You Passed the Real Estate Exam, Now What? 5 Steps to Follow
Congratulations on passing your real estate exam and obtaining your license. Moving through your Pre-Licensing education, taking your Exam Prep seriously, and passing your licensing exam to become a real estate agent takes hard work, sacrifice, and commitment. Now that you’ve finished with this critical accomplishment for your career, you are probably wondering, I passed my real estate exam; now what?
Well, as a new professional joining an extensive network of other real estate professionals working to help buyers and sellers through the process, we’ve outlined the five logical steps to take after obtaining your license:
Create a Timeline
In real estate, if you don't sell property, you won't generate any income. During the early stages of your career, it is crucial to set a timeline for everything you want to achieve. Create your timeline to cover specific goals that can be achieved in both the short- and long-term periods. You can choose a timeline covering your first five years in the profession or go for a shorter yearly option.
In the vein of planning out your next steps, it is important to consider that some states require Post-Licensing education to be completed after you obtain your license. Factor any such additional education requirements into your timeline to keep yourself accountable and prepared as you set out on this exciting professional journey.
Establish a Budget
Having a budget from the start of your career is one of the most incredible things you can do to set yourself up for future success. Depending on the kind of real estate you are looking to specialize in, consider your projected annual revenue in your calculations as well. Once you have an idea of your yearly income, determine your preferred work environment. Will you be comfortable working from a home office or prefer a luxe office in an up-market location? Do you plan to hire office staff such as administrative assistants in the future? Are you considering hiring a marketing company for your marketing efforts? These factors and others will influence how you structure your budget.
If you plan to work in an office outside your home, you will have to budget for the cost of transportation, rent, salaries, office equipment, and other operational costs. When creating a budget, it is a good idea to meet with a professional in the industry or an accountant who can help you navigate and anticipate your needs in this business. You can also leverage professional budgeting apps such as QuickBooks to help you get through the process quickly.
Here are some budgeting items you should consider:
- Office rental: the average cost for office space by square foot in the U.S. is between $8-$23
- Transportation: varies depending on the distance driven and mode of transportation; plan to save at least $5,000 for your down payment
- Website: may cost anything between $2000 to $3000 annually for design, hosting, and upkeep. If you are low on budget, you can opt for platforms such as Placester that enables you to create a real estate website for free
- Membership to a professional group within the industry: may cost an upward of $200 per year. Participating in a professional real estate association will help you to gain exposure and boost your marketing efforts while you network with your peers
Ask established industry professionals about their first year as a real estate agent so that you can learn firsthand from their experience. Consider asking which areas they recommend you prioritize and see if they can help you better understand your local market. Come prepared with some questions, but let the conversation flow naturally.
Build a Professional Online Presence
Creating a website is crucial, but your work doesn’t stop there. In today's highly competitive business environment, having a professional (and active) presence on social media will set you apart from other agents and help potential clients find you. A 2017 Real Estate In Digital Age Survey conducted by the National Association Of REALTORS® found that over 95% of potential customers use the internet to buy or sell homes. If you are looking to enhance your online presence, we recommend focusing on two key areas: your own professional website and your social media presence.
You want these sites to capture who you are, what you do, and what sets you apart from your colleagues to encourage potential clients that you’re the real estate agent ready to handle their needs. If you need more information about how to build your online presence, check out our free ebook for all the tips and tricks you need to create a killer website that will boost your lead generation efforts. And if you’re feeling unsure, even after enjoying our ebook, remember that there’s no shame in hiring a professional to manage your online presence.
Network with Other Real Estate Professionals
There are myriads of professional organizations within real estate to help you connect, network, and increase the knowledge you have of the industry. Ask industry professionals for advice so that you can learn firsthand from their experience of becoming an established agent and what they may have done differently as a new agent. And don’t stop there: Building robust professional connections with experienced agents is crucial for your career growth. Professional real estate organizations will also allow you to keep up with any changes to the industry.
Some reputable organizations to get you started to include:
- The Institute Of Real Estate Management
- National Association of REALTORS®
- National Council Of Real Estate Investment Fiduciaries
- U.S. Green Building Council
- Society Of Industrial And Office Realtors
- Urban Land Institute
Join a Brokerage
You will need to join a brokerage firm first before you are allowed to take on the property world. State law outlines that newly licensed real estate agents must work under the guidance, tutelage, and protection of a real estate broker. The ideal brokerage firm you choose must boast of knowledge and experience that can help you build a successful career. The brokers should have a solid reputation in your community and should have an established Continuing Education program. You should also consider the broker's specialty and determine their areas of focus, such as selling or buying, commercial or residential, sales, or leasing. Notably, the prices of the properties being bought or sold will determine the amount you receive when working with a broker.
Every newly minted real estate agent looking for success must be prepared to take the recommended journey through the industry. Now that you have the tips to get you started, begin building a strong foundation for a thriving and fruitful career. Should you need help at any stage of your career, don't hesitate to contact The CE Shop. We offer an innovative and results-driven learning experience to help realize your real estate agent goals from start to finish.