What Kind of Training is Involved in Becoming a Real Estate Agent

Ever wonder what type of training is involved in becoming a real estate agent? This is a common question we are asked and wanted to take an opportunity to answer it for you below!

Before we get too far into the nuts and bolts of real estate training, we should mention that every state has their own regulations and policies in regards to training and licensing requirements. However, many states do have similarities in the process which we will be summing up for you later in this article. We do encourage you to visit our licensing requirements section to get a more detailed overview of your states requirements. If you are unable to find the information you are looking for, you may also choose to visit the Department of Real Estate or Department of Licensing for your state, they will be able to help you from there.

Types of Training

So, there are essentially two types of training for real estate agents, online and offline:

Online real estate training is not an acceptable form of training in all states at this time. Although, many states do allow online credits to be used for your license. These states include, but are not limited to, California, Florida, New York, Texas and Washington. Online courses are an excellent option for those of you with busy schedules since they allow you to work at your own pace and around your schedule. Many people find that working in the evenings or even on their lunch break allows them plenty of time to complete their training without conflicting with work and family time.

If you are interested in taking your courses online we recommend that you visit our online real estate course page to get started.

Offline real estate training is the more widely used option and of course, is the approved training method for all states. While your course credit hours will remain the same, you will not have the flexibility of completing your training around your schedule. You may also find that the schools in your area are limited on the number of classes that they offer each month. Generally, real estate courses are offered in the evenings and on weekends but you will need to commit the time to actually attending your training in order to successfully complete it.

Some people find that they learn better in a classroom setting as they are able to have a more personal interaction with the instructors as well as the other students. While this is not the case for everyone, you may benefit from this more hands-on environment.

Required Credit Hours

The number of hours required to complete your training varies heavily from one state to another, but, the standard range is anywhere from 40 to 65 hours. These depend on the type of licensing you are receiving, such as salesperson or Broker and that state in which you are becoming licensed.

What Does the Training Cover

Generally speaking, your real estate training courses will cover topics such as real estate law, practice, contracts and finance in addition to several others depending on state requirements. These courses have been designed to give you the knowledge you need to successfully complete a transaction from start to finish including completing the contracts and assisting your clients with making a good purchase. Most courses do not cover subjects on marketing or running a business, so these may be something you want to look into before getting started as you will need business and marketing skills to build a foundation for your new real estate business.

I Just Got My Real Estate License How Can I Start Getting Clients

Thomas J. wrote us with this question: I just got my real estate license but I am really not sure how to start getting clients? Can you give me some advice to get started?

Wow! What a great question Thomas and a tricky one to answer as well. On this website you will find that we have advised new agents to plan for some downtime when they first get started. If someone told you that you could get your license and be bringing in new clients in a month, they lied. This rarely if ever happens in the real world. You see, clients are how we make money, real estate agents earn a commission on their sales, so no sales equals no money. It’s the hard truth.

So, clients are the foundation of our business and you often find that the most successful agents have the largest list of clients. Because the more clients you have the more opportunity you have for direct sales and referrals from friends and family members. But how do you build your client list? Well, you have to market yourself. Marketing is an art in itself and while it can take years to master, you don’t need to master the art in order to see some positive results. We offer a fair amount of information on successful real estate marketing on this website, but here are some tips to get you started:

Take advantage of print advertising:  Believe it or not, print advertising is still an effective tool for marketing a real estate business and there are a lot of outlets to use. You can run ads in newspapers and local classifieds as well as in neighborhood fliers, mailings, billboards, buses, you name it. Pass your business cards around, tack them on the wall at your local grocery store and if your child’s school sends out newsletters ask about advertising in there as well. You are only limited by your own imagination and your budget.

Develop a website: The Internet is an excellent way to attract new clients and believe it or not, a lot of real estate agents haven’t taken advantage of these online opportunities yet. Now, before you get too excited, setting up a website and forgetting about it isn’t going to get you very far. You need to setup a website publish articles regularly, network with other real estate agents online, join some of the online real estate communities and share your knowledge there, read up on how to get exposure for your business through social media. If you can learn how to harness the power of sites like Facebook you can attract tons of clients, but it has to be used effectively. This is not something you are going to learn overnight.

