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MENUMENU how to become a real estate agentThe minimum requirements to become a licensed real estate agent are pretty straightforward. Turn 18, take a real estate course and pass the state exam. However, if you want to be able to match the qualifications of other agents and survive in the business past the first two years, here are some tips:

Tip #1: Join NAR to be a REALTOR

While joining the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) is not a state regulation to participate in real estate, it may be a requirement of the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or the Brokerage you plan to work with. Beyond that, the REALTOR designation will give you more credibility, which you will likely need when you are first starting out.

Tip #2: Go to College and Get Some Work Experience

Buying a home is often the largest financial decision people ever make. It is only natural that clients will want to work with someone with education and experience. The median age for a new REALTOR is 45 and 93% of all REALTORS had previous careers in other fields before starting in real estate.1 Sixty-one percent of REALTORS have at least an Associate’s Degree and 12% have a Graduate Degree.1

Tip #3: Have Savings for 2 Years of Living Expenses

The median income for REALTORS with less than 2 years of experience is $8,500 ANNUALLY.1 Said another way, after taxes and expenses, the median monthly take-home pay is $625. If you can survive those first two years, the median annual income for REALTORS with 3 to 5 years of experience jumps to a respectable $30,000, with 12% earning more than $100,000.1 So, if you don’t have two years’ worth of living expenses saved up, then you may want to consider having a second source of income while you grow your business. In fact, 37% of REALTORS with less than 2 years of experience have a second job.1

Tip #4: Have a Business Plan

Being a real estate agent is not a job, it is a small business. You can’t just punch the clock 40 hours a week and get paid. Before you can even work with your first client, you will need to have a plan to market your services, a system to track and manage your business expenses, and a method for serving your clients. Your broker should be able to help with some of that, but it will require effort (and often money) on your part to implement the business plan.

A career in real estate can be very rewarding both financially and professionally, but you will need to have the tools and information to succeed. has a full suite of integrated marketing apps and a library of free eBooks to help you hit the ground running, whether you are new to real estate or just looking to take your business to the next level.


1: NAR Member Survey 2014