You must follow certain basic steps to become a real estate agent, but everyone has to chart their own course.
A brokerage firm and the real estate agent should be a suitable match for each other.
Real estate agents must continue to upgrade their skills throughout their career.
Think of a successful real estate career as a destination. People might take different side roads to get there, but everyone had to travel on the same highway. This comprehensive guide about how to become a real estate agent will direct you to the right road – the one which leads to success in the real estate industry.
This professional career offers countless attractions, benefits, and opportunities. Each transaction is unique, and every client-agent experience is different from the rest. The real estate sector allows for flexibility, professional satisfaction, opportunities for advancement, and unlimited success.
The person most likely to succeed is the one with a passion for helping others to move on in life by either buying or selling their homes. At least 2,000,000 real estate agents are serving clients in the US.
Real Estate Education
There is not a standardized national program for people who want to know how to become a real estate agent. Courses and regulations vary from state to state.
As well, there can be changes from time to time regarding requirements (such as number of courses, etc.) for registering to learn how to trade in real estate. Of course, participants (and their future clients) will always benefit from any additional education they can avail of during their pre-certification period. The more knowledgeable individual makes the better real estate agent.
And More Real Estate Education
In fact, certain real estate agencies have their own specific education requirements. Sometimes agents might have to do an extra course before they are hired by those companies.
Check Out the System
Do a thorough check of all the information offered by your accredited course provider prior to training. Most courses are offered online and in the classroom. Students can choose their preferred method. A financial investment is required to pursue and get started in a real estate career. It isn’t a major amount of money, but participants must pay upfront for training.
Real Estate Knowledge and Skills
Contemporary programs put more focus on creating more practice-ready individuals to enter the profession. Real estate courses can cover residential and commercial transactions, land/structures and real estate trading, and real property law, as well as other topics.
Real estate agents must have an impressive knowledge of the industry, but they must also have exceptional people skills. Modern courses highlight all the necessary components of a real estate career including client-agent relationships, organizational and business skills, and problem-solving abilities.
The 10-Step Process from Pre-Licensing to Professional Certification
An individual must be 18 or 19 years of age (depending on the state), have legal U.S. residency, and a high school diploma or equivalent, to sign up for real estate education.
State regulations for pre-licensing courses differ from region to region. Virginia requires 60 hours of education; Idaho attendees must have 2 courses (90 hours), while California students need to complete a 135-hour program. The usual cost is $200-$300. Some states might waive the requirement for pre-licensing education if an individual has taken college courses in real estate.
Certificate of Completion
After students finish a pre-licensing program, they will receive a certificate of completion. This document is required for their real estate license application.
The Real Estate Exam
Once the student has passed final tests in the pre-licensing course, they will schedule their state licensing real estate examination. Each State Real Estate Commission has instructions about how to sign up for this exam. Often these examinations are outsourced to testing centers.
Sometimes the pre-licensing course provides sample questions, or the Real Estate Commission publishes them online. Usually, the exams (consisting of 60-100 multiple choice questions) are divided into two parts, one dealing with federal real estate laws and general real estate principles, and the other with state regulations. This examination costs between $100 and $300.
Anyone who doesn’t pass the exam can retake it unlimited times over the next two years. After that period, however, they would have to enroll in another pre-licensing course. Don’t be discouraged if you fail the test; it happens to many first-timers – even up to 50% of students in some states.
The Real Estate License
Once participants pass their final exams, they can activate their license at a cost of $200-$400 (approx.) through the State Real Estate Commission website. In order to be eligible for a real estate license, a student must have passed state and national exams and might be asked to provide a criminal background check.
Generally, licenses are not transferable among states, although certain regions have reciprocity agreements and will accept licenses issued by some other states. As a rule, state licenses must be renewed every two to four years. In most states, brokers and agents have to complete further education courses to renew their license.
