So You Want to Get Your Real Estate License?

No matter where you live, you’ve probably seen billboards, commercials, and posts on social media about becoming a Realtor. It’s a job that comes with challenges and rewards, but if you’re considering getting your real estate license, here is a quick look at the process and the pros and cons of entering the field.

How to Get Your Real Estate License

A real estate license is required to legally buy, sell, or rent for buyers and/or tenants on behalf of a real estate brokerage. The requirements for obtaining a real estate license vary by state, but most states, at minimum, require permanent residency in the state of your application, a minimum age of 18, a criminal background check, and a passing grade (typically 70%) on the state’s real estate license exam.

Before you take the test, you’ll need to complete the educational requirements, which vary by state. Classes are typically offered online and in person. Some courses are more traditional with set classes, while others allow students to work at their own pace. Just make sure that the school or program of your choice is accredited and acknowledged by your state.

After you complete your coursework, the next step is to apply to take the exam. There will be a fee for both the application and registration. If your state allows, register for the exam before finishing the last of your coursework. Then, by the time you’ve completed the coursework, you can take the exam, which consists of multiple-choice questions regarding national and state principles and laws.

Once you pass your exam, submit your test results, license application, and fees. Next, check with your state’s real estate commission to determine whether you need errors and omissions insurance, which protects real estate agents from financial losses and lawsuits. Some brokers offer insurance, while others require it before you start.

Lastly, find a brokerage. A real estate brokerage is where all of the magic happens. Most states require you to work with a broker that will sponsor you for two to three years.

Pros of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

  • Flexible Schedule: Real estate allows you to make your own work schedule – no more 9 to 5!
  • Income Potential: There is no cap on what you can make working in real estate. The better your skills and the more you put into your work, the more you benefit.
  • Helping Others: You can help people find their dream homes, which can be fulfilling.
  • Equal Pay: The field of real estate is all about individual effort, which means no uphill battles, regardless of gender.
  • Social Aspects: If meeting and talking to new people is your thing, you’ll love the industry because you are almost constantly networking.

Cons of Getting Your Real Estate License

  • Atypical Work Weeks: Having flexible hours often means working more than a 40-hour work week or atypical hours, including nights and weekends.
  • No Income Guarantee: Your earnings are based on your transactions. Unfortunately, this means there can be slow periods financially.
  • Stress: Real estate can be a stressful field. It can also be hard to balance saying no and taking on new clients because more clients mean more sales.


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