The thing that you have to understand is that marketing is an entire topic all by itself, not something that can be covered in a single article. But what you should know is that it works, plain and simple. Marketing yourself properly will get you clients walking in the door and start making you money, but you have to set that foundation first. Advertising locally will probably get you the fastest results, so start there and then start expanding into online media and really take the time to learn the tricks. If you can learn what to do and how to do it well, you will never have to worry about finding clients again.

Shopping for a Real Estate Agent

Scenario 1 – You are driving through your favorite neighborhood, you see a for sale sign on one of the properties. Grabbing your cell phone you frantically punch out the number on the sign and speak with Agent X. Agent X rushes out to the house and gives you a two and a half second tour of the home, moving you through quickly and gushing on and on about what a great find this home is, and how she showed it only this morning, and the couple was very interested and would be writing up an offer this evening. Agent X then pulls out a contract and the next thing you know, your John Hancock is on the bottom line…. and you were just looking. This couldn’t happen right.

You are mostly right, although I have seen it a couple times. Most Real Estate Professionals are extremely ethical and truly want to see you in a home that you will enjoy for years to come. The most important thing that I want to point out about scenario 1 is this – the real estate agent you called works for the seller. His/Her job is to protect and promote the sellers interest, and to sell the sellers property. He/She does not work for you, and in this scenario I doubt that Agent X had your best interest at heart.

Shopping for a real estate agent is extremely important, perhaps the most important prospect of the whole home buying endeavor. You want someone who will work for you. Who will give you sound advice, even if that advice is to seek legal counsel. And someone who will not shuffle you through the home at break-neck speed, shielding you from the flaws, or problem areas of the home. You need a Buyers Agent.

How, can you find this miraculous paragon of virtue, who will no doubt cost you an arm and a leg, but protect you against all manor of ruthless home sellers, and find you the home of your dreams? (OK, so maybe I was a little heavy on the sarcasm but you get my drift). To answer your question — ASK!

That’s it. Ask your friends, co-workers, your family, anyone who’s judgment you trust, that has recently gone through a real estate transaction. Ask them about their agent. Were they helpful, did they answer questions completely, did they respond quickly? Are they familiar with the area that you are looking in? Ask questions, you’ll be surprised at how many people really like their real estate agents, and how many would happily and without reservation recommend them to a friend. That in itself will tell you a lot about the agent.

Your next step is to interview them. Call and set up an appointment, you don’t have to go look at homes, but you should have a list of what you want with you. Ask how they do business. Are they a Buyer’s agent or Seller’s agent or both? How long have they been in business? How do they like to communicate? What kind of time frame should you expect on returning calls or emails? How often do they send out update of properties in the area to their clients? What type of properties do they specialize in? Talk to them about area schools or other area concerns or interests. Get to know them. That is the only way you are going to find one that is in sync with your wants and needs. Interview a few agents before you pick one.

You may be asked to sign a Buyer’s Agency agreement. Not to worry. This contract states that you will work solely with this agent, and she/he will work for you. That way, you know for sure, who’s interest the agent is working toward. This agreement often has a percentage fee in it. Don’t panic. This fee is generally for homes that are for sale by owner, where the agent wouldn’t be getting a commission fee from the seller (which is usual) Discuss this with your agent and come to an agreement that is satisfactory to both of you. If nothing else, don’t look at homes that are for sale by owner (FSBO), thus avoiding the fee.

Give your agent a list of what you are looking for in a home, along with a general price range. She/he will let you know if you are on track or if what you’re looking for is beyond your reach as far as price. You agent will help you hone your list, getting rid of the pie in the sky wants and bringing you down to what is in reality the best for you and your budget. It’s ok to want a mansion, but unlikely you’ll find one for $150K that still has a roof attached.

Keep in touch, let your agent know that you are actively looking for a home, and keep them informed of any changes that you’ve made in your list. If he’s looking for two story homes, and you’ve set your heart on a rambler but didn’t tell him, your home tours are going to be less than satisfying.

Respond quickly to emails, sometimes a new property comes on the market that isn’t going to last. If your agent can’t get a hold of you, you’ve just blown an opportunity! Never a good thing. Remember to let her know if you’re going out of town, or if something has come up to postpone your home search for the moment.

Your agent is an expert in her field. Treat her as such, and listen to her advice. Ask for referrals to mortgage companies (look for at least 3 options). And get qualified for a loan (if needed), it can be a major bargaining point when you begin negotiations for your home.

Your research and dedication will help you find the agent that is right for you.