How To Become A Real Estate Agent
Table of Contents
Today you’re going to learn EXACTLY what you need to do in order to become a real estate agent. In fact, these 5 steps will help you get jump started into becoming an agent within a few months. You can jump right in with our table of contents:
- Review the Real Estate Licensing Regulations for the State of California
- Real Estate License Necessities
- Pre-licensing Course and Coursework Explained
- Register to take the Real Estate Licensing Exam
- Taking the California Real Estate Licensing Exam (Use this Tip to Pass on Your 1st Attempt)
Few career choices are easy to make. Likewise, navigating the path to the career of your choice can be tricky. The process can also differ from state to state. If you’re sitting there thinking about getting into real estate, then this guide is specifically designed for you. We’re going to take a look at what you need to know before you become a real estate industry agent and examine the requirements.
We’re also going to discuss exactly what you’ll need to do in order to reach your career goal if you live in California – including the license exam, online school options, real estate education, and continuing education requirements. All of the questions you wondered about will be answered here, and we’re going to try to make that career path a little less bumpy.
So, You Think You’re Ready to Become a Real Estate Agent?
Real estate, when looking in from the outside, can seem like the ideal fast track to the good life. While it’s true that some careers offer the prospect of massive financial rewards, the path to thatplace will often require effort if you’re going to negotiate it successfully.
The truth of it is. Making money is hard to do – even if it seems easy at times by looking at social media.
You’ll also find that most career paths which offer high earnings get built upon a very steep learning curve and that the journey to the top is a long one. The track can get more challenging to scale, the closer you get to the top. People who are great at their jobs don’t get there effortlessly.
It’s essential to stay motivated on bad days and to keep reaching for the top. One of the most important things to keep in mind if you’re thinking about a new career in real estate is that you are going to need to be committed.
You won’t get anywhere unless you give it your all. Real estate doesn’t just sell on weekends, and it’s no walk in the park. The job requires you to have a lot of people skills and to be a great real estate agent; you’ll need to be an excellent networker — all the time.
Most successful real estate agents are looking to make contacts and seek opportunities. It’s essential for you to be realistic about the game from the beginning, and that you work hard toward your goals at all times. If you work hard enough, the potential rewards can be huge – in terms of both the monetary side of things and also in the lifestyle you can achieve.
Excellent communication and networking aren’t the only attributes a brilliant real estate agent needs. Your organizational skills will need to get honed too. As a busy real estate agent, you’ll be a walking talking office all by yourself.
It’s essential to schedule your days flawlessly and to stay on top of your office work too. Managing your movements, while keeping up with a multitude of paperwork, can be a tough task to keep up with, and it won’t happen without hard work. As an agent, you’ll be dealing with both sides of the market, and you’ll need to communicate well with both buyers and sellers.
So, What Exactly is a Real Estate Agent?
A real estate agent is a professional who carries a license that enables them to legally represent buyers and vendors during the process of a real estate transaction. To get that necessary license which allows you to practice as a real estate agent, you’ll need to jump through a few hoops.
The process starts with you gaining an in-depth knowledge of all of the many state requirements. You’ll then need to enroll in and complete pre-licensing classes successfully. After that, you’ll need to take and pass the exam and find a real estate broker to sponsor you. When you’ve done all of that correctly, it’ll be time to apply to the real estate board to get registered.
Sound like hard work?
Well, that’s because there is hard work involved! However, please don’t stress out – we’re here to help you find the best way to get there, so listen up!
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California and What to Expect from the Process
What you can earn as a real estate agent working in the California or San Diego real estate business depends, like most careers, on luck, judgement and career path – as will your level of aptitude.
Figures vary, but the bureau of labor statistics would no doubt agree that you’ll likely earn more down the line than in your first year as a new real estate agent.
So, here’s the thing: The harder you work and the more transactions you personally facilitate, the more commission and money you’ll take home. Different brokerages split the proceeds of sales in different ways.
The time you can expect to take to become a fully licensed agent will also depend on a few different factors. If you’re studying while you’re still working in another career, the path to real estate agent will be longer, and you’ll need to manage your time and commitments as best you can.
The minimum education requirements – and indeed licensing requirements – in most states mean that you can’t become a licensed agent overnight. Licensing department processing times can also take a couple of months, so be prepared for the medium to the long haul.
In Summary: The state-specific California guide to what you’ll need to do.
Going from zero to fully licensed California real estate agent will happen if you put the work into making it happen.
Like most things in life that are worth doing and self-improving, you won’t get there in a day, and it will help you massively to have realistic expectations and ideas about what is ahead. You will also benefit significantly from having a can-do attitude and a genuine will to succeed.
