So, You Want to Become a Real Estate Agent!

Perhaps you’re just starting out or maybe you’re ready for your second act.  Do you have what it takes to become a successful real estate agent?  If you do, get ready to roll into a new real estate career!

First, You Must Get Your License

Real Estate GraduateThe courses are not difficult, but they are comprehensive, so you learn everything you need to know to pass the California real estate license exam.  The courses cover the required 135 hours of material you must take in order to become a California licensed real estate agent.  Two of the courses the state requires are Real Estate Principles and Real Estate Practice.

In Real Estate Principles, you will learn about the agency relationship you will have with your clients, what an appraisal is and who performs it, the different types of home construction, and the elements of contracts in general and sales contracts in particular. You will also learn about fair housing and how the laws in housing evolved in the United States.

In Real Estate Practice, you will study the ins and outs of property evaluation and property management, how to market your services to potential clients, what is involved in staging a home for sale, how to show property, and what you need to know about taxation and escrow. You’ll learn how to approach the first meeting with a potential client and what it takes to “close the deal” and get the listing.  This course will not just give you the knowledge to prospect, market, show and sell properties, but it will give you the confidence to get out there and perform in a competent and professional manner.

The third course is an elective.  License Solution recommends you take Real Estate Finance.  The information covered in this course is invaluable for your real estate career. It will help you understand our monetary and fiscal systems, instruments of finance, how to advise your client with respect to shopping for a lender, the types of mortgages available and who may qualify for them, the appraisal process and consumer protection.  Don’t worry, there is no math required for the state exam.

Then, You Must Take the California Real Estate License Exam

Real Estate ExamWhile the course content will prepare you to take and pass the California real estate license exam, make sure the real estate school provides you with the resources you will need to help you study.  It is imperative that you put in the time and effort to study the material after you finish the three courses.  Hey, we’re talking about your career and your future here!

To help you study, License Solution, for example, offers various learning strategies and tools to reinforce what you learned in your courses.  Depending on which program you enroll in, License Solution will provide you with interactive chapter quizzes, a state exam prep, a new audio exam prep, a real estate dictionary, plus flash cards with real estate terms and concepts to prepare you for the state exam.  The audio exam prep, by the way, is great to use whether you are in the car, taking a walk, or even hanging out at home, as so many of us are doing these days.

Once you feel confident that you are ready to take the state exam to become a real estate agent, you simply fill out the California Bureau of Real Estate’s exam application and select an exam date and location to take the exam.  To pass, you need only score 70% correct.  Most of License Solution’s programs provide you with a guarantee that you will pass the exam, or they will pay for you to take it until you do pass!  Yes, they are that confident that their program provides their students with the right stuff to not only pass the exam but also to become a successful real estate agent!

And Now You Are a Real Estate Agent

Real Estate AgentOkay, you passed the exam.  Now what?  Can you hang out a shingle that says, “Licensed Real Estate Agent” and just start selling houses?

Hold on.  New California real estate agents are authorized to handle real estate transactions, but they must work under the umbrella of an established and licensed real estate broker.  An agent cannot own his or her own company.  And real estate brokers offer agents marketing support and legal protections, two essential considerations.

First, it is important to interview a few different brokerages to find out how they work.  Some real estate licensees prefer large brokerage firms because the well-known company names may help give them credibility when they are just starting out.  Other agents prefer the small mom-and-pop shops because those brokerages are often a little looser and more flexible about your hours and working from home.  Get a feel for the office culture and talk to some of the agents who work there.

Once you have settled on the office you want to work with, now it is time to get to work!  Go sell some houses.

Coming Attractions

After two years as a California real estate agent, you are eligible to take the courses necessary to sit for another state exam; this time, to become — you guessed it — a real estate broker.  But I think we will save that discussion for another day.

Good luck with your new career!

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