Do you love talking with people? Hate being confined to an office all day long? Love making people happy? If you answered yes to these questions, becoming a real estate agent might be a good fit for you. Real estate agents enjoy hourly flexibility, good income (with hard work that is), and the satisfaction of helping others. But how does one join the group of around 1 million real estate agents in the US? The process does vary by state, but most are pretty similar. 

Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent

There are a few general steps to becoming an agent. The details can vary depending on where you live, but the ideas are all the same.

  1. Be old enough. Most states require agents to be at least 18 or 19 years old.
  2. Be a legal US resident. You must be a resident to hold a license in the United States.
  3. Get educated. You must attend classes prior to getting your license. The number of hours you must attend varies state by state.
  4. Pass your state's licensing test. If you pass the test, you get your license.

These four steps get you to your license. But the process doesn't actually stop there. You have to work under a broker to actually help your clients buy and sell homes. A broker will sponsor you and you will act as an independent contractor. So what is the difference between an agent and a broker?

Real Estate Agent vs Broker

Within the world of real estate, you have agents and brokers. An agent is someone who has complete the four steps above and works for a broker. According to the, a broker is someone who has gotten additional education and passed additional state examinations to become a broker. If becoming an agent is like graduating from high school, becoming a broker is similar to getting a bachelor's degree. Each state has different laws governing broker's exams and experience. To become a broker, you have to have worked as a real estate agent first.

Real Estate Tips

Being an agent isn't quite like being an employee somewhere else. You are dependent solely on your own efforts to make money. So if you're lazy, you won't get a paycheck. You also need to really know your market. It would be tough if you were born and raised in Chicago and then decided to move and become an agent in San Jose. And of course, know what your clients want. Sometimes they don't even know, but you should. 

Study up on what it takes to become an agent in your specific state and get started! There is not better time than now to start doing what you love.