How to Become a Real Estate Agent

If you like looking properties and would like to be self employed, you might want to think about how to become a real estate agent. Realtors help people who are interested in selling, buying, or renting buildings, homes, and land. Residential real estate agents usually work with homeowners while commercial realtors handle office space and buildings.

Education and Requirements

No college degree is required, but you must be a high school graduate. Many states also require that you have a real estate license. But each state has different requirements concerning fees, exams, amount of education, etc. In order to determine the specifics about what your state requires, do some research. In general, you will often have to be at least 18 years old and sometimes even 21 with no felony convictions. You usually have to fill out an application, and these can usually be downloaded from your state’s Real Estate Commission website.

Often you will need to complete 40-50 hours of pre-licensing courses from a state accredited facility. Usually you can get the training you need at a real estate school, a large franchise real estate office, or from online or correspondence courses. Sometimes regional real estate boards also offer classes. In addition, you often have to pay the necessary fees for your application and licensing.


Real estate agents might also consider joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR). With over a million members, the NAR holds its members to a strict Code of Ethics and Standards of Practice. This organization also offers continuing education courses which are required in order to maintain your real estate license in some states. Minority realtors might also think about becoming members of the National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB).

Job Duties

Real estate agents have many job duties. They pre-qualify clients to make sure they have the resources needed to purchase a property. One of the important things a realtor does is to help their clients decide on a selling price based on the current market and the value of the property. Then they advise sellers about the best ways to market a home for sale using such tools signs in the yard, print ads, fliers, the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), virtual tours, and open houses. They also assist buyers with making offers and counter offers as well as negotiating deals. In addition, they handle a great deal of the paperwork necessary to close real estate deals.

Pay and Hours

Real estate agents are often not employed by any particular company. Instead, they work together with real estate agents, mortgage brokers, inspectors, loan officers, etc. They are paid a commission which is a percentage of the sales price of the property. So, in essence, depending on how hard you work, how many clients you have, and how expensive the real estate is that you are selling, your income could vary anywhere from nothing to over a million dollars a year.

Much of this career involves meeting people, chatting, and building relationships. Not a 9-5 job, you have flexibility to set your work schedule, meaning that often you will be working in the evenings and on weekends.

Being a real estate agent can be a really fun and rewarding job, but as with anything else in life, you get out of it what you put into it.