How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent: A Step-by-Step Guide

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, employment in the real estate industry is predicted to rise by seven percent within the next decade. Real estate agents meet different clients, earn a sizable commission, and enjoy the satisfaction of helping individuals through life’s major milestones.

Compared to careers with similar earnings potential, breaking into the real estate agent industry is a relatively simple process. If you’re considering a career in real estate and working as your boss, here’s a step-by-step guide on how to become a successful real estate agent.

Research state requirements

Becoming a successful real estate agent requires conducting preliminary research on state licensing requirements. Your state’s real estate regulatory office website, which can be found with a simple Google search, lists state-specific requirements for earning a real estate license.

Most states list requirements for age, the application process, background checks, educational requirements, and pre-licensing requirements. Some states also have licensing agreements with other states, meaning earning your license in one state allows you to use it in another without earning an additional license.

For example, New York has licensing agreements with nine states. Along with traditional licensing agreements, each state has a unique process for earning a license through a reciprocity agreement.

Take a pre-licensing course

Regardless of which state you live in, a pre-licensing course from an accredited real estate licensing school is required before taking the real estate license exam. However, the number of required hours varies per state. In California, interested applicants are required to take 135 hours of real estate courses, while New York requires applicants to take 75 hours.

From online classes to community college classes, most states provide multiple options for fulfilling pre-licensing requirements. Ultimately, choose the option that works for your budget, learning style, and schedule, and don’t be afraid to be selective when choosing a pre-licensing program.

Pass the licensing exam

After completing the required pre-licensing courses, your instructor will explain how to schedule, register, and pay for the real estate licensing exam. To prepare for your exam, consider organizing your notes in a custom pocket folder or binder. Additionally, invest in a planner to keep track of important dates, such as application deadlines and the date of your licensing exam.

Licensing exams are completely computerized and include two sections. The first section involves general real estate principles and practices, while the second covers state-specific real estate laws. Each section is scored individually, and a passing grade on each section is required to pass. After passing the exam, applicants are required to submit an application along with the required documents and fees.

Join a real estate brokerage

Most real estate agents work under the supervision of a broker. Brokers are licensed by the state to supervise real estate transactions and ensure that their agents follow the applicable legal and ethical standards. Most brokerages pay real estate agents a percentage of the commissions collected from your real estate transactions.

Although working part-time as a real estate agent is an option, successful agents treat real estate as a full-time business and make themselves as available to clients as possible. For instance, if a client asks, “How can I sell my house fast in Orange County?” night and weekend availability can frame you as a valuable resource. Generally, devoting more time and effort into being an agent will have a significant influence over your success.

Although earning a real estate license doesn’t require a college degree, becoming a successful real estate agent requires time, effort, and ambition. Whether you decide to join a real estate brokerage or work as your boss, following these steps can help you break into the real estate industry.

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