What Training Does a Real Estate Agent Need?

Real Estate Agent Training

If you are asking yourself what type of training a real estate agent needs, you may be thinking about pursuing a career in the field — either as your first job or as a significant move from your present occupation. While training differs from state to state, there are four basic requirements that all real estate agents in the U.S. must meet:

Age requirements – Depending on which state you reside in, you must be at least 18 or 19 years old.
Citizenship – All US states require you be a legal United States citizen.
Pre-license Training – You must complete a mandatory number of hours of pre-license schooling. The number of hours needed varies by state.
License – Every state demands that you pass a real estate exam in order to receive your license.

Is Real Estate the Right Industry for You?
In order to be successful in the field, you must be a self-starter. This means you prospect leads, manage paperwork, handle contracts, and develop long-term relationships. Before making the decision to fully commit to a career in real estate, meet with some agents or brokers and ask them questions about the day-to-day job requirements, as well as basic questions about the business. Ask how much time they devote to the job on a daily basis to be successful, as well as objectives and responsibilities of this career choice.

Do You Need a College Degree?
Some states only require a high school diploma in order to pursue a career in real estate. However, pursuing a relevant degree at the college level is extremely beneficial. Because real estate is immersed in finance, contracts, sales, laws, and business practices, taking courses in any of those areas is helpful. Some colleges offer majors in real estate, but getting a degree in marketing, business, or finance could give you a leg up on those who opted out of the college route.

Licensing Prerequisites
There are schools in nearly every state that offer certified courses in real estate. (In most instances, you should be able to obtain this information from your state’s website.) Depending on where you reside, you will need to have between 40 and 200 hours to complete your real estate courses. After completion, you will have to present your transcripts in order to take the exam. Generally speaking, the better the grades, the higher the likelihood of passing the exam and receiving your license. Remember, the licensing exam is pass or fail. You must also pass a background check and submit your fingerprints before taking the exam. There is usually a fee for this, but oftentimes it’s included in the application fee for your license. Fees vary from state to state, so you will need to check with your state licensing board for more information.

Post-Certification Conditions
There are some states where your initial license is considered provisional and non-permanent until you complete specified additional courses. Again, this also varies depending on where you live. In many states, you will also be asked to enroll in a series of state-approved, mandatory courses and complete them by a specific date. Because each state has its own continuing education requirements, it’s extremely important for you to know what yours requires.

What Kind of Courses Will Need to Complete?
This varies from state to state. For example, Texas requires:

60 hours in Real Estate Principles
30 hours in Law of Contracts
30 hours in Law of Agency
30 hours of Real Estate Finance
30 hours of Promulgated Contract Forms

California, on the other hand, mandates:

45 hours in Real Estate Principles
45 hours in Real Estate Practice
45 extra hours in an additional state approved course

These courses are designed to give you the knowledge you need to prepare for and pass your licensing exam. Your test will most likely consist of a national section and a state-specific section. There are several schools which offer pre-exam prep courses, and while these are certainly not required, they might be advantageous in terms of knowledge and confidence.

I Have My License! Now What?
Now that you’ve passed your licensing exams, you need to research and observe the current market as well as the competition (i.e. other real estate agents in your area). Go online and look at the way they’re positioning themselves on their company website and through their social media platforms.

How Do I Know if a Broker is Right for Me?
Brokers provide you with support, a well-known brand, an office, and much-needed advice. Brokers generally have more training and therefore are able to lead you through the real estate maze of listing and selling properties. When considering a broker, be sure to thoroughly investigate their reputation and sales activity as well as read reviews and comments online.

While the broker will ask you questions, take advantage of the time you spend with him or her to ask some pertinent questions of your own (after all, you are interviewing them, too). Here are some basic queries you should be asking:

• How long have they been in business?
• Will they provide you with a mentor while you are learning?
• Will they require you to take additional courses or join real estate associations?
• How do they develop client leads?
• How long does it take to earn a commission, and what is the percentage?

Tips for Your Future Success
Your future success depends on your ability to hustle up new business. You need to fully commit and understand that your nights and weekends may no longer be yours. You will be involved with showing houses, hosting open houses, and working when your clients want you to.

Learn how to market yourself. That includes putting regular communication with clients and prospect, creating business cards, and building a digital presence (through social media, email, and a mobile-optimized webpage).

Remember that you are not only representing yourself but also your company’s brand. Bottom line — be reliable. You may not have repeat business at this point in your career, but you do have word of mouth. If you did a great job for client A, they will be more likely to recommend you to client B, and so on.

Ultimately you need to always be marketing. And if you’re looking for effective, easy-to-use solutions to build a strong brand, Xpressdocs can serve you throughout your career.

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