The market in California is a very lucrative one, so competition is high.
To get your license, you’ll need to adhere to the state’s requirements. This involves undertaking a minimum level of education activities; then you’ll need to put an application together and sit in an exam. Once that’s done, you’ll have to find the right brokerage for you and begin to develop a network.
There are also education requirements in the state of California to maintain a system of continuing credits with regard to real estate education. It’s essential to comply with that in order to renew your license.
What are the Steps to Becoming a Licensed Real Estate Broker in California?
Once you’re armed with the right information, becoming a real estate agent isn’t as hard of a journey as it might first appear. To become a licensed real estate broker in California, there are some defined milestones you’ll need to reach.
Step 1. Review the Real Estate Licensing Regulations for the State of California
Candidates who aspire to become a real estate agent in California need to begin by getting their heads around all of the state pre-licensing requirements.
Only once that is achieved, will a successful application be possible.
Once you’ve completed all of the required coursework and you’ve successfully taken the real estate licensing exam, you’ll be making good progress.
However, to become a realtor, you’ll have to look to get all of the necessary documentation together, which allows you to complete a proper licensing application for the state of California.
Step 2. Real Estate License Necessities in the state of California
California is one of the more legislated states when it comes to gaining a license to practice as a real estate broker or realtor – but it’s worth the effort.
California, like New York, has some of the most envious real estate markets in the United States of America, and some properties are to die for. California offers a lucrative and thriving real estate market which is diverse and requires in-depth knowledge.
California demands that aspiring real estate agents undertake a minimum of 135 class hours of approved courses before they can even think about going for a license.
The requirements don’t end there, however. You’ll also need to be at least eighteen years of age in order to qualify to become a real estate agent in California. You’ll need at the very least to have finished high school and have a high school diploma.
To make sure that you’re on the level and trustworthy enough to conduct big-money deals, as a prospective candidate for licensing, you’ll be required to do a background check with the Department of Justice.
Do all of that and then pay the application fee ($245 and $60 respectively), and you’ll be good to go.
Step 3. Pre-licensing Course and Coursework in California Explained
Your 135 hours of real estate courses are broken up into three main sections, each one covering a different and critical aspect of real estate practice. Knowing the business will be the key to future success.
To get through licensing, you’ll need to do the following hours in each of the three sections:
- In Real Estate Principles, you must complete a minimum total of 45 hours
- In Real estate practice, you’re required to undertake at least 45 hours of classroom time
- You’ll need to spend another 45 hours learning about California business law, real estate law, and real estate math
Step 4. Register to take the Real Estate Licensing Exam
After completing the necessary hours of classroom activity, you need to register to sit the real estate licensing exam.
The quickest way to do this is by sitting the exam online, but if you can’t or don’t want to do that, you can select a testing location and do the test in person. The testing centers in the state of California are as follows:
Submit a correctly filled out registration form along with your Justice Department fingerprint and background check at the time of your application.
You’ll also need to include the appropriate license fee payable for the California real estate exam, which is $305 to act as an agent. Your payment lasts for two years, so you’ll have that period of time to pass the exam once you’ve paid.
You may retake the examination as many times as you need to within those 24 months. Once two years is up, though, you’ll need to pay a new fee to pass.
Step 5. Taking the California Real Estate Licensing Exam
The state’s real estate commission sets a licensing exam for the state of California which consists of 150 multiple choice questions.
This format may seem like an easier prospect for exam prep than written answers but don’t forget – you’ll need to complete the test in a little over three hours – so be prepared and schedule enough time.
Brush up on your English skills: Some of the questions on the exam are directly related to real estate, but not all of the questions. The state requires that you be an effective communicator in English – both verbally and in written form.
You’ll also need to have an excellent grasp of everyday business terminology – so expect questions on both of those aspects of language and if English isn’t your first language, brush up on it before you sit the test.
Pro tip: go to mikeruss.org for the best online course prep in the industry.
You’ll be expected and required to demonstrate a practical level of knowledge with regard to business ethics, contractual aspects of the job, and mortgage theory. The test will also cover the parts of the law which relate to real estate transactions and practices.
The minimum pass mark for the California real estate licensing exam is 70%. For a more in-depth outline of the subjects covered on the real estate salesperson exam, visit the California Department of Real Estate website.
You made it! What to do once you’ve successfully gained a Real Estate License
If you’ve successfully negotiated the classroom and licensing application hurdles, you’re in great shape, the next steps offer more hands-on activity – and arguably a bit more fun too.
Remember that you’re not an experienced licensed real estate agent yet, though! Stay focused, and you’re your eyes on the end prize.
