October 18, 2021


Reality shows like Property Brothers and House Hunters make it look easy, but if you want to be a real estate agent, you have to earn your stripes just as others do. The truth is that you will have to complete several licensing courses that teach the necessary skills required for being a good real estate agent.

There are ways in which you can expedite the process, but by-and-large, you'll need at least six months (to one year) of preparation before joining an agency or opening an independent practice. This blog post will go in detail regarding what’s required to become a real estate agent so that you can clearly understand if this is something worth pursuing. Keep reading to find out more.

How Easy Is It To Become A Licensed Real Estate Agent?

Obtaining a real estate license is something that many are interested in because they get to be their own boss. Lots try but some also fail. 

Becoming a successful real estate agent requires years of training and experience in the real estate market. You have to put in a lot of hard work, patience, and sacrifice to understand America’s real estate industry.

How Easy Is It To Become A Licensed Real Estate Agent?

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Who Can Get A Real Estate Agent License?

Anyone can get a real estate license providing they meet the following requirements:

  • Be a U.S. resident
  • All education requirements are completed
  • Receive a passing grade on the real estate license examination
  • Be of legal age (this depends on what your state considers to be legal)

According to the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials, which collects real estate market data, there are more than 3 million active real estate licenses in America which proves that the process works.

What Does A Successful Real Estate Agent Focus On?

A successful real estate agent focuses most of his intentions on evaluating the market and becoming an expert in it. 

One of the most common questions people ask is, “how much time does it take to become a successful real estate agent?” Now, what’s wrong with this question is that it’s not possible to guess. Success varies among individual agents, along with the markets they are operating.

It’s best to not waste your valuable time in compiling a schedule for success. The main concern of successful real estate agents should be to enhance their market knowledge. A successful real estate agent is one who spends a significant amount of time learning about the changes in a community and finding opportunities to provide value for their clients.

Additionally, if you are at the start of your career, it’s best to begin with understanding the potential needs of your client. It can help you in establishing a baseline knowledge of your market. 

*** Need more clients?  Read our guide on getting real estate clients.

Five Steps To Becoming A Real Estate Agent

Becoming successful in the field of real estate requires a considerable amount of time and money, depending upon the laws of your state.

The following five steps will guide you on the entire process of knowing your state’s requirements and finding a real estate brokerage.  

1. Know The Requirements Of Your State

The first thing to do is to research your state laws. The best place to look for them is the real estate commission official website of your state. 

Generally, all states need you to have a high school diploma or a GED to become eligible for a real estate agent license. No state in the U.S. requires a bachelor’s degree. Most states need you to be 18 or 19 years old before applying.

2. Complete A Pre-Licensing Course

If you are eligible, you need to complete a certain amount of instruction time. In general, every state’s requirements can be as low as 40 hours and as high as 300 hours.

For example, in California, you have to complete 3 pre licensing courses to get a total of 135 hours. Whereas, in Florida, the classes take only 63 hours; in Georgia and New York, applicants must take 75 hours of courses.

But, you can also join a local college or a local real estate broker that provides these courses if you are a U.S. resident. Coldwell Banker, Gardens Real Estate, and Remax have many branches that provide pre licensing courses throughout the U.S.

3. Apply For The Real Estate Licensing Exam

Completing the required hours of pre licensing courses will lead you to the next stage of your journey, which is applying for the real estate licensing exam. The exam will be on a computer and divided into two sections.

One section will consist of a national part of practices and principles about real estate in general. The other part will be on the real estate laws of your state. Time allowed for the exam and the number of questions can vary among states and the passing exam criteria.

For instance, the minimum passing percentage in Michigan and New Mexico is 75%. Whereas in California, it is 70% or above to pass the exam. Moreover, each state sets its own rules for exam retakes, waiting time between exams, and the deadlines for retakes.

4. Approve Your License As A Real Estate Agent

Once you have passed the exam, it’s time to approve your real estate agent license. You will have to submit the required fees and documents along with your application to your state’s real estate regulation-making organization.

After the approval of your application by the real estate regulatory organization, you will receive your license via mail by your state, and your name will be available for search under the licensee’s section of your real estate website.

6. Look For A Real Estate Broker

Now you have your license (congrats!), but it doesn’t quite mean that you can run your own real estate firm. Most states don’t issue a license unless you have worked under an experienced broker for a certain amount of time.

Your next step is to find a real estate broker and work under his supervision. A broker is accounted for by the real estate law for overseeing the transactions and to make sure that other real estate agents are following the proper legal standards.

Look For A Real Estate Broker

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What Is The Difference Between A Realtor License And A Real Estate Agent License?

