One of the aspects of real estate that gives every customer a level of comfort is that each agent must be licensed. That license means that the agent has received a certain level of training and passed a state certification exam. If you've decided to become a real estate agent, there are a few things you should know about how to get that certification.
In most states, you need to be 18 years of age or older. Be sure to check with your state to see if it requires you to be older. Many states also require that you be a US citizen or legal resident.
Be prepared to submit the necessary information to have the state conduct a background check. It's worse to not disclose information than to tell the truth about a conviction you may have had in your past. You may also be fingerprinted as part of the process.
You can be licensed in more than one state. This expands your territory and gives you a lot more potential customers. This is particularly handy if you live near a border between two states. It's also useful if you live in New England where a number of states are very near each other.
Check with your particular state to find out what requirements there are for getting certified. Every state requires a certain amount of education and a certification exam. Some states just require a few courses, while others mandate that you take several hours of college-level courses.
In California, you can transfer some of your courses from law school over to your real estate curriculum. For other states, you may be able to transfer in some of your collegiate work, especially statistics or economics classes. Have your transcript ready and contact the certifying agency for your state to see if they will grant any transfer credits. If necessary, you may have to turn in your course catalog with the class descriptions.
You can do your courses at community colleges, real estate schools, or even online. The online option is great if you already have a job and are looking to change careers. They let you take classes at night, on the weekends - whatever works with your schedule.
Then, once you have completed the preliminary work, you will need to turn in an application to the state. Within the real estate world, you can choose to become an agent, or you can be a broker. Each one has its own set of requirements. To keep your license, you may be asked to do a certain amount of continuing education, so you can keep current on all trends.
Some states require that you align with a broker in order to be an agent once you have passed your certifications. Others recommend that you join certain professional organizations, as they will require ethics pledges and other customer guarantees.
The course work will be challenging, but useful. It's a great time to be riding the wave of economic recovery, and more agents are needed. Best wishes in your endeavors, and good luck on that exam!
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