In this article we will cover the step-by-step process on how become a real estate agent in 2023. We’ll cover the requirements for getting your license, the steps you need to take to get started, and some tips on how to succeed in the industry.
The real estate industry is growing with the rise in the popularity of investment properties and the growth of the internet. It’s not just about the US; real estate has captured the whole world’s attention.
As of 2023, there were more than 2 million real estate agents, and the numbers are increasing with every passing day.
In today’s economy, real estate is more important than ever. The industry provides opportunities for entrepreneurs, small businesses, and large corporations alike. It’s an ever-changing field that offers something for everyone.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the real estate industry was projected to grow by 6% from 2019 to 2029. But the growth we see today has exceeded those expectations.
In fact, the real estate industry is now one of the fastest-growing industries in the United States.
This is why the real estate profession has become one of the most chosen ones in recent years.
So, it’s no surprise that becoming a real estate agent has become a popular career choice. After all, who wouldn’t want to be a part of an industry growing so rapidly?
And with the rise of the internet, real estate has become more accessible than ever before.
In the past, becoming a real estate agent was seen as a daunting task. There were many hoops to jump through, and the process could be quite costly. But that’s no longer the case. If you have the passion and drive to succeed, you can definitely make a career in real estate.
Thanks to the internet, online education schools, and relaxed licensing requirements by states becoming a real estate agent are easier than ever.
So, if you’re ready to start your real estate career, keep reading!
Before we talk about how to become a real estate agent, let’s first discuss why you should choose this profession.
Why Should You Become a Real Estate Agent?
1) When You Are a Real Estate Agent, Every Day is different:
One of the best things about being a real estate agent is that no two days are the same. You’ll never be bored in this profession.
From working with different clients to showing properties to negotiating deals, there’s always something new to do. This variety is one of the things that makes the job so exciting.
2) As a Real Estate Agent, You’re in Control of Your Career:
Another great thing about being a real estate agent is that you’re controlling your own career.
You can work as much or as little as you want. And if you’re self-motivated, the sky’s the limit in terms of how much money you can make.
3) Real Estate Agents Get to Help People Achieve Their Dreams:
One of the most rewarding aspects of being a real estate agent is that you get to help people achieve their dreams.
Whether it’s helping a family find their perfect home or assisting a first-time buyer in getting their foot on the property ladder, it’s an incredibly satisfying feeling.
4) Real Estate is a Challenging and Rewarding Profession:
While being a real estate agent can be challenging, it’s also incredibly rewarding.
The challenges you face will only make you stronger and more prepared for the next deal. And when you finally see a transaction through to completion, all of your hard work will be worth it.
5) A Real Estate Career is an Evergreen Profession:
The real estate industry is evergreen, which means it’s always in demand. No matter the state of the economy, there will always be a need for real estate agents.
This makes it a great profession to get into if you’re looking for stability and job security. And with the baby boomer generation aging and more people moving to urban areas, the demand for real estate agents is only going to increase in the years ahead.
6) To Become a Real Estate Agent, You Don’t Need a Formal Degree:
You don’t need a formal degree to become a real estate agent. As long as you’re at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or GED, you can begin taking the necessary steps to get your license.
7) You Can Become a Real Estate Agent Very Quickly:
Unlike some professions that require a 4-year or even an 8-year degree, you can get started in real estate relatively quickly.
Once you obtain your license, you can begin working immediately under a broker. And if you’re already working in the industry, you can start the process of getting your license while you continue to work.
8) When You Become a Real Estate agent, You Can Sometimes Work From Anywhere:
As a real estate agent, there is no required dress code, no need to commute, and no office space required (depending on your brokerage).
Of course, you will have to get out of the home office to meet with clients but most of your lead generation tasks can be done from home.
One of the best things about being a real estate agent is working from anywhere. As long as you have a laptop and an internet connection, you can work from home, the local coffee shop, or even while you’re traveling.
Today, the real estate industry has shifted more of its day-to-day lead generation and client management to the internet using CRMs such as the Chime CRM , Pipedrive, or the Monday CRM. These give real estate agents even more flexibility.
9) A Real Estate Career Is A People-Oriented Profession:
If you’re a people person, becoming a real estate agent is a great career choice.
The job is all about working with people, from buyers and sellers to agents and brokers. If you enjoy meeting new people and helping them achieve their goals, this is the perfect profession.
Now that we’ve talked about some of the reasons you should become a real estate agent let’s discuss the requirements for getting your license.
How To Become a Real Estate Agent
The requirements for becoming a real estate agent vary from state to state. However, a few general requirements are common to most states.
1. You Must Be At Least 18 or 19 Years Old:
In order to obtain a real estate license, you must be at least 18 or 19 years old (depending on the state). You will also need to be a legal resident of the United States.
