How to Become a Real Estate Agent

how to become a real estate agent

If you’re considering becoming a real estate agent or real estate broker, you could be embarking on a satisfying and fulfilling career with a lot of great perks involved. Flexible schedules, the potential for great income and the ability to help people find their dream property are all great reasons to enter this field.

It’s important to keep in mind that this job requires a state license. Each state has different rules and requirements. The better you understand the specific licensing requirements in your state, the sooner you can start practicing and making money.

1. Is Real Estate Right for You?

Before embarking on the process of becoming a real estate agent, you should take some time to consider whether this is something you want to do for a living before you devote your time and money. Consider reaching out to local real estate agents and brokers to find out what it’s like being a real estate professional. What makes someone a good real estate agent and what will it take to be successful? How long does it take to become a real estate agent, and how much of an investment will it require?

If you work well with people and have a strong desire to succeed, you should be in a good position to thrive as a real estate agent.

2. Understand the Basic Requirements

In all states, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old and be a U.S. resident. However, you don’t have to be a Pennsylvania resident to practice in Pennsylvania. Obtaining a state license basically requires a prelicense education in real estate as well as a license examination. The number of hours required for prelicense education varies by state.

Requirements to Be Real Estate Agent

A Pennsylvania license for a real estate salesperson requires two 30-hour real estate courses: real estate fundamentals and real estate practice. You must also pass the real estate salesperson examination through PSI Exams Online.

First-time agents will need a standard license while agents from other states can apply for a reciprocal license, provided your state has a reciprocal agreement with Pennsylvania. Currently, Pennsylvania has reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York and West Virginia.

3. Enroll in a Real Estate Prelicensing Course

Prelicensing education takes a variety of forms, including live classroom locations, realty firms and online study. Consider schools with good reputations, quality teachers and successful outcomes for former students.

In Pennsylvania, you’ll need to find courses approved by the Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission. The 60-hour education requirement – for two 20-hour real estate courses – must be completed within 10 years of passing the exam. This involves passing the courses with a minimum of 80 percent correct answers.

If you earned a bachelor’s degree in real estate or a juris doctor degree from an accredited law school, or if have a letter of certification from another licensing jurisdiction, you won’t need to complete the 60 hours of real estate instruction.

4. Apply to Take the Real Estate Salesperson Exam

It’s probably a good idea to take the real estate agent exam shortly after taking your licensing classes, while the information is still fresh. Exams will test on state-specific content, so be sure to check what subjects your state covers. You may need additional time to prepare.

The process of scheduling the exam could take time. Many states require the completion of the license application before you can schedule an exam. This licensing process could involve a background check and the submission of fingerprints.

In Pennsylvania, the licensing exam covers topics such as liens, appraisal, titles, deeds, contracts, lending laws, government land rights and legal descriptions of property. The exam costs $54 and has two sections: national (90 questions) and state (30 questions). It can be taken through PSI Exams Online, which will require proof of completion of your education requirements. You can pass the exam with a score of 70 percent or more.

Exam Cost Real Estate

You’ll need a passing score within three years of your licensing application with the state. Applicants with current licenses in other states will need to take the state portion of the exam, but will not have to take the national portion.

5. Find a Brokerage

A real estate agent may not act independently and must work under the sponsorship of a licensed broker. In some states, like Pennsylvania, you’ll need a broker affiliation before you can complete the licensing process with the state. The broker signs the documentation as your employing broker of record and receives paperwork from the PA State Real Estate Commission once the state approves your application. Your employing broker will also help you meet and maintain the requirements for a real estate license.

Give yourself time to find the right real estate brokerage firm for you. Consider the size of the brokerage and its training program. When interviewing, it may help to ask the following: how much training is offered, will you be working alongside someone else during the training process, how are leads developed and how long does it take for new agents to earn their first commission checks?

Talking to brokers and agents about the local market and how everything works will help provide more insight into what to expect and how best to hit the ground running once your licensing application gets approved with the state.

Century 21 is currently looking for hardworking individuals interested in learning how to become successful real estate agents. We offer the best training in the industry at no cost to you. We also offer the kind of tools and resources you’ll need to start earning commissions. Not only will we offer high-quality leads through our jumpstart program, we can help you develop your own sources for future leads.

Other great reasons to become a Century 21® agent in York, Pa., include the following: a high-quality referral system to help you build a referral network, free errors and omission (E&O) insurance, a 24/7 call center to help make immediate connections with interested buyers, mobile structuring of office technology and the benefit of the Century 21® brand.

6. File Paperwork With the State

In Pennsylvania, you’ll need to obtain an application from the Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission. The application requires the following:

  • Official transcript evidencing 60 hours of basic real estate courses
  • Passing exam notice
  • Criminal background check. Background checks can be obtained online through PATCH and are valid up to 90 days. If you’re a nonresident of Pennsylvania, you will need to obtain a background check from the state police in your respective state. If you’re licensed in another state, you’ll also need to submit a letter of good standing from your state, or certificate of licensure.
  • Employer certification signed by the employing broker of record
  • Fees totaling $107, including a $72 licensure fee, $25 application fee and $10 recovery fund fee

7. Become a Realtor®

To access Multiple Listing Service (MLS), you may need to become a Realtor®. To become a Realtor®, you must join the National Association of Realtors® (NAR). If you’re with an affiliated brokerage, your broker will guide you through the process. NAR fees are currently $120 a year.

