How to Become A Real Estate Agent? See the Complete Guide

September 30, 2020
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Who is a Real Estate Agent? Have you gotten to a point in your in life that you required the services of a Real Estate Agent? Or maybe it is a career path you have chosen and you are wondering, what do real estate agents do? What is real estate agent salary like? I mean, how much does a real estate agent earn?

If I eventually decide to be one, how do I get my real estate agent license? And what are the requirements to become a real estate agent?

Well, you are in luck as this guide will give you a breakdown and step by step procedures of what it takes to be a real estate agent in the United States. This guide also applies to anyone that chose this as a career path anywhere in the world not just in United States.

So, without further ado let’s hit it!

Who is a real estate Agent?

Real estate agents are licensed professionals who organize real estate transactions, bring buyers and sellers together, and act as their representatives in negotiations. Real estate agents are usually paid in full by a commission – a percentage of the property’s purchase price. So your income depends on your ability to complete a transaction.

In almost all states, a real estate agent must work for or be associated with estate broker (an individual or a brokerage firm) who is more experienced and more highly licensed.

While this is a technically accurate definition of a real estate agent, it is not an accurate description of what a real estate agent does on a daily basis.

Every day is unique and different for a real estate agent; while this can be an attractive aspect of the real estate profession, it can also present unique challenges or opportunities depending on the agent’s skills.

Thus, what does a real estate agent do on a typical day?

What do real estate agents do?

They basically manage Your Real Estate Business by taking care of a number of administrative tasks. Thus, a good real estate agent:

  • Stay up to date on local and regional market activity and industry news.
  • Find the active, pending, and sold listings and review the MLS fact sheet or daily activity report.
  • Completes, transmit, and archives documents such as real estate documents, agreements, and files with the relevant government agencies.
  • Plans and coordinates appointments, open days, screenings, and meetings with clients and other real estate agents.
  • Develops a list of marketing plans and creates flyers, newsletters, and other promotional materials.
  • Responds to incoming emails and calls
  • Update websites, social media profiles, and blogs.

Many successful real estate agents have an assistant or office manager to assist them in their day-to-day activities so that the seller or agent can focus on more direct income-generating activities.

Real Estate Agent Job Description

When you are talking about a real estate agent job description we are referring to How a Real Estate Agent Works.

Real estate agents typically specialize in either commercial or residential properties. In both cases, they perform different functions depending on whether they work for the buyer or the seller. Agents working for the seller, also known as listing agents, advise clients on pricing and preparing the property for sale, including advice on last-minute improvements. This can increase the price or encourage quick deals. Sales agents market the property through a listing, network, and advertising services.

Agents working for the buyer research available properties that match the price range and wish list of the buyer. These brokers often look at previous sales data on comparable properties to help potential buyers find a fair deal.

Agents act as mediators for the main parties, running offers and counter-offers and other matters back and forth. Once a quote is accepted, agents on both sides often keep working helping their clients through paperwork, communication, advice on inspections and moves, and generally getting the deal through to completion.

It is important for clients to know whether a real estate agent is representing the buyer, the seller, or both parties. Of course, agent loyalty can greatly affect many details of the transaction, including the final price. State laws regulate whether a broker can represent both parties in a real estate transaction that is technically referred to as a dual agent. Agents should disclose their representation so that buyers and sellers are aware of any conflicts of interest.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent and Get Your License

The decision to become a real estate agent is an important step in everyone’s career path. People enter the real estate business from different professions and careers and at different stages of their lives.

Everyone has different reasons why they believe real estate is the right career choice for them. However, one question that always comes from people who want to get into the real estate industry is: “How do I become a real estate agent?”

The simple answer is “it depends”. It mainly depends on where a person wants to practice real estate. A state license is required to become a real estate agent. Each state has its own real estate licensing process, and each state’s rules or regulations are slightly different. However, there are some basic requirements that are always consistent.

General Real Estate Agent Requirements

To be eligible to become a licensed real estate salesperson or agent, you must:

  • Age-Be at least 18 or 19 years old (depends on the state)
  • Have legal US residency
  • Application process and fees
  • Background checks and fingerprinting
  • Continuing education
  • Education requirements (such as a high school diploma or GED)
  • Exams and exam eligibility
  • Pre-licensing courses and post-licensing requirements
  • Process for achieving the next level of licensing
  • Reporting of any criminal history

This is the top checklist for what it takes to become a licensed real estate agent. However, there are many decisions that you need to make in order to determine whether or not your journey will be successful.

