How to Become a Real Estate Agent: A Comprehensive Guide 10 Step Guide

Published: November 20, 2023

Are you curious about a rewarding career in real estate? This guide is here to help! “How to Become a Real Estate Agent” offers a comprehensive roadmap to becoming a successful agent. 

The real estate industry provides financial rewards and a sense of fulfillment in helping people find their dream homes.

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of choosing this profession and touch on the expected income in different regions of the USA. On average, real estate agents in the United States earn around $151,000 to $232,000 annually, with the potential for higher earnings based on expertise and location

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You’ll discover that the journey to becoming a real estate agent is exciting and promising. From bustling cities to tranquil towns, opportunities are waiting for you. 

Learn how this dynamic field can bring personal satisfaction and a substantial income. 

10 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a successful realtor involves a series of essential steps. Here’s a straightforward guide on becoming a real estate agent, from meeting the educational requirements to obtaining a license and establishing a thriving career in the industry. 

Follow these steps to start your progress toward becoming a professional in the real estate field.

1. Understanding the Real Estate Agent Role

Entering the real estate industry requires a comprehensive understanding of the agent’s multifaceted role. This encompasses:

  1. Buyer and Seller Representation: Agents act as intermediaries, advocating for their clients’ interests, whether purchasing or selling a property.
  2. Property Marketing and Promotion: They effectively showcase listings, employing various marketing strategies to attract potential buyers.
  3. Negotiating and Closing Deals: Skilled agents excel at negotiations, ensuring mutually beneficial outcomes for all parties involved. They also guide clients through the complex process of closing transactions.
  4. Compliance with Regulations and Ethics: Real estate agents must adhere strictly to industry regulations and ethical guidelines, ensuring transparency and integrity in every transaction.

Becoming a real estate broker is a natural progression for agents seeking to expand their career horizons. It offers advanced opportunities and responsibilities, including overseeing a team of agents and potentially operating your brokerage. 

Understanding these foundational roles is crucial for becoming a successful real estate professional.

2. Research and Self-Assessment

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Before diving into the real estate industry, thorough preparation is critical. This involves:

  • Self-Assessment of Skills and Personal Attributes: Identify your strengths, such as communication and negotiation skills, and personal attributes, like patience and perseverance, which are vital for success in real estate.
  • In-Depth Market Analysis and Trend Research: Understand the local real estate market’s dynamics, including trends in property values, demand, and emerging neighborhoods.
  • Licensing Prerequisites, Including State-Specific Variations: Research the specific requirements for real estate licensure in your state, like the ones available for Pennsylvania, which may include pre-licensing education, exams, and background checks. Stay up-to-date with any state-specific variations in licensing regulations.

3. Education and Licensing Requirements

If you are wondering how to get into real estate, well, it entails a structured educational path and obtaining the necessary licenses:

  • In-Depth Pre-Licensing Coursework: Enroll in state-approved pre-licensing courses. These cover essential topics like property law, contracts, financing, and real estate practices. You can also check out the best real estate courses here.
  • State-Specific Licensing Exams and Qualifications: Pass the state-specific licensing exam, demonstrating a solid grasp of real estate principles. Additionally, meet other qualifications such as age and background checks.
  • Post-Licensing and Continuing Education Expectations: Certain states mandate post-licensing coursework after obtaining your license. Continuing education ensures that agents stay current with industry developments and regulations.

For a detailed breakdown of licensing requirements in your state, refer to the table below:

StatePre-Licensing Education (Hours)Licensing ExamAdditional RequirementsRegulatory Board Link
California135YesBackground checkCalifornia Department of Real Estate
New York75YesAge requirementNew York Department of State – Division of Licensing Services
Texas180YesEducation updatesTexas Real Estate Commission
Florida63YesFingerprintsFlorida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
Illinois75YesApplication feeIllinois Department of Financial & Professional Regulation
Georgia75YesApplication feeGeorgia Real Estate Commission & Appraisers Board
Pennsylvania75YesBackground checkPennsylvania State Real Estate Commission
Michigan40YesFingerprintingMichigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Ohio120YesBackground checkOhio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing
North Carolina75YesApplication feeNorth Carolina Real Estate Commission

Please remember that this information is accurate as of September 2023. Always verify with the official boards for the most up-to-date requirements.

4. Choosing the Right Real Estate Course

Selecting the right real estate course is a critical step in your journey. Consider the following factors:

  • Accreditation and State Approval: Ensure the course is accredited and approved by your state’s real estate regulatory authority. This guarantees that the curriculum meets the necessary standards.
  • Learning Formats (Online, In-Person, Hybrid): Decide on the format that suits your learning style and schedule. Options may include online courses for flexibility, in-person classes for hands-on instruction, or hybrid formats combining both.
  • Budget Considerations and Financial Assistance: Evaluate the course cost and any additional materials. Look for scholarships, grants, or financial aid options to help alleviate the financial burden.

