How to start a career in real estate. Practical tips

By Jordan Petkov Published: October 4, 2022

How to Start a Career in Real Estate? 6 Steps You Need to Take 

Wondering how to start a career in real estate? This sector offers numerous opportunities and benefits such as flexible working hours, the possibility to be your own boss and earn rewarding salaries. What qualifications are required to become a real estate agent? Keep reading to discover 6 steps you need to take!

How to start a career in real estate

How to start a real estate career?

Check guidelines and requirements in your state

If you’re wondering how to start a real estate career, you should begin with researching requirements in your state and learning how to earn a license. 

There’s no national real estate regulatory body. The guidelines and requirements can differ from state to state. Most of these are related to: 

  • real estate licensing courses,
  • age, 
  • education requirements (high school or GED), 
  • application process, 
  • background check, 
  • fingerprinting, 
  • exam eligibility,
  • reciprocal licensing agreements

You can check them on the official real estate commission websites for each state. 

Sign up for a prelicensing course

Regardless of the state guidelines, you need to take a prelicensing course that costs approximately $350. Then, you’ll be allowed to sit for the real estate license exam.

Such prelicensing courses are provided by accredited real estate licensing schools. Their requirements may also vary by state. For example, in California you have to complete 135 hours of classes, whereas in Florida it’s only 63 hours.

It’s time for the licensing exam

How to start a career in real estate? Taking the licensing exam is the next step. You can complete a real estate license course online. If you choose this option, you can expect comprehensive support in areas such as scheduling, registering, and paying for the exam.

What does the exam look like? For many states It’s a computerized, multiple choice test that has both national and state-specific parts. It checks your general understanding of real estate principles. Apart from that, it also verifies the knowledge of state’s real estate laws.

Each part of the exam is evaluated separately. You have to pass both sections to earn the license.

If you don't pass the exam on the first try, don't worry. You can retake it. However, each state has its own regulations regarding the number of times you can take the exam.

Note that the license must be renewed each year.

How to start real estate career

Apply for the license and activate it

You aren’t allowed to start working as a real estate agent without the right certificate.

When you pass the exam, you can apply for the license through the state’s real estate regulatory commission. Submission of the application and required documents costs approximately $200-400. 

You’ll receive a real estate license certificate when your application is approved. Then, your name will be listed on the official website under the licensees' section.

Get a sponsoring broker

Real estate agents operate under brokers (also called sponsoring brokers). The brokerage companies control the transactions and entire processes to ensure that all legal requirements are met. 

If you want to learn how to start a real estate career, you need to know that your salary will be determined by the commission shared with the brokerage.

When choosing your sponsoring broker there are a few things you should take into consideration. These include education they provide to new agents, commission splits, fees, business costs, and marketing materials. 

A higher commission percentage on a deal doesn’t necessarily mean that more money will stay in your pocket. You can negotiate the commission split with your broker.

Consider becoming a realtor

Real estate agents and realtors aren’t the same thing. Realtors belong to the National Association of Realtors which gives them networking opportunities and access to education programs, market data, and business tools.

The NAR unites property managers, brokers, counselors, salespeople, appraisers, and other professionals operating in the real estate industry. 

The membership is optional and paid (approximately $185 a year). It can improve realtor’s recognition and trustworthiness.

How to start a real estate career

The takeaway

Learning how to start a career in real estate is just the beginning. Now, it’s time to take action and follow the steps described in the article.

Although obtaining a real estate license takes time and a modest investment, it will open your door to rewarding goals.

Want to learn how to get your first real estate client? Check out our blog!