While the specifics vary by state, there are five steps that every individual must take to earn their license and become a real estate agent. 

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Step 1: Understand Your State’s Real Estate Licensing Requirements:

This is perhaps the start of your journey as real estate agent. The requirements for real estate licenses vary from state to state. The official pre-license requirements are listed on the website of your state’s Real Estate Commission. Try to understand all the requirements.

Step 2: Enrol for a Real Estate Prelicensing Course

Well, there are a number of ways that you can meet your real estate licensing pre-training needs: live classrooms at local real estate schools, some real estate companies, universities, and technical schools offer real estate licensing programs. Home study and online real estate training. . It is an important decision in your journey.

Make sure you enrol in a school that has a solid reputation, offers quality content and teachers, and is focused on positive student outcomes. Your real estate licensing training will be difficult and comprehensive, but it will also be the stepping stone to a successful career as a real estate professional.

Step 3: Apply To Take the Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Timing is important at this stage. Make sure to go through the application process with your state so you can take your real estate agent exam soon after completing your real estate licensing courses. This process is state specific and includes a fee. Contact your state’s property regulator for more information. Some states require you to submit your fingerprints and pass a background check. Processing can take weeks. In many states, the application process must be completed before you can register or set your exam date. Don’t let paperwork become a hindrance to your new career in real estate.

Step 4: Pass the Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Passing the real estate exam requires more than meeting the training requirements – it requires preparation. Not everyone passes the exam in the first sitting. Preparation for passing the state examination requires additional study time. Taking practice exams, measuring your strengths and weaknesses, and working on a full thematic exam will improve your knowledge and prepare for the exam day.

Step 5: Find a Real Estate Broker

As a real estate agent, you typically work under the umbrella of a state-licensed real estate broker, who will be overseeing all your real estate transactions and ensuring that you (and other real estate agents) adhere to required legal and ethical standards. You usually don’t earn an hourly wage. Instead, the broker will likely pay you a percentage of the commissions they collect on your real estate transactions you make happen.

What is a real estate agent’s salary?

Traditionally, an agent receives a commission that is a percentage of the property’s sale price. The more the house sells, the more money an agent makes. However, the traditional payment structure is changing with online offerings that allow consumers to do the majority of their purchases themselves without the help of an agent.

Some brokerage houses charge a lower commission for more expensive homes, while others handle the entire transaction for a flat fee that is much lower than a normal commission. Other companies offer a pricing structure for service fees that allows sellers to pay only for certain parts of the sales process, such as: adding the property to a Multiple Listing Service (MLS).

How to find a real estate agent

Buying or selling a home is not an easy task and one of the most important financial decisions of your life. That is why it is important to find an experienced real estate agent to guide you through the process.

There are a lot of real estate agents out there looking for the job via online ads, postcards, and garden signs. But then. With so many professionals finding the right one, can be overwhelming.

Follow these tips to find a real estate agent and ensure you are hiring the perfect professional.

  • Talk to a lender before you hire a real estate agent.
  • Get referrals from your network.
  • Research potential candidates.
  • Interview at least three real estate agents.
  • Request references — and check them.
  • Go with your gut.
  • Take a close look at your contract.

1. Talk to a lender before you hire a real estate agent

Sometimes home buyers hire a real estate agent and start their home research before they even speak to a lender. Most experts recommend speaking to a lender first to find out how much you can afford.

Getting pre-approved for a mortgage will give you the maximum amount you can borrow and will help you identify issues that need to be addressed early. This will help you stick to homes in the right price range and show potential brokers (and sellers) that you are a serious buyer. In highly competitive markets, you will need a pre-approval letter so that sellers can review your order.

2. Get referrals from your network

Ask your friends and family if they can recommend a real estate agent that they have had a good experience with. Ideally, you want someone who has experience working with like-minded customers. For example, the needs of first-time buyers are different from those of regular buyers or homeowners looking to downsize.

Look for a broker who is an R-capital broker. This means that he is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and has officially agreed to abide by the group’s code of ethics. Some real estate agents also have certifications that show that they have completed training in a specific real estate area. Some names include:

  • CRS (Certified Residential Specialist): Completed additional training in residential property management.
  • ABR (Accredited Buyer Representative): Additional training on representing buyers in transactions.
  • SRES (Seniors Real Estate Specialist): Completed training to support buyers and sellers from 50 years.

3. Research potential candidates

First, check their online presence. Check out their websites and the active social media accounts they use to advertise their ads. Also check out the reviews online. Don’t worry about a negative review or two, just more than it could be a red flag.

