Tips on how to become a real estate agent in 2024

Last updated: June 15, 2024
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Eleana Bowman
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Tips on how to become a real estate agent in 2024
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Do you enjoy working with the public and building relationships? Are you interested in the real estate market and seeking a career change?

If so, becoming a real estate agent may be the perfect transition. It's a great career opportunity to join a rapidly growing market and with tremendous financial potential.

This article will cover the fundamentals of a real estate agent and the steps you need to take to become one. It will also discuss the differences between a real estate agent and a broker, job outlooks, and how to get started in your career journey as a real estate agent.

What is a real estate agent?

A real estate agent is an individual with the necessary qualifications and skills to assist clients with buying, selling, or renting real estate property. They must have a license in order to practice as an agent in their state of residence.

Depending on the state laws, they may need additional training or classes to maintain their license. In addition, agents are required to stay up-to-date on any changes in laws and regulations that may affect their ability to practice.

Agents act as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, landlords and tenants, or property owners and potential purchasers. They typically handle all aspects of the transaction from start to finish, including paperwork, negotiations, appraisals, marketing efforts, scheduling inspections, etc.

Another vital role of a real estate agent is to provide their clients with advice and guidance. Agents must be knowledgeable about the local market, area trends, and other relevant information that could affect their client’s decision-making process. They may also need to refer clients to other professionals for support, such as mortgage brokers, appraisers, or even contractors.

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Without real estate agents, the process of buying and selling real estate would be a much more complicated and lengthy process. Agents provide the expertise, knowledge, resources, and support needed to make transactions run smoothly and efficiently.

In addition to their transactional duties, they can also provide essential advice and guidance that buyers or sellers may not have access to without an agent’s help. They advocate for their client’s best interests, helping to make sure the transaction is fair and equitable for all parties involved.

All in all, a real estate agent plays a crucial role in the buying and selling process. With the proper training and qualifications, you can have a successful career as a real estate agent.

Real estate agent vs. broker: what you need to know

The primary difference between real estate brokers and agents is their experience and authority level.

Agents are typically new professionals who have just completed the necessary steps for licensing. They are required to work under the direct supervision of a broker. The average real estate agent's salary in the US is $49,220.

On the other hand, brokers have more experience and authority than agents. They typically have at least two years of real estate experience, although some states may require additional qualifications. Brokers are also responsible for supervising agents and ensuring they follow all applicable laws and regulations.

Real estate agents have the ability to work independently or as part of a bigger team, depending on the requirements of their clients. They also have access to a wealth of resources and contacts within the industry that can help them provide better service for their clients. It's common for these professionals to work from home or in an office, but they may also travel to clients' homes or properties.

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With the proper training and qualifications, agents and brokers can handle real estate transactions. However, the level of experience and authority will vary depending on the individual. Agents are typically more hands-on when dealing with clients, whereas brokers may provide more oversight and guidance throughout the process.

How long will it take to obtain a real estate license?

The amount of time it takes to acquire a real estate license varies by state. Generally, it takes between three and six months to complete the real estate classes and exams to become a licensed real estate agent. However, this can vary depending on pre-licensing education requirements and other factors.

Before applying for a real estate license, make sure to check your state’s licensing requirements. Most states require that you have a GED or high school diploma and complete a certain number of pre-licensing courses before taking the real estate licensing exam.

You’ll need to complete an accredited pre-licensing education program during the three-to-six-month period. This typically consists of coursework and exams focusing on real estate law, principles, and practices. Once you’ve completed the required coursework, you can take the state licensing exam.

This is a relatively quick process if you're looking to start a career, but understanding the investment in time and money needed to become a real estate salesperson is important. Some real estate agents may not receive weekly paychecks, meaning you need to be able to cover expenses while you get your license and until you finalize a transaction with your first clients.

There are some companies that provide weekly wages, though these tend to be for rental agents. These types of roles are perfect for those who are new to real estate and looking for some extra income while they build a client base and reputation.

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Regardless of if you work for a company or start your own business, obtaining a real estate license is a worthwhile investment.

There are several benefits to the profession, including having flexible hours and no cap on potential earnings. It does require a significant amount of dedication and effort, but it can be a rewarding and profitable career.

Additionally, the timeline to obtain a career requiring a college degree is significantly longer than that of a real estate license. Starting on this path can help you build experience and generate a steady income in much less time than roles with steeper educational requirements. You should weigh the time and money investments involved in both options to make the best decision for your future.

