How Hard Is It To Become A Real Estate Agent?

by Staffer Team

To become a real estate agent, you must take classes, pass a test, and find a broker to work for. Once you get your license, the work is not over. You must learn to sell houses, which they don't teach in real estate school. If you can make it through the licensing process and learning curve, real estate can be a prosperous industry to be in.

What are the basic steps to becoming a real estate agent?


  • Most states require that applicants be at least 18 years old; they also typically require background checks and applicants to be fingerprinted.


  • Education requirements vary in each state, but most require a certain number of classroom hours; typically these hours can be completed in person or online. The number of education hours required varies from around 40 to 80 depending on state. In addition to classes, you must also pass quizzes and test along the way.


  • At completion of the required classes, you must take a test; most states have a state and national test. Even with extensive real estate knowledge, you should devote several hours to studying.

Finding a Broker

  • Once you pass the test, finish the classes, and pass the background check, you need to find a broker since you can't become a real estate agent on your own. Brokers must complete more education and be licensed as agents for at least two years (in most states). New agents need to "hang" their license with a broker who will oversee them and provide guidance. Each broker has different guidelines for how they pay and charge agents.

Selling Houses

  • Finally, you get to sell houses and make money! Be prepared, even if you put a deal together in your first month in the business, it can take 30 days or longer for the deal to close. Real estate agents typically do not get paid until the deal closes since they work primarily on commissions.

How Much Money Do Real Estate Agents Make?

  • While there is no guarantee you can make money as an agent, there is a chance you can make a lot of money.
  • The median salary for agents is $40,000 - $50,000.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Real Estate Agent?

  • It can take months or even longer to take all the classes and get your license
  • Besides getting the license, it takes time to become successful. One of the biggest challenges to being a real estate agent is the way they are paid. Most agents only get paid when they sell a house.
  • A common rule in the industry is that new agents should have 6 months of living expenses saved up before they become a real estate agent. It can take a long time to sell your first house, and even longer to create a steady stream of sales.

What Is The Best Way To Take Classes?

  • Most states give you the option of taking real estate classes online or in person. As a fair warning, the classes are extremely boring and you should be very disciplined to take them online.
  • For this reason, it is recommended to take the classes in person to facilitate learning and networking.

Why Don't Real Estate Agents Learn How To Sell Houses In Real Estate School?

  • Real estate regulatory agencies are more concerned with agents not breaking the law than they are how much money they make.
  • The real estate education system was put in place to protect the consumers and make sure agents are abiding by rules and regulations.
  • Classes consist of learning the laws and how to avoid getting yourself in trouble. There is education on contracts, appraisals, earnest money, and how to handle the transaction.

What Is The Difference Between A Realtor and A Real Estate Agent?

  • Realtors technically have more ethical responsibilities than real estate agent
  • About half of all agent are realtors
  • Being a real estate agent involves getting licensed in the state you want to work in and hanging your license with a broker
  • Being a realtor comes with many perks; many MLS boards require their members to be a realtor to gain access to the MLS or charge more for those who are not realtors

Ultimately, the choice of becoming a real estate agent or realtor is up to you.

If you currently work with a real estate firm or broker and are looking for help to expand your team, check out

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