How to Get Started as a Real Estate Agent - Guide for 2022
Your Guide to Getting Your Real Estate License
Welcome to your guide to getting your real estate license. We're here with our handy steps and a handful of tips to help you on your way.
But before we dive in, let's talk a little bit more about what it means to be a real estate agent. For starters, it's important that you know this position is more than just passing the state licensing exam.
Consider that nobody wants to hire an agent who's not prepared for the job and hasn't put in the time and effort to become an expert in their field. You need expertise, drive, enthusiasm, and above all else, talent for real estate sales if you want to make it as an agent.
A great real estate agent is equal parts salesperson and advisor: someone who knows when to listen and when it's time for action, someone who can read between the lines, someone who can identify needs before they're fully realized by their client, and someone who makes clients feel like they're being heard without losing sight of their own goals or the client’s dream home.
Whether you’re looking to make it in your first year as an agent or you’re just starting out as a new real estate agent, this guide is here to help. Keep reading to know what the real estate industry expects of you and how you can get started.
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Know Your Goal: Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor
As you progress through your real estate career, you'll likely encounter the term "realtor" on a regular basis. It's important to know that Realtor is not a job title, but rather a trademarked term for members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR), an industry trade group.
A real estate agent is any licensed professional who helps people buy and sell homes and other properties. They can work for real estate brokerages or on their own as independent agents. They can do it part-time or full-time as well.
A realtor, on the other hand, is a licensed real estate agent who has taken their real estate business a step further by joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
This organization offers membership benefits to its members, such as discounts on insurance policies, marketing tools and industry-specific educational resources. They also have access to special listing sites and databases that are only available to Realtors.
As such, being associated with this organization can help boost your reputation among home buyers and sellers in your area.
Steps That All New Agents Should Follow
Are you ready to kick off your career as a real estate agent? Here are the steps you should take.
1. Research Your State’s Requirements
If you're just starting out as a real estate agent, you might be overwhelmed by the many steps you need to take. Becoming an agent is a process that may have different requirements in each state.
Some states have a reciprocity agreement with other states in which the requirements are accepted when you move from one state to another.
For example, if you are a real estate agent in California and move to New York, you can still continue working as an agent in New York as long as you pass their exam and pay a fee.
However, if you're starting out, it's best to know the licensing requirements in your own state so that you can be sure to cover all your bases.
For example, with the pre-licensing courses, California applicants have to take three real estate classes that sum up to 135 hours whereas, in New York, the courses take only 75 hours. On the other hand, in Texas, you need to complete 180 hours of coursework.
There are also different rules and regulations regarding background checks, continuing education requirements and requirements to fulfill before getting a broker license.
As such, the first step you should take is to familiarize yourself with your state's requirements so you can become a successful real estate agent the right way.
2. Take the Licensing Exam
Getting your real estate license is the first step to becoming an agent. But before you can get your license, you have to pass the real estate licensing exam. It's a very straightforward process and with some simple preparation, you will find it easy to pass.
To start, you need to find an accredited school that offers the required real estate course as per your state’s real estate law. The requirements vary from state to state as explained in the first step. Some states allow online courses and others require in-person instruction. Make sure the classes you select fulfill your state's requirements so you don't end up having to repeat any work!
Once you have found a course that works for your schedule, sign up and get started right away. You want to make sure you are prepared for the exam when it comes around.
3. Activate Your Real Estate License
After completing your course and passing the licensing exam, you will become an official real estate agent. But that’s not all. You have to activate your real estate license.
To do this, you will have to submit an application and the specified documents and fees to your state’s real estate regulatory organization.
Make sure you:
- Find out what documents you need
- Submit the right forms for the license you need
- Pay the corresponding fees on time and to the relevant authority
Once your application is approved, the state authority will mail you the real estate license certificate for you to display to clients and brokerages. Your name will also be added to the licensees’ section of their website.
Don’t forget that you can’t start working with clients or brokerages until you get the hard copy of your license. Wait until this step is completed, no matter how excited you are, before starting the practical experience part of your real estate agent journey.
4. Join a Brokerage
Now that you've earned your real estate license, you're ready to get in the game. As a real estate agent, you have a lot of autonomy and flexibility! That being said, there are a few steps to follow before you can be on your own. You'll need to join a brokerage—a company that will act as your employer—where you'll work under the supervision of one of its real estate brokers.
A real estate broker is an individual who has completed more education than other agents and is thus more qualified when it comes to making decisions relating to legal issues or contracts.
Your autonomy as an agent will depend on which brokerage you join. Some brokerages are very hands-on, while others provide their agents with minimal oversight.
Our advice? Join a brokerage that has a good track record of helping its agents succeed and offers resources that help you do well at your job.
5. Develop a Marketing Plan
Once you have your brokerage, it’s time to get the word out about what you do. As a real estate agent, your job isn't just to sell houses: it's to sell yourself. You need to let people know what differentiates you from other agents and why they should work with you.
To successfully market yourself as a real estate agent, consider these tips:
- Define your target audience.
- Create content that appeals to your audience.
- Use social media to promote your content for lead generation.
- Get business cards and hand them out liberally.
6. Build Authority
It might seem a little shocking that you, a brand new agent with no experience, would have the authority to give anyone advice. But think about it: your clients are looking for someone they can trust. They want to know that their agent is going to do everything they can to help them get the best deals possible on houses and commercial real estate properties.
An easy way to prove your worth as an agent and grow your sphere of influence is by providing your clients with valuable content that they can use as a resource when buying or selling property.
Whether you write articles, publish a print book or digital book, or create a website, this kind of content will show people that you are an authority on real estate and establish yourself as someone who knows what they're talking about in the industry.
The more value you provide for free, the more trust people will have in you and vice versa!
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Engage Your Audience with Your Books from Authorify
The real estate market is growing and if you’re keen to attend real estate school and start your own new career full-time in the field, now you know how to get started. Hopefully, reading the above article has sparked your interest in becoming a real estate agent yourself.
If you’d like to take actionable steps towards this goal, consider using Authorify to create personally branded real estate agent books. These books will immediately set you apart from other agents and help establish trust with your clients.
Join the ranks of amazing real estate professionals today with Authorify!