Do you love the idea of helping people find their ideal home? If the answer is yes, then you should consider a career as a realtor. The real estate industry is vast and quite vital to the American economy. Realtors are a critical part of this industry as they facilitate housing transactions to help families find their perfect place, no matter their income level or walk of life.
Since homeownership is considered one of the pillars of financial wellness in the country, there is an ongoing demand for realtors. That being said, it can be a hard industry to break into, as new entrants typically need to be associated with a larger brokerage to get clients.
But once you get going, this career can bring job stability and offers excellent salaries. Beyond these not-so-subtle perks, you also get to share the joy of helping people purchase their dream homes. There’s no better job satisfaction than knowing you make other people happy. Before searching for a brokerage to join, you need to learn the basic requirements and at least get a license before you can begin. This article covers all the information you need to know about becoming a realtor.
What Does a Realtor Do?
Realtors perform several crucial tasks that ultimately help people buy and sell homes, keeping the real estate industry moving. The tasks of a realtor usually depend on their defined role in the company or the industry. However, realtors guide clients through buying, selling, and renting commercial or real residential properties and then filing all the necessary paperwork.
Sometimes, a realtor advises clients on mortgage options, prices, market conditions, and other information that could help them make informed information. As part of their job, realtors typically schedule home showings and open houses and communicate sales offers between buyers and sellers. Realtors also conduct market research and cultivate a client network, so they regularly have multiple sales in progress.
Realtors are professionals with a high set of standards and ethics. They usually are responsible for both buying and selling houses. While a single agent will usually only represent one of the groups interested in a building, they will occasionally represent both sides of a transaction!
When representing a buyer, realtors help clients find homes for sale, gather information on the properties, schedule showings, and help them create impressive offers. In this case, the agent acts as a representative and guide for the buyer. On the other hand, when realtors are representing sellers, they are responsible for creating online listings. They can also create a detailed sales plan, contact buyers, and facilitate personal showings. In this case, they are acting as a representative for the house’s current owner, helping to sell the house quickly and at the best price.
While it is possible for people to both buy and sell houses themselves, one of the biggest benefits of using a realtor is that they are responsible for filling out all the paperwork and ensuring that the title is transferred correctly. If you don’t use a realtor, then you’re responsible for the paperwork when you buy or sell a building.
How Does a Realtor Typically Spend Their Day
A realtor’s day is usually fun and filled with many activities. Most realtors begin their day reaching out to prospective clients via email or phone. This is an essential aspect of a realtor’s career, as they need a network of clients to ensure a steady income. Reaching out to clients is known as prospecting and might also involve contacting friends, family members, and others you know who have expressed interest in buying or selling a house. This process might also involve contacting cold leads.
After prospecting, a realtor might spend the rest of the day meeting with clients. If a realtor is in the process of selling a house, they might take photos of the listing or work with a client to stage their home to ensure a fast sale. They could also meet with sellers to discuss the sales price, the projected selling timeline, and the listing process.
When working with a client interested in buying a building, a realtor might spend the rest of their day researching homes for sale that meet their clients’ criteria. They could also schedule showings to give clients a tour of these homes. Realtors might also have to meet with clients to answer their questions.
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How to Become a Realtor
If you’re interested in becoming a realtor, it’s probably a good idea to figure out if you have the skills you’ll need to be successful in the field. There are some requirements you need to meet to kickstart your career. Understanding the job’s education, licensing, and experience requirements are also essential. Below, we’ll break it all down to give you a clearer idea of what you’ll need to get started.
Qualities of a Realtor
The real estate industry has many players. Therefore, there are qualities you need to excel in this industry. Below are traits that would be helpful to you in your career as a realtor.
- A problem-solving mindset: A realtor needs to know how to devise creative solutions to problems. Learning how to showcase a house and make it marketable requires a problem-solving mindset.
- Engaging personality: Apart from selling properties, you’ll need to sell yourself. People will respond better to you if you have a great attitude and confidence in your ability, hence an engaging personality.
- Attention to detail: you need to pay close attention to details to excel as a realtor. A realtor is attentive to the unique needs of their clients and the paperwork that must be done to close a sale legally.
