There is a growing need for diligent individuals to get their real estate licenses. Having said that, should you be doing the same? What does it take to become a Realtor in today’s real estate landscape? I encourage you to read ahead if you are considering getting licensed as a Realtor.
Real estate investors, in particular, are coming under increasing pressure to get their real estate licenses. Whether or not this is smart for existing Realtors to harp on is another debate; as is whether or not there is any real value in investors becoming licensed. The point is that many investors will find it smart to avoid the hassle and simply get licensed. Others will find it to be a great career path to venture down. Whatever your situation is, one question remains: how do you get a license, and use it with some degree of success?
1. Mind Due Diligence: There is a lot more to becoming a Realtor than most realize. It can take more time and money than you may think. Make sure you know what you are in for, and that you can see it through before you start on this path. Each state has its own regulations and requirements; so start by looking at the class material to see if it is something you can benefit from. Look up local real estate schools, and check the state licensing website. Find out how much it will cost to get licensed, and determine whether or not it will be worth the investment. Find out how many class hours you will have to take, if there are any review or cram courses before the exam, and how many weeks or months you may have to wait to take the state test. You will probably also have to pass a background check and have fingerprints taken. There is a lot to do, so don’t wait any longer.
2. Find a Broker: After jumping through a few hoops, you’ll still have to find an actual real estate broker to hang your license with in order to do any business. Don’t worry – you’re already hired! Unless you make a really terrible impression, most real estate brokerages will hire you right out of the gate. You don’t cost them money, you make them money. They take a split of any money you make. Still, choosing a good broker is important. Don’t expect much in the way of support, training, or leads. It is pretty much all up to you to figure out. However, there are substantial differences between the commission splits and values you’ll find at different employers. A requirement of being hired at most brokerages will be becoming an actual Realtor and obtaining membership at the local association.
3. Get Equipped: Make it a goal to learn all you can. You probably will not have learned much of anything in the field up to this point. So you will need to be proactive and make sure you are equipped to handle a career as a Realtor. Study as much as you can. I recommend familiarizing yourself extensively with the area in which you intend to work. Outside of your education and knowledge base, make sure you have the right tools at your disposal. This will probably include devices, software, access to the MLS, lock boxes, keys, and errors and emissions insurance.
4. Get Busy: Start creating your branding materials, rolling out your real estate marketing, networking, and prospecting for business.
5. Preserve Your License & Grow: Getting a license and keeping a license that keeps on producing money can be two very different things. Once you’ve got this meal ticket on your wall, don’t let it go. Make sure to keep up with the annual education requirements, avoid complaints and lawsuits, don’t waste time griping about others online, and accumulate great online reviews.
With some time and deals under your belt, you should be able to qualify to take the broker’s course and exam, and become your own real estate brokerage. Then you can keep virtually all you make, and even bring in some agents under you to cover your overhead.
6. Minimize Taxes: As a Realtor, you can make a lot of money. Just make sure you take advantage of all the new tax breaks, deductions, and write-offs available to you.