An Introduction To A Career As A Residential Real Estate Agent
There are probably very few professions, which are commonly seen, yet vaguely understood. One such common and popular profession is a career as a real estate agent for residential properties. Most of us have dealt with a real estate agent while buying and selling a house, and all of us have met or seen our friendly neighborhood real estate agent.
However, there are many who are considering becoming a career as a real estate agent, but have a lot of questions and doubts on their minds — what exactly does a real estate agent do? how does one obtain a real estate agent license? would it be the right decision to become a real estate agent in today's times?
If you are someone who has had these thoughts in your mind for a while, then this article is for you. In this article, we are going to try and answer all these and some more questions, which should help you understand the benefits of choosing the career path of a residential real estate agent.
Who Are Real Estate Agents
Let us start off by answering the most basic questions — Who exactly are real estate agents? Well, the short answer to that one is that a real estate agent is someone who assists buyers and sellers in their real estate property transactions. The long answer to that is an agent is a person who ensures from start to end all real estate transactions go smoothly. Right from getting the property appraised, offering advice to the homeowners on enhancing the value of their home. From getting the property listed and marketing it in the right manner. From helping the homeowner get the right price and handling all the paperwork and legal requirements related to home selling or home buying is handled by your real estate agent.
So, real estate agents not only handle multiple responsibilities for each of their clients but are also integral to ensure that all these above-mentioned key aspects of property buying or selling go off without any hassle.
Career In Real Estate
Difference Between Commercial Real Estate Agent And Residential Real Estate Agent
In order to be a real estate agent, you need to have a real estate license. But once you have become an agent you have a choice of pursuing your career either as a residential or commercial real estate agent.
Commercial Real Estate Agent
A commercial real estate agent deals with the sales and purchases of commercial real estate properties. This agent is expected to hold a college degree in either business or finance, as the knowledge gained would be applicable in their day-to-day deals.
They mainly deal with the purchase and sale of commercial property on a larger scale, for instance, shopping malls, residential buildings, office buildings, warehouses, land, etc. They are also required to undergo a more strenuous mentorship. Their clients are generally large companies and business groups. Their business can get affected due to the economic fluctuations of the market.
Residential Real Estate Agent
On the other hand, this agent deals with individual homes and properties. A college degree is not mandatory for these agents, only the real estate license is a compulsory requirement. They help individuals in selling or buying their homes.
There is more fluctuation in the income potential, but there is almost a constant demand for their services as agents as people are always going to need a house.
Get Started As A Real Estate Professional
Before we get around to the requirements of what exactly real estate agents do, we need to know how can one become a real estate agent.
There is a lot that goes into becoming a successful real estate agent. You are basically running a one-man show, so all the responsibilities have to be shouldered by you. However, if you are someone how has always found the typical 9-5 jobs with bosses constantly hovering over you very unappealing then this kind of freedom to take care of everything from start to finish very attractive in a real estate career.
These are some of the key requirements of becoming a real estate agent.
Understand The Licensing Requirements
The first step is to identify the state requirements for obtaining a real estate license. There is no federal body of rules governing the licensing requirements for real estate agents. Each state's requirements vary, and it has its own set of rules and regulations for this process.
You can either look up the information on the official real estate regulatory websites or by paying a visit to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO).
Clearly verify the following requirements and process to proceed:
- Minimum age of the applicant
- Minimum educational requirements (Usually high school diploma)
- Pre-licensing course hours (Varies from state to state)
- Post-licensing requirements
- Eligibility for the licensing exam and exam details (Exam is in multiple-choice format. The number of questions may vary in each state)
- Application procedures and the fees to be paid (Costs are different in each state)
- Police verification procedure and submission of fingerprints
- Further licensing procedure
Once you have got all this essential information you would have to enroll in a real estate training school and undergo the compulsory training courses for the hours required in your state. These courses would cover all the main aspects of the real estate industry. The course would include topics such as:
- Principles of Real Estate
- Law and Practice
- Contracts and Regulations
- Record Keeping & Trust Accounts
- Law of Agency
These are just to give you an idea about the real estate courses you would be expected to undergo. In this again the state's requirements vary. After finish the course you can appear for the licensing exam and once you are a licensed real estate agent you have to follow the next steps in order to be a success.
