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How to Become a Real Estate Agent and Make Bank

The lavish lives of real estate agents on reality cable shows aren’t all a front. You can make bank as a real estate agent. Though if you’re just starting out those six and seven figure salaries may be a few years away. Here’s how you can become a real estate agent and start earning big.
The lavish lives of real estate agents on reality cable shows aren’t all a front. You can make bank as a real estate agent. Though if you’re just starting out those six and seven figure salaries may be a few years away. Here’s how you can become a real estate agent and start earning big.

So you’re starting out as a real estate agent? Nice! Not only will you help people find their dream home or make a killing selling their house, but you’ll be able to earn an enviable chunk of change in the process.

Real estate can be a lucrative career, especially as you gain more experience and work with higher-priced luxury homes.

While top earners in the real estate industry can make millions for high-end homes in locations like Los Angeles or New York City, as a newbie to the real estate game, you’ll be looking at less in the beginning.

To get you started, here are the steps you need to take to become a successful real estate agent, plus, a few extra tips to help you gain an edge over the competition.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in 7 Steps

1. Learn Real Estate Requirements in Your Location

Each state has their own requirements to become a real estate agent, however, in general you’ll need to be at least 18 or 19 years of age, be a U.S. citizen, submit to a background check or fingerprints, take the mandatory coursework, pass a licensing exam, and work with a broker.

To find out the specific prerequisites in your location, head to your state’s real estate commission website and research your state’s minimum licensing requirements. And once you complete these steps, you’ll be well on your way to making bank as a real estate agent.

2. Take Real Estate Classes

In your coursework, you’ll learn real estate fundamentals, industry terms, and ethics, along with legal concepts of the business giving you a full understanding of your role as an agent and how to best serve your clients.

Again, depending on your state, you may be required to take a certain number of hours worth of classes before you’re allowed to take the licensing exam.

The majority of classes can be conveniently taken online, though, you are able to find in-person classes if that’s your preferred learning style.

3. Pass Your State’s Real Estate Licensing Exam

Next is taking the real estate license exam. Most tests will have around 100 multiple choice questions quizzing you on real estate law and general real estate principles. There’s a myriad of practice tests you can practice on to prepare before you take the exam.

And while only about 44% of real estate agents pass the test on the first try, not to worry as you’re able to take the test as many times as needed after a 24-hour waiting period — best if you use that time to study up. The exam will cost you around $50 to $100 each time.

4. Find a Broker to Work For

Once you pass your state’s real estate license exam (yay!) the next step is to find a broker to work with before you’re officially issued your license. You’ll want to do your research to find a brokerage firm that fits both your needs and goals.

For instance, there’s smaller, local boutique brokerages that may offer you more personal attention and training or you can opt for a franchise brokerage that provides you with marketing, brand naming, and a larger commission split.

Take into consideration commission and any upfront or monthly fees like desk fees before you choose a broker as you won’t be making much as an agent to start.

5. Pick Your Market

Now you’re ready to work. Your market, also known as your farm area, is where you’ll begin focusing your sales efforts. Especially to start you’ll want to choose an area you’re familiar and well-versed in so you can more easily advise clients on the area’s neighborhoods and housing market.

Also, be sure to join your local MLS database so you’re able to gain access to the newest homes listed on the market. Without your local MLS, you’ll quickly lose clients to competing agents in your farm area.

6. Marketing

You won’t win clients if no one knows you exist. You need to start building your image and brand so potential buyers and sellers will want to work with you — and long gone are the days where your face on a bus bench will do the trick.

While some brokerages may help you with marketing, create a marketing strategy that includes building a website, social media campaigns, and making yourself known in the community by reaching out to local businesses or conducting networking and educational events.

7. Continuous Learning

To give yourself the competitive edge and begin raking in higher and more commissions, simply keep learning. Stay on top of the latest real estate trends, learn the newest market data on both a local and national level, continue to refine your sales strategy, and stay on top of technology.

Also find your particular niche in the real estate market, specializing in specific types of properties so you’re able to corner a particular market in your area.

Learn everything you can to become an expert in one area and you’ll discover clients will pay more for your knowledge, experience, and expertise.

You can also add to your credentials and raise your standing in both the real estate community and with potential clients by joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR). More clients trust agents with a NAR membership, giving you more credibility and repeat clients.

The NAR also offers extensive training, networking, and resources so you can specialize in a multitude of real estate properties, receive support and advice, and maximize your profits.

Work with Clever and Become a Successful Partner Agent

Starting out as a beginner in the real estate industry can be exciting, overwhelming, and extremely discouraging all at once. One of the most challenging parts of starting out is establishing yourself in the community and finding a continuous flow new clients.

This is where Clever can help. Once you have a few years experience, you can become a Clever Partner Agent, and save a ton in upfront costs. Clever provides their Partner Agents with high-quality, vetted buyer and seller leads saving you time and energy on marketing and client acquisition.

You’ll get a steady stream of new clients and new commissions with no upfront fees. You only pay a referral if and when a deal actually goes through. You’ll see a higher ROI and increased sales volume along with a growing, positive reputation among clients and agents.

Contact Clever to learn how you can become a Partner Agent, then sit back andwatch as you make bank.



Ben Mizes

Ben Mizes is the co-founder and CEO of Clever Real Estate, the free online service that connects you with top agents to save thousands on commission. He's an active real estate investor with 22 units in St. Louis and a licensed agent in Missouri. Ben enjoys writing about real estate, investing, personal finance, and financial freedom. He's a serial entrepreneur, having run several successful startups before Clever Real Estate. Ben's writing has been featured in Yahoo Finance, Realtor News, CNBC, and BiggerPockets.

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