Become A Real Estate Agent

Have you ever considered becoming a real estate agent? Find out the steps involved and how to expand your real estate career.

A lot of people want to pursue careers in real estate. In fact, approximately 17,000 Americans per month search on Google for information on becoming a real estate agent. It is easy to understand why, since being a real estate agent has many perks.  For example, there is almost unlimited commission-based earning potential. If you are a real estate agent, you can also opt to work on your own, allowing you to set your own hours. Becoming a real estate agent also gives you the opportunity to help people. You can enjoy a sense of accomplishment each time you connect clients with the properties of their dreams.

Another thing that is appealing about real estate is it takes less time to become a real estate agent than it does to break into many other professions. Therefore, it is easy to get started quickly. Although, you do need to understand the process and have a clear plan. It is important to understand real estate licensing and training procedures, as well as the types of real estate jobs you can do once you are licensed. Below, you can learn how to become a real estate agent.

Meeting State Real Estate Agent Requirements

The first hurdle to obtaining a real estate license is meeting your state's age requirements. In the United States, you can work as a real estate agent no matter what state you reside in, if you are at least 19 years of age. Some states allow you to do so when you are only 18 years of age. You do not need to hold a degree to work in real estate in any U.S. state. However, some states do require you to have a GED or high school diploma. Most states also require you to pass a criminal background check to get a real estate license.

Types of Real Estate Agent Jobs

After meeting state requirements, you can pursue a real estate licenses, but you must choose the type of real estate agent job you want, first. There are several options from which to pick. Each type of license allows you to perform a different task relating to buying or selling real estate. They are: 

  • Buying Agent – A buying agent finds properties for potential home buyers.

  • Selling Agent – A selling agent helps home sellers to list and sell their properties.

  • Dual Agent – A dual agent has the certifications needed to represent buyer and seller interests during the same real estate transaction.

  • Realtor – A realtor holds a specific credential given by the National Association of Realors. A certified realtor is able to view more property listings than other agents. He or she is also held to higher ethical standards. Therefore, the services of a certified realtor are often in higher demand.

  • Broker – A broker is a real estate agent who typically has many years of experience and has chosen to continue his or her education at an advanced level. A broker often owns and oversees an entire firm of real estate agents. 

Average Salary for Real Estate Agents

Using data collected in 2020, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) lists the average salary of a real estate agent as approximately $51,000 per year. However, the amount you can make as a real estate agent depends on multiple factors, such as they types of real estate licenses you hold. Your geographic location can also impact your salary. According to the popular website ZipRecruiter, agents in the state of Washington have the highest average salaries. Agents in North Carolina have the lowest average salaries.

Real Estate Licensing Costs

On average, getting a real estate license costs approximately $400 for the licensing process itself. However, fees do vary by state. You must pay portions of the fee in your state for each step of the licensing process. The steps included are typically: 

  • Paying the Application Fee

  • Submitting to a Criminal Background Check

  • Paying to Take the Real Estate Exam Required in Your State

  • Paying for the License if You Pass the Exam

You must also consider additional costs not related to the exam itself when examining real estate licensing costs. For example, you must complete a certain amount of credit hours of classes from accepted sources in your state. Some states set the minimum requirement at 75 hours of training. Others have other limits. For example, Colorado requires 168 hours of training. Longer courses typically cost more money. You may also opt to pay a fee to join the National Association of Realtors after becoming licensed. 

Free Resources for Real Estate Education

To avoid wasting money on your real estate education, consider using free resources to study real estate before signing up for required paid courses in your state. There are many free online classes, seminars, practice exams and more you can use to gain the basic knowledge that will lay the foundation for your real estate training. Some are generalized. Others are tailored to students studying real estate in specific U.S. states. Here are some of the best free resources:

Consider also exploring free resources relating to supportive skills. For example, as a real estate agent you may want a website. A course in website design may prevent you from having to hire someone to build it for you. Similarly, classes in negotiations, public speaking, bookkeeping etc. may also help you start your own real estate business. 

Where to Find Real Estate Jobs

After receiving your real estate license, or licenses, the final hurdle is finding a job. Finding a real estate job that suits your skills and desires may take a little time. One option is to start your own real estate practice. However, you may want to join an established firm to get some experience before tackling the chore of running your own real estate business. If so, you can easily find open real estate agent positions online via websites like Indeed. You can also apply directly to large firms with multiple branches, such as RE/MAX or Century 21. Such firms almost always have open positions.