People often get confused between a realtor and a real estate agent and think they have separate licenses. To simplify it, a real estate agent can also become a realtor or a broker.

A realtor is a designation that a real estate agent can earn by a license with experience. Professional real estate agents have to become active members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) to call themselves realtors.

Who Is A Commercial Real Estate Agent?

A commercial real estate agent (CRE) is a professional in the real estate industry whose main job is to deal with commercial properties. They also manage, lease, and sell properties to their clients for generating a good income.

They work with government officials, industry leaders, banks, accountants, and other commercial property owners to assist them in putting together profitable sales. Moreover, a commercial real estate agent’s responsibility is to tell them what might be better for their property than its current use.

What Are The Differences Between Commercial And Residential Real Estate Agents?

While they receive the same education, the additional training an agent takes on can help them become successful in either specialization. Commercial real estate agents buy and sell business properties, while residential real estate agents buy and sell homes. 

Commercial and residential real estate agents can also differ based on the following:

  • Their knowledge of real estate
  • The types of tasks they do
  • The number of working hours they have to fulfill
  • The client’s needs

Differences In Tasks Between Commercial And Residential Real Estate Agents

A CRE agent has the task of representing different commercial properties. So, it is their responsibility to conduct multiple visits to those sites and gather every piece of information he/she could get about that property such as insights regarding population growth index, cap rate, and so on.

On the other hand, a residential real estate agent does not have these tasks. They only have to visit the property whose sellers they are representing, and they also don’t need to research complex metrics (unless of course, they want to).

5 Tips On How To Become A Successful Real Estate Agent 

To become a successful real estate agent, you need to adhere to specific qualities like having good, open communication with clients, developing good relations with other agents, and setting well-defined goals.

For your ease, we have gathered some of the most crucial attributes that every real estate agent must possess if he wants to become successful and grow in the real estate industry.

1. Set Goals

Goals are essential for every real estate agent who wants to succeed in their career. Goals are the best way of determining and tracking down your progress. Setting actionable, specific, proficient, measurable, and realistic goals is a reliable way of sealing in success.

Only 3 percent of the people write down the goals they set. According to a study result, when you write down your goals, there is a 42 percent more chance that you will achieve that goal.

2. Develop Relationships With Other Agents

Developing relationships with other agents will help you in growing your business and increasing your income. Teaming up with other real estate agents will allow you to benefit from their work experience, knowledge of the market, and especially their clients.

“They also might specialize or have gone through situations that you haven’t come across and will be able to give insight into what to expect if it happens to you and vice versa” — Megan Blum.

3. Always Have Your Marketing Plan Available

You have to find a market plan and create marketing materials that work for you every time you start a new campaign.

The key component of success in automated marketing is divided into two parts. You have to strike all your bases and provide a well-personalized customer experience, all without constructing a new market plan for each new campaign.

4. Search For A Mentor

Searching for a mentor and working with one is extremely helpful for real estate agents, especially for newer ones. Learning from an experienced mentor will help you in understanding more than just the basic requirements on how to deal with clients and will enhance your confidence while handling a deal independently.

5. Act Like A Small Business

Last but not least, this is the attribute that helps you in tying everything together. Acting like a small business will increase your potential of succeeding as an independent contractor. Try to create a business to be flexible, convenient, and able to grow with your career.

Moreover, a small business is more successful if it has a well-defined marketing plan, well-structured strategies that follow a strict process, and actionable plans generated from significant goals. And most importantly, it fulfills the needs of its customers.

Who Should Become A Real Estate Agent?

Anyone willing to study and understand the real estate market can become a successful real estate agent. Handling paperwork of potential complexity, tracking leads, and providing good customer services can aid one in becoming a real estate agent. The real estate principles require you to have decent ethical standards and create good customer relationships.

According to the real estate career report of 2020, a survey of 800 licensed real estate agents took place, and 85% of them were happy with the decision they made to step foot in the real estate industry.
Who Should Become A Real Estate Agent?

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Bottom Line: What Drives You?

To sum up this article, choose a career that you are passionate about. If you are interested in becoming a real estate professional, and you have the drive and motivation within yourself to become successful, then you should go for it. Remember, everything is possible when you put in time, effort and dedication.

About the Author

As a native Washingtonian, Carlos Reyes’ journey in the real estate industry began more than 15 years ago when he started an online real estate company. Since then, he’s helped more than 700 individuals and families as a real estate broker achieve their real estate goals across Virginia, Maryland and Washington, DC.

Carlos now helps real estate agents grow their business by teaching business fundamentals, execution, and leadership.

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