- Excellent negotiation skills: Whether you are negotiating on behalf of a buyer or a seller, helping your client get the best price is essential. You will have to haggle over the listing price, selling price, and even your commission.
- Honesty and integrity: Your clients need to know they can trust you. This ensures that you get many referrals and prospective clients are attracted to your high ethical standards.
- Networking Skills: The real estate industry is all about who you know and who knows you. You won’t be a successful realtor without connections. This isn’t an optional skill; it’s required. It doesn’t matter if you’re an introvert; some of the best networkers I know are introverts because they’re great listeners.
- Strong communication skills: You’ll have to hear your voice a lot in this career path, so you have to learn to enjoy the sound of your voice. As a realtor, speaking to people is unavoidable, so you must hone your communication skills.
Education for Realtors
A benefit of becoming a realtor is that you don’t usually need a bachelor’s degree, so you can rest easy about getting into Harvard. All you need to succeed as a realtor is minimal, yet focused, training. Most times, you can become a realtor within a year of starting. If you don’t like your present career, you could consider switching into this exciting and lucrative field.
Most times, all you need in formal education is a high school diploma or equivalent. Realtors don’t necessarily need a bachelor’s degree or an associate degree to succeed in this career field. Therefore, you don’t have to draw up a list of easy colleges you can get into.
Courses You Can Take
Several institutions offer courses you can take to become a realtor. These courses usually cover the basics, so you can get your license and start down this career track.
The CE Shop offers real estate courses for individuals from all 50 states. It covers every stage of your realtor career, and you can attend classes online and in person. The CE Shop offers various exam presses, pre, and post-licensing classes. Your instructors are usually industry veterans that have been in the business for decades.
ARELLO accredits this institution, and courses are available around the clock. You can even create custom packages based on your needs. Courses start at $29, but the pricing varies by the course, state, and whether or not you already hold a license.
Another option for you is RealEstateU. Their real estate courses are inexpensive and available in 14 states. Prices begin at $69 but tend to vary based on state, with states like New York, Michigan, and California having the highest price at $199. It offers several pre-licensing courses but only one post-licensing course. They’re also accredited by ARELLO and have courses that cover topics like how to raise money from private investors and the ethics of being a realtor.
You can also explore Colibri Real Estate to get your realtor education. Their courses are affordable and comprehensive. They cover crucial information about this career path and also offer exam prep and accredited pre-licensing courses. They’re one of the most affordable options on the list and offer career guidance, which is great when you’re just starting out as a realtor.
Certifications are also effective in educating yourself in the real estate industry and getting ready for the licensing exam. A certificate in real estate is an excellent choice when you hold a bachelor’s degree in an unrelated field, like medical sonography. Some even schools offer certification in more advanced topics, like in real estate management:
- American Public University System certificate in real estate management
- Penn Foster Property management certificate
Licensing for Realtors
Two fundamental requirements for becoming a realtor, regardless of your state, include being 18 years or older and having a high school diploma or equivalent. Once you meet these requirements, you can get started on getting your realtor’s license. Most times, you can get your license after taking the necessary pre-requisite courses. However, every state has different realtor requirements, so you’ll need to check your state’s licensing and certification requirements.
To become a realtor in Texas, you must complete at least 180 hours of pre-licensing courses from an approved institution. This beats most states, as you can find many states that only require 40 hours. This requirement makes it much longer to become a realtor in Texas.
Florida offers less stringent requirements than Texas. You only need to complete 63 hours of courses before you become eligible for the licensing exam. However, this state also has a unique requirement: getting fingerprinted. You must complete this step before taking the license exam.
Another state that requires an above-average number of training hours is California. You need to complete at least 135 hours of pre-licensing courses before you can get your realtor license. California also wants you to demonstrate you’re also a truthful and honest person. To ensure this, you’ll have to find an agent or a broker working in your industry to provide supervision for a specific timeframe.
A realtor internship isn’t necessary for this career field. However, it can be great for gaining the skills you need to excel as a realtor. You can intern at a real estate brokerage to gain experience and build your resume. You can also work with a property management company to understand what it means to work in this industry.
However, you should note that your duties won’t always reflect the work in the industry. Some real estate brokerage firms start their interns with administrative tasks and work them up to more responsibilities. As an intern, you’ll hopefully learn how to create listings that meet specific criteria, research properties, and the proper method of filing paperwork.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Realtor?
