Real estate business is one of the most promising and lucrative businesses of today. With people becoming richer and independent by the day, a home, which they can call their own, is one of the first things they look for. Helping people find their perfect home and making money out of it could be an exciting and worthy career. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median salary of Realtors® was $50,000 odd in the year 2017. And the percentage has increased from then. People from all walks of life enter into the real estate world at different stages of their lives. So, if you think this career seems like your dream come true, we will help you give it a shape. All you need to do is follow our steps to become a Realtor®.
However, know that selling properties and real estates to strangers is not a very easy task. And to add to it, it is one of the most competitive industry, especially for the new entrants. Therefore, you must buck up and put in a lot of effort to become a successful Realtor®. On the other hand, you should also carefully weigh the pros and cons of this profession before you go for it. You must know what to invest and what not to invest, in terms of money and skill. We have also broken down the good and the bad of the profession so that you get a better clarity before making any decision.
What a Realtors®Do
Although it is just a rough calculation, for every hour an agent spends with you, she/ or he will spend at least 9 hours average working on your behalf. Unlike lawyers, doctors, and other professions who get paid by the hour, Realtors® don’t get paid until they close the deal for their client. So, they actually do a real gamble, where they can either shoot the bulls-eye or come empty-handed.
Who is a Realtor®
Real estate professionals work by different titles, including Realtors®, brokers, real estate agents, buyer’s or seller’s agents and so on. Although people use these titles interchangeably, when it comes to the roles, they differ a lot. In addition, the requirement to obtain the title also varies.
Realtors® are members of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), which means you have to adhere to the laws and regulations, including the ethical code and standards set by the association.
On the other hand, a person with a real estate license is an agent.
Realtors®arrange selling and renting of houses, land, office spaces, buildings, apartments, etc. for their clients. However, they also do many administrative works depending upon their skill set, client, and nature of the project.
Some of the common administrative tasks Realtors do are:
- Know the local and regional market activity
- Keep up with the real estate industry news
- Go through the activity report, research activities pending, and solid reviews and listings
- Work on real estate documents, agreements, and records, and submit them to proper real estate agencies. Also, file paperwork when and as needed
- Meet with clients, arrange for showing houses, and plan and coordinate appointments and open houses
- Coordinate and network with other realtors
- Create marketing plans for property listings, including fliers, newsletters, ads, and promotional collateral
- Respond to emails and phone calls, and network with clients
- Maintain company websites, social media profiles, and blogs
- Direct assistants or office staffs on day-to-day activity, while concentrating on core activities
As a realtor you will not be just selling homes, you will be in fact selling your skills. You must be the marketing person, the branding person, and the main advertiser of the property.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Being a Realtor®
Getting the career started off the ground
- Good: You can start this career in just a matter of months. You can complete the training (if required) and obtain a license in a very short period. However, the state’s regulation has to be considered.
- Bad: You have to invest a good amount of money, not to forget time and effort. Passing the licensing exam could be difficult if you are not well aware of the complex topics. Also, there is no guaranteed success in this business.
Working as Your Own Boss
- Good: You will be own boss, an independent contractor. This means, you will be making your own decisions, which also denote, your own rules, your own work ethics, hours of work, and set goals.
- Bad: You will have to learn the market and the business all by yourself without any guidance or mentor. You will solely be responsible for generating a lead, maintaining your client’s info, strategizing marketing, planning meetings, and managing day-to-day work. Therefore, you must recognize how much work it takes to become a realtor in advance to succeed in this field.
- Good: Your income will largely depend on the time you invest in your career. It is unlimited – both opportunities and the growth rate. Moreover, getting the appropriate license will help you build your own brokerage in a better way.
- Bad: Less cash in-flow at the beginning. You will be spending more than saving. You must have good savings to begin your career. Revenue conversion will take time depending upon the market condition and your existing relationships. So, there’s no guarantee in cash-flow. Backup savings should come handy in your crisis days.
Working with Largest Transactions
- Good: One solid sale will not only give you satisfaction but also a lot of income because you will be helping people with the largest of transactions. You will be securing people’s lives and the future
- Bad: Transactions in real estate business can be stressful, for both your client and you. Things often don’t go as planned, and that’s where you have to stay confident in your skills and abilities. At all times, you have to make your clients happy and satisfied.
Steps to Become a Realtor
Step 1: Gain Eligibility to Own a License
To gain eligibility to become a licensed real estate salesperson or agent, you must be at least 18 years old, must be a US citizen or the citizen of a respective country, must complete basic educational qualification as per your state requirement, and take the state real estate license test.
