According to a recent Property Shark article, Millennials are currently the largest generation dominating the housing market, and their Gen Z counterparts follow closely on their steps. For a young person still in college or just graduated, this is good news: maybe a real estate agent career is in the cards for you.
After all, you’re speaking the same language as most of the people trying to purchase or to rent right now. All those dozens of calls to real estate agents, sending contact forms to rental properties to inquire about an apartment, and visiting all the neighborhoods in your city on a hunt for a better living situation might be finally paying off.
Why not take all that “involuntary expertise” and turn it into the job of your dreams? There are many advantages associated with a real estate career: serious money-making potential, flexible hours, and a dynamic, exhilarating environment where you get to meet new people each and every day.
Things to consider before becoming a real estate agent
Before investing time and money into becoming a real estate agent, you need to do a little introspection to find out whether this career truly suits your personality and if it’s something you would love to do every day.
First thing to consider: are you a sociable, communicative person, able to relate immediately to the new people you meet every day? Communication is a huge part of the job, and, if this skill doesn’t come naturally to you, this career might not be the right choice.
Real estate agents also need a basic understanding of economic trends, of banking and financing issues and, of course, a passion for the real estate market at a local and national level. If you’re a business-related major, you’re already ahead of the game.
Renter skills that help you make it as a real estate agent
A keen eye for details is paramount when it comes to real estate agents. You should be able to turn the average, impersonal house or apartment in a space that spells “future home” for your clients with just a few tweaks and tricks. It’s where your renter experience comes in handy once again. You turned all those apartments you rented throughout the years into your home, now you can do the same for your clients.
You must be able to detect potential flaws in a home on the behalf of your future clients, so it’s important to be observant and attentive while at work. Basically, it’s the same as renting an apartment or a house for yourself. Keep your eyes opened for clues like mold underneath the sink, radiators not working properly, and other details that could affect your clients’ quality of life.
Have a trial run
To become a real estate agent, you need to obtain a license, which is a process both expensive and time consuming. So, before committing yourself to that, you might want to do a little bit of a trial run of the job, to make sure this truly is the right career for you.
One way to test the waters is to get a job as a real estate agent’s assistant. Why not ask the real estate agent that helped you rent your apartment if he or she needs an assistant? You’ll be able to do a lot of the day-to-day tasks that come with the trade, and you don’t need a license for it. Some states even require practice hours and a recommendation from a real estate agent as conditions for obtaining your license, so you’re hitting two birds with one stone.
Another issue you need to stop and think about is the demands of the job. You will be able to make your own schedule, that’s partly true, and a real benefit indeed. However, in order to be successful, you’ll have to be available on your clients’ schedule as well and be as responsive as possible.
How to get your real estate license
The conditions of eligibility for a real estate agent job and the process of getting the license differ from one state to another, but, essentially, you need to comply with a few prerequisites, get some college-graded classes and pass an exam.
In most states, a high-school or a GED diploma allows you to start the process, but a real estate or a business college major are helpful. You also need to be at least 18 (19 or 21 in a few states), a US citizen or a resident with legal status, and to pass a background check.
The amount of classes mandatory for obtaining the license vary significantly between states, from 30 hours of coursework in Vermont or Kansas to 180 hours if you live in Texas. Classes can be online or offline, but make sure that the school is licensed by your state’s real estate regulatory body.
Registering for the exam and filling out the real estate license application comes with fees, ranging from as low as $45 in Louisiana and as high as $300 if you live in Oregon. Once you pass the exam and obtain your license, you must renew it periodically: annually, or once every two or three years.
After you receive your license, you’re almost set for your new career. You need one more thing: an errors & omissions insurance, which is a form of liability insurance that protects professionals from bearing the full costs of a potential negligence claim made by a client.
Once you finished all the steps detailed above, your transition from renter to real estate agent is complete. It will take time and dedication to become successful, but it’s definitely worth the price.