If you’re interested in the world of real estate, the first thing you must do is become licensed. Once you meet the requirements and take and pass the licensing test, you can begin to sell houses to happy families, and with hard work, you can make a good living. Many people give up before they start because they fear taking the licensing exam, but with proper research and an understanding of the job, you can pass the test and start building your brand.
Before hitting the books and taking the time to get your real estate license, you must know what you can do with that certification and the other skills you’ll need that aren’t always taught in school. First, know that there are many different jobs that you can perform once you get your license. In addition to selling houses, you can work as a property manager, real estate attorney, home inspector, real estate photographer, and more. So, if any of those titles interest you, read on and consider your license.
While you’ll be learning a lot during your license classes, remember that your education doesn't stop just because you passed the test. As time goes on, it’s necessary to stay on top of current news and trends so you can be the best agent you can be. For instance, you’ll want to learn how climate change impacts the real estate industry. Weather and rainfall can impact desirable locations around the country, and you may get questions about how climate change can affect property values.
Along those lines, you should keep up-to-date on industry data and trends such as the growing interest in eco-friendly homes. You should know which sustainable home upgrades have the greatest return on investment such as solar panels and energy-efficient doors and windows. If you are working with a seller, you can advise what financing options your client has to finance upgrades such as home equity and Federal Housing Administration loans. Home buyers will likely have questions in this regard, and you’ll want to have the answers.
While certification and a license are essential, so is having a positive self-image because it’s a way to enhance your professional opportunities in the real estate world. When you’re confident in yourself, and it shows, your clients will have more confidence in you. By practicing self-care and dressing for success, you give off the impression that you care about yourself and what you do, and clients will respond positively to what they see.
You can build your self-confidence by setting goals for yourself, like selling a house in a certain price range and then celebrating that accomplishment.
When you’re confident that you want to continue a career path as a real estate agent, you need to get your license. Note that every state may have different requirements, so do your research to ensure you follow the right steps. In many cases, you may first be required to pass a background check so the state can ensure that you’re honest and have the integrity necessary to handle a client’s personal information and discuss sensitive financial topics.
Next, you will likely need to complete various classes to learn about real estate and get the information necessary to pass your licensing exam. Some states require over 100 hours of pre-licensing courses, including those about real estate principles, finance, and how to complete essential forms. Keep in mind that these classes and the eventual application will cost money. According to The CE Shop, you can expect to pay between $300-$1,000, depending on the state.
After completing those classes, most states will require you to pass a pre-license course final exam to ensure that you’ve retained the information you've been taught. Get past that, and it’s time to apply for a license. The application will ask about your personal information, and you’ll also need to submit copies of your exam score and work authorization.
Finally, you’ll take your state licensing exam. You’ll have a certain time frame to take the test, and you’ll need to get a score according to your state guidelines. After you pass, you can join a real estate broker and gain experience out in the field.
While obtaining your real estate license is a significant task, this is only the first step you’ll need to take during your long career as a real estate agent. Your education is far from over. Your particular state may require that you follow continuing education requirements. For example, in Delaware, you’ll need to take post-licensing courses 90 days after you’ve received your initial license, and in Indiana, you’ll be required to take 30 hours of post-licensing education within the first two years of being licensed.
There are also additional titles that you can gain over time to supplement your education and potentially earn more money. Some of these designations and certifications include a GREEN Designation, which provides the tools to help you understand and market properties with green features that customers are so excited about. You could also become a Certified Residential Specialist. Doing so will help you to learn more about the industry and potentially earn three times as much as agents who don’t have the designation.
Finally, while securing your license and certifications and learning the ropes, take the time to build your brand and make a name for yourself. Invest in professional photos and create a website to build your online presence. Start networking with other agents by attending industry events and seminars. Remember that you won’t be a success overnight, but by working hard and keeping your eye on the prize, you will find success.
These are the basic principles to remember when applying for and obtaining your real estate license. Remember to research the rules in your state to ensure you’re fully compliant. Once licensed, take on the world one property at a time.