Steps to Becoming a Licensed Real Estate Agent

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Richard Funchess - Licensed Real Estate Agent

For the past few years, becoming a real estate agent has been a dream of mine. Not only is it a lucrative career (real estate agents in 2016 made an average of $44k per year and the top 10% made as high as over $110k per year, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics), but it’s also a career that is fulfilling.

There are specific steps to becoming a real estate agent. In the U.S., you must be at least 18 or 19 years of age, depending on your state. You must also legally reside in the U.S.

Aside from these requirements, it’s also important to know that you must have a certain work ethic to become a successful real estate agent. Each day, you create your everyday schedule. This means you must have the discipline to handle your prospects, current clients, paperwork, office management, and many other factors of day-to-day business on your own without a manager to keep you on track. If you fit these general requirements, then it’s time to become licensed.

Licenses differ from state to state, so it’s important you understand the requirements of the states you plan to work in. Kaplan has listed all of the state’s requirements on one easy to navigate page – see it here.

Once you have a full understanding of your state’s requirements, you must complete prelicensing courses. These courses may be completed in a classroom setting, online, or a hybrid of both. Often, they are offered at local real estate schools, universities, and technical colleges. When looking at your options for schooling, be sure to choose one that offers quality instructors and upholds a strong reputation.

Before you complete your classes, you’ll want to be thinking ahead to the exam. Many states will require background checks and fingerprints before being allowed to take the exam. Requirements like these can take weeks to complete, so it’s best to have this squared away by the time your classes come to an end.

The real estate exam is not an easy exam to pass. Many people do not pass on their first try. If your instructors haven’t explained this yet, be sure to get in additional study time outside of the classroom. There are many exam prep courses that you can enroll in to aid in your studies. These will provide you with practice exams and identify your strengths and weaknesses.

After you pass your exam, the last step you must complete before you’re able to be fully licensed is to find yourself a real estate broker to sponsor you. Many people begin this search early in their journey to becoming a real estate agent, which isn’t a bad idea. Once you fill out your paperwork with your broker and receive your official license from the state in the mail, you may begin to practice everything you’ve learned!


Top Real Estate Companies in America

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SmartAsset put together a list of the best real estate companies in America. As a student looking to go into real estate one day, this is a great list to reflect on to see where my career can go. Sure, I could go into business for myself, but for now, I like the idea of being part of a team and having the ability to learn from colleagues. Here’s their list of best real estate companies in 2017.

When you think of well known real estate companies, RE/MAX is often the first one to come to mind. Which makes sense since they’ve been around since the early 1970’s and have over 100,000 agents in more than 100 countries.

Century 21
Another colossal company in the real estate world is Century 21. They operate on a global scale with offices and associates in Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and throughout Asia. They’re also known for their strength in e-marketing.

Keller Williams Realty, Inc.
Keller Williams is an up and coming company that should be on every aspiring realtor’s radar. Their profitability is at an astounding 91% nationwide, and they operate in over 700 markets around the globe.

Coldwell Banker
As one of the oldest real estate firms, Coldwell Banker has plenty of experience in the services they offer to their clients and the training they provide to their agents.

ERA Real Estate
Electronic Realty Associates (ERA) is under the operation of Realogy, the parent company of some of the most well known real estate firms such as Coldwell Banker and Century 21. ERA gained its start in the early 1970’s by capitalizing on the latest technology of the time – a fax machine. Since then, this company has grown to many offices around the globe including countries such as Germany, Japan, and Saudi Arabia.

The Corcoran Group
The Corcoran Group was started by one of the leading real estate leaders of the 90’s, Barbara Corcoran. With their website debuting in 1995, the Corcoran Group became the first online portal within the industry of real estate. Today, it’s the largest privately owned residential firms in New York City and has offices in the Hamptons and South Florida.
The online real estate company,, was created in the mid-2000’s by the creators of Expedia, Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, who were former Microsoft executives. The online portal provides its users with the tools to make real estate decisions on their own. Today, the database holds more than 110 million homes for users to find.

Understanding Millennial Home Buyers

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Richard Funchess Millennial Home Buyers 1

As of three years ago, Millennials have become the most prominent generational group America has seen, even surpassing the Baby Boomers. Because of this, they are now the largest group to buy homes, so marketing to this audience is crucial. In order to market correctly and efficiently, it’s important to understand this demographic.

Millennials, also known as “Generation Y,” are people born between 1980 and 2000, making them between the ages of 18-38. Many of these people are in the midst of buying their first home and starting their journey with investing in real estate if they’re financially able. It’s important to keep in mind that many carry a heavy weight of student loan debt. According to CNBC, the average student debt for Americans in their 20’s is just above $22,000. That and credit card debt makes for an average credit score of 625 for a Millennial.

The National Association of Realtors, in conjunction with Inman, published a report in 2015 titled Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends. This report provides realtors with useful facts on the behavior of Millennials in the process of home buying.

Thanks to recent technology, the Millennial generation is the most comfortable with using social media and texting than any other age. Nearly 94% of them will use websites and smartphone apps to see available homes for sale. Even though they will find these opportunities online, 87% of them find value in using a real estate agent for their expertise. Millennials will also use their online proficiency to find the real estate agent they wish to work with. While 90% of them will use a real estate agent, many are difficult to please.

Since many of these Millennials are mainly using the internet to find real estate agents, I strongly urge any realtor to boost their online presence if you wish to work with this audience. I’m learning in my college classes that having a website and a strong social media presence crucial to growing your clientele. Communication with this demographic is much better conveyed through blogs and videos than the standard newspaper, flyers, and mail techniques. Some of the heavy hitting social media profiles are LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, and Instagram.