Six steps to become a real estate agent

You will need to take a few key steps when becoming a real estate salesperson. Having an understanding of the process can help you best prepare yourself for success in the field.

This is a general guide, as the exact steps to take may vary depending on your state and other factors. Most real estate agents will have to work with a broker. Check your state's specific requirements before beginning the process.

Here are the top six steps you can take to become a real estate agent:

1. Research and complete prerequisites

Before you can start working as a real estate agent, you will need to do some research into what’s required in your state. Most states require that you have a GED and obtain a certain number of pre-licensing education hours. You must also complete a background check and fingerprinting process. This can vary from state to state, so it’s critical to research any specific requirements.

2. Complete a professional salesperson course

Most states require that you complete an approved professional salesperson course to become a real estate agent. The course will cover topics such as real estate law, principles, and practices, and the related exams are designed to test your knowledge in these areas. You will typically need to complete this course through a real estate school prior to taking the state licensing exam.

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3. Apply for a real estate license

After completing the pre-licensing courses, you can apply for your real estate license. You will have to fill out an application, provide proof of the pre-licensing education and pay a fee. Some states also require you to provide additional documents as part of the application process.

4. Pass state and national exams

Once your application is approved, you can take the state and national licensing examinations. The state exam will typically cover a specific set of topics related to real estate, while the national exam is more general in nature and covers basic real estate principles. In order to receive a real estate license, you will need to pass both of these exams.

5. Get licensed

Once you’ve passed both of the exams, you will then be able to get your real estate license. This will typically be issued to you by the state licensing board and should be valid for a certain period of time. To remain eligible for employment in the real estate industry, you must

keep your license valid and up-to-date.

6. Complete continuing education courses

In order to keep your real estate license active, you’ll need to complete specific continuing education real estate courses. This is a requirement for all real estate agents to stay up-to-date with the latest industry trends and regulations. To maintain your license, you will typically need to complete a set number of continuing education hours each year.

By understanding the steps and requirements for becoming a real estate salesperson, you can best prepare yourself for a successful career in the field. Taking the time needed to research and understand the process can help ensure that you’re able to get your license and start working as a real estate agent as quickly as possible.

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Remember, some states have different requirements and regulations for becoming a real estate agent. Research your state's specifics before getting started.

Additionally, keep in mind that you will need to work hard and remain dedicated to succeed in the field. You can become a thriving real estate agent with the right approach, dedication, and knowledge.

Real estate job outlook and demand

As with any career path, the job outlook for real estate agents depends on several factors, such as the current housing market, local and national economic landscapes, and unique skill sets.

Currently, the real estate job sector is seeing a steady demand for real estate professionals thanks to increased online real estate sales. Many consumers are now taking to the internet to search for their dream homes and seek advice from professionals, meaning that real estate agents need to remain ahead of the curve with their digital skills.

The BLS estimates the job outlook for real estate brokers and sales agents is anticipated to grow 5 percent from 2021 to 2031, which is about as fast as the average for all occupations. Many of the job openings for real estate agents will stem from the need to replace those who retire.

Real estate is often considered one of the highest-paying part-time jobs, making it an attractive option for those looking to bring in some extra income. With the right training and experience, agents can easily make more than $60,000 per year.

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When considering your job outlook, you should look at your location and the local housing market. Markets like rural or suburban areas may have less demand for real estate agents due to lower housing prices, and you may need to expand your search to find clients.

However, the need for experienced, knowledgeable real estate agents is clear regardless of where you live. With the proper training, certification, and dedication to your craft, you can succeed in this field and earn a stable income.

You’ll need to stay up-to-date on the latest real estate trends and marketing methods, but with the right approach, you’ll be able to get your real estate career off the ground.

Start your real estate career journey today

Becoming a real estate agent requires multiple steps and passing certain examinations. You’ll need to complete prerequisites such as a professional salesperson course, pass state and national exams, get licensed, and complete continuing education courses to remain eligible for employment in the real estate industry.

It's an excellent career opportunity for those looking for a flexible role with plenty of growth potential. If you're ready to start your real estate career, search for real estate agent jobs on Jobcase.

1 Comment


David Bailey
Bullet point

Thanks for your advice. So far, I have only worked as a salesman in the evenings after school and a little as a waiter. This also works with people, but I have long wanted to build a career as a real estate agent. I am finishing college and studying this profession's features and details to make a promising career. Thanks to such resources I can learn more about this topic and better prepare for my future profession and become a real expert. It may not be easy initially, but such articles and tips give me confidence in success. Every day I am ready to become better and closer to my dream.