Real estate is an attractive career choice for many reasons. You don’t have to sit behind a desk all day. You meet a lot of interesting people. You also have a certain degree of freedom to control your income and your work schedule that doesn’t exist in most nine-to-five jobs. With this flexibility and autonomy, real estate can be a rewarding career both personally and financially.
To get started in your own career in real estate, you will need to meet the basic requirements. Real estate agents must be over 18 years old (19 in some states), be a legal US resident, complete state-required prelicense education, and pass your state’s real estate exam.
[Learn more about online real estate education courses.]
Within these broad steps, each state has slightly different regulations for obtaining a license. Get started on your path to becoming a real estate agent with these 6 key steps.
1. Be sure you’re right for the job.
Real estate is an attractive career, but it isn’t for everyone. Real estate agents essentially go into business for themselves. You manage your own office and paperwork, generate leads, develop relationships, handle contacts, and meet with buyers and sellers. You must pay expenses, professional dues, and commission percentages to your broker. The most successful real estate agents work full-time hours and are available on their clients’ schedules. Explore the lifestyle of real estate professionals, and be sure you want to continue before you invest time or money.
2. Research your state’s real estate licensing requirements.
Conditions for obtaining a real estate license vary by state. Check your state’s real estate commission website to find a list of the official prelicensing requirements.
3. Sign up for a real estate prelicensing course.
Prelicensing courses are available through local real estate schools, some realty firms, universities and technical schools, home-study programs, and online real estate education classes. Choose a program that has a good reputation, experienced instructors, valuable content, and proven positive student outcomes. Acceptable courses will be listed on your state’s real estate commission website, and you can ask other real estate agents and brokers for their recommendations.
[Browse this course: Your Next Chapter: A Career in Real Estate]
4. Register for the real estate license exam.
You will want to take the state licensing exam soon after finishing your comprehensive real estate education so that the information is fresh in your mind. Avoid delays by following the proper application process in your state. You may be required to submit fingerprints or pass a background check, so be sure to plan time for these verifications, which may take several weeks. In most states, your application must be processed prior to scheduling a date for your exam. Each state will also charge a licensing test fee, so check the real estate commission website carefully for all the details.
5. Pass the real estate exam.
It is not uncommon for students to take the real estate exam more than once before passing it. Your real estate licensing course materials will help you study, but you must take the time to carefully prepare for the exam. Be sure to have someone quiz you, or consider taking an online exam prep course. You may want to choose a prelicensing course that includes exam prep support. Practice exams help you understand your strengths and weaknesses and review essential concepts to prepare for exam day.
[Real Estate is a great encore career!]
6. Find a broker.
A real estate salesperson is licensed to act on behalf of a broker but not as an independent real estate agent. It is a good idea to start finding a real estate broker early in your process to become a salesperson. Your broker and you will need to file paperwork with the state after you have successfully completed your education courses and passed your licensing exam. Then your license will be issued, and you can begin practicing real estate under your broker’s sponsorship.
Welcome to the world of real estate and good luck in your new career!
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