When selecting a course, consider reputable state-approved providers like the California School of Real Estate or the New York Real Estate Institute. These institutions offer accredited programs that align with becoming a real estate agent. Remember to verify accreditation and approval with your state’s regulatory body.

5. Mastering the Real Estate Exam

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Preparing effectively for the real estate licensing exam is crucial to success. Here’s a comprehensive guide to excel in the examination:

  • Extensive Study Strategies and Resources: Begin by thoroughly reviewing the material provided by your chosen real estate course. Supplement your study with reliable resources like real estate textbooks, online forums, and official guides from reputable sources. For example, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) offers valuable insights on how to be a realtor.
  • Mock Exams and Simulated Practice: Use mock and practice tests to simulate actual exam conditions. These tools help you become familiar with the format and style of questions you’ll encounter. Websites like Colibri Real Estate offer practice exams tailored to your state.
  • Effective Test-Taking Techniques and Time Management: Develop a strategy for tackling the exam. Read questions carefully, eliminate incorrect answers, and manage your time wisely. Use time management techniques like the Pomodoro Technique to stay focused and productive.

Additional Tips

  • Maintain a Healthy Routine: Ensure you’re well-rested and nourished on exam day. A clear mind functions optimally.
  • Visual Aids and Mnemonics: Utilize visual aids and memory aids to reinforce critical concepts.
  • Stay Calm and Confident: Take deep breaths, stay calm, and approach each question confidently.

Remember, thorough preparation and confidence in your knowledge are your best assets in passing the real estate exam.

6. Finding the Ideal Brokerage


Selecting the right brokerage is pivotal in launching your real estate career. Here’s a detailed guide to broker selection and affiliation:

  1. Considerations for Choosing a Brokerage: Evaluate company culture, available training programs, and mentorship opportunities. Reputable brokerages like Keller Williams and RE/MAX prioritize comprehensive training and supportive mentorship for agents learning how to become real estate agents.
  2. Assessing National Franchise vs. Independent Options: Decide between affiliating with a well-known national franchise or an independent brokerage. National franchises offer established brand recognition, while independent brokerages often provide more personalized attention and flexibility.
  3. Compelling Interviews and Evaluating Potential Brokers: Prepare insightful questions for interviews with potential brokerages. Inquire about commission structures, available resources, and company values. Evaluate their track record and reputation within the industry.

Checklist for Assessing Brokerages

  1. Company Culture: Does it align with your values and work style?
  2. Training Programs: Are there structured training programs for new agents?
  3. Mentorship Opportunities: Is mentorship readily available for guidance and support?
  4. Commission Structure: How is commission distributed, and are there any hidden fees?
  5. Available Resources: What tools and resources does the brokerage provide for agents?
  6. Reputation: What is the brokerage’s standing in the real estate community?
  7. Geographic Focus: Does the brokerage specialize in the areas you’re interested in?
  8. Technology and Marketing Support: How does the brokerage leverage technology for marketing and client services?

Finding the right brokerage is crucial to becoming a real estate agent. Take your time to research and interview potential options before making a decision.

7. Building a Robust Real Estate Network

Establishing a solid professional network is crucial for success in the real estate industry. Here are strategic tips for expanding your connections:

Attending Industry Events and Conferences

Actively participate in real estate events and conferences. These gatherings provide valuable opportunities to meet fellow professionals, potential clients, and industry experts. 

Agents like Ryan Serhant and Louis Ortiz attribute a significant portion of their success to networking at events like Inman Connect and the NAR Annual Conference.

Harnessing the Power of Social Media and Digital Platforms

Leverage platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, and Instagram to connect with peers, clients, and other industry players. Engage with relevant groups and discussions, share valuable content, and showcase your expertise. 

Both Ryan Serhant and Louis Ortiz have built substantial followings on social media, allowing them to connect with a broad audience and establish themselves as influential figures in the industry.

Seeking Mentorship and Guidance

Establishing relationships with experienced agents can offer invaluable insights and mentorship. Learn from their experiences and seek advice on navigating challenges in the real estate world. 

Ryan Serhant, for example, has spoken about the impact of mentorship on his career, highlighting the importance of learning from those who have already achieved success.

These examples, featuring Ryan Serhant and Louis Ortiz, illustrate how strategic networking efforts can lead to remarkable success in the real estate industry and how networking is part of becoming a real estate agent. Consistent effort and genuine connections are crucial to building a robust network.

