First you should have a honest conversation with yourself and determine if real estate is just a passing wish or if it is really something that you can see yourself doing as a full-time career. Are you in a financial position to be able to start a new business that earns income on a commission-only basis and not a salary? With the popularity of shows on HGTV, many are drawn into the idea of becoming an agent. Considering all of the behind the scenes activities that agents have to perform and the financial investment necessary, you should ask yourself, could you see yourself being happy having to do those things?
If the answer is yes, here is the step-by-step process
Obtaining a real estate license in your state, or other states in which you may have interest in doing business is not difficult, if you know what to expect, and can fulfill the requirements.
Every state in the US has a different licensing authority, which means you need a real estate license specific to the state where you want to work. If you want to work in more than one state, you’ll have to have more than one license.
How you get a real estate license will vary from state to state, but will usually involve minimum age requirements, certain education and/or experience requirements, applications and fees, and other state-specific details.
Different states also have different terminology when it comes to levels of licensing. Some states call all of their licensees “brokers” and other states separate “salesperson” from “broker” because they have different requirements for the different levels. In the states where there are different levels, they usually require several years of experience and/or more thorough education in order to obtain the higher level of license. Most people start with the entry-level license and that’s as far as they ever need to go. The higher level of license is usually required for those who want to become a managing broker in a real estate office or open and manage their own real estate brokerage.
While the specifics vary state by state, there are 5 steps that every individual must take to earn their license.
Step 1: Understand your state’s real estate licensing requirements
You must be at least 18 or 19 years of age (depending on your state). You must have legal US residency. In most states, your high school graduation is the only formal education you need in order to get your real estate license. A handful of states also require further formal education to obtain your license. For information specific to your state, scroll down and click the applicable link to your real estate association.
Step 2: Enroll in a real estate pre-license course and complete the qualifying courses
Every state has different requirements, but completing the pre-license course at a school approved by the state’s Real Estate Commission is a must before applying for the state exam. The required number of hours and course curriculum are dictated by the state’s real estate commission. This course is designed to give you a basic understanding of the required subjects and a foundation of real estate terminology. Schools that provide real estate pre-licensing education in a given state must meet the state’s requirements and receive approval. Many states also require that you complete a post- license course.
Step 3: Apply to take the real estate salesperson exam
Once you have successfully completed the required courses and passed your school exam, it is time to apply for the state exam. This process will be state-specific and include a fee. Some states require you to submit fingerprints and pass a background check.
Step 4: Pass the real estate salesperson exam
This takes preparation. Work on practice test or attend a cram course or exam prep class. Depending on where you are enrolled, schools may supply practice tests for the state exam. Now that you have a foundation of knowledge from the pre-license course, you will learn the subject matter in more detail by looking at the sample state exam questions. The goal should be to take and retake these sample exams until you are scoring 90% or better before taking the actual state exam. You should concentrate on learning the subjects rather than just memorizing questions. Check your local Real Estate Commission for local requirements.
Step 5: Find a real estate broker
Your passing grade on your state real estate licensing exam doesn’t quite mean you have a license yet. A real estate salesperson (agent) is licensed to act on behalf of a broker and may not act as a real estate agent independently. It is time to find a broker. This is where we come in to help. Our job is to get you pre-qualified for a priority interview with the appropriate KW team leader at the right time, as well as answer your initial questions. Usually brokers do not grant interviews until you have at least started the licensing process and have shown a commitment, as they are unable to speak to everyone who is considering a career in real estate.
You must be sure that you know the relevant information from your state before you get too deep in preparing for your real estate exam.
The following states offer online courses: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas,Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New York, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, Wyoming.
Check the requirements in your state/province to find out how to get your real estate license. We have included a link to the Real Estate Commissions. To view your state’s specific information, simply select your state from the list here:
Whichever route you go, online or classroom, we recommend that you make sure that the course package you purchase includes an Exam Prep module. This is a collection of sample test questions that will help you prepare for the course final exam and the Final State/National Exam.