real estate agent

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in 5 Steps

A lot of people are interested in how to become a real estate agent, and it’s not hard to see why. Real estate is an exciting and prosperous industry, and the job can involve a lot of excitement and variety. Agents are able to travel around from place to place, support their local communities, meet lots of new people, and make some impressive salaries in many cases too.

However, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is an easy profession. Real estate is a notoriously competitive industry, and the job demands a lot of hard work, along with many specialist skills such as great communication, adaptability, the ability to cope under pressure, the ability to work both independently and as part of a team, and much more.

If you think you’ve got what it takes and fulfill all of the key real estate agent requirements, you’ll probably want to find out more about how to become a realtor and how to get your hands on a realtor license. This guide will take a close look at how to get into real estate, covering all the key real estate agent requirements you need to get your realtor license.

Why Become a Real Estate Agent? 

First, let’s look at some reasons why you might be interested in finding out how to get into real estate and becoming a realtor in the first place.

  • Money – Salary is always something that people keep in mind when it comes to choosing a profession, and the money you can make in the real estate industry can be pretty impressive. Top-tier agents earn six-figure salaries and there are plenty of truly elite realtors who bring home even higher salaries.
  • Variety – Another big benefit of becoming a realtor and working in real estate is the variety of this kind of work. Every day can be different when you work in real estate, and you won’t feel stuck in the same boring routines or repetitive patterns, as you’ll always be meeting new clients and working with different properties.
  • Satisfaction – Another good reason to get your realtor license is the job satisfaction you can enjoy from working in this field. Buying and selling homes are huge milestones in people’s lives, and you get to help them through the process. It can be really rewarding to work in this way, seeing the smiles on people’s faces when a sale goes through.
  • Ease – A lot of jobs require college degrees and years of education, but real estate is a surprisingly easy field to get into. When you look into how to become a realtor, you might be amazed at how easy it can be. You don’t need a college degree, and all you need to do is fulfill the necessary requirements to obtain your license.

Steps to Get a Realtor License

real estate agent

Now that we’ve seen some of the benefits of getting into real estate, let’s now look at how to become a real estate agent in detail, with the five key steps you need to follow to get your realtor license.

Step 1: Take a pre-licensing course 

The first step for how to become a realtor is to take a pre-licensing course. This should only cost around $200 to $300, but prices can vary from state to state. Regardless of your location, states across the US demand that those interested in becoming realtors undertake pre-licensing training before taking any kind of licensing exam, so this step is mandatory. 

There’s a lot to learn about real estate agents and real estate asset manager responsibilities if you want to get into this business. However, the amount of training you need to get can vary from place to place. Aspiring realtors in California need to take 130+ hours of training, for example, but in some states, you only need about 60/70 hours of training instead. 

The pre-licensing course will basically introduce you to all the fundamentals of real estate, teaching you terms and phrases that are key to the profession, along with essential real estate practices such as appraisal. The course should also go over the legal side of the job too. 

You can usually take these courses either online or in physical classroom settings with other students, so it’s up to you to pick the style of learning that suits you best.

Step 2: Take the licensing exam 

Once you’ve fulfilled the training requirements for your home state, you’ll next need to sign up and take the licensing exam. Again, it’s important to note that the specifics of this process can vary from location to location. It’s wise to visit your state’s real estate commission website to learn more. 

Usually, the exam is split into two sections: one section focuses on general real estate practices and federal laws, while the second section is more about the legal side of realtor work in your specific state. Both of these sections feature multiple-choice questions, and there can be up to 100 questions in each section. 

Some questions may include math, such as working out the tax on a certain property, and you’ll be allowed to bring a calculator into the examination room to help out. It’s also worth noting that most states provide sample papers for you to try out before taking the real exam, so this can be a really good way to get ready and help with any pre-exam nerves or stress you might be experiencing. 

Pass rates vary from state to state, and some state papers are considered harder than others, but even if you fail, you can usually just book another attempt and try all over again. In fact, you usually have two years from your first attempt, during which you can take the exam as many times as necessary until you pass. If the two-year period expires, you’ll have to undertake training again.

Step 3: Active your real estate agent license 

Once you’ve passed the test, you’ll need to make sure to actually activate your license. This is a really important step because without activation, your license isn’t technically of any real use to you and you won’t be legally allowed to start engaging with clients and selling homes. 

To proceed with activation, you’ll need to once again visit your state’s real estate commission site. The process should be clearly explained on the site and you may have to pay fees of anywhere from $200 to $400 to activate the license. 

You’ll then want to join up with your local multiple listing service (MLS). Being a part of your local MLS is really important, as this is the system you’ll be using to list properties for sale and get more clients. Again, there will be a fee to pay for this, and costs can vary from place to place.

Step 4: Consider becoming a Realtor® 

The next step for how to get into real estate is to consider becoming an official Realtor. In case you aren’t aware, real estate agents aren’t technically allowed to be classed as true “Realtors” unless they become members of the National Association of Realtors. So this is something you’ll want to do if you want to use that title for yourself. 

Fortunately, joining the association is really easy and comes with lots of fun benefits like access to discounted educational resources to strengthen your real estate property manager skills, financial management assistance, and in-depth market data you can use to drive more sales. Plus, being able to call yourself a Realtor gives you a lot more credibility in the eyes of clients.

Step 5: Join a brokerage 

Once you’ve fulfilled all of the necessary real estate agent requirements and got your license activated, you’ll need to join a brokerage. This will allow you to legally start practicing real estate in your state. Brokers are a key part of the process, as they’re legally obligated to oversee transactions and make sure that all agents and realtors abide by the law. 

Fortunately, it’s quite easy to join up with a local brokerage, as many pay by commission, so they aren’t really taking any risks of losing anything by bringing new agents on board. From there, it’s up to you to work hard and start selling some homes.

How much do real estate agents make? 

One of the big questions many people have in regard to becoming a real estate agent is about how much money they can expect to make. Well, the answer is that it depends. Real estate agents typically work by commission, so they make money based on the number and value of the properties they sell. 

So, if you’re a good agent working with high-value properties, you can potentially make a lot of money, but when you’re just starting out and struggling to get your first sale, it can be more of a challenge. 

Still, most agents earn pretty well, with statistics showing that the average salary is just over $45,000. The top 10% of agents earn much more, in excess of $165,000, and those at the very top of the ladder can earn millions per year just for selling a few very expensive, luxury properties in high-value areas.

The Bottom Line

Overall, real estate can be a great line of work, with a lot of advantages and big rewards for those who are willing to put in the time and effort to succeed. Follow these steps and start learning more about real estate if you’re interested in giving it a try.