To be a real estate agent, you’ll need to further your education, pass exams at the state and national levels, and find a brokerage which will help you retain clients. That’s not all there is to the process; this guide lists some parts of the real estate industry which tend to be overlooked.

Get your education. Regardless of where you live, you’ll need to take a pre-licensing course. Requirements are different from one state to another; states like California require college-level work, while others require a minimum number of hours of class time. Before beginning, call the real estate commission in your state to find their requirements. Once you become an agent, you may be asked to take continuing education courses.

Find a broker. Brokerages are the offices where brokers and real estate agents work, and you’ll need to work with a broker in order to be a real estate agent. Get in touch with a few brokers before you finish your training courses— all brokers have at least three years’ training, and can help you with questions related to the listing and selling of properties.

When you are searching for a broker, consider its reputation, its size, and any training it offers. Check the brokerage’s reputation by reading online reviews, as well as asking acquaintances who they’ve used in the past. When interviewing a potential broker, ask about additional coursework, level of experience, and how long it will take to start earning commission checks.

Get your license. To earn a real estate license, you’ll need to pass national and state exams. In some areas, you may be subject to a background check. Most potential real estate agents will pay $200 or more in exam and licensing fees, but prices are different in every state.

Have a budget in mind. Becoming an agent isn’t exactly cheap, but it’s far less expensive than many other occupations. Initial fees are thought to be between $1000-$2000, which goes toward courses, exams, advertising materials, and association fees. As real estate is commission based, you’ll need money to live on for a few months while you establish your agency.

Decide whether you want to become a realtor. To do so, you will need to join the NAR (National Association of Realtors). You can do this by choosing an NAR-member brokerage, or by attending a certain number of meetings held by a local chapter.

Build your client base and portfolio. The best way to do this is to find someone who can serve as a mentor, and to do some networking. Most brokerages will have at least one associate who will help you find contracts, and split the commission.  Ask friends and family if anyone they know is thinking of buying or selling a home; those referrals can help you get started. Get a feel for the job by taking someone on a mock tour of a home, pointing out features such as internal oak doors, swimming pools, and walk-in closets.

Being a real estate agent isn’t that different from being a small business owner. Even though you will work with other real estate agents and realtors, you will need funds to cover business and personal expenses while you establish yourself in the industry. It can be hard to succeed in the business — if you do your best work at every step, you’ll be putting up those ”SOLD” signs in no time at all.

Guest article written by Crispin Jones on behalf of UK Oak Doors, suppliers of internal oak doors. Find out more at ukoakdoors.co.uk or follow them on Twitter.


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