How to become a real estate agent

A real estate agent can be someone who is legally licensed to represent sellers and buyers in property transactions. Although the licensing requirements vary by state, all agents must comply with state requirements. You will need to pass the exam, take prelicensing classes and find a sponsoring agent before you can submit an application to the state’s real estate board.

These are the steps you need to take in order to become a real-estate agent.

1. Review Real Estate Requirements for Your State1. Review Real Estate Requirements for Your State

Before you register for classes or take the licensing exam, make sure to check your state’s requirements regarding real estate licensure. You can do this by visiting the website of your state’s realty commission and researching your state’s minimum licensing requirements. The following state-specific guides can help you navigate the licensing process:

Alabama Alaska Arizona Arkansas California
Colorado Connecticut Delaware Florida Georgia
Hawaii Idaho Illinois Indiana Iowa
Kansas Kentucky Louisiana Maine Maryland
Massachusetts Michigan Minnesota Mississippi Missouri
Montana Nebraska Nevada New Hampshire New Jersey
New Mexico New York North Carolina North Dakota Ohio
Oklahoma Oregon Pennsylvania Rhode Island South Carolina
South Dakota Tennessee Texas Utah Vermont
Virginia Washington Wisconsin Wyoming  

To be eligible to transact real estate within their states, applicants must be at least 18 years old, have US citizenship, complete coursework and pass a licensing exam. Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow you to do business with other states without the need for a secondary license.

Reciprocity laws permit licensed agents from one state to legally practice real estate in another without needing to satisfy additional licensing requirements. Our complete guide on real estate reciprocity.

2. Complete Real Estate Prelicensing Coursework

Once you’ve determined your state’s licensing requirements, you can visit the website of your state’s real estate commission to find out which prelicensing courses you need and whether you can take them online. Although not all states allow you to take your prelicensing courses online, most do. This makes it an attractive option for people who prefer the convenience of internet-based learning and the flexibility that comes with self-paced instruction.

Find out more about the top online real estate schools, and how they compare to each other. Once you have found the right online school for your needs, sign up through their website to complete the course requirements and exams. Each school will give you proof of your coursework completion that you can attach to your license application.

To find the best school for you, take our quiz:

Which Real Estate School is Right for You?

We’ll match you with the right product for your business by asking you some questions.

Question 1

Which is your main reason for pursuing a real estate course?

Question 1 of 3

1 minute approx

  

Question 2

Question 3

 

3. Register for & Pass Your State Real Estate Licensing Exam

Register to take your real estate exam via your state’s website. A proof of completion of prelicensing coursework may be required. You will also need to pay a $50-100 registration fee.

To fully prepare for the licensing exam, you might consider taking a exam prep course. A course can provide valuable study tools such as flashcards or practice tests. You can take the exam once you are confident in your knowledge of licensing topics.

4. Locate & Join a Sponsoring Agent

After passing your exam, you will need to find a sponsoring brokerage before the state issues you a license. Mentoring, training and work experience can all be provided by a sponsoring broker. To discuss sponsorship, find brokers in your local area. Prepare a list with questions for the broker to be asked during the interview.

Next, compare the pros and cons of each brokerage. Consider benefits such as mentorship, training, and team support. After you have made your choice, contact them to ask if they are willing to sponsor you. Find out how to select a realty company you want to work for.

5. Submit Your Real Estate License Application

Once you have successfully completed the courses and passed the exam, you can submit your license application. You can go back to the website of your state’s realty commission and fill out an application to obtain a license.

Some states require you to submit fingerprints and a criminal background check in order to complete your application. You will be required to pay $125 for a background check. Also, your fingerprints must be submitted for review.

You will need to wait for up to six weeks after submitting your completed application to be notified that the application has been approved. Some states will send you an email notification of approval for your license so that you can notify your broker quickly, but most states will only send official notification by mail.

 

You can find more information about these five steps in our step-by–step guide How to Get a Real Estate License.

How to Market Your Real Estate Business

Although a realty license will allow you to be identified as a salesperson or agent, it is not enough to become a successful agent. Still, you will need to develop and implement a marketing strategy that is focused on building trust and relationships. This will allow you to find your first client and increase the number of leads that are sent your way.

