Becoming a real estate agent involves certain requirements, qualifications, and an overall process that can be slightly different from state to state. However, there are some general useful things about the real estate license that you need to know in order to be able to successfully go on with this process.
Applying for a real estate license is vital for future agents. It’s an authorization issued by your state’s government and is required for brokers and agents who conduct real estate transactions. An agent who has a real estate license has the legal ability to represent sellers and buyers when it comes to selling and buying properties. This means that agents can list a home for sale or represent a buyer in negotiating the transaction.
Most states require future real estate agents to take a pre-licensing course, pay certain fees, submit their application, as well as renew their license before it expires. The following steps are usually required in every state for people who apply for a real estate license.
How to get a real estate license
Choose a real estate pre-licensing course
The first thing you need to do in most states to qualify for a real estate license is enrolling in a real estate school. You can do that online or you can take the classes in-person and there are a bunch of schools you can choose from. Even if your state doesn’t require you to attend pre-licensing real estate classes, it’s highly advisable you still take them, as they will help you understand key real estate concepts and pass your final exam easier.
When it comes to opting for the right real estate school, this is more of a personal choice, based on your learning style, budget, and schedule. In-person classes for a real estate license have the advantage of a consistent, organized schedule and facilitate face-to-face constructive interactions with an instructor and other future real estate agents. Some states only allow in-person classes for the real estate license exam preparation, so make sure to check if your state is one of them. For those who prefer a more flexible schedule and learning style, don’t want to or can’t travel to a physical school, and are looking for a more convenient option, online pre-licensing classes are a great alternative. Some of these online schools even offer office hours with qualified instructions, which can be attended either online or in-person. The vast majority of online schools have experienced instructors who will help you understand essential notions and answer your questions online.
Certain schools offer additional classes or tutoring in areas that some students might struggle with, such as math. Thus, if you need some extra support with an area that is required to become a real estate agent, look for a school that offers it. Also, it’s highly recommended to choose a real estate license school that offers exam preparation classes.
There are no standard prices for such real estate license classes, but depending on the state you live in, type of school, number of hours, and study guides provided, you can expect to pay between $200 and $1,000 for attending the courses.
The easiest way to find a real estate license school that fits your schedule, budget, and learning style is going on Google and searching for classes in your areas. See which school best meets your needs and make the decision. You can also ask for recommendations from experienced real estate agents, but keep in mind that we’re all different, and what worked for them might not suit you.
Take the state licensing exam
After attending the pre-licensing classes, you’ll become eligible to take the state exam for getting your real estate license. Depending on the state you live in, the exam fee will be somewhere from $15 to $60. Also, be prepared for the licensing exam to be completed in between 1.5 and 3.5 hours.
Usually, the real estate license exam has around 100 questions (multiple choice) that cover both state and national laws, definitions, and principles. The passing score is different for each state, but most of them require a passing score between 60% and 75% for you to earn your real estate license.
It’s advisable to allocate a few weeks for studying before taking the exam. Spend a couple of hours every day for exam preparation and take the prep classes offered by your school
Once you’ve passed the licensing exam, you can get your hands on your well-deserved real estate license. Prepare an official completion certificate (or transcript) from the school you attended together with your exam score copy to insert in your real estate license application.
Pay the real estate license fees and file your application
After you’ve passed the exam (congrats!), it’s time to move forward and submit your real estate license application, test results copy, and pay the fees. The cost of the fees will be somewhere from $50 to $250, depending on your state. Also, you might need to go through a background check for which you’ll have to pay from $40 to $80.
Some state real estate commissions require you to have an E&O (Errors and Omissions) insurance prior to your real estate license application. This insurance protects you, as a real estate agent, from lawsuits and financial losses. The E&O insurance is sometimes sold by your brokerage, but otherwise, you might need to get it ahead of submitting your real estate license application.
Find a brokerage
Once you have your real estate license, you can start working with a real estate broker, practicing your skills and knowledge throughout the first years of your career. Brokerages are companies where you, as a real estate agent will work.
The best thing to do when choosing a brokerage is going for one where experienced real estate agents will be available to mentor and help you. Some brokerages even have special programs through which they train their new agents.
There are three main brokerage types: national franchises (they offer structured training, plenty of resources, and are renowned on the market), boutique brokerages (they offer personalized training and a lot of room for growth), and virtual brokerages (high commission splits, top-notch technology, and low desk fees).
Keep in mind that the company culture is extremely important. Therefore, opt for a brokerage where you’ll feel comfortable spending a significant part of your day at.
Find out when you should renew your real estate license
As getting your precious real estate license requires plenty of work, make sure you renew it on time. All you need to do is to check when your license will expire according to your state’s requirements. Usually, agents need to renew their licenses every two to four years.
Real estate license requirements
Each state has a real estate department or commission that sets specific requirements for earning and using a real estate license. While these requirements are slightly different from state to state, there are two aspects to keep in mind: you must have a minimum age (18 to 21) and to take a final exam. In addition, most states require future agents to be United States citizens or legal residents. There is a minimum of training hours you need to attend before taking your exam and, in some states, you must get a passing score. Education-wise, most states only require you to graduate high school. All in all, the best thing to do is to check your state’s requirements for getting your real estate license.
What to do after you’ve got your real estate license
Once you’ve successfully got your real estate license, there are multiple things to get done. Overall, you need to keep your skills relevant and sharp by keeping up with all the updates. Prioritize developing your education and foundational real estate competency. Plus, don’t forget that a proper budgeting method is key for maintaining this strong foundation.
What to expect as a licensed real estate agent
After you’ve got your real estate license, there’s a challenging, yet amazing road ahead. You’ll have to continuously work hard and always be updated with all the new real estate trends, properties’ availability, and clients’ ever-changing demands. You’ll meet a lot of different people and your mobile phone will become your closest companion. You’ll probably work on a flexible schedule, but you’ll always have to adapt to your clients’ needs. Aside from the financial satisfaction, your greatest accomplishment at the end of each day will be your ability to help people.
Getting your real estate license and becoming an agent is an exciting journey that requires work, commitment, attention, and time. In exchange for your efforts, you’ll be rewarded with the potential of almost limitless earning, as well as the possibility of becoming your own boss soon. If this is the career you want to pursue, get started as soon as possible and make your dream come true.