8. Real Estate Marketing and Client Acquisition

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Successfully marketing your real estate services is essential for client acquisition and retention. Here’s a comprehensive guide to effective marketing strategies:

  • Proven Methods for Client Attraction and Retention: Utilize techniques like targeted advertising, hosting open houses, and implementing client appreciation events. Engage with potential clients and maintain solid relationships for long-term success.
  • Establishing and Maintaining a Compelling Online Presence: Create an engaging website showcasing your listings, expertise, and client testimonials. Leverage social media platforms to share valuable content, property updates, and market insights.
  • Strengthening Client-Agent Relationships for Referrals: Provide exceptional client service, leading to positive testimonials and referrals. Foster trust and satisfaction, encouraging them to recommend your services to others.
  • Comprehensive Guide to Digital Marketing Strategies: Explore the best digital marketing courses to enhance your online presence. Platforms like Udemy offer some of the best digital marketing courses. Opt for those tailored to the real estate industry to maximize your effectiveness.

Mastering real estate marketing is integral to becoming a real estate agent. Leveraging digital marketing strategies can amplify your reach and impact in the industry.

9. Legal and Ethical Mastery

Becoming a real estate agent involves a comprehensive understanding of legal and ethical aspects:

  • Navigating Complex Real Estate Regulations and Compliance: Agents must adeptly maneuver through intricate real estate regulations to ensure transactions adhere to legal standards.
  • Tackling Ethical Dilemmas and Managing Conflicts of Interest: High ethical standards are paramount. Agents must navigate potential conflicts of interest and make decisions that prioritize the client’s best interests.
  • Staying Abreast of Evolving Industry Laws and Regulations: Continuous education on changing industry laws is crucial for maintaining professionalism and legal compliance.

The duration to become a real estate agent varies, but mastery of legal and ethical considerations is fundamental for a successful and enduring career in real estate.

10. Continuing Education and Niche Specialization

Continuing education is vital in the ever-evolving real estate landscape. It ensures agents stay current with industry shifts and regulations. Exploring niche markets, be it luxury properties, commercial real estate, or residential, can also open new avenues. 

Pursuing specialized designations and certifications further enhances expertise. When choosing a niche, consider personal interests and market trends; finding a balance ensures a rewarding and prosperous career in real estate. 

Lifelong learning and specialization are keys to sustained success in this dynamic field.

Highly Recommended Real Estate Courses

Working towards a rewarding career in real estate begins with quality education. We’ve curated a list of highly recommended courses that offer invaluable insights and practical skills to excel in the dynamic world of real estate. 

Explore these top-notch options tailored to various skill levels and interests.

  1. Introduction to Real Estate Course – ThinkProp

Foundational understanding of real estate covering market trends, investment strategies, and property valuation.

  1. Deep Learning for Real Estate Price Prediction – Coursera

Learn to predict real estate prices using deep learning techniques, specifically in King County, US.

  1. Real Estate Development – UCLA Extension

Gain deep insights into real estate development, understanding the roles and responsibilities of developers.

  1. Intro to Real Estate Development – Udemy

An intermediate-level course focusing on investment models and identifying primary investments for various development projects.

  1. The Real Estate Development Modeling Master Class – Udemy

Learn to build institutional-level real estate development models using tools like Microsoft Excel.

  1. The Advanced Real Estate Development Modeling Master Class – Udemy

For advanced-level learners, master institutional-level real estate modeling and dynamic construction budgets.

  1. Socially-Responsible Real Estate Development – edX

Learn about the social responsibility of real estate development, including impact assessment and public reviews.

  1. Increasing Real Estate Management Profits: Harnessing Data Analytics – Coursera

Enhance business profits through a Capstone project focused on data analysis techniques.

  1. Excel in Real Life Estate Investing – Skillshare

Learn to find low-cost houses using Excel-based calculations and effective selling strategies.

  1. Sophisticated Real Estate Investing: Core Strategies, Tools, and Mindset – Skillshare

Gain practical strategies for real estate investment, including negotiation skills and marketing tools.

These courses offer valuable knowledge and skills necessary to excel in the real estate industry, catering to various skill levels from beginner to advanced and to help you work towards becoming a real estate broker.

How to become a real estate agent - FAQs

What Do You Need to Become a Real Estate Agent?

To become a real estate agent, you’ll typically need to complete a pre-licensing course, pass a licensing exam, and join a real estate brokerage. Some states may have additional requirements, so checking local regulations is essential.

How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?

The duration to become a real estate agent can vary, but generally, it takes several months to complete the required coursework, pass the licensing exam, and affiliate with a brokerage. The entire process can range from a few months to a year.


In summary, “how to become a real estate agent” involves rigorous education, licensing, and affiliation with a reputable brokerage. 

Navigating through pre-licensing coursework, state exams, and market insights equips aspiring agents for success. Choosing suitable courses like those recommended here provides a strong foundation. 

Furthermore, ongoing learning and specialization in niche markets amplify one’s expertise. Adherence to legal and ethical standards ensures a trustworthy and enduring career. 

By honing marketing strategies and building a robust network, agents expand their client base and thrive in the competitive real estate industry. 

Commitment to continuous education and ethical practices defines the true essence of how to become a real estate agent.