2. You Must Have a High School Diploma or GED:
As mentioned earlier, you don’t need a formal degree to become a real estate agent. However, you will need to have a high school diploma or GED.
This is to ensure that you have the basic reading and math skills required to succeed in the profession.
3. You Must Pass a Pre-licensing Course:
Before obtaining your license, you must first complete your real estate pre-licensing course requirements.
These requirements vary from state to state, but they typically involve taking a certain number of real estate courses.
In most states, you will need to complete between 40 and 60 hours of real estate pre-licensing education.
We recommend these online real estate schools for pre-licensing:
4. You Must Pass The State Licensing Exam:
There is no such thing as a national real estate license.
Instead, you will need to pass the state-specific licensing exam.
The exam covers various topics, including real estate law, contracts, and ethics.
This exam is designed to test your real estate law and practice knowledge. You will need to score at least 70% to pass the exam.
Taking on one of those real estate exam prep courses can help relieve a lot of anxiety and stress when sitting for the state exam. They will also help increase the odds you will pass the real estate exam on the initial attempt.
5. You Must Hang Your License With a Broker:
In order to work as a real estate agent, you must be affiliated with a broker.
A broker is a licensed individual who supervises real estate agents and handles the industry’s business side.
Most brokers will require you to take a short course on real estate law before they agree to work with you.
A broker will influence how you operate as an agent, what niche you are in, how you market properties, the resources available to assist you and your business, pay splits, etc.
Now that we’ve discussed the requirements for becoming a real estate agent let’s talk about some of your skills to succeed in the profession.
What Skills Are Helpful in Becoming a Real Estate Agent?
1. Real Estate Agents Need Communication Skills:
Communication is the head of being successful in real estate. You’ll need to communicate effectively with clients, prospects, lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals.
You’ll also need to write clear and concise emails and contracts. The better you communicate, the easier it will be to build relationships and close deals. So, it’s a plus if you have innate writing and speaking skills.
2. Real Estate Agents Need Sales Skills:
As a real estate agent, you are essentially in the business of sales.
You’ll need to be able to sell homes, land, commercial real estate, and other properties.
To be successful in sales, you’ll need to be persuasive, knowledgeable, and organized. You’ll also need to have a strong work ethic and be able to handle rejection.
3. Real Estate Agents Need To Have Patience and Persistence:
The real estate industry can be slow at times. Deals can fall through, and buying or selling a home can be long and complicated.
So, it’s essential to have patience and to be persistent. You’ll need to be able to handle setbacks and keep moving forward.
4. Real Estate Agents Need Negotiation Skills:
Negotiation is a big part of the real estate industry. You’ll need to negotiate prices, commissions, and contracts.
To be successful in negotiation, you’ll need to be assertive and understand the market. For instance, if you’re representing a buyer, you’ll need to know how to negotiate the best price for your client.
If you’re representing a seller, you’ll need to know how to negotiate the best commission for yourself.
5. Real Estate Agents Need Good Time-Management Skills:
As a real estate agent, you’ll need to manage your time effectively.
You’ll need to juggle multiple clients, properties, and deadlines. So, it’s essential to be organized and have good time-management skills.
Let’s say you have three clients who are interested in buying homes. Here you’ll need to manage your time so that you can show all three clients’ homes while also keeping up with the paperwork.
6. Real Estate Agents Need Need Marketing Skills:
This can be learned after getting your license, but marketing is essential for real estate agents.
You’ll need to market yourself, your properties, and your services. There are a number of ways to market in the real estate industry, including online, through print ads, and by word-of-mouth.
To be successful in marketing, you’ll need to be creative and have a good understanding of the latest marketing trends.
7. Real Estate Agents Need Networking Skills:
Networking is key in the real estate industry. You’ll need to build relationships with clients, prospects, lenders, real estate agents, and other professionals.
The better your network, the easier it will be to find deals and close them. So, it’s essential to be a good networker.
8. Real Estate Agents Need Flexibility:
The real estate industry is ever-changing. So, it’s important to be flexible.
You’ll need to adapt to new situations and change your plans on the fly.
For instance, you may be working with a client who wants to buy a home but can’t find the right property. In this case, you’ll need to be flexible and look for other homes that meet your client’s needs.
Now that we’ve discussed the requirements for becoming a real estate agent and some of the skills you’ll need to be successful, let’s talk about the essential steps to becoming a real estate agent.
Become a Real Estate Agent – Step-by-Step
1. Study Your State’s Real Estate Agent Requirements:
The first step to becoming a real estate agent is to study your state’s requirements.
Each state has different requirements for becoming a real estate agent.
For instance, some states require you to take a certain number of real estate classes before you can take the licensing exam. Other states have different requirements.
For instance, some states allow using your real estate agent in other states if you’re already licensed in another state. As if you have New York’s Real Estate Agent license, you can use it in a few states like Colorado, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, and Pennsylvania.