Plan Out Your Personal And Business Expense Budgets
The primary aspect to keep in mind is that becoming a real estate agent has to be treated like running your real estate business independently. It is a profession but you are your own boss and as such tasked with handling the costs.
Apart from the initial educations and licensing expenses, you also need to have some money set aside for start-up costs. You would need business cards, your separate business phone connection, a computer, and a dedicated workspace. You may also need to look into getting a vehicle in which you can take your clients for home tours.
So, at the start itself budget for your expenses. You may need to ensure that you have adequate funds for the initial few months, as it will take that much time for you to successfully complete a sale and get the commission. Have A Realistic Income Expectation
It is crucial for all new real estate agents to have a practical income expectation, at least in the initial few months. Most agents set their income expectations that they will be earning from commission too high and are disappointed when they are unable to hit their targets.
In the real estate business the sales do not happen overnight nor do you have a list of clients as soon as you are open for business. So do not be anxious about the initial lower income, you need to dig in your heels and continue delivering stellar service and you will soon see your income level improving.
Draw Up A Marketing Strategy
Like all businesses, you need an effective marketing strategy to get success in this field. The key difference is the fact that you need a two-pronged approach to marketing. You have to market yourself as a real estate agent and you also have to market all your listings. Have a clear idea of how you are going to approach both these targets will help you manage your expenses better and ensure that your expenditures are getting you the necessary results.
We would advise creating your own real estate business website. Initially, you can start off with a simple website and then add pages as you continue to grow and expand your business.
Select A Broker To Sponsor You
It is mandatory for all real estate agents to be registered under a broker and be part of the brokerage team of real estate agents. Working with a brokerage team will help you gain more knowledge and practical experience that will enable you to deliver better service to your clients. So it is necessary to do your research well before about the brokers in your city. Try to find a broker who can help you achieve your industry-related goals. The brokerage house should be of an adequate size that you get a good balance between clients and mentorship.
Look into the support, training, technology, and marketing support that the brokerage offers you. At this point, the commission split between you and the broker under whom you are registered should also be discussed.
Joining the right brokerage and working under experienced brokers will be very helpful in getting a strong foothold in this industry.
Register On A Real Estate Platform
One of the primary issues that most real estate agents face in the initial times is the issue of lead generation. All agents would benefit by registering on a real estate platform such as Dorrmat, a leading home seller lead generating platform for getting real estate leads based in Phoenix, Arizona.
Apart from offering quality real estate seller leads, Dorrmat also provides a professionally branded landing page, which is helpful in building trust in your client's mind. You also get to use their robust back-end supported Customer Relationship Management (CRM) tool, which will ensure that you are always able to keep up with all your clients' various requirements and deliver excellent service across the board.
Join The National Association Of Realtors (NAR)
You would have commonly come across the terms real estate agent and REALTOR® being used when it comes to the real state business. Now when you choose your brokerage do ensure to verify whether they are affiliated with the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The NAR is the apex body of both and one of the largest trade associations in the country for professionals in the real estate industry.
If your broker is a member then only it would be possible for you to get affiliated as well. As a registered REALTOR® not only due use to get the brand name but also get a host of other benefits.
The term REALTOR® carries more value and trust so you are in a position to attract more clients. You also get access to all the necessary statistics and data pertaining to the real estate market. This would be very useful when helping your clients estimate the value and the ideal price for their property.
You also get to benefit from the nationwide group in other ways, as you get to network with the large group of members and get to learn a lot from attending the business seminars and conferences for REALTOR®
We hope that this article gave you an overview of the real estate industry and how becoming a real estate agent could be an ideal career path to professional excellence. Being a licensed real estate professional will enable you to help people fulfill the dreams and aspirations of many people of being a homeowner.
Real estate agents are always going to be in demand under all circumstances as people will need their expertise and assistance when it comes to buying and selling property. Even in a year that was challenging for all professions across the globe, after a slight dip in the second financial quarter last year, the real estate business again picked up, and by the end of the fourth quarter, the statistics showed that in 2020, around 842,000 houses were sold in the country.
To put that number in perspective, in 2019, which was considered a good year for the real estate industry, around 701,000 homes were sold. The data speaks for itself, and we can certainly claim that even a global pandemic did not dull the shine on the real estate business, and therefore deciding to become a real estate agent could be one of the most practical decisions.