With your application out of the way, you need to start looking around for a market to work within. Stay local and use your knowledge of the area in which you live – this is always an advantage. You’ll know the desirable and problematic neighborhoods, and that might give you the jump on your eventual rivals.
Once that is done, you’ll be looking to find a brokerage where you can fit in. Try to find one that deals with the types of property and deals on which you’re interested in working.
Choosing a Brokerage is a Very Important Career Step
You’ll need to be working at the right brokerage in order to get the right sort of experience. Choosing a great place to practice your new skills will mean more experience in the areas of the real estate market in which you want to operate. Identifying the correct pathway for you and your skills can be as simple as asking the right questions from the outset. Stay confident, be direct!
New agents shouldn’t be over-awed or intimidated by experienced brokers or agents. People always appreciate a direct approach, and you should be no different when it comes to finding the best place to start your new career.
Try asking questions like:
- Do they offer a good level of training and career development?
- What is the system for commission, and is it competitive and fair?
- How are commissions split between agents at the brokerage?
- What benefit package do they provide and do they have flexible hours?
- Will the brokerage produce marketing literature for me?
- Can you see yourself growing as a person and an agent with this broker?
- Does this brokerage have an excellent reputation?
What Types of Real Estate Brokerages are there?
You’ll generally find two main types of brokerages. The smaller boutique brokers will often offer more scope to develop your formal training and grow your skill set because they’ll have a smaller pool of agents to work with. That means it’s worth their while developing their people and they’ll often show more in the way of mentoring programs too.
Larger brokerages tend to be franchises of far more prominent organizations and are less personal to work within. However, bigger companies will more often than not spend a lot more dollars on marketing and profile. People also tend to be more familiar with larger agencies, and that can be a significant advantage when it comes to gaining business.
Go with your gut, choose the right option for you: You’ll need to weigh up which option suits your approach and personality best. It’s a great idea to go to both types of broker when you’re looking to get sponsored. Try a few of each and see how you feel after talking to them. Going with your gut, as in sales, can be an effective way to find out where you fit.
You shouldn’t find it challenging to bag yourself a broker sponsor when the time comes.
The big advantage for a brokerage when it comes to taking on newbies is that the agent only gets paid money when they close a deal. The positions are real estate commission-only deals. Although this makes it easier to get sponsored, it means it’s essential you try your best to match yourself to the right broker. Finding a place where you’re successful is going to be the only way to make money.
Here is a blog to help you understand more about commission structures from a brokerage: 100% Commission Real Estate Brokerages Are Not Equal
Marketing Yourself and Learning to Network Successfully
As soon as you manage to get a license under your belt, you should be thinking about marketing and developing your reputation.
Although you may not have yet had a chance to get involved with a real estate deal or an open house directly, it’s never too early to get some business cards and start selling yourself. This is also the time to start networking and developing contacts within the industry.
You can’t lose out by making friends, and it really is a no-brainer that the more people you talk to, the more you hear.
Join up with the National Association of Realtors (NAR)
The National Association of Realtors is the North American trade association for people who work in the real estate industry as brokers and agents.
The organization has more than 1.1 million members, and it should be your first port of call once you make it through real estate school, get licensed, and begin a new real estate career.
While it’s not compulsory to be in the NAR, it’s the biggest professional body for real estate in the United States of America, and it offers many a networking opportunity to new professionals in the industry. You’ll also gain access to further education classes and resources when you join up with the NAR.
NAR Membership costs just $150 every year, and that covers access to real estate courses and admission to networking events for real estate professionals too.
Have a Great Website
We are all living in the age of the internet and being a real estate agent in 2019 – be it full or part-time – means also having an effective website to promote yourself and your skills. Websites are the front of house for most businesses nowadays, and they’re the greatest marketing tool that most individuals and companies can have. You can list your skills, experience and services on your site. It even affords an opportunity to publish case studies and feature big deals you have been involved with during your career.
Get people to say nice things about your work:
If you did particularly well for a client, why not shout about that to potential clients. Testimonials from customers are also a great way to instill confidence when a market is competitive. Websites which are well designed and thought out can give you the edge you need to succeed.
Real Estate marketing is a very visual business, and the images you use on your website must be in high-definition and without blurring. You’ll also need to be careful to choose a hosting service which is multiple listing service (MLS) capable and has the ability to feature high-quality images.
Here is a blog about How Real Estate Agents Increase Their Online Presence
Having the Right Attitude, Drive, and Taking your Chance to be a Real Estate Agent
What we end up doing for a living is what we do most of our waking lives, and that’s why it’s not only important to choose the right career, it’s vital we make the best go of it too.
Starting a new career in any field can be a very hard slog and take its toll on attitudes and emotions. Learning from the bottom up can be grueling. There’s nothing worse than being at the bottom of the heap and clawing your way to success can be complicated.