Now that you know the requirements to become a realtor, you’re probably wondering just how long it will take before you can introduce yourself as a realtor. Don’t fret. Although this career can be challenging and complex, it’s clear that the educational requirements are light.
You’re already halfway there if you have a high school degree and most of the necessary skills. You can complete your real estate courses in less than a year because a formal degree isn’t required. Once you have your certification, you can take the required licensing exam, and voilà! You’re a realtor.
Career Outlook for Realtors
The career outlook for realtors is excellent. There are thousands of job openings ever year, and the real estate industry is relatively welcoming to newcomers.
Are Realtors in Demand?
The real estate job outlook is intricately tied to the market and the economy. This means that demand will always wax and wane. As a result, predicting its future is difficult. However, one thing you can count on is that people will always need realtors. It is an industry that doesn’t depend on disposable income.
Even in poor economies, people will always need a place to live and work, ensuring that the demand for realtors will never bottom out.
Job Outlook for Realtors
Many factors will affect job growth for realtors. One of these factors is technology, as it is cutting into the job of realtors. People can easily look up property listings, reducing the need for realtors to find houses for them. However, many realtors have embraced this by encouraging clients to initially pick houses to view, enabling them to get a feel for what the client wants. As the realtor comes to understand the client’s needs and preferences, they can suggest additional houses. The economy also impacts the real estate market. Therefore, when there’s a recession, you can expect sales to drop, resulting in fewer realtors needed.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that realtors will see job growth of 5% between 2021 and 2031. Over 50,000 openings for realtors are projected each year. This opening is expected to arise from the need to replace individuals who move on to other career fields or retire. The state with the highest number of realtors is South Carolina, but New York is the highest-paying state.
How Much Do Realtors Make?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary of realtors was $48,240 in May 2021. The lowest 10% earned less than 28,000, while the highest 10% earned more than $102,170.
This simply shows that realtors’ salaries can vary widely. Although the average salary isn’t massive, it’s reasonable, and there’s high earning potential for highly-skilled professionals in the field.
Do You Need to Own Your Own Business?
Not necessarily. Realtors can work in real estate brokerage firms or for property management companies. While many realtors are independent contractors, most states require that realtors are associated with a brokerage. You can begin your own business if you want more freedom and a higher earning potential. However, you should note that this also means you have more responsibilities under the law, and will likely need further education.
Who Is Hiring in this Industry?
A real estate brokerage or property management company might hire you. Alternatively, you could decide to strike out as an independent contractor. Even when working in a brokerage firm, you’re an independent operator with office space in the brokerage. However, working independently means working from your own space and paying for your marketing materials. Whether you’re part of a brokerage or working independently, you’ll still be expected to work more than 40 hours a week. Work hours don’t generally fall into the traditional 9-5 mold, as you will need to work when it’s convenient for your client. Many people are only available to see houses on the weekend or after work, which means you’ll need to work those hours too.
Pros and Cons
Once you become a full-fledged realtor, you can begin to enjoy this career. It is a fast-paced and exciting job that allows you to work with people from different backgrounds. However, it has both benefits and downsides that you should be aware of before you decide to become a realtor. Realtors need to be passionate about sales and have a drive for daily hustle. You also need to be willing to work with all types of people. Below are the top pros and cons of this career path.
- Potential to earn over $100,000 per year
- It allows you to meet a variety of people
- It comes with a flexible work schedule
- Minimal education requirement
- You only work when there are clients
- Salary is based on commission
- The market is saturated
Overall Job Satisfaction for Realtors
Realtors have high job satisfaction. Studies by Market Leader reveals that 60% of realtors are happy with their life compared to workers in other industries. This is why many people choose to get into the real estate business! Since realtors get to enjoy the happiness of helping their clients find their dream property, it’s not surprising that many people enjoy the job.
Summing Up: How To Become A Realtor
If you want to become a realtor, you’ll most likely love what you do. One of the biggest benefits is that it’s easy to find courses that will help you qualify for a license, no matter what state you want to work in. Taking this path will enable you to avoid the costs of going to college, instead allowing you to start earning money within a year or two of graduating from high school.