The Comprehensive Guide To Becoming A Real Estate Agent
There are few professions in the world that can be categorized as being both evergreen and with the potential to earn a good income. A career in real estate is one of those vocations. By becoming a real estate agent you are stepping on to a long and successful career path.
However, before we take you through the process required to become a real estate agent, we would like to share a brief word on why joining a real estate business even in the current global scenario is worth your consideration.
Why A Career In Real Estate Is Still Relevant
Although the pandemic has left many career paths in shambles, becoming a real estate agent is one of those few career choices that has weathered the storm of even a pandemic. This is not at all surprising given the following reasons.
Surge In Demand For Real Estate Agent
As the markets across the world begin their long journey back to normalcy, one of the fastest-growing needs is a requirement for a good real estate agent. As companies begin recruiting and expanding their workforce, as remote workers start moving back to the main cities, there is a sudden jump in the demand for real estate agents.
Also, a lot of people who were in the middle of sales of their homes or were planning to purchase a home, whose plans got stalled last year, are resuming their process.
The Need For Space Is Always There
No matter what the global turmoil is people are always going to be in the need of a space of their own. Whether a home, or an office, or a storehouse. The demand for real estate agents is always going to be there and there is no limiting the success of a good real estate agent.
Success And Income Potential Is Limitless
As a real estate agent, you are in absolute control of your work responsibilities, your time, and your income levels. This degree of control over your own business, success, and potential income is rarely seen in other professions, which are either fixed salary based or have hourly pay scales. Therefore, becoming a real estate agent is an ideal career choice for those who have what it takes to become a success in the real estate business.
College Degree Is Not Mandatory
To become a real estate agent, you would not require a college degree. Although you can opt for a few basic financial courses, the good thing is to become a part of the real estate business. The sole educational requirement is to enroll in a training program conducted by a real estate school.
Path To Becoming A Real Estate Agent
Think If Real Estate Agent Is The Right Career Choice For You
A lot of young hopeful people decide to become a real estate agent without considering if this is indeed a good career fit for them or not. A real estate agent's day-to-day job requires more hard work and dedication than what people believe.
Most people see the fun-filled side of showing houses to families, helping people achieve their dreams of owning their home, getting paid hefty commissions after concluding the sale of big high-value properties. Now although this is true, these are not the only responsibilities a real estate agent shoulders.
To become a successful real estate agent you must also discharge the following responsibilities:
Carry out marketing and promotional activities to generate interest and attract potential buyers for your listings.
Safeguard personal financing data and help clients price their homes accurately.
Negotiate high-value deals successfully.
Possess a thorough knowledge of zoning laws and financial regulations.
Constantly analyze local and regional housing market conditions to better guide your clients and provide them with good service.
Identify The Age And Education Requirements In Your State
At present in the US there are no national-level examinations conducted for obtaining a real estate license and become a real estate agent. There is no pan nation body to frame the guidelines and rule either. So, the first step to start your career in the real estate business is to visit the website of your state's real estate regulatory body.
The two points you must clearly identify are:
The minimum age of the applicant
The minimum educational qualification
The age criteria in most states are either 18 or 19 years; whereas, a high school diploma is a requirement in terms of education. Although there some states that waive this if the applicant fulfills the age requirement.
Be Aware Of The State Specific Pre-Licensing Course Requirements
You must try and gather information about few other points in the process of becoming a real estate agent. These are Minimum Pre-licensing course hours to be undergone and post-licensing requirements — This varies from state to state. For instance, in Massachusetts, you need to undergo a pre-licensing course for only 40 hours; whereas, in Texas, you have to take a course for 180 hours, split among 5 topics. These topics briefly cover the following aspects of real estate.
Principles of Real Estate — 55-60 hours
Law of Agency — 25-30 hours
Law of Contracts — 25-30 hours
Promulgated Contracts Forms — 25-30 hours
Real Estate Finance —25- 30 hours
Enroll For The Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course
Once you have ascertained the course requirements, the next step is to enroll in an institute of your choice and begin your training. You have a wide variety of options in this regard. You can choose from real estate schools offering in-person classroom sessions/ virtual classes, technical school and universities' real estate programs, real estate licensing training offered by realty firms, or institutes offering entirely virtual training and exam-related guidance.
Opt for the one that fulfills your state's criteria and also fits your budget and time availability. Make sure that it is a reliable and accredited institute.
Appear For The Licensing Exam
Once you have completed your requisite pre-licensing training program, the next step is to register for the test. The test is in a multiple-choice format. The number of questions being asked varies from state to state. There are generally two sections in the exam. In the first section, you are tested on your knowledge of the national real estate principles and practices. In the second section, you are assessed on the state-specific real estate principles and real estate laws.
