Become a Real Estate Agent: 6 Steps

The decision to become a real estate agent is a major step in anyone’s career journey. People enter the real estate sector from various professions and occupations and at different stages of their lives. Individuals also have different reasons why they think real estate is a career option for them. However, one question always comes from people who want to enter the real estate industry: How do I become a real estate agent?

The answer is simple: It depends. It mainly depends on where the person wants to practice. Becoming a real estate agent requires a state license. Each state regulates its process and the rules of each state are a little different. However, there are basic requirements that are always consistent:


To qualify to become a licensed real estate agent, you must:

  • Be 18 or 19 years of age (depends on the state)
  • Finish your required pre-licensing education (number of hours required)
  • Pass your license examination.

Other requirements to become a real estate agent are listed below:


The next step to becoming a real estate agent is to register for a real estate pre-licensing course. All states require that you pass some classes on real estate before the exam. The registration fee depends on the state and real estate school in which you enrolled. The class duration ranges from 24 to 210 hours. Most states are in the middle, however, requiring 50 to 100 hours. Pre-licensing classes expose the basics of real estate, such as legal issues, mortgages, contracts and property values.

You can take these classes at a brick-and-mortar school or online. The advantage of taking classes online is because you will get to work at your own pace, which is particularly useful for those who need to keep working their day job.


After completing the real estate course, you will want to sign up for the real estate agent licensing exam. We recommend that you take the exam immediately after completing the course for two reasons: one, the concepts you learned during the course will be fresh in your mind.  Two, the exam application paperwork may take some time to process. The sooner you register, the shorter the gap between finishing and obtaining your real estate agent license.

To register for the license exam, you need to fill out an application. This comes with a fee. You also need to provide a transcript that shows you passed your pre-licensing courses.

The test format varies from one state to another, but it’s normally a multiple-choice test that lasts for 1.5 to 3.5 hours. The test covers real estate laws (national and state) and principles of real estate. To pass, you must answer 70 to 75% of the questions correctly.


Congratulations! You’ve passed your exam! However, before you can legally become a real estate agent, you will need to find a broker sponsor (licensed real estate broker) and also join a brokerage.

A real estate broker is someone who has a lot of experience in the real estate industry and has completed additional courses to obtain a broker’s license. This license gives them the right to operate and manage real estate.


Once you have found a broker who will sponsor you,  submit your application for a real estate agent license. The application will include your pre-license course transcripts and evidence that you passed your licensing exam.  The application normally requires an additional fee. If your license is accepted, you have now officially become a real estate agent!


The NAR is an optional trade association for realtors. The main advantage of joining the National Association of Realtors is that you will have automatic list-sharing agreements with all other realtor members in your state. This means that when a member signs an exclusive home for sale, all other members can show their clients and collect a commission on sales if they decide to buy. The NAR has a code of ethics that all members should follow.

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