Switching Careers and Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Your Guide to Switching Careers and Becoming a Real Estate Agent

by The CE Shop Team

Are You Ready for a Career Change to Real Estate?

Switching careers can be one of the most liberating and economically rewarding decisions you can make in your professional life. Once you’ve decided to take the plunge, the next step is determining where exactly you want to go and how you want to get there. 

Lucky for you, there are many paths and skill sets that lend themselves well to financial success in the real estate industry, but it offers so much more than that. A real estate career unlocks key benefits, including limitless earning potential, being able to set your own schedule, working largely as your own boss, and building a business the way you think it should run. 

Still not sure if you’re ready to make the career switch? Ask yourself these questions: 

  • Do I enjoy helping others?
  • Do I want to directly benefit from my own hard work? 
  • Do I need a flexible schedule?
  • Do I enjoy working with people? 
  • Do I want to be my own boss? 
  • Am I where I want to be financially?
  • Do I want to start my own business?
  • Am I happy in my current role? 
  • Do I want to try something new and exciting?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you’re likely ready to embark on a new career. This guide will help you take the leap and head in an exciting, new direction. 

Is a Career in Real Estate Right for You? 

When it comes to choosing a new career, there’s a wealth of choices within the realm of real estate. There are commercial real estate agents, agents who specialize in vacation properties, fix-and-flippers, those who love preserving historic properties, Brokers looking to build their own real estate empire, and many others. 

With that said, once you’ve decided to pursue a real estate career, there are plenty of benefits that nearly all real estate professionals enjoy, including:

The Flexibility 

Real estate agents set their own schedules, making the role perfect for those who need to work around their kids’ needs, night owls, early morning risers, or just those who enjoy being in control of their own time.

Helping People Make a Major Life Decision

Purchasing a home is often one of the largest financial decisions a person will make in their lifetime. Real estate agents play a pivotal role in helping make that decision — and their work could benefit generations to come. 

The Limitless Earning Potential 

According to ZipRecruiter, the national average salary of a real estate agent is $82,989 as of November 2021. But unlike other industries, real estate agents have no limit on the amount of money they can make in a given year. They often directly reap the benefits of their own hard work, meaning the sky's the limit for those willing to put in the time and effort. 

The Growth Potential 

Real estate agents, if they desire, can complete education to earn a Broker License, meaning they can hire other agents to work on their behalf. Additionally, new career paths unlock once you have your real estate license. We mentioned a few earlier on in this blog, but you could also choose to pursue roles in property management, real estate investing, and so much more. While many agents start by working with residential real estate, the industry offers a myriad of opportunities for growth.

Joining the Real Estate Industry From Different Walks of Life

Whatever your skill set or background, there’s a niche and an application for your experiences in real estate. Were you a teacher? Then you know which school districts are the most desirable in your area. Did you serve as law enforcement? You likely know which neighborhoods experience lower crime. Were you a server in a restaurant? Then you know where the great eateries and bars are. 

Real estate is a people business, and it takes those from all walks of life to serve clients from all walks of life. There’s no specific background or personality that guarantees success, but honing the following traits can give you an edge:

Check Your Communication Skills

Communication skills go well beyond how you write emails or speak — it’s also how you listen to your clients and how you reflect what they said back to them to ensure that they feel heard. . 

Increase Your Local Knowledge 

Regardless of your background, clients are going to want to know what’s going on locally. What are the school districts like? What restaurants, bars, and theatres are nearby? What kind of recreation is available in this area? You should be able to answer (or figure out the answer) to all of these questions and then some.

Improve Your Ability to Educate

Chances are that you’ll come across plenty of first-time homebuyers who aren’t familiar with the homebuying process. If that’s the case, you’ll need to coach them through the process from start to finish. Remember, some people learn by listening, others learn by reading, and many learn visually. 

Learn to Adapt and Embrace Technology

Like any industry, familiarizing yourself with the latest technology is a must if you want to get ahead in real estate. With more tools than ever, such as social media, Zillow, and services that allow you to host virtual open houses, agents have the opportunity to become more efficient and more effective.

Up Your Knowledge of Real Estate in General

The best agents develop an “always a student” mentality, which means they’re constantly learning everything they can and staying up to date with what's happening in their local real estate markets. 

Time Management Is a Must

Even though you can set your own schedule, how you use your time is critical to long-term success. The best agents have mastered using their time efficiently so they can close more transactions in the same amount of time. 

Practice Negotiating

Negotiating is part of the real estate game. The better you become, the more your clients will benefit, and the better it will be for your bottom line. The best negotiators usually have years of experience, so practice with them or more experienced peers to improve your skills. 