Each section of the real estate examination is scored independently. That is you would have to get a passing grade in both sections. Your pre-licensing institute would guide you regarding the application procedure and the license exam fees. They would also inform you about the number of times a candidate is permitted to appear for the test.
The passing score also varies from state to state. For instance, in California, the passing score is 70% while in New Mexico it is 75%
Apply For A Real Estate License
After you have successfully obtained a passing grade in your real estate agent license exam, then you need to apply for a real estate license. You would be required to submit all the stipulated documents and any fees to the apex body of the real estate agency in your state.
After all your documents and exam scores have been verified, you will be approved. The state will then mail you your real estate agent license. Apart from this, your name would also appear in the list of names in the 'Licensees' section of the state's real estate website.
Apply To Join A Brokerage
The rules in most states across the US do not permit an agent to start practicing independently upon receiving your real estate agent license. You are required to work with an experienced broker and gain your own practical experience.
When you do decide to join a broker, you could either go the traditional route, which is joining a broker and his brokerage, become a part of their team and learn more from that team's top-ranking agent. This will help you learn faster and you will get wider exposure to different real estate scenarios.
However, if you are inclined you could join a broker who is willing to let you work independently with just the broker's guidance where required. This would have a difficult learning curve initially but in the long run, is as helpful as joining a traditional brokerage.
Consider Obtaining A Realtor Membership
Once you feel you have gained enough experience as a real estate agent, then the next step to consider is to enroll for membership in the National Association of Realtors(NAR). Becoming an accredited member of NAR will enable you to use the trademark title of REALTOR ®
It will also provide you with a host of additional benefits of countrywide networking opportunities with other realtors, access to governmental real estate-related data, further real estate relevant education. This will definitely give a massive boost to your real estate business. You will attract more clients as the title of a realtor comes with an assurance of trust as the realtors have to adhere to the strict code of ethics prescribed by NAR.
Additional Steps To Boost Your Real Estate Agent Career
Build A Profile On Real Estate Platforms
Once you have learned the basics, you should definitely build, maintain, and regularly upgrade your profile on a real estate platform. Although the real estate business still thrives on traditional mediums such as Multiple Listing Services (MLS), distribution of flyers, and to a certain extent cold calling or cold emailing.
However, as a real estate agent, you must evolve and adapt to the times. One of these major changes has been the growing popularity of real estate platforms, such as Dorrmat.
Dorrmat is one of the most trusted and popular real estate platforms. It brings together its long experience in the real estate business and infuses it with technology, thereby bringing together real estate agents and home sellers, and buyers. The key benefits offered by Dorrmat are:
Quality Seller Lead Generation
Robust Backend Customer Relationship Management Tool (CRM)
Profile Creation To Highlight Success
Lead Notification & Lead Capture
Have In-Depth Knowledge About Your Market
It is vital as a real estate agent that you should have a thorough knowledge of your local real estate market. This becomes more vital if you had opted for an online format of real estate training program. It is important to know the ground reality, in terms of kind of homes, average prices of sale, the preferences of people who live in your city.
Apart from this, you will also need to constantly keep abreast of all the amendments and changes in the residential zoning laws and regulations in your city. Knowing all this will enable you to provide better service to your clients. This, in turn, will boost your success as a real estate agent.
Get Your Real Estate Agent License Renewed
Similar to other licenses, it is necessary to periodically get your real estate agent license renewed. The validity on average is about 2 years. After having worked so hard to obtain your real estate agent license you must endure that you do not let it lapse.
However, renewing a real estate license is not the same as filling up some paperwork and submitting it. In order to maintain the validity of your license, you have to mandatorily undergo Continuing Education (CE) courses. The state real estate laws would specify the requirements. It mainly stipulates that a real estate agent must be aware of the laws and regulations that have been updated/modified or may require the agent to undergo a course on a particular topic such as 'Fair Housing Laws'
As mentioned for the pre-licensing course, the regulations for this CE are also state-specific. For example, Arkansas and West Virginia require only 7 hours of CE; whereas, most states average between 27-32 hours such as Arizona at 30 hours of CE.
However, for continuing education for real estate license renewal, all 50 U.S. states require compulsory CE.
If you are someone who is considering joining the real estate business and are thinking of obtaining your real estate agent license then this article would prove to be a helpful guide to get you started on the path to become a successful real estate agent.
It is a challenging and constantly evolving career, however, it is also one of those rare professions which also provides you with a sense of fulfillment because as a real estate agent you are pivotal in helping people achieve their dreams of owning their dream home.