After the Housing Bubble: Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Maybe you’ve thought about becoming a real estate agent, but you missed the last real estate boom. If you’ve read the papers, you know that the housing markets around the country are improving. Without the frenzy of the heated market that ended in 2007 and with the promise of improving real estate sales, now may be the time to reconsider getting your real estate license.

Why become a real estate agent after you’ve seen the boom and bust of the last 14 years? Consider yourselves lucky that you missed the last so called boom. From 2000 to 2007, thousands of people became real estate agents lured by rising property prices and the idea that after driving people around to look at a few houses the commissions would come rolling. During that time inventories of houses for sale were consistently low resulting in more agents trying to sell fewer houses. Many of those agents have left the business, the easy money never materializing.

Why a real estate career at all, you ask. The traditional advantages are:

  • Flexible hours

  • A certain level of independence

  • Rewards to match the work you put in

  • The ability to work part time

  • Minimum investment of time and money to get your license.

That last one is especially important. There are very few licensed occupations or professions that you can get into with the relatively small investment of time and money needed to obtain your real estate license. For example looking at just three states, 60, 75, or 135 hours of education gets you to the exam and a license. Compare that to the hundreds of hours needed for a traditional degree or other license preparation. There is another advantage to preparing to get your real estate license. Even if you never sell a house or take the exam someday you may buy or sell a house for yourself. The simplest real estate transaction can be complicated. Real estate licensing education can be invaluable in understanding what’s going on and protecting your own interests.

The steps to obtaining a real estate license and becoming a real estate agent are relatively simple:

  • Get a copy of your state’s real estate license law from the responsible state agency. A computer search should get you to the right place quickly.

  • Read the parts of the law that explain how to get your license.

  • Find a school through which to take your real estate course(s). Many states now permit you to take courses online.

  • Successfully complete the course.

  • Take the state license exam.

  • Find a broker to hire and train you.

  • Collect your first commission check.

You’ll have to study and pass one or two exams. You’ll have to do more than just drive people around to look at houses. But reals estate sales can be one of most rewarding, interesting and fun careers you could embark on.

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