So you have decided to become a real estate agent. Well, if done right, being an agent can be a good career choice for you. Helping people through real estate transactions can be rewarding. Apart from the income potential, you will also have a flexible schedule. If you are a people person, then you are in the right place. However, becoming a new real estate agent takes a lot of work. There is a lot that one needs to do to get licensed and succeed as a real estate agent. So it would be wise for those looking to enter this industry to first learn the tricks of the trade. Here is a simple guide on how to become a real estate agent.
1. Understand Your State’s Licensing Requirements
To get started as a new real estate agent, you will need to have a license. You are not allowed to do any business as a real estate agent if you lack a real estate license. However, just as every state has different real estate laws, licensing requirements can vary considerably from state to state. For example, to become a real estate agent in California, you will need to complete 135 hours of pre-licensing education. In Nevada, you only need to complete 90 hours. Therefore, it is crucial that you research your state’s licensing process to ascertain that you meet the real estate licensing requirements.
Although each state regulates its own licensing process, there are a few general requirements for you to qualify to become a real estate agent. Licensing requirements will often be based on age, sales experience, background check, legal US residency, pre-licensing courses, passing a licensing exam, etc. These items represent the new real estate agent checklist in your state. To be sure, check with your local real estate division.
2. Take a Pre-Licensing Course
Before sitting for a real estate license exam, you will need to sign up for a pre-licensing course from a recognized real estate licensing school. You will typically be required to take several real estate classes totaling a specific number of hours, which, as mentioned, vary by state. Classes can be in community colleges, real estate institutes, or online. The cost of the different programs will vary. However, apart from considering the cost, you should select a program that fits your schedule and learning style. The quality of learning materials and trainers will also impact how well prepared you will be for the examination. So be sure to do your research before selecting one.
3. Take the Real Estate Licensing Exam
After completing the pre-licensing coursework, you can now apply for a license and take the real estate licensing exam. You will need to pay an application fee, have your fingerprints taken, and submit to background checks. Your instructor should guide you through this process. Alternatively, you can visit your state’s real estate department website. If you fail the test, you still have the chance to retake the exam. However, the rules regarding retakes will vary depending on the state. If you pass the exams and your application is approved, you will be mailed your real estate license certificate from the state.
4. Decide Whether to Become a Realtor
The words “Realtor” and “real estate agent” are often used interchangeably. However, they are actually different. While both are licensed to help property sellers and property buyers in real estate transactions, a realtor is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A realtor pays a membership fee and is expected to subscribe to a strict code of ethics. Apart from adding to your credibility as a real estate agent, being a realtor also gives you access to a number of benefits geared toward helping you become a more successful agent. This includes access to limited marketing resources, discount educational programs, etc. While not a requirement, becoming a realtor is worth considering.
5. Find a Real Estate Brokerage to Join
A real estate license is not all you need to practice as a new real estate agent. In most states, a new real estate agent is required to work under the umbrella of a broker that supervises them for at least two years. The brokerage will oversee all your real estate transactions to ensure that they are done within state guidelines. In some states, aspiring agents may be required to have a brokerage even before taking the licensing exam.
You won’t necessarily receive a salary from your brokerage. Typically, you will be paid a percentage of the commissions yielded from your real estate deals. Some brokers may charge monthly desk fees but let you keep all commissions. You should be careful when choosing a sponsoring broker. There are a number of things you should consider including the size of the brokerage, its reputation, the area it serves, its goals, whether continuous training is offered, the commission split, etc.
6. Get Trained
Your real estate license does not prepare you fully for the daily tasks of a real estate agent. There are many moving parts in real estate, from finding clients to closing real estate deals. Even if you passed your licensing exam, there is still a lot you need to know. As a new real estate agent, you need to find some form of training to learn the fundamental skills of an agent. There are many ways you can acquire training. Thanks to the internet, you can even get coached online through online courses and videos.
You should also find a successful real estate agent or broker who can mentor you. A good mentor can help you avoid pitfalls along the way and fast-track your success. You can simply offer to help them in their real estate deals and learn about the real estate process. Mentors can also be a good source of advice for new real estate agents. To some extent, finding a mentor goes hand-in-hand with selecting a brokerage. You are likely to find a mentor in-house. However, keep in mind that not all experienced agents or brokers will be willing to assume the role of a mentor. However, with persistence, you can still find one.
7. Develop a Business Plan and Budget
There are many things that will influence your long-term success as a real estate agent. However, one of the most important things to consider when getting started is a new real estate agent business plan. You probably have a lot of enthusiasm about getting clients as a new real estate agent right away and it may be tempting to skip the planning process. However, most successful real estate agents will tell you that creating a business plan will have a huge influence on your success. A plan will help you stay organized and focused on the most important business tasks. Also, developing a budget for your home and business expenses and sticking to it is crucial. You can hire a bookkeeper to manage your accounts if you can’t do it on your own.
8. Build Your Sphere of Influence
Real estate is a business of numbers. The more people you have in your sphere of influence, the easier your real estate lead generation will be. To get listings as a new real estate agent and build your business, you should focus on constantly building on the number of contacts you have. With more prospects, you will be able to generate more business and referrals. Hand out business cards to people you know and the new people you meet. You can start by using your friends, family, and associates to get more contacts. However, you will also need to get out of the door and network. It’s going to be a lot of work but it will be worth it.
9. Market Yourself
Many first-time agents fail because they simply don’t understand how to get leads as a new real estate agent. Apart from connecting with people, you should also develop a solid marketing plan. Without a marketing plan, you won’t be able to generate enough leads. Unfortunately, in this field, business won’t just come to you. You have to work toward generating real estate leads at all times. In fact, you will need to establish multiple lead generation channels to be successful. Make sure you learn how to market yourself as a new real estate agent. Find around four or five marketing ideas for new real estate agents that work for you and implement them.
First, you should consider building your own website. As a new real estate agent, creating a quality website is a great way to promote your brand and capture leads. Even if your brokerage already offers one, it’s still important to have your own site. You should also be active on social media and develop your professional image with professional photos and a well-thought-out bio. Another way you can increase your visibility to homebuyers and investors is through other real estate websites like Mashvisor. You can claim your free agent profile at Mashvisor here.
It’s important to note that chasing leads alone won’t grow your real estate agent business. Not all prospects will follow through with a deal. If you want to make more money, instead of just chasing more real estate leads, you should find qualified leads. There is no point in increasing your client base if they are not converting. Mashvisor makes qualifying real estate leads easy. By using Mashboard, you will be able to avoid leads that are not ready to buy. The tool will also help you recommend the best investment property for your lead and close even faster since it has access to a variety of investment properties.
Other common real estate marketing tips include cold calling, direct mail marketing, paid advertising, open houses, etc
The Bottom Line
If you are thinking of how to get started in real estate, becoming a real estate agent is one of the best options. When done right, it can be a rewarding career in the real estate industry. However, being a new real estate agent will need your time, effort, and money if you want to be successful. Having the right knowledge and tools can make the difference between a successful career and total failure. The above new real estate agent tips will get you headed in the right direction.
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