Real estate has emerged as one of the most profitable industries worldwide. In 2017, more than 614,000 houses were sold in the United States alone. The same year, transaction volumes reached $467 billion. If you're planning to work as a licensed real estate agent, now is the time to get started.
Those who work in this niche buy, rent or sell properties for their clients. They also prepare contracts and discuss conditions of sale. Their average annual income is approximately $45,990. Top performers can earn as much as $109,490 per year. As soon as you obtain a real estate license, you can focus on growing your business and generating revenue.
How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent
All states require real estate agents to carry a license. The requirements are state-specific and typically include the following:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have legal U.S. residency.
- Have a high school diploma.
- Complete 40-to-180 hours of real estate education (varies by state).
- Pass your state real estate license examination.
- File your application and pay the fees.
- Work with a real estate broker for two or three years.
- Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR).
- Renew your license.
Those who wish to become real estate agents may be required to complete post-licensing and continuing education requirements. But you cannot start selling houses right away. During your first two or three years as an agent, it's necessary to work with a real estate broker who will sponsor you.
Obtaining your real estate license can be expensive, with a variety of fees from pre-licensing courses, exams, license application, background check and joining a real estate association.
Real estate classes are available online and in-person, but they're all costly. Pre-licensing courses cost between $200 and $1,000. Exam fees range from $15 to $60. When you apply for a license, expect to pay up to $250 plus $40 to $80 for a background check. For instance, the cost of real-estate pre-licensing in Utah ranges from $400 to $600. You will also need $152 for the license application, $66 for the license exam and $700 to $1,300 to join a real estate association.
What if you don't have the financial resources to complete your education? In this case, research the grants that are available for new real estate agents. Various private and public organizations will fund your real estate education.
Apply for a Grant or Scholarship
To find funding, start by applying for Federal Student Aid. This option is offered by the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid), the largest provider of student financial aid in the U.S. The application is free and can be submitted online. Once approved, you will receive assistance from the college you attend, the state where you live or the U.S. federal government. Grants from nonprofit or private organizations are available, too.
It's necessary to be a U.S. citizen or eligible non-citizen to qualify for this type of grant. Applicants must be enrolled in an eligible certificate program or degree and maintain satisfactory academic progress. You simply fill out an application online, select the schools of interest and submit your request to the FAFSA. Grants for new real estate agents are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis, so make sure you apply as soon as possible at the beginning of the year.
Another option is to contact schools and organizations that provide real estate courses to see if they offer grants and how to qualify for one. Some examples include Hondros College, Brightwood Real Estate Education, Cornell Graduate School and Illinois Real Estate Educational Foundation. Each has its own eligibility criteria.
Also, many real estate agencies provide scholarships and grants. In this case, you will need to work for them after obtaining your license. Before applying, find out whether they require additional training or courses. Ask if they have a mentorship program and about the company culture. Remember to ask about their commission structure as well. Contact several real estate agencies and brokerage firms before making your decision.
- Statista: Transaction Volumes in the Real Estate Market in the United States from 2005 to 2017
- bls.gov: Occupational Employment and Wages
- Real Estate Online Learning: The Cost of Becoming a Real Estate Agent
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- Bureau of Labor Statistics. "Real Estate Brokers and Sales Agents: Pay." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- New York Department of State Division of Licensing Services. "Real Estate Reciprocity." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- California Department of Real Estate. "Requirements to Apply for a Real Estate Salesperson License." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- New York Department of State Division of Licensing Services. "FAQ - Real Estate Salesperson and Broker." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- The Association of Real Estate License Law Officials. "Membership Options." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- National Association of Realtors. "About NAR." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- National Association of Realtors. "History." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- Realtors Property Resource. "A Look Back: RPR 5 Year Anniversary." Accessed July 26, 2020.
- National Association of Realtors. "Realtors Property Resource (RPR)." Accessed July 15, 2020.
- If your completed FAFSA enables you to be awarded a grant, or if a real estate agency offers to pay for your licensing classes, still fill out applications for grants and scholarships with schools you are considering to attend. There are additional real estate classes you will have to take beyond your initial licensing in order to keep your license. You could receive the additional funded needed by applying for several grants and scholarships. Also, search for grants and scholarships online and check out your state's website. Your state may offer them, too, to encourage furthering education within your state.
- Fill out your FAFSA as soon as possible in the new year to receive the most funding available. Grants are provided on a first-come, first-serve basis and funding could be depleted if you don't apply early in the calendar year.
Andra Picincu is a digital marketing consultant with over 10 years of experience. She works closely with small businesses and large organizations alike to help them grow and increase brand awareness. She holds a BA in Marketing and International Business and a BA in Psychology. Over the past decade, she has turned her passion for marketing and writing into a successful business with an international audience. Current and former clients include The HOTH, Bisnode Sverige, Nutracelle, CLICK - The Coffee Lover's Protein Drink, InstaCuppa, Marketgoo, GoHarvey, Internet Brands, and more. In her daily life, Ms. Picincu provides digital marketing consulting and copywriting services. Her goal is to help businesses understand and reach their target audience in new, creative ways.