The thought of starting out in something completely new can be daunting:
What can you do to maximize your chances of success? How can you minimize the time it takes to start making some decent cash?
The real estate market is famed for its glamour, but it’s also well known for being a dog eat dog arena, and there is a very competitive climate where commissions can be high. This might seem daunting to a new recruit, but the key to making yourself a success where the competition is fierce is numbers.
Work with established brokers and concentrate on developing as many productive relationships within the industry as you can. You’ll be better informed that way, and it’s a great way to try to squeeze your way in where things seem hard to infiltrate.
Don’t listen for a second to your inner doubts!
Just jump in and try your best at your new career. Get your examination done and take it from there. No matter how hard you study, it’s normal to feel like you’re not going to make the grade and the first step in any process is to have a go. What’s the worst that could happen? If you fail the first time, you’ll learn a lot from that, and you can go again. Don’t let doubts slow you down.
Study, study, study! – and don’t get distracted reading the Real Estate Express.
Passing the real estate exam means that you’ll have to have a broad knowledge of ethics, real estate practices and applicable laws in order to get your license. Stay off your social media channels, find a quiet time and place to study and then get your head down into those books until you know the material inside-out.
Tell all of your friends and family when you’ll be studying and explain that it means a lot to you to pass. You’ll find that once people know what is going on, they’ll support you fully and leave you undistracted to get on with the task.
Once you’ve managed to do all of the studies, complete the unexciting but absolutely necessary coursework and finally get your hands on that license, allow yourself a pat on the back and a break but don’t slacken up.
You’ll still have a way to go before you’re capable of reaching anywhere near the top of your new game.
Experience only comes in the field, and you should consider every minute of your new-found profession to be an opportunity to learn. Try working for a while under somebody who has masses and masses of experience. Learn from them before you try to go it alone in a field with which you’re not yet familiar.
Ask your new mentor questions, find out the mistakes they made so that you can avoid making them too. Quiz them about the things they did early in their careers which made them a success and follow up on that great advice to make yourself a better real estate agent.
A Successful Real Estate Agent is an ORGANIZED Real Estate Agent
You’ll stand a far better chance of being considered a great prospect at your chosen agency if you show that you’re looking to do everything you can to maximize your chances of a sale.
Employers look for people that can work independently but also take steps to fit in with the company way and stay on top of the more mundane tasks that lead to closed deals.
When you get sponsored, and the real work of selling and marketing real estate begins, make your first task each week one of planning. When you’ve put a plan in place that makes the best use of your time, stick with it and stay in control of where you are and what you’re doing at all times. Managing your movements and time will make you more efficient, reduce your stress levels, and see you get maximum sales.
Make sure to keep your eyes open for opportunities!
Keep learning about your local market at all times, have an eye on any new real estate developments and talk to others who work within the industry.
No time that you spend learning is wasted, and the knowledge will come in handy sooner or later. Put yourself in the buyer’s shoes and try to think like them. What are they looking for? What will make their life easier? Organize your time so you can spend more time on what matters and beat the competition to the sales.
Consider a Mentorship Program
Beginning something brand new is never easy. However, there are people who have experience and knowledge that are ready and willing to help you along the way. Finding the right mentorship program can save you tons of headaches (and potentially money!) plus it can help you achieve your success goals more quickly.
Big Block Realty offers a mentorship program that is absolutely amazing. There is really nothing else like it in the industry today. It is quality, practical one-on-one coaching and training to help you get started and succeed in real estate.
This industry leading training includes help with how to write contracts, weekly success & strategy training, sign riders, online presence & lead generation, plus a personalized business development plan. With a transaction coordinator and professional business cards, Big Block Realty’s mentorship program cannot be beat.
For all the incredible value that Big Block offers, you will never pay more than $50/month until you have a transaction. That’s how confident they are in the training and mentorship they offer.
Since the people at Big Block Realty have been right where you’re at, they know that sometimes you just need a little help. That’s why they also offer broker support and just general support
Here is a blog of ours to help you when Choosing A Real Estate Brokerage.
Don’t Give Up, and Remember How Hard you Worked to get Here
When a sale doesn’t happen, don’t consider it a failure – think of it as an opportunity to find out where you went wrong.
Learning from mistakes or omissions will help you to grow as a real estate agent and become more successful in the future.
When you do have a bad day, turn to your training and growing experience to get you through. Remember that you got here because you’re driven and focused and that the next sale is just around the corner as long as you’re motivated to succeed.
Real Estate Agents Make Money At Big Block Realty
Here is a handy selection Blogs with tips and guides on how to grow your real estate business to the next level.
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