Changing careers mid-stream can seem a daunting task, especially if you expected to do what you set out to do when you got started your entire working life. However, with the right mentality and preparation, you can successfully transition to a new field as a mid-career professional without driving yourself crazy along the way. If you've always thought you might want to get into real estate and the opportunity to change careers has presented itself, here are a few tips on getting started.
Back to School
To become a real estate agent in any state you need to pass a licensing exam. Each state is different, so be sure you get a study guide and real estate practice exams that are for the state in which you intent to practice. If you live on the border between two or more states (the Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland coastal area is a good example) you may eventually want to be licensed in more than one state, but start with the one you live in as you may already be familiar with some of the rules and statutes that will be on the test. As with all things in this day and age, you can find everything you need online but of course in doesn't hurt to speak to people in the industry as well.
Get the Inside Scoop
It's never too early to start finding out about the real estate market in your area as well as the surrounding towns. In general, the more densely populated an area, the more specific real estate offices and agents tend to concentrate. A seasoned agent can also tell you what to expect when it comes to the licensing exam, too. They'll know what parts are tough and what parts are not so bad and where to get the best real estate practice exams for your state.
Network, Network, Network
There are thousands of apps, internet sites, and technology tools for real estate agents but nothing beats a referral from someone you know when a person is looking to sell their home or buy a house in your area. Once you are licensed and working with a real estate office be sure to attend networking events in your area and don't be afraid to turn social events into ad hoc meet and greets of your own making, too. Everyone talks about real estate to some extent because everyone has to live somewhere, so the topic won't be out of left field in almost any environment.
Study hard, make some contacts, and get to know the area you're going to sell in and you'll be off to a great start in your new career.
Rachael Murphey is an entrepreneur and blogger on topics of personal success, fashion, business, marketing, personal finance, and health. She graduated from the University of Colorado Boulder with her Associates in English, and from the University of Colorado Denver with her Bachelors in Business Management. Rachael has written for Bigger Pockets, Realtown.com, Real Estate Practice Exams, and (of course) Realty Biz News. She currently lives in Denver with her dog Charlie.