Networking is the key

As a new agent, networking is the most important thing. You can introduce yourself to people in casual settings as an agent. You will build relationships with local people and become a respected agent. People will find it easier to reach you for help with property issues.

There are many opportunities to network, whether you’re online, in person, or at events. The National Association of Realtors is the largest professional association for real estate professionals in the country. You will also receive the title of Realtor. This is a mark of professionalism and trustworthiness that many clients consider to be a sign of expertise.

To join, go to the NAR website and fill out the application. You will also need to pay the $150 annual fee. This fee covers your admission to networking events at local and national levels, continuing education classes that will help you improve your marketing and sales skills, and the designation of real estate agent.

Select a farm area

Your license as a real estate agent allows you to assist clients in buying and selling properties within your state. It will take too much time and effort to reach all potential clients in your state.

Your marketing efforts should begin with identifying the geographic area you wish to target. This is your farm region. You can build strong relationships and a strong reputation by focusing your marketing efforts on a single location.

Utilize Real Estate Lead Generation Tools

Although organic outreach and networking within your farm are the best ways to generate leads, there are many other lead generation tools that you can use to bring potential clients to your door. One such tool is a real estate website.

You can select from many high-quality lead generator website builders specifically designed for real estate agents. Many of these site builders can be integrated with a CRM tool to manage customer relationships. Your website builder can help with follow up and client communication. Some examples of the best website builders include:

Real Estate Lead Generation Software Best for
Real Geeks (Best Overall) Agents looking for an easy-to use website with CRM and managed marketing
Zillow Premier Agency Agents who need an IDX website with a CRM to manage Zillow leads
BoomTown Teams looking for IDX websites that offer lead assignment and follow up tools, as well as a live client concierge
Zurple Agents looking for a customized IDX website to suit their needs
  Agents looking for IDX websites that have intuitive CRM and enhanced search filters
  Agents in real estate are looking for an easy, affordable IDX website to generate leads.

You can also refer to our guide on top methods to generate real estate leads for more ideas about how to expand your influence and gain more clients.

Tools & Resources for a New Real Estate Agent

Although networking and organic outreach are the best ways to generate leads, there are many companies that offer tools that can help you save time and money. Ask your coworkers about their preferred CRM, lead generation tools, and marketing platforms.

Here are some best lead generation companies to help you get started.

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

Real Geeks Real Geeks is our top pick for a lead generation tool because it includes a website builder and CRM. This provides everything agents need to start selling. Pricing is customizable, but prices start at $250 per month. Real Geeks also offers managed services starting at $300 per month. Prices will vary depending on whether you have a budget for Facebook advertising or pay per click marketing (PPC).Visit Real Geeks

Zurple Zurple is real-estate lead generation software that brokers and agents love to work with data. It allows you to create a website for real estate that targets a particular farm area. However, it also offers lead capture. For $399 per month, the software will automatically create a search profile that gives you additional insight into when leads are most likely to be engaged.Visit Zurple.

BoldLeads BoldLeads provides buyer and seller leads for only $399 per month. This is an excellent option for brokers and agents who want to be in a position to test their marketing strategies using A/B test pages.BoldLeads

Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA). Agents looking to advertise on Zillow.com can use ZPA’s IDX website and CRM. Leads range from $20 to $60 depending on where you are located and how competitive the market is.Zillow Premier Agent

Zoho CRM Although Zoho CRM is not a real estate-specific software, it offers a free CRM plan that allows up to three users, a real estate management add-in and workflow builder. This makes it an excellent choice for new agents. This can also be integrated with social media tools so agents have the ability to track and monitor their interactions with potential clients via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.Visit Zoho CRM

CINC CINC is a powerful tool to generate leads for real estate agents who are more comfortable in front of clients on their phones than behind a desk. Its fully integrated mobile app, digital concierge service and monitoring and qualification of leads for you allows you to be faster than your competitors. You can also get marketing assistance for $500 per month, plus the cost to advertise.Go to CINC

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

Real Geeks Real Geeks is our top pick for a lead generation tool because it includes a website builder and CRM. This provides everything agents need to start selling. Pricing is customizable, but prices start at $250 per month. Real Geeks also offers managed services starting at $300 per month. Prices will vary depending on whether you have a budget for Facebook advertising or pay per click marketing (PPC).Visit Real Geeks

Zurple Zurple is real-estate lead generation software that brokers and agents love to work with data. It allows you to create a website for real estate that targets a particular farm area. However, it also offers lead capture. For $399 per month, the software will automatically create a search profile that gives you additional insight into when leads are most likely to be engaged.Visit Zurple.

