How To Become a Real Estate Agent? Steps, Cost, Eligibility, & Salary

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How To Become a Real Estate Agent?

Becoming a real estate agent involves several steps. Here’s a general guide on how to become a real estate agent:

1. Meet the eligibility criteria: Common eligibility criteria include being at least 18 or 19 years old (varies by state), having a high school diploma or equivalent, and being a legal resident or citizen of the United States.

2. Complete pre-license education: Most states require prospective real estate agents to complete a certain number of pre-license education hours from an approved real estate school or institution. These courses cover topics such as real estate principles, practices, contracts, and laws. The number of required hours varies by state.

3. Submit an application: Once you have completed the pre-license education, you will need to submit an application to your state’s real estate commission along with the necessary documentation, which may include proof of education, background check, and application fee. Some states may also require fingerprinting.

4. Pass the licensing exam: After your application is approved, you’ll need to pass the licensing exam. The exam typically consists of both national and state-specific portions and assesses your knowledge of real estate laws, practices, and ethics. There are exam prep materials and courses available to help you prepare.

5. Find a sponsoring broker: In most states, new real estate agents are required to work under a licensed real estate broker. Look for a reputable brokerage firm that aligns with your career goals and values. Consider factors such as training, support, reputation, and commission structure when choosing a broker.

6. Activate your license: Once you have a sponsoring broker, you can activate your real estate license by submitting the necessary paperwork to your state’s real estate commission. This usually involves completing a license activation form and paying the activation fee.

How Much Money do Real Estate Agent Make?

A real estate agent’s income can vary greatly depending on a variety of factors such as geography, experience, market conditions, and individual effort.

It’s worth noting that most real estate brokers are self-employed or operate on a commission basis, which means their wages are directly proportional to their sales performance.

According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the median annual wage for real estate sales agents in May 2020 was $50,300.

Real estate agents are usually compensated on a commission basis, which means that their profits are directly proportional to the value of the properties they sell.

The normal commission percentage for real estate agents is roughly 5-6% of the property’s sale price, although this might vary.

How Long Does it Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?

Steps Time Required
Complete pre-license education Varies (typically 60 to 180 hours, which can be completed in a few weeks to a few months)
Study and prepare for the licensing exam Varies (weeks to a few months)
Schedule and take the licensing exam Typically half a day or less
Complete background check and application for license Varies (a few weeks to a few months)
Receive real estate license Varies (a few weeks to a few months)

What Qualifications Do You Need to Become a Real Estate Agent?

A high school diploma or an equivalent qualification, such as a General Education Development (GED) certificate, is usually required in most states.

How Much Does it Cost to Become a Real Estate Agent?

Cost Item Estimated Range
Pre-license education $200 – $1,000
Licensing exam fee $50 – $200
License application fee $100 – $300
Background check and fingerprinting $50 – $200
Association and board fees (annual/monthly) $100 – $500+
Continuing education courses (per course) $100 – $500+
Errors and omissions insurance $300 – $1,000+ per year

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Can You Become an Real Estate Agent Without a Degree?

Yes, you can become a real estate agent without a college degree. In most jurisdictions, a high school diploma or equivalent qualification is the minimum educational requirement to pursue a career as a real estate agent. A college degree is not typically required to obtain a real estate license.

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Types of Real Estate Agent Certification

There are several types of real estate agent certifications and designations that professionals can pursue to enhance their skills, knowledge, and credibility in specific areas of the real estate industry.

1. Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): The CRS designation is awarded to agents who have completed advanced training and demonstrated significant experience in residential real estate. It signifies a high level of expertise in residential sales and client representation.

2. Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR): This designation is offered by the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) and is designed for agents who specialize in representing buyers in real estate transactions. It demonstrates proficiency in buyer representation and knowledge of buyer-specific issues and practices.

3. Seller Representative Specialist (SRS): The SRS designation is focused on training agents to effectively represent sellers in real estate transactions. It covers various aspects of seller representation, including pricing, marketing, negotiation, and client service.

4. Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM): The CCIM designation is awarded to commercial real estate professionals who have completed a comprehensive curriculum, demonstrated experience, and passed a series of exams. CCIM designees have advanced knowledge in commercial investment and are recognized for their expertise in the commercial sector.

5. Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS): The CIPS designation is designed for agents who work with international clients or properties. It covers global real estate practices, cross-cultural communication, and international transaction processes.

6. Graduate, REALTOR Institute (GRI): The GRI designation is offered by various real estate associations and signifies completion of a comprehensive educational program covering various aspects of real estate, including contracts, ethics, marketing, and technology. It provides a well-rounded foundation for real estate professionals.

7. Resort and Second-Home Property Specialist (RSPS): The RSPS certification focuses on agents who specialize in resort and second-home markets. It covers topics such as investment properties, vacation homes, and market analysis specific to these types of properties.

Real Estate Certification School

1. Real Estate Express: Offers online pre-license courses and continuing education programs across the United States. They are known for their comprehensive curriculum and user-friendly online platform.

2. Kaplan Real Estate Education: Provides pre-license and continuing education courses in various formats, including online, classroom, and self-study. They have a nationwide presence and are known for their experienced instructors.

3. The CE Shop: Offers online pre-license and continuing education courses in many states. They are known for their interactive learning materials and customizable study plans.

4. Hondros College of Business: Provides in-person and online pre-license and continuing education courses in multiple states. They have a long-standing reputation for quality education and experienced instructors.

5. Allied Real Estate Schools: Offers online pre-license and continuing education courses nationwide. They provide flexible learning options and a wide range of real estate education programs.

6. Rockwell Institute: Specializes in pre-license and continuing education courses for real estate professionals in Washington state. They are known for their thorough curriculum and industry expertise.

7. American School of Real Estate Express: Offers online pre-license courses and continuing education programs in several states. They provide interactive learning materials and comprehensive exam preparation resources.

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