Is becoming a real estate agent right for me?

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What do real estate agents do?
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How to become a Real Estate Agent

To become a real estate agent, you typically need to follow these steps:

  • Meet the eligibility requirements: Most states require real estate agents to be at least 18 years old and have a high school diploma or equivalent. You may also need to pass a background check.
  • Complete pre-licensing education: Most states require real estate agents to complete a certain number of hours of pre-licensing education, which covers topics such as real estate principles, practices, and law.
  • Pass the real estate licensing exam: After completing pre-licensing education, you must pass a state-administered real estate licensing exam.
  • Formal education: A real estate license will provide you with a certain level of education and preparedness, but more and more, those who truly want to succeed have a full academic real estate degree. There are degrees available at the associate, bachelor’s, and master’s levels that focus specifically on real estate. These programs go into great detail about how real estate markets work and can provide you with the knowledge you’ll need to enter the job market with a level of preparedness that was previously only found among experienced professionals.
  • Affiliate with a broker: Real estate agents must be affiliated with a broker, who acts as their supervisor and provides them with support and guidance.
  • Maintain your license: Real estate agents must renew their license regularly, and some states require continuing education to maintain a license.
  • Build your business: Once you have obtained your license, you can begin building your real estate business by networking, marketing yourself, and working with clients.

There are several certifications that real estate agents can obtain to enhance their skills and knowledge in the industry. Here are some of the most common certifications for real estate agents:

  • Real Estate Salesperson License: This is the most basic certification that real estate agents must obtain in order to legally work in the industry. The requirements for this license vary by state, but generally involve completing a certain number of pre-licensing education hours and passing a state-administered exam.
  • Real Estate Broker License: Real estate agents who wish to take on additional responsibilities, such as managing other agents or opening their own brokerage, may choose to obtain a broker license. The requirements for a broker license are typically more rigorous than those for a salesperson license, and may include additional education and experience requirements.
  • Certified Residential Specialist (CRS): The CRS designation is a prestigious certification that is awarded to real estate agents who have completed advanced training in residential real estate and have demonstrated a high level of sales performance. To obtain the CRS designation, agents must complete a certain number of sales transactions and coursework, and pass an exam.
  • Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR): The ABR designation is awarded to agents who have completed specialized training in representing buyers in real estate transactions. Agents with this certification have demonstrated a commitment to providing high-quality service to buyers and have completed coursework in topics such as buyer representation agreements and negotiating skills.
  • Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES): The SRES designation is awarded to agents who have completed specialized training in working with clients over the age of 50. Agents with this certification have a thorough understanding of the unique needs and concerns of older clients, and are equipped to help them navigate the real estate process.

Online Resources
Real estate agents have access to a wide range of online resources that can help them stay informed and up-to-date on industry news and trends, as well as provide tools to manage their business more efficiently. Here are some online resources that real estate agents may find helpful:

  • National Association of Realtors (NAR): The NAR is the largest trade association for real estate agents in the United States. Their website offers a wealth of resources for members, including news and updates, legal and regulatory information, educational opportunities, and networking tools.
  • is a popular online real estate marketplace that allows agents to list their properties for sale and connect with potential buyers. The site also offers a range of resources for agents, including marketing tools, educational content, and access to industry data and trends.
  • Zillow Group: Zillow Group is a leading online real estate marketplace that includes websites such as Zillow, Trulia, and StreetEasy. Agents can use these sites to list their properties, connect with buyers and sellers, and access data and insights on the real estate market.
  • Inman News: Inman News is a leading source of news and information for the real estate industry. Their website offers a mix of original reporting, analysis, and commentary on industry trends, as well as educational content and resources for agents.
  • Real Estate Express: Real Estate Express offers online courses for real estate agents and brokers looking to obtain or renew their license, as well as continuing education courses on a range of topics related to the industry.
  • DocuSign: DocuSign is an online platform that allows agents to electronically sign and manage documents, such as contracts and agreements, from any device. This can help streamline the transaction process and save time and resources.