For many Americans, a career in real estate represents one of the best opportunities to make a solid living while doing a job that is genuinely useful. Every year, real estate agents help homeowners make the most profit possible when selling their homes, and help buyers find the best possible deal on a house, apartment, or condo that meets their needs.
But real estate isn’t only appealing because it is a good livelihood — it is also one of the few careers that any self-motivated American with a knack for working with people can switch into without extensive re-training.
Becoming a doctor, lawyer, or pharmacist takes years of training, but in most states it is possible to get a real estate license after completing an introductory course and achieving a decent score on an exam. If you’re interested in learning more about how you can kick-start your own career as a real estate agent, here are the three steps you need to take to get into the industry.
Take a Licensing Preparation Course
Real estate licensing is handled by each individual state, so before you start the application process, it is important to get information about license requirements that pertain to your particular jurisdiction. In most cases, it will be necessary to take a course that will introduce you to the principles, concepts, and fundamentals of real estate law and practice in your part of the country.
In many states, it is possible to take an online course that will prepare you both for the real estate exam and to work in the industry itself. Because each state has different laws, it is important to find a course that is specifically geared toward the state you plan to practice in and has been approved by the appropriate state department.
Apply for your License
Depending on what state you live in, completing the real estate course and taking the final exam may be enough to apply for a license, but states like New York may also require a state exam on top of the course certification exam. Once you’ve passed the test (a minimum of 70% is generally required), you will be able to pay the necessary fees to apply for a license.
Get Hired by a Brokerage
In most jurisdictions, a real estate agents license does not qualify you to do deals on your own. Only a real estate broker can operate independently, and for this reason, most newly licensed real estate agents get a job at a brokerage when they start out. Brokerages usually take a percentage of an agent’s fees, but they also generally provide administrative and legal support.
Once you are comfortable in the job, you may decide you want to start your own business, at which point you will need to pass a broker exam and become a broker yourself.
All of these steps can be completed within a matter of months, and real estate courses are often offered via online formats that allow students to study on their own time. This makes it easy for people who cannot afford to study full-time to study the industry and prepare for the test while holding down another job.
If you’re interested in exploring the exciting world of real estate, find out about the real estate licensing requirements in your state, and start your journey today!