But remember, the reciprocity of the license also has some exceptions as you’ll still have to take the state’s specific exam, and you must comply with the requirements of the new state.
So, it’s important to study your state’s requirements before taking action.
Start your reach with your state’s official website and look for the page dedicated to professional licensing. Also, go through the Real Estate License Law and Regulations (ARELLO) to know more about the state requirements.
2. Complete Your Education Requirements:
The next step is to complete your education requirements. As we mentioned, some states require you to take a certain number of real estate classes before you can take the licensing exam.
Other states have different requirements. But regardless of your state’s requirements, completing education is mandatory to get your license. The good news is that there are a number of ways to fulfill your education requirements. You can take classes online, through a real estate school, or a traditional college or university.
But the most popular and convenient way to complete your education requirements is by taking classes online. Online real estate schools offer a variety of courses that you can take at your own pace. And the best part is that you can take these courses from the comfort of your own home.
But make sure the school you choose is accredited by ARELLO and your state’s real estate commission.
Some schools like the CE Shop, Real Estate Express, and AceableAgent are well-known for offering online courses. For instance, AceableAgent also has its own digital app that makes learning on the go more convenient.
Some schools like The CE Shop ask you to take weekly online classes, while others like the AceableAgent let you complete the coursework on your own time.
All of these schools offer a variety of courses that you can take to fulfill your education requirements.
Some of the standard perks of these real estate schools are:
- They give a Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee; you get all refunds if you don’t pass the real estate licensing exam.
- You can complete the courses and become a real estate agent at your own pace.
- If you buy a package instead of individual courses, you’ll save money
- They offer a variety of courses, so you can find the ones that fit your learning style
Each state needs different hours of pre-license education. So, schools plan their hours of education accordingly.
For example, the Texas package offered by AceableAgent has 180 hours, while the Florida package has 63 hours.
The cost of pre-license education also varies from state to state. But on average, it will take from $100 to $350 to complete your education requirements.
3. Pass the Real Estate License Exam:
After completing your education requirements, you’re ready to take the real estate license exam. The good news is that you can take the exam online in most states.
But before you take the exam, make sure you know the pattern and the format. The format of the exam also differs from state to state.
Your instructor from the school would explain to you the process, registration, and format of the exam.
Usually, each state covers two portions; one for national general real estate principles and regulations, and the second portion is state-specific law.
You must pass both portions to become a licensed real estate agent. The good news is that you can retake the exam if you don’t pass it on the first attempt. But it all depends on your state’s rules regarding how many times and when you can retake the exam.
The fee for the exam is around $100 to $300 for different states. You can validate this information on your real estate commission website.
4) Get Your Real Estate License:
After passing the real estate license exam, it’s time to get your license and officially become a real estate agent.
For this, you need to submit an application and required documents to your state’s real estate commission. The documents may include a criminal background check, fingerprints, and your exam results.
The application fee is around $100 to $200. When your application gets approved, you’ll receive an email with all the details. And once you receive your license, you’re ready to start your career as a real estate agent.
5) Join a Real Estate Brokerage:
Now that you have your real estate license, it’s time to join a brokerage.
All the states require you to work under a licensed broker. You can’t work as a real estate agent on your own, at least for a few years in the industry.
You can work with any brokerage of your choice; there is no restriction. But it’s always better to work with a big firm as they have more resources and can provide you with more support. You can also work with a smaller firm as they can offer you more personalized service.
The commission is also negotiable; it differs from brokerage to brokerage. Having said that, you are going to have a much better chance of negotiating your commission split at smaller boutique brokerages.
What Are The Types of Real Estate Brokerages?
There are three types of brokerages;
1. National Real Estate Brokerage Firms:
These firms are also known as franchise brokerages. They are usually big companies with a lot of resources. They also have a lot of support for their agents.
2. Local Real Estate Brokerages:
These firms are usually smaller in size compared to national firms. They don’t have as many resources as the national firms but provide more personalized service.
3. Virtual Real Estate Brokerages:
These firms are relatively new in the industry. They don’t have any physical office, and their agents work from home. They are also called the Saas houses. Working with these firms has additional benefits as they have lower overhead costs, better commissions, advanced technology, and more support.
Be very careful while choosing a brokerage, as it will have a significant impact on your career. The best way to choose a brokerage is to talk to other agents and get their suggestions. You can also visit different brokerages and talk to the managers to get a better idea.
For example, how their education and training program works, what type of support they offer to their agents, etc.
A brokerage is more like a coach; they will help you grow in your career. So, it’s essential to choose the right one.
Joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
Before we talk about how you can benefit from joining the National Association of Realtors, let’s first understand what it is.
NAR is a non-profit trade association representing more than 1.5 million members, including NAR’s institutes, societies, and councils.
