How to Become a Real Estate Agent – 2020 Guide

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If you’re looking for a rewarding and flexible career that can grow with you as you age, you should definitely consider becoming a real estate agent. The only question is, how?

The Pros and Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

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Not everyone is cut out to be a real estate agent, but it’s a career that many find fulfilling. Here are some of the pros of becoming an agent:

  • You get the flexibility to choose your own schedule. Some weeks can be very busy, while other weeks can be slower. You get the freedom to choose when you work.
  • There’s unlimited income potential. While it usually takes a couple of years to get your business built, there’s a path for consistent six-figure income down the road.
  • As a real estate agent, you get to help make people’s dreams come true. This is rewarding and fulfilling.
  • You don’t have to spend 40 hours per week working in an office. You get the chance to move around and switch up your work environment.

It’s not everyone’s ideal career, however. Here are some of the negatives of becoming a real estate agent:

  • There’s no guaranteed income. So while the potential is there, you ultimately have to produce. The first couple of years can be tough.
  • Because there are no set hours, it’s possible that you could end up working more hours – meaning lots of evenings and weekends. (You’ll have to figure out how to set boundaries between work and personal life.)
  • Buying and selling houses is emotional. You’ll end up playing the role of psychologist and counselor a lot of the time. And when things don’t go right, you might get blamed.

The pros far outweigh the cons, but it’s important that you weigh them against each other so that you can make a wise, informed decision.

 4 Steps to Becoming an Agent

The path to becoming an agent is fairly straightforward. However, there are some nuances (depending on where you’re located and exactly what you want to get out of your career). Here are some of the steps involved:

 1. Enroll in a Real Estate Pre Licensing Course

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Every state has slightly different requirements for becoming a licensed real estate agent. However, for the most part, all states have some sort of pre licensing coursework and education that must take place.

For example, according to RealEstateU, you must take 180 hours of education to get your Texas real estate license. This includes a variety of online courses in principles of real estate, contract law, real estate finance, etc.

Your state’s requirements might be less stringent. (Some states, like Missouri, only require 72 hours of education). However, it doesn’t matter if the requirements are minimal or extensive, you need to attend a good real estate school to ensure you pass.

 2. Pass the Required Exams

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Once you complete the required education in your state, you’ll have to pass a couple of real estate exams.

First up is the state exam. This exam asks questions that deal with your state’s real estate laws and the different nuances involved with local rules and regulations. Then there’s the national exam, which asks more generalized questions. You’ll need a passing score on both exams in order to proceed with your licensing.

Here are some tips for acing these exams:

  • Take as many practice tests and mock exams as possible. Your real estate school should offer you some different options. You’ll also find independent websites and study books with good practice exams.
  • Don’t get too caught up with any one question. Answer the easiest questions first and then return to the more difficult ones. These tests are timed and you want to be sure you answer as many as you can.
  • If you’ve never seen an answer before, be wary of selecting it. If you’ve put in hours of work preparing, it’s unlikely that an outlier will be the correct answer.
  • Increase your odds of getting multiple choice questions right by working backwards. Eliminate wrong answers until you’ve backed your way into the answer. (If you can narrow the answer down to two possible answers, you’ve given yourself a 50 percent chance of getting it right.)
  • Once you’ve answered a question, resist the temptation to go back and change it. It’s statistically proven that you’re much more likely to change an answer from correct to incorrect than the other way around.
  • Don’t worry about what other people in the exam room are doing! It doesn’t matter if 90 percent of the room has finished their exam and left; you shouldn’t feel rushed. Use as much of the allotted time as you need and focus on you!

3. Find a Broker

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In order to practice real estate, you need a license and a broker. But with so many different real estate brokerages, how do you know which one to choose?

Finding a brokerage is a highly personal process, but consider the company’s reputation, the commission split, their presence in the market (do they have lots of listings around town), and their commitment to teaching and educating.

 4. Network, Network, Network

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Now that you’re educated, licensed, and actively with a broker, you’re free to represent buyers and sellers. The next big step is finding buyers and sellers who are willing to work with you.

The key to winning as a real estate agent is to build up your network. The bigger your network of connections, the more potential buyers and sellers you have. Eventually, you’ll generate a steady stream of repeat business. But this takes years to accumulate. For now, you have to go out and find the leads.

Network by joining local groups, putting yourself out there on social media, and getting friendly with as many industry professionals as you can (such as lenders, insurance professionals, inspectors, etc.).

Adding it All Up

Becoming a real estate agent is something that a lot of people talk about. Now that you know how simple and straightforward the process is, are you willing to give it a shot? There’s never been a better time to launch a career in real estate. Make it happen!

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