Choosing a career as a real estate agent can be very rewarding both personally and financially. As an agent you are assisting people make important purchases. This may be a first time home buyer or an individual looking for investment properties. A good agent will listen and help find a property to fit their client's needs. These transactions are sometimes stressful for the buyer and a great real estate agent is there to help the client through the process. To know you were able to help find the perfect retirement home for that couple or help make that transition across the country for that family of four can be very gratifying for you as the agent. These successful real estate transactions can not only turn into long term clients but also be a great way to network and get potential referrals.
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook a real estate agent earns on average over $47,000 per year. In addition the job growth rate in this industry is expected to increase 6% over the next 10 years. There are many people that have made fantastic careers as real estate agents and continually exceed the national average income for this profession. A hard working agent, in the right area, with an established portfolio of clients can exceed $80k a year.
Another advantage of becoming a real estate agent is that the profession is relatively easy to get started in. To begin your career as a real estate agent will vary from state to state. Each state will have specific regulations when it comes to how real estate licenses are issued. Be sure to check with your local state agency to determine the criteria for your state. For most individuals it won't take longer than 6 months to receive your license if you are actively taking the required courses and fulfilling the required classroom learning hours. The process to obtain your license includes:
- Meet the age and education requirements. Most states will require you be 18 years of age with a high school diploma or GED. Some states may have higher age and education requirements.
- An extensive background check will be run to verify your character. As well most states will require fingerprinting.
- Complete the pre-licensing course work hours. This course work criteria will be different based on the state you are applying for your real estate license. For example Ohio requires 120 hours of courses on various topics such as: Practice and Principals, Real Estate Laws, Financings and Appraisal.
- To work as an agent you must also be sponsored by a brokerage. This will be the real estate company or agency you work for. All real estate agent agents must work under a principal broker.
- Pay the real estate application fee and wait for approval to schedule your real estate licensing exam(s).
- Finally pass the real estate licensing exam(s) with the required scores. The exam(s) can be difficult so be well prepared when exam day arrives.
It's important to reiterate that you should first check with your local state agency to determine the criteria for real estate licensing in your state. See below for a link to your local licensing agency.
The big question is "is being a Real Estate Agent a good fit with your lifestyle?" An agent while working with their clientele will find themselves wearing many hats. Clients will want you to be available on their schedule. You will need to manage the entire purchasing process to ensure a smooth transaction. Negotiations will be a regular process and having a good understanding of the market and its trends will help substantially. You will also need to process all of your paperwork. Networking to create new leads and create your own promotional materials. If you are outgoing, well organized and a timely person being a real estate agent might be a great fit for you.