Real Estate is a ever expanding field with new home buyers and sellers entering the market everyday creating a demand for educated and licensed Realtors to help them through the process. People are jumping at the opportunity to get their own licenses and for good reason; Realtors help people find and buy the perfect home and sell their existing home. Not to mention, Real Estate can be a lucrative field. The Bureau of Labor and Statistics says that on average Realtors make $45,610 per year, and it only goes up from there; the top 10% earn over $166,000. So it can be thought that Realtors earn as much as doctors and lawyers, but spend thousands less on a degree.
Becoming a licensed agent is a fairly simple process, although for some it can be a tad intimidating. However, with a little time, and education, you can become a licensed agent too! It is important to know that each state has different requirements and you should check with your State's Real Estate Commission to learn the specifics. But in general, it really is as easy as 5 simple steps:
1. Take a Pre-Licensing Course
Almost all states require individuals to take a Pre-Licensing course, prior to taking the State exam. Each State requires a specific number of hours, for example, Florida requires 63 hours and an end of course exam. The course can be taken in the classroom or online; students will primary learn the States principals, practices and laws. This course usually costs between $200-$350.
2. The State Licensing Exam
After completion of the State required classroom hours and passing of any course exams, individuals can move on to take the State Licensing Exam. Most State's outsource this to a testing facility and appointments have to be made in advance. The test is usually separated into two parts, one being the Federal Real Estate Laws, and the other on State Real Estate Laws. The entire test can be anywhere from 130-250 questions, again depending on the state. Most of the time, students are provided a sample test, or a bank of sample questions to help prepare them for the State Exam.
3. What happens after the State exam?
You passed the test and are now a licensed Real Estate Agent, congratulations! So, what now? Before you can start to interact with clients, a few things must be done. First, you must activate your license with the State Real Estate Commission. Then, you must become a member of your local Multiple Listing Service, or MLS. This is the database of homes in your area and are used to feed sites like Realtor.com and Zillow. The MLS is also used to obtain imperative information on homes, such as property taxes market information, a history of listings, and more. The cost for each of these items will vary greatly in each state and each city but you can expect to pay about anywhere from $900 and up.
4. Become a Realtor®
The term Realtor® can only be used by those who have become a member of the National Association of Realtors®. Why become a member? You'll get access to more market statistics, discounts on educational courses, and other online services such as transaction management. But the most important perk is being able to use the term Realtor®, which gives you much more credibility.
5. Join a Brokerage
The final step in this process is to become a part of a Real Estate Brokerage in your area. A brokerage is ran by a licensed Broker, who has much more experience and education in the Real Estate industry. Brokers are in place to help oversee the Realtors®, or sales people (you), in an effort to help ensure each person is sticking to the rules, regulations and ethical standards. Most Brokerages will provide their agents additional training and the good ones will provide marketing perks among other things. Remember, Real Estate Agents, don't get paid a salary; instead they are paid a commission on each sale from the Brokerage.
If you have more questions about becoming a licensed Real Estate Agent in the State of Florida, contact First Coast School of Real Estate today, (904) 385-9331. We can help you decide if real estate is the right career choice for you.