how to become a real estate agent

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

May 22, 2020 5:32 pm Published by

If you possess good people and sales skills, and are willing to work hard, a career as a real estate agent may prove quite lucrative. The road to becoming a real estate agent varies by state, but all have licensing requirements. These include passing a state examination. Real estate agents are licensed professionals, bound by the National Association of Realtors’ code of ethics.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

No college degree is necessary to become a real estate agent. Candidates must have a high school diploma or GED.

Depending on the state, those meeting the licensing requirements can become agents as early as age 18 or 19. Legal U.S. residency is a prerequisite. Get started by finding out what the requirements are in your state. Every state has a regulatory office for real estate, and that is where you can gather the relevant information.

You will need to complete a pre-licensing course prior to taking the state examination, but the length of the course depends upon the locale. Overall, the length of such courses ranges between 40 and 100 hours, although a few states may mandate more time. In New York, the training course must last at least 75 hours, while in California 135 hours is needed. Most of these courses are available online. Make sure the school offering the courses is accredited in your state. Candidates can generally complete their coursework within several weeks or a few months.

Courses will cover real estate principles and practice, along with real estate finance, legal aspects, appraisals, and escrow regulations.

After the successful completion of the pre-licensing course, the student may take the state licensing examination.

State Licensing Examination

The licensing examination usually takes place at a testing center that administers such exams for the state. The examination generally has two sections. The first poses questions on federal and standard real estate laws, while the second section focuses on state regulations. These questions are in multiple-choice format. In most states, the minimum passing grade is 70 percent. Many states permit a candidate to take the test again within two years if they fail it on their first try. After that time, the person may have to take another pre-licensing course for examination eligibility.

Prepare for the examination by taking sample tests provided by your pre-licensing course, or visiting your state’s real estate commission website. The latter will often have sample questions available.

Upon passing the exam, you can apply for your real estate agent’s license. That consists primarily of filling out an online form and paying the appropriate fees.

Background Checks

Expect to undergo a background check before becoming a real estate agent. In most states, passing a background check,  along with fingerprinting, is necessary before obtaining a real estate license. This makes sense, as real estate agents enter seller’s homes when the owners are not present. Some states do not allow those convicted of felonies to secure a real estate license.

Continuing Education

Real estate laws and practices change constantly, and license renewal requires continuous education. Renewal periods range from two to four years, and the CE requirements coincide with these periods.

Work With a Broker

Real estate agents must work with a supervising broker. Keep in mind that real estate agents work on commission, so they are paid only after successfully selling property. In many states, sponsorship by a broker is required prior to taking the licensing examination.

How to Start a Real Estate Business

If you have an entrepreneurial streak – and that’s true of many real estate agents –consider starting your own business. Starting your own real estate business involves becoming a broker. While some people may use the terms real estate agent, broker and realtor interchangeably, each state has its own definition of these roles.

A broker must complete additional coursework and pass their state’s broker exam. They may then operate their own brokerage firm, either working independently or hiring real estate agents to work for them. Only brokers, not agents, can complete a real estate transaction. A state might require several years’ experience as a real estate agent before applying for a broker’s license.

Identify your business’s niche. Your brokerage might focus on residential or commercial real estate, and particular fields within those categories. These might include condos, vacation homes, or the luxury market in the residential sector, or office or industrial properties in the commercial sector.

How ScoreMaster Can Help

Once you achieve your goal of becoming a real estate agent, it’s critical to have the right set of tools to be able to help your clients achieve their dream home — including the use of ScoreMaster. Our gamified system allows borrowers to achieve their best credit score, assisting both the lender, borrower, and the real estate agent who can then close the deal. Contact us today to learn more.

*Legal Disclaimer – ScoreMaster is a patent-pending educational feature simulating credit utilization’s effect on credit scores via payments or spending. Your results may vary and are not guaranteed.


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This post was written by David B. Coulter

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