BoldLeads BoldLeads provides buyer and seller leads for only $399 per month. This is an excellent option for brokers and agents who want to be in a position to test their marketing strategies using A/B test pages.BoldLeads

Zillow Premier Agent (ZPA). Agents looking to advertise on Zillow.com can use ZPA’s IDX website and CRM. Leads range from $20 to $60 depending on where you are located and how competitive the market is.Zillow Premier Agent

Zoho CRM Although Zoho CRM is not a real estate-specific software, it offers a free CRM plan that allows up to three users, a real estate management add-in and workflow builder. This makes it an excellent choice for new agents. This can also be integrated with social media tools so agents have the ability to track and monitor their interactions with potential clients via LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook.Visit Zoho CRM

CINC CINC is a powerful tool to generate leads for real estate agents who are more comfortable in front of clients on their phones than behind a desk. Its fully integrated mobile app, digital concierge service and monitoring and qualification of leads for you allows you to be faster than your competitors. You can also get marketing assistance for $500 per month, plus the cost to advertise.Go to CINC

ProspectsPLUS ProspectsPLUS! ProspectsPLUS is an online direct mailing service that offers a variety of templates and mailing options. Brochures and postcards ProspectsPLUS allows you to quickly get printed materials at a fraction of the cost.Contact ProspectPLUS!

What Characteristics Make a Real Estate Agent Successful?

The education and legal aspects of representing sellers or buyers in property transactions is all that you need to learn before becoming a real estate agent. Agents who are successful must also be able to communicate effectively, efficiently, organize, and engage their clients. To be successful in real estate, you need to look beyond the professional aspects of real estate agents.

These are the top characteristics of a great real estate agent.

  • Selling skills: The ability to present a compelling case for a purchase is the backbone of any career in real estate.
  • Sales and marketing knowledge: To succeed in real estate, you should be familiar with the basics of real estate advertising, copywriting, public relations, and marketing.
  • Time management expert: To manage their busy schedules, real estate agents must have great time management skills.
  • Outgoing and extrovert: Assess your social and listening skills. If you are able to pick up small details and have people confide in, you may be a good agent for real estate.
  • Learn There are many states that require a lot of education after licensure to maintain and renew your real estate license.

It is more than just education that makes a successful career in real estate. Trustworthiness and approachability are essential for building relationships with potential buyers and sellers. Ask for help from other agents if you have any problems. Ask fellow agents and brokers for their advice on managing agent-client relationships.

 

Learn more about How to Be Successful in Real Estate.

How to Become an Agent in Real Estate Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

What is the cost of real estate school?

Prelicensing courses in real estate are typically $200-$1,000 depending on the state. Some states, like Texas, require 180 hours of coursework. This can vary depending on the package you choose and the real estate school. Others, such as Florida, only require 63 hours of coursework and cost $99-$435 depending on the study aids.

Are there any online classes in real estate?

It all depends on your state’s requirements. Many states allow real estate agents to take classes online through an accredited school such as Real Estate Express. Click here to find out if your state permits you to take classes online.

How much does it cost for a real estate license application to be submitted?

The fee for a real estate license is $300 to $400. It should be sent directly to the state real estate commission. Additional $125 is available for states that require fingerprints or a background check in order to approve a real-estate license.

What is the average salary of real estate agents?

Based on experience and whereabouts, a full-time agent in real estate can earn between $40,000 to $75,000 per year. The health of the local housing market, the amount of time that an agent invests in the business and the average home sale price in the area all impact these estimates. Learn more about real estate agent salaries.

What is the difference between prelicensing and exam prep courses?

Your state will require you to complete prelicensing coursework in order to schedule your licensure examination. Exam prep classes, which are not required by your state, help you to master exam materials.

Bottom line

The first step in becoming a real-estate agent is to research your state’s licensing requirements. This will lead to obtaining a real license. But that’s just the beginning of your real-estate career. We’re always generating new content. For more information on how to improve your career as an agent, you can subscribe to our free newsletter.