, but it's important to remember that continuing education is key to your ongoing growth and development in the real estate field. Remember that there is much to learn about this career, and it is a continuous process to learn all that you need to know. A strong work ethic, a willingness to learn, a network of knowledgeable people, and a good education will all help you become a successful real estate agent and stay top notch in this fulfilling and challenging profession.