Check with your state’s real estate regulator to see if an agent you are considering is licensed or has taken disciplined action. Check the candidates you interview on the local Better Business Bureau website to see if they have received any complaints.

4. Interview at least three real estate agents

This is your chance to understand the agent’s style and background. Ultimately, you are looking for a real estate agent who knows a specific area and understands your budget needs.

“See how polished and professional their proposal is,” says Katherine Hutt, spokeswoman for the Better Business Bureau. “The more effort they put into making a presentation for you, the more effort they put into presentations when they are working for you. You want someone who is really savvy.

In interviews, you will also find out which communication method and availability the agent prefers. If you are more comfortable with texting and plan to come home after hours during the week, you need an agent who will be happy to do the same, too.

5. Request references — and check them

Ask agents to provide information about properties they have listed and sold in the past year, as well as contact details for at least some newer clients. Call these clients to find out their experience and the type of support the agent provides throughout the process, including negotiations. Ask if they will hire this agent again for their next real estate transaction.

6. Go with your gut

As important as an agent’s knowledge and experience is their ability to guide you smoothly through the process. Most importantly, if the road to closure gets a little bumpy, you will reach out to an agent you trust and feel comfortable with.

“It’s like dating – sometimes chemistry matters,” said Herman Chan, associate broker and real estate agent at Golden Gate Sotheby’s International Realty in Berkeley, California. “If all goes well but you don’t connect with that person, don’t go with them. There are plenty of other agents out there who would be happy to help and could be a better personality.

7. Take a close look at your contract

Your contract should include all of the terms and conditions that you have already agreed to, including the property commission. Traditionally, the seller pays 6% of the home’s sales price for real estate commissions, with half going to their own real estate agent and the other half going to the buyer’s agent. The commission rate is negotiable though, with the average commission actually approaching 5% over the past few years.

Another factor to consider: the length of the contract itself. Look for a contract that is limited to six months or less. In a highly competitive sellers’ market, selling a home can take less than 30 days, according to NAR. If your contract is much longer and you haven’t sold your home at a reasonable time, you want to be able to switch to another agent. If you, the buyer, have not found the house of your choice within a few months, it is worth keeping your options open.

Real Estate Agent vs. Broker

The exact definitions and distinctions between a real estate agent and a real estate agent vary by state. In general, however, anyone can qualify as a real estate agent who can obtain a basic real estate license (which includes a series of accredited courses and passing an exam). A real estate agent is essentially a seller who is qualified to assist consumers in buying or selling a property.

A real estate broker is a step forward in the professional chain. Brokers have additional training and education that qualify them to pass an advanced license exam. Most states also require that they have some up-to-date experience as an active real estate agent.

Brokers manage the technical aspects of the real estate transaction: a customer signs a contract with a brokerage house rather than the individual agent. In many states, their additional certification allows brokers to process other legal and financial aspects of a transaction: the processing of the serious cash deposit and the establishment of an escrow account.

Brokers generally own a business or a franchise. They can be alone practitioners but will need another higher level license if they want to hire agents or other brokers to work with them. As mentioned earlier, a real estate agent generally cannot work alone but must work through a real estate broker. The exception is states like Colorado and New Mexico, where every real estate professional must obtain a license as a broker. However, agents typically work for brokers and share their commissions with them.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

Every real estate broker is (or was) a real estate agent, but not all real estate agents are brokers. How do realtors fit into the equation?

A realtor is a member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), a professional body. Brokers and agents can be realtors as well as real estate managers, appraisers, and other professionals in the real estate industry. Realtors must be experts in their field and adhere to the NAR Code of Ethics which requires agents to meet certain obligations to sellers and buyers.

All realtors are real estate agents or brokers (or similar), but not all agents or brokers are realtors in other words. In June 2020, the organization said it had 1.4 million members. About 2/3 of the members had a broker license.


Obtaining a real estate license costs time and money, but it can help secure a rewarding job in the real estate industry. Remember, a career as a real estate agent can be as flexible as you want. You can limit your morning hours to three days a week or you can never work on the weekend. The downside, of course, is that it severely limits your ability to be successful.

While you can work part-time as a real estate agent, most successful practitioners treat this as a full-time business, making themselves available to clients during the week and on weekends. In general, the more time and effort you put into becoming a real estate agent, the more successful you will be, both in terms of money and job satisfaction. Hope this article answered all your questions about Real Estate Agent.

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