Investing in a Real Estate Career is Worth Your Time and Money
Becoming a real estate agent and broker can be a daunting task. So much so that it might be hard to even know where to begin. We’ve compiled the first basics steps you must take in order to begin your journey as an agent, along with how long it might take you to complete each step. It’s important to be well educated and completely understand what is required of you before jumping into an exciting new career in real estate. Read on to learn about the process.
Understanding the Qualifications
The qualifications for becoming a real estate agent are few and there is a low barrier to entry into this field. You must be 18 years or older with a high school diploma, and you must have your state-specific license, which you acquire by taking and passing a licensing exam. Established brokers looking to hire junior agents will also look favorably on college degrees in finance, business administration, statistics, economics, or even law. But education isn’t the only deciding factor; social skills, good judgment, and enthusiasm are key among the traits that brokers look for in applicants.
Meeting the Requirements
You must complete a salesperson qualifying course through an approved education provider such as The CE Shop. While the requirements to get your license will vary by state, there are some basic similarities. To learn more about the requirements in your state, visit our comprehensive guide here.
Enrolling in a Pre-Licensing Education
Pre-licensing courses are an important step to prepare you for the licensing process. Often there is a specific number of times you can apply and take your licensing test, and if you don't pass, there are no more chances. Pre-licensing courses will also help you to truly realize and understand what you can bring to the table as a real estate agent.
Depending on where you’re located, these courses could be a large investment of time or could be completed over the space of a long weekend. The average time needed to be completed is around 60-70 hours of pre-licensing coursework. In Massachusetts, students must complete 24 hours but in Texas, students complete 180 hours of pre-licensing courses before taking the exam. Be sure to check with your state to learn your specific requirements.
Before enrolling in pre-licensing courses, it’s important to thoroughly understand your options as a new student. There are a lot of schools out there and a lot of factors to take in. Be sure to choose a school that offers you flexibility as many people learning to become real estate agents must work multiple jobs or balance responsibilities. Also, check that school’s exam pass rates. Not many schools publish this and if they don’t, be wary. A poor pass rate means that particular education may be ineffective because it teaches material that doesn't align with your pre-licensing exam. Examine reviews and satisfaction ratings for each school that you’re considering. Hearing first-hand about others’ experience may dramatically change your perspective. For instance, The CE Shop holds a national pass rate of 91% and a 96% satisfaction rate.
Acing the Final Exam
After completing all coursework, meeting the minimum pre-licensing time requirement, and passing the practice exams, you must pass the final course exam, often with a minimum passing score. Depending on the state, there may be a limited number of times you are allowed to take the test, which is why we administer practice exams to help you prepare.
Each state has a different process for your final exam but it typically consists of a national and state section that will need to be completed within a certain time frame (typically around two hours). Your exam may also need to be completed in the presence of a proctor or administered online.
The Last Steps
After passing your licensing exam, you must choose a broker to support you through the process. It is very important to thoroughly research brokers before making your choice. This will be your first big step as an agent and they will be someone who must accurately represent you, and you them. Learn about selecting the right broker for you here.
Once you have passed the state exam, you will need to fill out an application, and, once approved, you will be issued your license - congratulations!
All in all, the entire process of becoming a real estate agent from start to finish might take you a couple of months, depending on your state. For a career that offers so much flexibility and financial opportunity, the time invested is well worth it. Start your pre-licensing coursework now and become an agent before the end of the year!