Real Estate Agent 101 – How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate Agent 101 – How to Become a Real Estate Agent

The Great Recession has been over for several years and although many people still are feeling the strains of that protracted economic debacle, the housing market is improving.

Ask some estate agents and brokers if there is a bad time to be in real estate and they will tell you, “No.” The estate industry fluctuates with agents entering and exiting the business. The housing market is up, down, or stable. Those agents who are truly committed to helping people solve their property selling and buying concerns will ride with the ups and downs.

If you are a people person with dedication, ability, business-building time and a desire to be of service to your clients, now IS the time to become an estate agent. And now is the time to learn about how to become an agent.

Get a real estate education

To be an estate agent, you must study the business of real estate. Each state has basic requirements for licensure although the actual requirements vary from state to state. (Be sure to check your state’s real estate commission website for course and licensing requirements.) Courses can be completed at some community colleges and universities, online, or real estate schools. Some major realty firms have their own real estate training schools.

Your studies will include subjects in:

  • Sales and lease contracts
  • Valuation process, pricing properties
  • Legal issues
  • Human rights, fair housing
  • Taxes, assessments
  • Condominiums, cooperatives
  • Land use regulations
  • Law of agency
  • Commercial, investment properties
  • Client-broker relationship


Once you have completed your basic studies, it will be time to prepare for your state licensing exam. Classroom-based and online comprehensive prep training classes are available. Some people don’t pass the licensing test the first time; the test can be re-taken as many times as you need to receive a passing grade.

When you feel ready to take the licensing exam, you must register with your local estate board and pay a fee. The computerized exam generally takes two hours, and covers 200 questions; the test is computer scored and you will receive your results immediately.

Qualified – now what?

Now that you have completed your basic coursework and passed the exam, you are required to find a “sponsoring broker of record”. This sponsor is the professional estate broker who will mentor you toward developing your own client list and referral portfolio. Working under sponsorship, you will help clients to buy, sell, or rent property. The commissions will be split between you and your mentor/sponsor.

Once you have secured sponsorship, you may apply for your estate license. You will be required to provide proof of your coursework, licensing test results, sponsorship, and pay the related licensing fee. Fingerprinting and a background check will be completed on you before your license is issued.

I am a real estate agent!

You may not complete any estate-related transactions until you receive your license. But once it arrives, you will begin developing your business, handling sales transactions and developing into the real estate agent you only imagined being a short while before.

You may eventually decide to focus on a particular area of real estate, become a real estate broker and own your own company, or develop a career with a major real estate firm. Many options and opportunities are waiting for you. Congratulations, estate agent.

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