A Member of MLS
After receiving their license, the new real estate agent must pay to become a member of the Local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The cost to join can vary greatly from an annual fee of $1,136 in the Washington area to $220 in California’s Southwest. This membership allows the agent to view properties before they hit the market, find a property’s tax information, list real estate, and analyze marketplace trends.
Realtor Status (Optional)
You must join the National Association of Realtors® to become a realtor, however, it is an optional choice. The designation adds to an agent’s credibility in the public eye – although there are many exemplary real estate agents who are not realtors. Yet the NAR has more than 1.2 million members, and each one must follow a specific code of ethics.
Of course, one’s reputation depends ultimately on one’s actions. NAR membership does, however, come with certain benefits such as easy access to market data, discounted training, and transaction management services. Members must attend a set number of meetings decided by the local chapter.
The pursuit of realtor status is optional for a real estate agent, but the beginner agent is compelled to work under a supervising broker. Licensed by the state, brokers oversee real estate transactions, and ensure that agents adhere to legal and ethical standards. As well, brokers can provide guidance to the agents about working in the real estate sector.
New real estate agents must join a brokerage; usually, they get paid by commission. Once agents have at least one-to-three years of experience, they, too, can apply for a broker’s license.
How To Choose a Broker
A real estate agent should choose a broker whose approach to the profession suits their own. After all, you need to feel comfortable in your brokerage.
Real estate students can contact a brokerage during their training. They should choose a brokerage based on its reputation, and consider its size and opportunities for additional education. Their instructor, and family/friends/neighbors with knowledge of a specific brokerage, as well as online commentary, can be referral sources.
Of course, their interview with the broker will give them a closer look at the brokerage and help them determine if it is a good match. The agent can ask if they will be working with one particular person while learning or about the client contact style to generate leads.
A Beginner’s Budget
New real estate agents don’t need an exorbitant amount for their first budget, but they must have a minimal start-up fund. It won’t be as high as in some professions, but the budget should probably be in the $1500-$2000 range. That amount includes licensing courses, exam costs, association fees, and marketing tools such as business cards and signs. Obviously, the final total will depend on individual choices and state regulations.
As well, beginner agents must remember that real estate income is derived from commissions. Therefore, agents need to be able to meet their expenses for a few months until they can collect significant commissions.
Connecting with Clients
Once real estate agents are set up in business, they must get referrals and connect with clients. An experienced mentor in the industry would be an invaluable help to a beginning agent. It is impossible to overstate the importance of a good mentor. The new agent will learn the business and gain solid contacts at the same time.
Networking is another key which will open the door to success in the real estate industry. Referrals from family and friends and online contacts can have a steamroller effect in the real estate sector. One satisfied client leads to another satisfying transaction.
The Real Estate Agent in 2017
Nineteenth century French journalist Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr is the man behind the now-famous proverb.
“As much as things change, things remain the same.” ~ Karr
Regarding real estate, certain industry basics will remain constant over the years, but the market is always in the midst of change.
How To Survive a Changing Market
There is available training for real estate agents to show them how to maintain their business in a changing market. Slowdowns (just like surges) are inevitable in the marketplace. The successful real estate agent knows how to survive these shifts.
An extensive contact sheet is a must, and cold calls can be your friend. Real estate agents need the best tools (particularly in a slow market) to generate sales leads. Remember that markets do not rebound overnight; sometimes it can take months – even years – for a market to regain its former glory.
As well, there are seasonal ups and downs. Sometimes it’s a buyer’s market, and sometimes the marketplace favors the seller. There can even be frenzied periods of buying for certain types of housing.
Various factors, such as the state of the job market and a growing or declining population, can influence a local area. The most important goal of a real estate agent is to ride out the shifting tide until fair weather returns to the marketplace.
The Business of Real Estate
Often real estate agents have to review their business and cut expenses and overhead in anticipation of a sluggish market. It is wise for agents to examine their practices at different points in their career. After all, a real estate agent runs his own business for the most part. Knowledge of the proper methods will keep them from falling in a housing collapse and encourage growth in the boom times.
