How to Open a Real Estate Office in Florida

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Opening a real estate firm in Florida is a lot more than an ability to sell property. It requires a business plan, the proper licensing, investment funds and a strong marketing strategy to open an office and lure clients who are looking to sell and buy real estate. Florida, like most states, requires real estate firms to be operated by at least one licensed real estate broker along with properly licensed staff. For those who meet these requirements, Florida seems like an ideal market to open a real estate brokerage. The Sunshine State has been one of the 10-fastest-growing states in the U.S. for each of the past seven decades since 2010, according to U.S. Census data.

Gain experience, knowledge and become properly licensed to sell property. Before opening your own real estate brokerage, serve under the supervision of another experienced and licensed broker. Obtain licensing by taking courses and passing Florida’s state examination to legally be able to sell real estate in the state. Visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website to apply for licensing. Take additional courses and prepare for the state broker’s certification. Study Florida’s statues and laws regarding the sale and purchase of property, zoning laws and the various types of property available. Expect the process of becoming properly trained and licensed to take two to three years minimum.

Develop a business plan. Decide where your firm will be located and why, how many real estate agents you wish to employ and how they will be paid, and how you will market your brokerage to lure clients. Scout office locations and obtain insurance, leasing and rental estimates on the property. Determine the cost of office supplies, computers and other equipment. Use statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau to determine the type of clients in the state you wish to represent. Compare your plan with the funds available. Consider contacting a bank and presenting your plan to obtain a business loan, if needed.

Determine your firm’s legal structure -- a corporation, LLC, partnership or LLP. File articles of incorporation with state and local agencies. Visit the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation website to apply for a license to operate your office. Obtain a federal tax identification number to be able pay employees legally by contacting the Internal Revenue Service or by visiting its website.

Secure your office location, and begin hiring staff using your business plan as a guide. Make certain your staff renews their licensing credentials every two years as required by state law.

Advertise your office in local newspapers and online. Statistics show that more and more homebuyers are turning online to find available properties and real estate agents. Create and maintain a website for your company to help generate clients.