How To Jump Start Your Career After Getting Your California Real Estate License

Real Estate School Graduation

So, you have passed your California real estate exam, and you are ready to get started on the path toward an exciting and lucrative career as a real estate agent.


Now you’re probably thinking, “Okay, what’s next?”

Although the real estate courses and the licensing exam ensure you have what it takes to be a real estate agent, more is required for success. After all, passing the licensing exam is only the beginning.

As the newest member of a growing network of agents dedicated to assisting buyers and sellers with real estate transactions, there are some next steps that you will want to take once you have completed the exam.
While your journey may differ from others in your field, depending on your personal goals, basic universal steps will benefit you as you embark on your new career. From finding a broker and growing your network to building your brand and continuing your education, much work is required to get ahead and stay ahead in this business.

In this article, we’ll discuss every California real estate agent’s steps to Jump-start their career for maximum success.

Jumpstart Your Real Estate Career

5 Ways to Jump-start Your New Career as a California Real Estate Agent

A California real estate license gives you the green light to be an agent. However, obtaining a license does not guarantee success. It takes tenacity, self-motivation, and hard work to succeed in the real estate industry.

To get started on the right foot, here are five ways to Jump-start your career as a real estate agent in California:

1. Choose a sponsoring broker.

Since you put all that time and effort into taking the required licensing courses and passing the state licensing exam, you’ll likely be anxious to start your new career immediately. However, California requires that, as a real estate agent, you can work only under the supervision of a licensed broker. You must choose a broker before your California real estate license will remain active.

A portion of an agent’s commission on each real estate transaction will ultimately go to their sponsoring broker. When choosing a broker, you may be tempted to pick the one that offers the lowest fee structure or commission split, but there is much more to consider.

The job of a sponsoring broker is to provide an agent with the guidance, support, and resources needed to help them succeed. Think of your sponsoring broker as both partner and boss.

Choosing a broker is one of the most critical decisions an agent can make in their early career. So, look for a sponsoring broker with a company culture that suits you well.

Some essential questions to ask include:

  • Will the brokerage give me the coaching and mentoring needed for success?
  • Does the brokerage offer career training and learning opportunities?
  • What resources will be available to me to further my career?

Although you will be working under the supervision of a broker, you will still need to remain self-motivated. Your sponsoring broker isn’t telling you what to do, per se, but guiding you with advice, sending clients your way, and helping you network.

Also, while commission and fee structures should not be the only factor in choosing the right brokerage for you, they should be a consideration.

You can expect a brokerage to operate under one of two types of structures:

  • Flat Fee: Flat fees are usually paid monthly in return for working under the broker.
  • Commission Split: Commission splits are the most common broker/agent payment structures and can vary between brokerages. However, a common commission split is 70/30; the agent keeps 70% of the commission, and the broker keeps 30%.

2. Tell everyone that you just got your California real estate license.

A popular and vital real estate concept is your “sphere of influence” (SOI), sometimes called your “center of influence” (COI) or, simply, your “network.” As a new real estate agent, your SOI will be one of your most valuable tools for jump-starting your career.

Your SOI includes every individual, contact, and connection you have, regardless of whether it is related to the industry. Your neighbor, hair stylist, best friend from high school, and even your mom are all part of your sphere of influence. Your SOI includes anyone you’d stop and speak with if you bumped into them on the street.

Every real estate agent, from the newly licensed to the seasoned veteran, has an SOI, and every good agent knows how to use it. However, it is essential for agents just starting because, in the early days of your real estate career, most clients will likely either be individuals you know or will be referred to you by individuals you know. After all, buyers and sellers are more apt to work with a California real estate agent they know than one they do not know.

So, sit down and write out your SOI. Leave no stone unturned when putting that list together, and then make sure that everyone on that list knows that you are now a California real estate agent!

Marketing Your Real Estate License

3. Join professional organizations, both within the industry and outside of it.

One of the most beneficial things a new agent can do to jump-start their career is to become part of a professional community within and outside the industry. Being part of professional and business organizations provides countless opportunities for learning and career advancement and helps grow that all-important SOI.

Within the industry, a California real estate agent will want to join one or more of the many non-profit real estate boards, such as the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), America’s largest real estate trade association with 1.5 million members, and the California Association of Realtors (CAR).