The Modern Real Estate Marketplace
Today’s new real estate agent is entering a social-media oriented and global field. Modern agents face challenges – and garner rewards – unknown to their predecessors.
The traditional real estate agent has to co-exist with entities such as Zillow with its 171,000,000 monthly users. Therefore, a real estate agent in 2017 needs an online presence (Facebook/Twitter, industry portals, blogs, community forums, etc.).
Ultimately, however, it is their own brand built on hard work, commitment, and trust which will allow agents to attract and keep a loyal client base.
People rely on the opinions of their trusted sources. Buyers and sellers want to be aware of your level of experience and standing in the industry. They will definitely ask about the pros and cons of working with you.
That is why an excellent reputation is a real estate agent’s greatest asset. Potential clients need to be certain that you are working in their best interests.
Buyers and sellers want a real estate agent who can offer a stress-free experience and get them the best deal. The choice of a real estate agent is an important one. It involves one of the largest purchases in their lives.
Know your neighborhoods. Often potential buyers prefer a certain section of town, and they will seek out an agent with experience in that market. Successful real estate agents are experts in one or more areas. When the agent’s experience can help deliver the client’s wishes, it is a perfect match on both sides.
Focus on the Individual Client
Besides knowledge about the local neighborhoods, many clients (particularly, first-time homebuyers) want to know about the process itself. Purchasing a home can be a complicated and overwhelming experience – especially if you never went through it before.
Everyone wants a cozy kitchen, but the roof needs to be leak-free, too. Experienced professionals notice details that a first-time buyer might miss on their own. Buyers want agents who are upfront, honest, and committed to clients’ needs – not just their own interests.
First-timers need an upstanding individual who won’t take advantage of their inexperience, or just be concerned with closing the deal. The client comes first with the successful real estate agent.
Real estate agents must possess a fountain of information about varied subjects including financial matters such as loan qualifications, guidelines, and allowed property types, FICO® Score, FHA (Federal Housing Administration) mortgage, Private Mortgage Insurance (PMI), etc. Expert real estate agents find solutions for their clients.
How Much Does A Real Estate Agent Make?
According to data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average income for real estate agents is $45,610 per year. Their research also indicates the top 10% earned $166,940 in 2015. Real estate “stars” can even earn much more than $200,000. Therefore, we can observe that a real estate agent’s income varies depending on several factors.
Since real estate is a flexible industry, however, the results can be very much in a person’s own control. In other words, hard work, dedication, and commitment can pay dividends in the real estate industry, and the results can be seen in your paycheck.
Also, consider the fact that most real estate agents are making an income comparable to a doctor or lawyer without having to make such a huge financial investment in their career. A real estate agent’s start-up could be less than $2000, while the degrees needed for other professions can cost tens of thousands.
A World of Luxury Real Estate
Not everyone will make it in the world of real estate, but most will do well, and more than a few will reach the pinnacle of success. These real estate agents will be the ones with the deepest passion for the industry, most exemplary skills, extensive knowledge, utmost dedication to hard work, and the ultimate commitment to their clients’ needs.
Their specific area of real estate can also be a factor in propelling them to professional success. For example, the luxury sector is the most attractive of real estate categories. Yet succeeding in luxury real estate isn’t as simple as just collecting higher commissions for luxury properties.
Leaders in high-end real estate immerse themselves in the world of luxury. They know the language of luxury, are familiar with upscale design, and most important, they understand the luxury client. With this high-end sector, real estate agents sell a luxurious lifestyle – not just an opulent property.
Beginning real estate agents can enter the luxury sector. There are available courses and training from experts in luxury real estate who can give them the proper foundation to build a successful business in buying and selling upscale property.
A Passion for Real Estate
Real estate is a demanding career, but it is worth the effort to learn how to become a real estate agent. This complex career is a rewarding choice.
There is a lot to learn in real estate training, but a student with a passion for the industry and determination to succeed can handle it with hard work and dedication.
Modern comprehensive education programs will prepare you to make your mark in the world of real estate.