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How To Become A Real Estate Agent
Selling homes as a real estate agent can be an exciting and lucrative career. For those who dream of becoming a real estate agent, here are the steps you need to take:
To become a realtor, you must first educate yourself on the world of realty and understand that becoming a real estate agent isn’t cheap. You will spend money on education, association fees, advertising, additional exam fees, and more. Pre-licensing courses are affordable, ranging from $200-300.
Requirements vary from state to state. In Missouri, you must be at least 18 years old and pass a series of courses, have completed the minimum number of educational hours, and submit your application within the allotted amount of time after completing the exam. Regardless of the state you live in, you will also be fingerprinted and subjected to a State and Federal criminal background check.
Activate Your License
When you’ve passed your tests and other educational requirements, it is time to activate your license through a real estate commission and pay the activation fee, which can be around $200-400. Then, you will need to join your local multiple listing service (MLS) and pay for a membership. This membership is critical, as you need to use it to access property details, analyze market trends, and see home listings before they go on the market.
Join The National Association Of Realtors
- Access to real estate market data
- Continued education discounts
- Transaction management services
- Travel and automotive discounts
Find A Reputable Real Estate Brokerage
Next, you want to find a reputable real estate brokerage in which to work. You have to decide whether you want to work for a large, national company or one that is smaller and more local. Each comes with its own set of pros and cons, so it is up to you to decide what works best for you.
For example, if working for a national brand you will have more leverage when it comes to getting discounts on the technology and other resources you need and get professional training courses. The downside would be if you prefer a company that is more personal, a large national brand may not be the best option.
If you want to work in a smaller, more local company, you will get more individual credit for your contributions, there is less competition for leads, you work as a close team, you have more work flexibility, and you can develop your own personal brand. The downside of a smaller company would be that you wouldn’t necessarily have the budget and resources a larger company would.
Regardless of which you choose, research the company thoroughly to ensure they don’t engage in shady or dishonest business practices.
Team Up With A Trusted Lender
As a real estate agent, you can’t sell a home on your own. It takes a team. That’s why partnering up with a reputable lender will benefit not only you, but the people you are trying to help find and purchase the home they love. Loan officers and real estate agents benefit from developing a positive business relationship in that they can refer clients to each other.
However, there is a catch: The Real Estate Settlement Act (RESPA) prohibits real estate agents and loan officers (as well as other involved parties) from benefiting financially from the other. For example, you cannot take a lender out to lunch or accept money from them for referrals. This law was designed to ensure the client’s best interests are met. So you can refer clients to lenders based on their needs—you just cannot benefit financially from the transaction.
As with finding a good brokerage, finding a trustworthy lender will reflect positively on you and help your reputation and career as an honest agent.
Don’t Give Up!
For the first few years, building a good reputation and area of expertise takes a lot of time and dedication. It is highly recommended that you build up your referral and client portfolio by networking and finding a mentor—a veteran realtor who can show you the ropes.