Being a realtor means your life is never boring. There will always be a new challenge to face, new customers to find, and interesting buyers to convince. Plus, it’s an incredibly competitive market, which forces players to constantly up their game if they want to stay relevant. And, you get to use some pretty amazing gadgets and tech tools while also creating a strong and reliable professional network you can fall back on in times of need.
Of course, being a successful real estate agent comes with some really nice perks plus a nice commission for each successful sale. So, if you feel it’s time to make a career change, and you want to try your chances in the real estate market, here are the steps you need to take:
#1: Check the Requirements
It doesn’t take much to start on the road to becoming a real estate agent, but there are some basic requirements everyone needs to meet. While there may be a few extra requirements from one state to another, everywhere in the country you will be asked to:
Be at least 18 or 19 years old
Have a diploma or a GED (at least high school education)
Side note: Even though no jurisdiction requires a college degree, it can be helpful in this field. College education teaches you about business administration, marketing, accounting, and communications, which are all disciplines you’ll need as a real estate agent.
#2: Understand the Legal Framework
Before you make the decision to become a real estate agent or broker, do a bit of reading on the legal environment. Real estate agents are considered self-employed individuals and they need to become brokers if they want to work independently. Otherwise, agents must collaborate with a broker who understands the key elements of real estate compliance.
Therefore, it’s important to understand what it’s required of you as both an agent and a broker.
#3: Complete your Education
Before you can call yourself a realtor, you have to complete your education in the field. This means you’ll have to enroll in a real estate course (recognized by your state) and complete between 40 and 300 classroom hours (online or in-person).
Quick note: choose a reliable educational platform for your course. For this, check reviews from former students and their level at the exam.
#4: Background Check
Before you can apply for the real estate exam to become a licensed realtor, you will have to pass a background check. Each state has different requirements, but in most cases, you will have to provide a criminal record and a fingerprint check.
#5: The Exam
If you complete the requested classroom hours and pass the background check, you will be allowed to take the real estate exam and get your license (if you pass).
Keep in mind that the exam experience is different from state to state, but you should expect two main sections:
National section: topics about managing and selling property plus financial and professional responsibilities.
State section: real estate laws and regulations valid within your state.
#6: Find a Brokerage
As a real estate agent, you are a licensed professional who can manage and facilitate the buy/sell/rental of the properties your customers want to put on the market. However, you cannot cash in your commission as an individual. For this, you will need a broker, with a real estate firm, who can release invoices and mitigate transactions.
Therefore, once you are fresh out of school and ready to start your on-the-job training, the next step is to look for a broker willing to train you.
#7: Study the Market
The first few months of your life as a licensed & hired real estate agent will be spent learning the market and the tools of the trade. This time is crucial as it sets the basis for your further life in this niche, so make sure to pay attention.
Start by learning the listings in the neighborhood and easily expand your reach as you learn. Also, learn how to work with your broker’s Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and online platforms - these are going to become your main tools.
Keep an eye on market trends and understand how each property is evaluated and the elements that create maximum value in your area. When the time comes and you will be the one meeting customers, you will be able to offer valuable insight based on these data.
#8: Climb the Ranks
As you gain more experience, you will have more chances to prove your worth in this industry. It’s not easy and it takes a lot of research and self-improvement, but it is worth it, both from a professional satisfaction and financial perspective.
You may also have to apply for several professional certifications that provide weight and reinforce your reputation. Plus, there are a few exclusivist clubs that provide support and guidance for ambitious realtors.
In summary, life as a real estate agent is a life-long journey of self-discovery and self-improvement.