Why Become a Real Estate Agent?

Working as a real estate agent offers a wide variety. With different clients and in different homes, you won’t be doing the same thing every day. You can meet and work with a large number of people, be your own boss, and enjoy helping buyers and sellers at one of the most important stages in your life. Money can be good too. The average salary for a real estate agent is about $ 48,930 per year, according to 2019 data (the most recent available) from the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. For real estate brokers looking for additional education, testing, and experience, that figure rises to $ 59,720. Overall, the top 10% of agents earned over $ 111,800 in 2019, and some agents earn much more.

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Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

If you want to become a real estate agent, you need to invest money and time in advance, both of which depend on where you get your license. While the specific requirements vary from state to state, here is a general outline of how to become a real estate agent.

Step 1: Explore Your State’s Needs

Estimated cost: free

There is no national real estate license, so you must meet your state’s unique licensing requirements. A good place to start your research is on your state’s Real Estate Regulatory Authority website, which you can find by searching for “[your state] Real Estate Regulatory Authority” or by visiting the Association of Real Estate Licensing Officers.

Each state usually has specific requirements for:


Education requirements (e.g. high school diploma or GED)

Pre-license courses and post-license requirements

Exams and eligibility

Application process and fees

Background verification and fingerprinting

Continuing education

How to get to the next licensing level

Reporting a criminal history

Some states have reciprocal licensing agreements with other states, which means you can get a license in one state and use it in another without having to go through additional licensing examinations.

New York, for example, has a reciprocity with nine states (some states have broker-only reciprocity): Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.

Step 2. Take the pre-licensing course

Estimated cost: $ 350 +

Regardless of where you live, you must complete a pre-licensing course at an accredited real estate licensing school before taking the real estate license exam. Most states offer several ways to meet pre-licensing course requirements, including online classes, regular real estate schools, and community college classes. You may be able to save money (and time) by enrolling in one type of class program rather than another, so it’s worth shopping around exclusive property in malta .

Choose a method that suits your learning style and schedule. Also, do your research and be selective when it comes to choosing a program. The quality of instructors and materials will affect your preparation for the exam.

Step 3. Take the licensing exam

Estimated cost: US $ 100–300.

Your instructor should specify the schedule, enrollment, and payment method for the licensing exam (if not, visit your state’s real estate commission website).The exams are computerized and have two parts: a national section on general real estate principles and practices, and a state specific section on your state’s real estate laws. Exams are conducted in a multiple-choice format, and the number of questions and the time allowed for the exam varies by state.

Each section is assessed separately and you must have a passing score in both sections to complete. If you fail one or both sections, you will have the opportunity to retake the exam. Each state has its own rules regarding the number of retakes, the waiting time between exams, and the deadline for completing any retakes.

Step 4. Activate your real estate agent license

Estimated cost: $ 200-400.

When you pass the exam, it is time to submit your application and all required paperwork and fees to your state’s real estate agency.

When your application is approved, the state will mail you a real estate license certificate and your name will be searchable in the licensees section of its website. Keep in mind that you are not allowed to work as a real estate agent until your license is issued by a government real estate agency, so wait until you have this license in your hands.

Step 5: consider becoming a realtor

Estimated cost: $ 185

Many people use the terms “real estate agent” and “realtor” interchangeably, but in reality they are different.

While both are licensed to assist buyers and sellers throughout the real estate transaction process, realtors are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and adhere to its strict code of ethics.

Although membership is optional, being a real estate agent can increase your credibility as a real estate agent. As a realtor, you will also have access to a range of benefits, including:

Business Tools

Data, research and statistics of the real estate market

Learning Opportunities

Discount programs designed to help you succeed in business

For example, realtors have access to the Realtors Real Estate Resource (RPR), the largest online database of real estate in the United States, based on publicly available records and appraisal information. It includes zoning information, permits, mortgage and liens data, schools, and a large foreclosure database.

Step 6. Join a Real Estate Broker

Estimated cost: US $ 25–500 per month.

As a real estate agent, you work under the direction of a supervisory broker who is licensed by the government to supervise real estate transactions and makes sure that you (and other real estate agents) comply with the necessary legal and ethical standards. Typically, you will not receive an hourly wage. Instead, the brokerage company will likely pay you a percentage of the commissions it collects on your real estate transactions.

Depending on the arrangement with your broker, you may have to pay office fees, technical fees (for example, for your website), business cards, marketing materials, and other normal business costs. You will also have other one-time and recurring costs such as annual license renewals, continuing education, safe fees, and membership of the Multiple Listing Service.

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