Being a member of one of these real estate boards separates a real estate agent from a REALTOR®. While both are licensed professionals who can guide a client through a real estate transaction, REALTORS® carry increased credibility. Also, real estate board members are afforded various perks and benefits, a community of support, and access to a strong network of other REALTORS®.

Although you must pay a membership fee, pass a code of ethics exam, and work with a broker who is also a REALTOR®, the benefits of being a part of a real estate board are well worth the money and effort.

Other reputable industry-related organizations to consider include:

Outside of the real estate industry, new agents should consider joining local community and business organizations to help grow their network.
Joining a local chamber of commerce or charitable organization, such as the Rotary Club or Lions Club, can connect you with valuable community resources and benefits and boost your visibility among those who live in the area where you work as a real estate agent.

Institute of real estate management

4. Develop your professional profile and marketing strategy.

The best time to start building your professional profile and developing a marketing strategy is right now! Steps include building a website, creating a social media presence, and having professional portraits taken. These foundational elements, even before you get your California real estate license, can ensure that you hit the ground running. You’ll also want to invest in traditional marketing materials like door hangers and business cards.

Branding is important in creating a strong professional profile and marketing yourself as an agent. Developing a personal brand will help you to share your values and strengths with potential clients.

As yourself the following questions and try to incorporate the answers into your brand:

  • Why did I choose to become a California real estate agent?
  • Who is my target audience, and who is it that I want to help?
  • How can I help them?
  • What do I want to be recognized for?
  • What sets me apart from others in the industry?

Once you’ve created a brand identity, you’ll want it reflected across all your marketing channels, from your online presence to your physical materials.
Your online presence, whether your website or social media accounts, will be one of the most effective ways to generate leads, build brand awareness, establish your expertise, and provide real-time information to your target audience.

When it comes to building an effective website, be sure that it features:

  • Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
  • straightforward navigation
  • a responsive design
  • easy messaging capabilities
  • high-quality photos and videos
  • contact information

Suppose all this tech talk is too overwhelming for you, or you need more time to build out some of these essential elements independently. In that case, plenty of freelancers specialize in website development and social media marketing at affordable rates. You may know someone in your SOI who can help.

For real estate agents, having business cards is as important as having a website. A business card associates your visual identity with your brand, which helps you boost brand awareness and gain potential clients’ trust.

Just like when building an online presence, you can go the DIY route and design your business card or enlist a graphic designer’s help, but whatever you do, make sure to have business cards created. They are one of the ideal promotional tools for real estate agents. They will leave a lasting impression on target audiences. Business cards are easy to carry, pass out, and leave behind for potential clients to discover.

5. Elicit advice from other industry professionals.

On the one hand, your sponsoring broker is a mentor. However, having a group of individuals who can educate you, offer help, and advise when needed will become your greatest asset as a new real estate agent in California. Anyone with experience in the industry has the potential to be a mentor.

Some sponsoring brokerages have mentorship programs that match newer agents with more seasoned professionals. If your brokerage doesn’t have a mentorship program, ask more experienced colleagues for help.

While every professional journey is different, authentic learning comes from applying everything you learned in real estate school. Gaining advice from a real estate professional who knows the ropes is always a good idea.

Seek someone you admire and invite them out for a cup of coffee or to lunch. Chances are, they’ll be flattered and willing to help you out.

Yet, your mentors can come from outside your brokerage. By attending seminars, networking events, and conferences, you not only strengthen your industry knowledge, but you’ll have access to other industry professionals. This type of networking will be essential to your career growth.

Jump Starting Your Real Estate Career: It Takes a Village

A common thread that connects these universal ways in which a newly minted real estate agent can jump-start their career is the reliance on the power of community.
From joining a brokerage, tapping into your personal SOI, and becoming a member of professional real estate boards and community organizations to hiring tech professionals and seeking guidance from others in your field, the key takeaway should be that you are not in this alone and, to be successful, you shouldn’t strive to be, at least not at first.

You have already passed the most significant hurdle new agents face – completing your courses and passing the California real estate exam.

Now, with these tips and a little help from your friends, family, and others in your industry, you can have the confidence needed for success, not only in your ability as an agent but in the resources available.

If you have more questions about how to jump-start your career, contact us today.

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