How to Become a Real Estate Agent
Are you looking for a new and challenging career? If you are an organized, candid person with good communication skills, the ability to sell, and a passion for real estate, then you should consider becoming a real estate agent. In North America, there are laws to protect potential home sellers and buyers to ensure that they have fair and legal representation in a real estate transaction. These laws require that any person representing a client in a house sale or purchase must have a valid real estate license. So, if you are considering a career in this field, be aware that you will have to do some college- level coursework; and even after you are licensed, continuing education is always recommended.
As in the rest of North America, California law requires a candidate for a real estate license to be at least 18 years old, and to complete three college-level courses before writing the qualifying exam. These courses include two standard core classes, while the third can be an elective chosen from a long list of choices. Be aware that state requirements for real estate agents can vary greatly, so you will have to check with your local governing body to verify what is needed in your area. There are a number of educational institutions offering these course requirements to become a real estate agent throughout North America. If you are not a resident of the particular US state where you wish to practice, transcripts will have to be obtained from the accredited out-of-state institution you studied at. If you are a foreign national, your coursework will have to be validated by a recognized service provider that evaluates foreign credentials. In some places, if you already hold a law degree, you may be exempt from having to take certain qualifying courses.
Work experience in a broker’s office is an essential part of the requirements to get your real estate license. Because brokers have several additional years of training in real estate, they can serve as valuable guides and teachers. Before you complete your coursework and the exam, you must search for a real estate broker who will hire you. Often brokers offer or require added courses, which is important to your professional development. Take care to be aware of what each firm requires of you.
The next step to becoming a real estate agent is to pass the exam and to get licensed; a clear criminal background check is usually required. Once you are a licensed real estate salesperson, you can choose whether to continue your education and become a real estate broker, or to begin working as a real estate agent. As a real estate agent, you will always work for a broker. Another option to expand your qualifications without the heavy coursework involved in becoming a broker is to get qualified as a REALTOR®; this qualification is nationally recognized in the US and ensures holders practice legally and ethically. Once you have reached this stage and you are a licensed real estate salesperson, it is time to put all that studying and practice into building your portfolio! Whether you choose to split commissions on your first few sales with an established mentor in a real estate agency, or seek referrals by networking with people you know, there are numerous options to getting started in your new real estate career.