Where is the Best Place to Get Started in Real Estate?

If you’ve been thinking of working in the real estate industry, you’re going to enjoy every moment. This field is exciting with flexible working hours and the opportunity to meet and interact with customers from different demographics. Statistics indicate that there are close to 1.2 million realtors currently working in the US. That’s a clear indication of how a career in real estate is a viable option.

Consider this example: The average sales price for houses in 2019 was $299,400. If you’re working on 6% commission, a single sale gains you $18,000. It’s not surprising that many professionals working in other spheres opt to show houses as a second job, eventually moving on to taking up the career full time. If this sounds like something you’d like to do, here’s how to get started.

Get Licensing to Work as a Realtor in Your State

The first step is to check your state real estate commission’s website where you can get detailed information about the licensing requirements applicable in your state. You’ll also find a list of accredited pre-licensing agencies that offer training in the mandatory courses. You have the option of taking the course online or in person. Expect to train in the legal aspects of the business along with gaining an understanding of real estate practices like how to assess a property’s value. You’ll also learn about terms like “encumbrance,” “lien,” and “escrow,” among others.

The required number of hours vary by jurisdiction and state. For instance, if you intend to get licensing in Oregon, the mandatory hours is 150, including 30 hours of Real Estate Law, 30 hours of Oregon Real Estate Practices, and 20 hours of Real Estate Brokerage. On the other hand, California realtor licensing requires a total of 135 hours of training, including 45 hours of Real Estate Practices and 45 hours of Real Estate Finance.

Having completed your training, you’ll take the state licensing exam for a fee of $100 to $300. Expect to answer 60 to 100 multiple-choice questions that test your knowledge of general real estate principles and both state and federal laws. The pass rate is typically 50%, so it helps to take preparation seriously. Take the California Real Estate license practice test as many time as you need to evaluate your competency and raise your chances of passing. Once you clear the exam, you’ll get the necessary licensing to work as a realtor.

The Real Estate Industry is Multi-Faceted and Interesting

Once you gain adequate experience working as a realtor, you can consider specializing in a particular area. If you’ve always thought that real estate was all about helping clients buy and sell property, that’s not exactly accurate. You can choose careers such as:

Property Management

If you also have a degree in finance, think about working as a property manager. Such professionals can work for a company or as a freelancer. Your job description includes taking care of property issues for owners who don’t have the time or expertise. For instance, overseeing maintenance and repair tasks, marketing the rentals, collecting rent on schedule, dealing with evictions, and responding to complaints and problems that the tenants may have.

Apartment and House Sales and Purchases

Many people approaching retirement like to move to locations where the weather is warmer. They often seek a lower cost of living, or they just to be closer to family and friends. Others prefer to move into smaller apartments that are more economical and easier to maintain. You could assist senior citizens moving to Eugene, Oregon, starting with finding a good buyer for large houses and purchasing compact apartments or assisted living facilities.

Retail Leasing

Realtors who specialize in retail leasing have an extensive database of prime properties that become available for leasing. You’ll find locations ideal for your retail company clients to set up their business. Helping with the legal requirements and preparing the necessary paperwork for renting the property are all a part of your job in retail leasing. Most such professionals work over the weekends and after hours to identify viable options that their clients might like.

Real Estate Appraisal

Since determining the value of a particular property is a part of your training as a realtor, you could find a job with a business broker in NJ. When finalizing deals for mergers and acquisitions, one of the key elements of the process of due diligence is conducting evaluations of the partnering companies’ assets. Your job involves checking for the validity of the lease or ownership deeds and whether it is necessary to retain the property for ongoing operations.

A real estate appraisal can be critical to the outcomes of the merger deal since its value can influence the status of the balance sheets. Accordingly, your expertise may also be needed to check for the site’s profitability if it is sold, leased out, or used as is.

Real Estate Development

As a realtor, you’ll find and identify properties that have the potential for bringing attractive ROI for their buyers. Such buildings may be run-down, empty, or obsolete. Your job is to evaluate the cost of repairing the structures to make them fit for living, leasing, or accommodating a running business.

If you’re planning to work as a specialist realtor, you might need to get additional training and licensing. Check for the regulations in your state when choosing the career that interests you most.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Thinking of making a career change? If being your own boss, seeing beautiful homes, and helping people achieve their dreams sounds great, becoming a real estate agent should be in your cards. Take a look at the process, pros and cons of agent life to see if it’s the right career move for you.

The Process of Becoming an Agent

Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

  1. Study your state’s agent licensing requirements.

    Every state has different requirements. It’s important to see what’s expected of you before diving in. Keep in mind, you can become licensed in multiple states as well.

  2. Take a prelicensing course.

    Find a school with a good reputation and an equally good track record for post-graduates.

  3. Apply for your real estate salesperson exam.

    Each state has specific rules on when you can take this exam and whether or not you qualify. Some states require background checks and fingerprints which take awhile to process — know what you need to submit far in advance before you actually are ready to take the test.

  4. Pass the exam

    Hopefully you’ve studied and feel confident for your exam, but it’s OK if you don’t pass it the first time — you can retake it.

  5. Find a broker.

    Every agent legally needs a broker. Even though agents can also become real estate brokers, it’s best to interview multiple brokers and find one to work with (especially when you’re just starting out). After a sale, you will pay this broker through something called “commission splits.”

The Pros of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

You’re an independent contractor. You get to set your own rules! Take vacations when you want, work when you like — you set the pace for your work.

You get to work with others. Becoming an agent is a great job for anyone who loves working with people. While challenging, it is insanely rewarding to help people fulfill their dreams of owning a home.

You learn a ton of valuable knowledge. Knowing the ins and outs of real estate is immensely helpful when you’re looking to buy or sell your home. 

You don’t need to go to college. While you have to take a prelicensing course, it’s much less expensive than paying for tuition. The course cost ranges by state but is usually $500 to $2,000.

You can start at the age of 18 or 19. Most decent paying jobs are unavailable to the youngest adults, but that’s not the case with agents. As long as you’re an adult who is also a legal resident, you hit the basic criteria for becoming an agent (though, as mentioned, you might have to also pass a background check, depending on state).

The Cons of Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Before diving in, we’d just like to point out that many of these “cons” could also serve as “pros,” depending on the person and the situation.

You won’t have any benefits. While there are some definite advantages to becoming an independent contractor, one of the biggest downsides is not having benefits. You’ll have to provide your own health insurance and set up a retirement fund.

You’ll need a solid network. If socializing and networking are your cup of tea, this isn’t a negative. However, you will struggle as an agent if this isn’t the case. Those living in rural areas or who just moved to a new city will definitely have an uphill (though not impossible) battle.

You probably won’t make as much as you think. At least, not at first. In fact, the median annual salary for a Realtor with 2 or fewer years of experience is $9,300. This leads us to our next point:

Most people aren’t full-time agents. Again, this isn’t necessarily a negative, but whether it’s because of the work, the time, or the lack of income (or all three), most people do other work on top of being an agent. It’s important to note that many agents don’t re-up their license once it expires for the first time (after five years).

While there are both pros and cons to becoming a Realtor, don’t let the negatives discourage you! RealtyHive works with agents, buyers and sellers alike. We can help you stand out in your market, differentiate from the competition and sell more properties. Become a member, market your properties, or represent a buyer with RH.