How to Become a Real Estate Agent
Becoming a real estate agent is something that many people consider at various points in their life. Some are drawn toward a career change where they will have more autonomy over their work, some are excited about the prospect of developing relationships and helping clients find their dream homes, and others are excited about the potential for success. Whatever your reasons for becoming a real estate agent are, it is important to understand the process before you get started.
Determine if Real Estate is Right for You
The first step in becoming a real estate agent is determining if, in fact, becoming a real estate agent is the right choice for you. Real estate agents work for themselves, and that means handling your own office management, finding leads, developing relationships, managing contacts, and more. It requires a commitment driven person who is not simply looking for a hobby or what they think is an easy way to make a living. Real estate can be an extremely rewarding and fulfilling career, but it is important to understand if it is the right path. Reach out to local agents and ask questions about what their day-to-day work is like. Many agents will be happy to speak with you honestly about their experiences, successes, and struggles.
Understanding the Requirements for Becoming a Real Estate Agent
Every state has their own licensing process for becoming a real estate agent. The regulations are generally similar, and you will be able to find the basic requirements to become a licensed real estate agent are:
- Meet the age requirement in your state. (usually 18 or 19)
- Have legal US residency.
- Complete the required pre-license education in your state (135 hours is common and can be completed online in most cases)
- Pass the state real estate exam.
- Complete the application for the license, including fingerprints, a background check, and fee payments.
Taking the Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent
The real estate licensing education is comprehensive and can be difficult. It will include real estate principles and real estate practice, and can also include education on appraisal, property management, finance, legal aspects of real estate, business law, principles of escrow, and understanding mortgages. The institution you choose for your real estate education will work with you to ensure that you are prepared to take and pass the required exam. It is usually recommended that you take practice exams to measure your strengths and weaknesses prior to taking the exam. Your school will also make sure you understand the timing of the exam. In some cases, you will need to wait several weeks after completing your course work before you can sit for the exam and may need to have your fingerprinting and background check done prior to the exam.
After passing the exam, you will be licensed to act on behalf of a broker, not independently. Find a real estate broker early in the process, before taking the exam, because this broker will also need to complete the final paperwork for your license. It may take some time before you are working independently.
For the right person, becoming a real estate agent can be the beginning of a fulfilling and successful journey. Real estate can be a great first career as well as a smart move later in life. However, that doesn’t mean that it is a simple path. Taking the time to research the requirements and whether real estate is right for you is a good first step. We’d love to talk with you further about your plans to become a real estate agent. We’re always on the lookout for talented agents to join us. Contact Amberwood Real Estate to learn more.