How To Start As A Real Estate Agent in 2023: Detailed Guide

By Ciprian Morariu Published: October 18, 2023

Being a real estate agent comes with many attractive benefits. High earning potential, flexible working hours, and a relatively quick career progression are some of the perks that a real estate agent’s job brings to the table. 

However, it is not roses all the way. Before jumping into the real estate business, know that success might be tough to achieve as not everything depends on your hands. The real estate industry is linked to the rise and fall of the local economy, and you must have a very strong understanding of the market trends. Additionally, you should be inclined to network and develop close bonds with clients and other agents. 

Given these variables and provided you are willing to go through the grind in the initial stages of starting a real estate business, the question is how to start as a real estate agent.

Real Estate Agents

This post will take you through the many intricacies of the real estate sector and the best way to start a real estate business.  

Key Takeaways

  • Understanding the Real Estate Industry
    • Types of Real Estate Niches
    • Market Trends and Opportunities
  • Becoming a Licensed Real Estate Agent
    • Real Estate Education and Exam Preparation
    • State Licensing Requirements
  • Choosing the Right Brokerage
    • Franchise vs. Independent Brokerages
    • Mentorship and Support
  • Building Your Brand
    • Defining Your Unique Value Proposition
    • Creating a Professional Image
  • Developing a Marketing Strategy
    • Online Marketing
    • Offline Marketing
  • Lead Generation and Conversion
    • Prospecting Techniques
    • Nurturing Leads and Building Relationships
  • Time Management and Organization
    • Prioritizing Tasks
    • Utilizing Technology
  • Continuing Education and Professional Development
    • Industry Certifications and Designations
    • Networking and Industry Events
  • Overcoming Common Challenges
    • Dealing with Rejection
    • Balancing Work and Personal Life

Understanding the Real Estate Industry

Types of Real Estate Niches

The real estate sector has several niches and you may choose to specialize in any one of them. Here are the four top areas that you can focus on to earn a lucrative living.

  • Location-based real estate niche: Being an expert about a neighborhood, zip code, town, or county provides you with a wealth of knowledge that you can pass on to your clients.
  • Demographic real estate niche: Choose to cater to a specific group like real estate investors, millennials, veterans, military personnel, or first-time home buyers. You can meet the needs of one target population and help them overcome any problems or challenges.  
  • Property-specific real estate niche: Be the go-to agent for people looking for specific property types such as luxury homes, hospitality, REO and foreclosures, rental properties, and more.
  • New construction real estate niche: There is a growing demand from buyers and real estate investors to construct or purchase new property. Your services will range from location selection, and design, to construction.  

Apart from these niches, you can decide to specialize in situational real estate like probate and estates, divorce and separation property settlements as well as agricultural properties.

Market Trends and Opportunities

The current market trends in the real estate sector show a rise in property prices. It is now a seller’s market and buyers are often willing to offer more than the asking price to ward off competition for acquiring a property. You will thus get the opportunity to earn a higher commission.  

Another trend is the slowing down of the rental property market post the Covid pandemic. With low interest rates, most people prefer to buy their own homes rather than rent them due to the close parity between rent and EMIs. 

Becoming A Licensed Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Education and Exam Preparation

If you are wondering how to start in real estate, get your license first and this includes real estate education and exam preparation. Every state has mandatory coursework hours. For example, in Florida, it is 63 hours while in California it is 135 hours and 7 in New York. 

Select a real estate school that is accredited and certified and an offline or online course at your convenience. An online course allows you to have flexible study hours. After completing the required course hours of your state schedule sit for the real estate exam by paying the required fee.

State Licensing Requirements

Even though the state licensing requirements vary (course hours and fees). The basic structure is the same. 

You must be an American citizen and at least 18 years of age. Go through the stipulated course hours and apply for a license. Submit to fingerprinting for a background check. Schedule and appear for the real estate exam and pass it within a maximum of three attempts. Find a sponsoring broker to mentor you. You get a license once all these conditions have been met. 

Choosing the Right Brokerage

Choosing the right brokerage is essential for ultimate career growth. However, it all depends on the preferred working environment, the degree of flexibility, and whether you want a brand backing you up.  

Franchise vs. Independent Brokerages

Franchises come with proven success, brand recognition, and specific practices and policies in place. A franchise also has greater resources to offer and better training to the real estate agents. 

Independent brokerages are not answerable to a corporation above them and do not have to pay franchise fees. Hence, they can customize their services to clients, having more room for personalization and freedom for negotiation. You can manage your business as you wish without the weight of larger franchises charting the career course for you. 

Mentorship and Support

A mentor is an experienced real estate investor who will support you on how to start in real estate. They will guide you on the finer aspects of how to find properties, negotiate deals, and manage a real estate investment business. 

