The 11-Step Guide to Getting Into Real Estate

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Meredith Hart
Meredith Hart



Are you considering a career in real estate? If so, you've come to the right place. The employment of real estate agents is expected to increase by 6% over the next eight years. With a positive employment outlook, now is a great time to begin your career as a real estate agent.


We'll take a look at the steps to become a successful real estate agent and strategies to launch your real estate career.

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1. Get a real estate license.

Licensing requirements vary by state and you'll want to check with your local real estate commission to understand the steps to acquire your real estate license.

You'll learn which pre-licensing courses you'll need to take, which applications to file, and the price of application fees. Check out these steps to get a real estate license to learn more.

2. Find a real estate brokerage.

Once you have your real estate license, many states require that you work with a real estate broker during your first few years as an agent. A real estate brokerage is an agency or office where real estate agents work.

Consider the following factors when deciding on a brokerage to work with:

  • The brokerage type: Do you want to work for a large or small brokerage?
  • Company culture: How is the brokerage operated? What will your workdays be like?
  • Commission structure: How will you be paid for your work?

3. Join the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

While membership with the National Association of Realtors (NAR) isn't required, it does come with additional benefits. You'll have the title of REALTOR® rather than "real estate agent", and you'll be held to a realtor code of ethics.

Becoming a member can increase your earning potential, plus membership comes with perks such as access to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and the REALTOR Benefits® Program.

4. Understand your income and budget.

If you're planning to start your own real estate business, you need to evaluate your income and budget before making any big decisions. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual income for realtors was just below $46,000 in 2017.

Real estate agent salaries will vary depending on the commission they're making, so don't forget to take your commission percentage into account. Creating a budget will help you determine how much you can spend on business expenses.

5. Make a business plan.

Which direction do you want to take your business? Think about your short-term and long-term goals and create a business plan to provide guardrails for you and your real estate business.

Below is an infographic that lists the key elements of a real estate business plan:

Source: National Association of REALTORS®

6. Develop a marketing plan.

After you've determined the direction you'd like to take your real estate business, it's time to decide how you're going to promote the business and gain clients.

Think about your vision, target customers, and goals for your marketing efforts. Consider which real estate marketing strategies you'll use (e.g., email marketing, virtual home staging, and social media). With a solid marketing plan, you'll have a clear vision of how to get the word out about your business.

7. Build your online presence.

An online presence is critical for prospective clients to find you. Consider creating your own website where you can share listings using IDX, or build a profile on an existing real estate website.

And don't forget to write a real estate agent bio that reflects your professional experience, education, and skills. Using a website will help you attract and engage with online leads and share your listings.

8. Find a mentor.

Is there an experienced agent who possesses the skills and real estate know-how you'd like to learn? Seek these well-rounded agents out and build a relationship with them. And remember that the relationship between mentor and mentee is a two-way street.

Offer to help them with their business, and they'll be more willing to share their knowledge and provide you with constructive feedback.

9. Host open houses.

Open houses are a low-cost strategy to spread the word about your listing and your real estate business. You'll have conversations with potential leads and you can get to know the neighborhood you're working in.

If you're stuck on where to begin, use these memorable and effective open house ideas and start building meaningful relationships.

10. Build and maintain relationships.

Referrals are one of the primary methods that real estate agents get clients. A survey by NAR found that 39% of sellers found their real estate agent through a referral by family or friends. And 24% of these sellers used the agent they previously worked with again, to either buy or sell a home.

Once you've built up your client base, it's crucial to maintain the relationship you developed. A simple gesture like giving the client a closing gift or sending a postcard at the end of a home sale leaves your client with positive memories of your working relationship.

11. Continue learning.

If you're a registered realtor, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) requires continuing education. Learning is imperative to your success as a realtor, and it will help you further develop your skills.

Stay up-to-date on real estate industry news and use resources like real estate blogs and podcasts to learn new selling strategies and marketing ideas.

With these steps, you'll be well-prepared to begin your real estate career. To learn more, check out these tips to generate leads with a door-knocking strategy next.

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Topics: Real Estate

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