Get Yourself out There

Becoming a licensed real estate agent is usually straightforward, especially if you enroll with the leader of professional education. The hard part is figuring out how to get yourself in front of other people. Figure out a way to tap your sphere of influence (even on Linkedin), network with people like real estate investors, and hone your marketing plan. 

Always Stay Honest

If there’s one thing you can always control, it’s whether or not you’re practicing real estate with integrity. Short-term gains are never worth the embarrassment of getting caught or permanently tarnishing your reputation. 

Did You Know? 

Becoming a real estate agent has a relatively low barrier to entry, especially when compared to other industries. In many cases (but not all), earning a Salesperson License takes roughly four to six months and costs on average $383.16, but those figures can vary greatly by state

How to Prepare for a Career Change 

Once you’ve decided to choose a new career path, it can be both terrifying and exciting at the same time — but nothing worth doing is without a certain amount of calculated risk. Not sure where to begin? Consider the following tips to see if you’re fit for a change: 

1. Analyze Your Finances

Do you have enough money to support yourself if you don’t have income for six months to a year? If the answer is yes, great! You can hone in on your studies and get to work as a full-time agent. 

If the answer is no, great! If you take courses online, you can learn on your own time and make a gradual transition into the profession. 

2. Plan Ahead for Commission 

We live in a world of instant gratification, but that’s not the case with real estate. It takes time and effort to build up your real estate business. Having financial support or starting off as a part-time agent while you work another job is common for people in their first year. 

3. Find a Mentor 

Whenever you’re starting a business, it’s always wise to find a mentor. Real estate is no different. Not only will mentors help you avoid the mistakes they made as a new agent, they can share the real estate habits that made them successful. 

4. Write Down Your “Whys”

A simple but effective way to keep marching is to write down your “whys”. In other words, why are you pursuing a career in real estate? Is it to spend more time with your children? To help improve the lives of others? To make enough money to thrive? Whatever your reasons are, write them down and revisit them anytime you need a boost. 

5. Do Your Research 

Start doing your research now. Our comprehensive Agent Essentials page offers 1,100+ free resources that cover everything from tips for passing your licensing exam to trending industry topics to to real estate technology. We even have a real estate podcast and a whole library of ebooks. The more you know going into the industry, the less you’ll have to fear once you make the transition. 

How to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent 

Successful agents who’ve been doing business for a long time often make things appear effortless, but that’s really the result of hard work, experience, and networking. With enough persistence, practice, and passion, you’ll get there, too. But first, you’ll need to actually become a real estate agent by:

Completing Your Pre-Licensing Coursework 

Each state has different requirements for licensure. Check your state’s local real estate licensing prerequisites and Pre-Licensing requirements. Once you’ve determined that you meet the prerequisites, then it’s time to begin your Pre-Licensing education. 

Taking and Passing the Real Estate Pre-Licensing Final Exam 

After you've completed your Pre-Licensing real estate education, it’s time to take your Pre-Licensing real estate exam. This is the final step in terms of your Pre-Licensing education. 

Studying for the State Real Estate Exam

Of course, you’re still required to pass the state-issued exam. This is often the most difficult step in the licensing process, which is why we’ve created our own Exam Prep study program to help you prepare in the most effective and efficient way possible. 

Taking and Passing Your State’s Real Estate Exam 

Once you've completed and passed your Pre-Licensing courses, it’s time to take your state’s real estate exam. Generally speaking, most students are required to score 75% or higher to pass the exam. 

Completing Your Post-Licensing Courses 

In some states, but not all, newly licensed agents are required to complete a certain amount of Post-Licensing education the year after they secure their license. States that require Post-Licensing education include:

  • Alabama
  • Arkansas
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Florida
  • Georgia
  • Idaho
  • Illinois
  • Indiana
  • Kentucky
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • North Dakota
  • Ohio
  • Oklahoma
  • Oregon
  • Pennsylvania
  • South Dakota
  • Tennessee
  • Texas
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Virginia
  • Washington

Choosing a Real Estate Brokerage 

One of the most important aspects of getting started in real estate is choosing the right brokerage for which to work. All real estate agents sell on behalf of a real estate Broker, but no two brokerages are the same. Take a look at your own professional experience and see how that relates to your prospective brokerage. Do you have a lot of sales experience? Perhaps a Broker offering little-to-no aid and significant independence is more your speed. Or, if you’re worried about making ends meet while you’re in between sales, then perhaps a more supportive brokerage is your ticket to success. 

Regardless, think of your Sponsoring Broker as your real estate mothership. They’ll support you with the day-to-day duties of being a real estate agent and help you launch your professional career. So, what do you say? Are you ready to embark on your new real estate career? 

Ready to Get Started in Real Estate With The CE Shop?

Our industry-leading Pre-Licensing courses are everything you need to get licensed and begin your new career in real estate. Enroll now and get started on your future today.