In a brokerage firm, you might have one-on-one mentorship where one mentor exclusively guides you, or group mentorship where you are a member of a group under one mentor. Generally, you will be allowed to work independently, and once a month phone call to your mentor if any issues arise is sufficient.


Real Estate Agent

Building Your Personal Brand

Defining Your Unique Value Proposition

The real estate business is highly competitive and to make a mark and start in real estate, you must have a unique value proposition to offer clients. Be specialized in a niche such as properties in a location or catering exclusively to a section of the population like millennials. Or you can choose to deal with only luxury properties or maybe rental properties. 

The point here is to be so marked that clients will remember you whenever a requirement in your niche arises.

Creating a Professional Image

You must keep up with the digital environment of today and getting noticed and creating a professional image is very necessary. Having a web presence is a critical step in this direction as almost 97% of home buyers access the Internet as part of their search. Although it will require some initial investment, have a webpage designed and developed while starting a real estate business. 

A webpage with a focus on SEO (Search Engine Optimization) will attract and engage online leads and help grow your business. It will introduce you as a real estate professional and highlight your values and services. Have a webpage and build your image as a serious and efficient real estate professional. 

Developing A Marketing Strategy

Online Marketing

Online marketing is very effective today because most people depend on the Internet to look for properties. Market your services through social media platforms to spread awareness and use email and online newsletters to market properties. Run email campaigns and video tours and create other digital marketing strategies to connect with clients and network with other real estate professionals.

Offline Marketing

Among the top offline marketing approaches are building a strong local network, creating a good referral system, and focusing on cold leads. Agents who target cold lead listings are always rewarded for their efforts. Offline marketing pays off in the long run because online marketing sometimes targets the wrong group and a lot of money is wasted.

Lead Generation and Conversion

Prospecting Techniques

Let us check out a few prospecting and nurturing techniques before starting a real estate business.

  • Networking: Friends and family are always there with you and should be your first stop to generate leads. 
  • Do not ignore any lead: A lead might not appear to be fruitful but be persistent. You never know when it will bear results.
  • Find leads online: Use the many tools and techniques now available to find the right leads online as per your target population.   

Nurturing Leads and Building Relationships

  • Become an expert in your location: Have a deep knowledge of the location that you work in, market trends, and long-term economic outlook.
  • Nurture past clients: Most clients use the same realtor for future deals. The average American changes homes every 10 years so past clients can be your bread and butter.
  • Be active in content marketing. Nurture your clients and hold onto their attention with social media memes, how-to-videos, blog posts, and tips and tricks of the real estate industry.

Time Management and Organization

Prioritizing Tasks

Time management is critical to increase your efficiency and have a perfect work-life balance. You have to distinguish between urgent and important that must be done by you and important tasks that can be pushed to later. 

A good real estate agent knows the art of delegating too, not only to lessen the burden and focus on critical issues but also to have flexible working hours. When you prioritize work, you have ample time to deal with it successfully.

Utilizing Technology

Modern technology has made the task of real estate agents not only simpler but more effective too. One of the areas to consider when thinking about how to start your own real estate company is how best you can use technology to grow your business. 

Virtual reality tours, AI-powered chatbots, and automated valuation models are some of them. Blockchain can be used to streamline buying and selling transactions. Keep on top of technologies to take your career to the next level.

Continuing Education and Professional Development

Industry Certifications and Designations

Certifications are a sure way not only to add to your knowledge bank but also to set you apart from other agents. Clients and your brokerage firm will value you more and you will by default get more business. 

The best real estate certifications and designations are: 

  • Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager
  • Senior Real Estate Specialist
  • Certified Commercial Investment Member
  • Accredited Land Consultant
  • Certified Property Manager
  • Certified Residential Specialist

Networking and Industry Events

For those who think about how to start as a real estate agent, the answer is simple. It is networking with other experienced professionals in the field. Sharing information and having contacts in the right places will give you referrals to expand your client base. The same goes for industry events. Attend seminars, and workshops, and listen to webinars to get the latest about market trends of the sector.

Overcoming Common Challenges

Dealing With Rejection

Rejection is universally depressing for all but how do real estate agents make a comeback?

Do not take rejection personally but as a part of your work and use it as a learning experience. Avoid blaming anything or anybody for the rejection, after all, no agent can guarantee 100% success. Doing so cannot resolve the issue. Set new goals and targets and get on with your business.

Balancing Work and Personal Life

The most important aspect of the real estate industry is the flexibility in working hours that it offers agents and brokers. Schedule your work so that you can strike the perfect balance between work and personal life. Delegate work if necessary and focus on prioritizing what constitutes your core responsibilities. Only then can you have a successful career in the industry.