Becoming a real estate agent can be a rewarding experience.
Lucrative job, flexible working hours, becoming your own boss, plus the opportunity to meet and network with a diverse clientele. What’s not to like.
However, starting and growing a real estate business ain’t for the faint of heart. Industry experts estimate that 87% of real estate businesses fail within the first 5 years. But if you have what it takes, now might just be the perfect time to become a real estate agent.
Shifting winds are changing the housing market. Earlier this year, long-term mortgage rates slipped for the first time since Feb 2018. As buyers take advantage of the lower rates, it’s not ‘business as usual’ for real estate agents. So how do you start a career as a real estate agent? Here is our step-by-step guide.
Step 1: Get Licensed
The very first step in becoming a real estate agent is to get licensed.
The states require aspiring agents to take pre-licensing training from a certified institution before sitting for the licensing exam.
Once you’ve passed the pre-licensing training, you become eligible to sit for the main licensing exam. The exam covers many areas, including the principles governing the real estate business and the legal aspects of the business.
Step 2: Consider Joining NAR
A license gives you the right to sell real estate property.
However, you cannot call yourself a realtor until you’ve joined the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and agreed to abide by their rules.
While joining NAR is not mandatory, being able to call yourself a realtor can add some credibility to you as a real estate agent. Moreover, doing so will give you access to a variety of real estate tools, including real estate data, research & statistics, as well as discounted programs geared towards helping you succeed in business.
Step 3: Choose a Brokerage
New real estate agents are required to work with a supervisory broker for at least 2 years after getting a license.
These are companies (brokers) licensed by the state to oversee real estate transactions and ensure you are adhering to the laid down legal and ethical standards. Once you’ve gained enough experience, you could also apply for a license to become a real estate broker.
Step 4: Develop Your Professional Image
In real estate, your professional image and reputation matters, and people will make a quick judgment call on whether you’re a good fit based on your story.
Start by creating a compelling sales bio that will make the reader see you as a qualified pro. Your sales bio should tell your story. It should be backed with personality while including the key, yet fun facts that will make the reader want to interact with you on a personal and professional level.
Your image is also conveyed by the way you dress, speak, respond to others, etc. To that end, consider hiring a professional photographer to take a professional photo of you that will be shared on your website, social networks, and in all marketing materials. Don’t hesitate to refer to online resources to receive advice and get inspired by your fellow agents’ creative ideas.
Step 5: Build a Contacts List and Prepare to Meet Your First Client
As a new real estate agent, your first contacts will probably be your friends and family.
You can start by creating a list of all your contacts of buyers, sellers, property managers, and putting them in a database. Then devise ways to reach out to buyers through word of mouth, social media, blogging, and attending public/community events.