Here in PA, you also need to join the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors® (PAR) and the local board of Realtors®. In York, PA, the local board is the Realtors® Association of York & Adams Counties (RAYAC). Both PAR and RAYAC have fees. The fees are generally bundled into one single payment that covers all: NAR, PAR, and RAYAC. As a Realtor® you will need to subscribe to the local MLS & to the local Lockbox System. Your broker should be able to break down your total yearly costs, so you know exactly what to expect.

8. Develop a Budget

As you learn the craft of selling real estate, there will be expenses to consider before earning your first commission check. You’ll need business cards, yard signs and other advertising, in addition to MLS membership and office fees. E&O insurance and website hosting may be including in your office fee.

You’ll likely need money to cover two to three months of personal expenses while you build a client base. It could happen a lot sooner with the right brokerage firm to guide you.

As a Century 21® agent, you’ll get free E&O insurance in addition to free training, and a free 24/7 call center. We cover a number of costs so you can focus on building your successful real estate career.

Keep in mind that all real estate agent licenses expire on May 31 of every even-numbered year. Renewal fees for a salesperson are currently $96.

9. Build a Client Portfolio

Having a mentor can be the most helpful way to start building a client portfolio. This is why it’s so important to work with the right brokerage firm. You learn the profession from your mentor who can guide you toward buyer and seller contacts. At Century 21®, you’ll have the benefit of our jumpstart system to establish prospects as well as our referral system to start building a referral network.

Building a network is crucial, so you should think about everyone you know who may be considering the purchase or sale of a home. Even if you don’t know anyone ready to buy or sell, there’s a good chance those people know someone who may be buying or selling. One great referral is all you need to get started.

Why Become a Real Estate Agent?

Earnings of Real Estate AgentAs a real estate agent, you can manage your own schedule and earn upwards of $100,000 a year or more. There are many reasons people choose a career in real estate. What matters is what you hope to achieve as a real estate agent. An assessment of the many benefits may help clarify your goals.

1. Quick Career Path

Starting a rewarding career in real estate can occur relatively quickly, depending on state regulations. There are procedural hoops, as discussed above, but once you pass through, you’re ready to start working with clients. Keep in mind that passing real estate classes, as well as the state licensing exam, can be demanding and require an understanding of complex real estate topics. Thankfully, there are many online resources available to offer clarity and guidance on real estate topics. Whatever effort you put into learning about the real estate industry will prove beneficial once you begin working with clients.

2. Independence

As an independent contractor, you make the key decisions and manage your own book of business. Armed with a strong work ethic, there should be no limits to growth. With independence comes responsibility, and you will need to manage your client’s needs as well as day-to-day needs of the office. You’re also responsible for seeking out leads and building a strong network of referrals, although brokerage firms like Century 21® can help you get started.

3. Great Income

As a real estate agent, your income potential is no longer limited by a salary or hourly wage. What determines your income is how much time you’re willing to invest in your career. Eventually, you’ll have the option of becoming a real estate broker, which means even more earning potential.

Until you start earning your first sales, there will be a number of initial expenses to manage. Unlimited earning potential does require some investment, but brokerage firms like Century 21® can help with a number of expenses while providing the training you need to make a very good living in the real estate industry.

4. Flexible Schedule

Real estate agents set their own work schedules. There’s no one to tell you when to work and for how long. Although you’ll have a desk in an office, you won’t be tied to it. You’ll be out socializing and building relationships.

You schedule will still revolve around the needs of your clients, which could mean working on weekends when clients have more time. The more attentive you are to your clients, the more you can ensure positive results needed for a successful career in real estate.

5. Helping People

The sale and purchase of a home can be one of the biggest transactions a person tackles. As a real estate agent, you can help people find great homes and sell homes at great prices. There’s no guarantee that all your clients will be easy to work with. Some clients may prove challenging, but a successful real estate agent will always provide the best service possible to all clients.

6. Career Longevity

Once you’ve begun earning commissions, you will likely continue to do so for years to come. If you eventually choose to become a real estate broker, you’ll have even more control over how to manage your career. This is a great option for self-motivated, hardworking people who find enjoyment in networking and working closely with people.

Brokerage firms like Century 21® can help you get started and give you all the training and guidance you need to build a profitable and satisfying career as a real estate agent.

The Benefit of Joining Our Century 21 Team

With one of the most widely respected brands in the entire real estate industry, Century 21® cannot be matched by other York County, Pa., real estate agencies when it comes to knowledge of the local market and the extensiveness of our listings. Our wealth of experience not only benefits clients, it also benefits all real estate agents who choose to hang their shingle with us. We provide all the tools you’ll need to succeed.

Reasons to become a Century 21® agent including the following: free training, our jumpstart program to establish prospects, our high-quality referral system, free errors and omissions insurance, our free 24/7 call center and mobile structuring of our office technology.

why become a century 21 agent

Century 21 Core Partners is currently seeking ambitious, customer-focused people to join our team of real estate agents in York, PA, and nearby areas. It’s a great time to join because we’re currently experiencing rapid growth. To find out more about the benefits of being a Century 21 Core Partners agent, call us at (717) 718-0748 or reach us online by filling out our contact form.

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