A real estate agent gets around town—literally. On any given day, a real estate agent may be showing homes, taking listings, hosting an open house, or meeting with prospective clients who are looking for their dream home. It’s an exciting career which offers ample opportunity for advancement, but there are several steps you need to complete.

Understand the Industry

Real estate agents often handle the first step in the larger process of the real estate industry. Agents are responsible for working with both property buyers and sellers, but they also often interact with appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage lenders, attorneys, developers, and builders.

Real estate agents must know a little about each of these other jobs, including how property transactions occur and how they are financed. Agents must understand the sales market in their area and be able to advise their clients about strategies for selling and buying.

Look for a Real Estate Course

Real estate agents and brokers are licensed by the state they live and work in. Before you get a license, you will be required to complete applications and take courses in real estate procedures and regulations. Real estate courses need to meet your state’s minimum requirements.

Private organizations, as well as some community colleges, offer state-approved real estate courses. They may be completed in a classroom or, in some states, online. You will have to pay a fee and pass the final exam.

Find a Sponsor

The laws vary from state to state, but in order to practice real estate, you must work under the supervision of a sponsoring broker or company. Most brand-new agents begin their careers by working for larger real estate companies that may provide them with mentorship, office space, and leads.

You’ll also have to split your commission with the sponsoring broker. The rate of the split can vary so you might want to interview with several brokers before deciding. They may also charge other fees, such as administrative or office fees. Be sure to ask before signing on.

Selling real estate can be a great lifetime career if you enjoy working with people, multitasking, and getting out of the office. After your licensing education, you can continue to learn on the job from your sponsor and colleagues. If you wish, it’s possible you can even own your own real estate business someday.

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