Qualifications Needed to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

It’s an exciting time to become a real estate agent. The housing market is coming back, and in many areas is back to pre-recession levels. The recession dampened new home building, so inventories are low. Sellers are looking for good agents to represent them and find the right buyer for their house. If you’ve decided to join this dynamic field, there are some things you should know to be ready to join.

First, not every agent is a realtor, but every realtor is a real estate agent. Confused? It has to do with joining a brokerage that is part of the affiliated network. Then you also have to attend chapter meetings and join the National Association of Realtors. NAR members hold to a codified standard of ethics. Anyone buying a home from an NAR member can be assured of a fair process.

Another professional organization to think about joining is the National Association of Real Estate Brokers, designed to help minorities especially.

Next, there are courses you have to take in order to qualify to take the real estate agent certification exam. These vary depending on your home state. In California, for instance, you have to take at least eight specified college courses or the equivalent. Other states base their education standards on the number of hours of training you take. Each state should have a website you can check to see exactly what you need to do.

You might have some additional courses you will need to take depending on the agency. Once you are done with your courses, you will need to take a state exam, and possibly a national one, too. Be prepared – these tests are not cheap. Expect to pay about $200, but like the courses required, this does vary by state.

Be prepared to go through a background check. Convictions of certain crimes may mean you will be denied a real estate agent license.

Some states will allow a transfer of a bar license to a real estate license with minimal or no extra courses. They just require some practical experience, often two years.

Next, it’s time to choose a brokerage. This is your home office, and it’s required that you are affiliated with one in order to be a real estate agent. Brokers have gone through even more training, and they can help you with information to get started. They also can assist you with listing homes, which can be a big help when starting out.

You should have a guidance counselor or instructor at your education center who can help you find a good brokerage. Some other things to consider are the size of the brokerage, do they have a mentor program, will they help you find your first customers, and how do they pay their commissions?

Next, consider your budget. You will need to have area turkey  enough money to get started with, so plan on costs for your courses, exam fees, advertising, and professional dues. You will also want to have enough in your bank to pay for your living expenses for a while, since it may take a few months to start earning commissions.

If you end up moving to another state, you will want to research the laws of your new state. That way, you can try to get ahead on your training requirements if you have the time.

It’s a lot to think about and plan for, but a career as a real estate agent can be both rewarding and lucrative. We encourage you to check with your state to confirm what the requirements are, and then to go for it!