It provides its members with a wide range of benefits, including access to exclusive resources, networking opportunities, and educational programs.
NAR also offers its members discounts on a variety of products and services, including health insurance, office supplies, and travel.
If you’re a real estate agent and want to transition toward a realtor, you should consider joining NAR.
It adds credibility to your profile and helps you network with other professionals in the industry.
When you are a part of NAR, you can use the Realtor designation on your business cards and marketing materials.
To become a NAR member, you must become an active member of your state’s local real estate association (also called boards). You can check the state real estate boards list on the NAR website.
When you join a local board, you automatically become a NAR member.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?
It takes around 4 to 6 months to get your license after you pass the exam in most states.
But it also depends on how quickly you submit your application and required documents to the state’s real estate commission.
It generally takes around 2 to 3 weeks for the commission to process your application.
Other factors are involved, like if you pass the exam on the first attempt or not. Also, if take the opportunity online or classroom-based.
All these factors combined determine how long it will take for you to become a licensed real estate agent.
What Can You Do With a Real Estate License?
When you get your license, it opens the doors to many opportunities.
You Can Become a Residential Real Estate Agent:
A residential real estate agent helps people buy and sell homes. The job duties of a residential real estate agent include working with buyers to find the right home, negotiating with sellers to get the best price, and helping buyers with the paperwork involved in purchasing a home.
You Can Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent:
They are the ones who help in buying, selling, or renting commercial property like offices and warehouses.
These real estate agents earn more commission as compared to residential agents but deals may be harder to come by.
When working as a commercial real estate agent, you need to have in-depth knowledge of the commercial property market.
You Can Become a Property Manager:
A property manager is responsible for the day-to-day management of a property.
The job duties of a property manager include marketing the property, showing the property to potential tenants, negotiating leases, and maintaining the property.
You Can Become a Real Estate Investor:
After spending years in the industry, some real estate agents become real estate investors.
As a real estate investor, you buy properties and hold them for investment purposes.
You can also flip houses, which involves buying a property, making improvements, and then selling it for a profit.
You Can Become a Real Estate Developer:
This is one of the most high-paying jobs in the real estate industry.
Real estate developers are responsible for the entire development process of a real estate project, from planning to construction to marketing.
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career in the real estate industry, becoming a real estate developer is a great option.
The job duties of a real estate developer include acquiring land, obtaining financing, and overseeing the construction of the project.
You Can Become a Real Estate Appraiser:
When you become a real estate appraiser, you will be responsible for estimating the value of properties.
The job duties of a real estate appraiser include inspecting properties, researching comparable sales in the area, and preparing reports.
Can You Become a Broker After Getting Real Estate License?
You can become a broker after getting your real estate license. But for that, you need to fulfill some additional requirements.
The requirements may vary from state to state, but the general requirements are that you should have at least 4 to 5 years of experience as a licensed real estate agent and must complete broker education courses.
You also need to pass the broker’s exam in your state. It mostly covers advanced topics such as real estate law, finance, and ethics.
As an independent broker, you can work with buyers and sellers to help them buy or sell properties without any supervision.
You can also work as a property manager, real estate investor, or real estate developer.
The job duties of a broker include marketing properties, negotiating deals, and managing the brokerage firm.
Becoming a broker gives you the opportunity to earn more commission and also you can work with any brokerage firm of your choice. And as a brokerage firm owner, you can hire other agents to work for you.
Being a broker has its own advantages. You can keep more of the commission and set your own commission rates as a broker.
According to Indeed, the average salary of a real estate broker is $54,800 per year. If you’re looking to make more money in the real estate industry, then becoming a broker is the way to go.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent – Final Thoughts
The real estate industry offers a wide range of career options. And becoming a real estate agent is just the first step.
If you’re looking for a challenging and rewarding career as a real estate professional, you should consider becoming a real estate developer or a property manager. And if you’re looking to make more money, then becoming a broker is the way to go.
Whatever career path you choose, make sure you get proper education and training.
Remember that hard work and dedication are the key to success in the real estate industry. For example, after you become a real estate agent, you could get some real estate designations to stay ahead in your career.
So, these were some of the career options available in the real estate industry. I hope this article was helpful.
Are you ready to become a real estate agent? Get started by finding a real estate school.
If you have any questions, please ask in the comments section below. Thanks for reading!
About The Author: This article was researched and published by Tim Schroeder. As a husband and wife real estate team residing in Florida, Tim Schroeder brings deep expertise with over 8 years of experience as a licensed real estate agent.
Deb and Tim Schroeder have earned numerous real estate industry awards and recognitions. They have been recognized by Orlando Magazine as a “Top 100 Real Estate Professional” as well as earned Top Producer Designations with the Orlando Realtor Association for 6 years straight.