Step 2: Take a Pre-Licensing Course
You must enroll in a training program from a certified institution, only then you will be eligible to take the real estate licensing exam. However, depending upon the state jurisdiction, your required number of training hours will significantly vary. For instance, some states like Virginia require realtors or agents to finish at least 60 hours of licensing training, while other states, such as California, the number of hours required is 135.
Things you will learn from the real estate training course include real estate principles, real estate practices, and other legalities of the business. You must look up your state’s real estate commission website to find out information on the licensing requirements. You may also find the list of accredited pre-licensing institutions.
You can take the course online as well, as pre-licensing courses are available in both classroom settings and online. The cost of the training program will not cost you more than $500.
Step 3: Take the Licensing Examination
Sign up for the exam on your state’s real estate commission website. However, you may have to contact a third-party testing center for more details. States usually outsource the examination to third parties. The examination paper entails 60 to 100 multiple-choice questions, including aptitude and mathematics. However, the test paper is typically divided into two: one, general real estate principles and two, federal real estate laws. During your training, you will be provided with sample test papers to work on. You may also find more sample test papers published on the internet.
The exam could be tough to crack if you have not done your studies seriously. However, the good news is, even if you fail in the first attempt, you can take the exam as often as you want in a period of two years. However, if you are not able to clear in the stipulated time period, you must retake the pre-licensing course.
The examination fee should cost you between $100 and $500.
Step 4: Activate Your License and Start Working
If you have cleared the examination, you are but one-step behind in practicing as a realtor. Here is what you need to do to start working:
- Activate your license first. You could do that through your state real estate commission’s website. The cost of activation should fall anywhere between $200 and $500.
- You have to sign up for membership in the local multiple listing services (MLS). This step is must for you have to use their system to list properties for clients. The lists are then distributed to websites. The membership service has many other benefits, including property’s tax information, go through listings before they hit the market and analyze the market trends.
The membership cost varies in each state. It could be anywhere between $250 and $1200. For instance, in the US the lower end membership is offered by California’s Southwest Riverside County, while Metropolitan Regional Information Systems offer the upper-end membership for states like Washington DC, Maryland, and Virginia.
Step 5: Become a Registered Realtor®
You have to become a member of the National Association of Realtors® in order to become a licensed, all-inclusive Realtor® and use the title respectively. Once you become a member, you will be entitled with a number of benefits, such as discounts on further education courses, real-time access to estate market data, offers to transaction management services, and access to wide array of resources that will help you succeed in the business.
Holding a title as Realtor® is one of the prestigious credibility you can have the field. In fact, you can use the title as a marketing card and attract more clients.
Step 6: Work under a Supervising Broker
One of the best ways to start your career in real estate as a Realtor is by joining a brokerage firm and working under an experienced broker. Previous experience will help you legally practice in the industry.
Brokers are licensed by the state, who are authorized to oversee the real estate transactions, make sure they are carried in an ethical manner, and also ensure that the Realtors, agents, and salespeople practice the job by following the codes of conduct and ethical standards laid by the state.
In the beginning, you have to work with a broker. With experience under your belt, you will be eligible to apply for the real estate broker license and become a licensed broker yourself. However, even if you work for a brokerage firm, you will not be receiving any hourly salary or fixed monthly income. All titles in the real estate industry work on a commission basis. Therefore, you get paid only when you make a sale or close a transaction. This is why all brokers welcome realtors and agents easily because they do not earn any loss. Nevertheless, you must select a good broker and learn from him. On-the-job training is extremely crucial in the business. So, make sure you make the most of it.
Step 7: Things You Should Do to Keep Earning
Here are 8 behind-the-scenes things you must do to keep earning:
- Check multiple listing services database constantly to not miss anything.
- Check out new listings and preview properties yourself. Do not depend on clicked pics alone.
- Spend time with other agents in pitch sessions (meeting of local agents, held at cafes).
- Save money before you begin the journey. You have to spend a lot on marketing especially.
- Do not forget to write up offers and counter-offers for they are a very important part of the transaction.
- You must be present during the inspection of properties to gain additional knowledge about the constructed building.
- Shield your client from any kind of drama. Fix smaller issues yourself.
- Finally, keep calm and train yourself to work under pressure.
Hope this helped you in making your decision. We cover a vast number of careers in our website. Do have a look and spread a word.