When it comes to potential career options, real estate tends to be one of the most popular. Regardless of whether you are a college student looking to launch a career and get your license or you are a career professional who is simply looking for something new, real estate is an excellent choice. On average, there are 54,800 job openings for real estate agents and brokers posted on a yearly basis alone. This doesn’t even include the multitude of other positions in real estate that exist.
By learning everything there is to know about real estate, from earning your license to finally starting to build your book of clientele, anybody can create a dynamic, enjoyable, and long-lasting career.
What Career Paths Does a Real Estate License Open Up?
First and foremost, before a person puts potentially as much as a year of their time into acquiring a real estate license, it’s only natural to want to know what job opportunities are available. There are a number of different choices to consider, but some of the most common include:
- Real Estate Agent. Sometimes referred to as a realtor, an agent is a person who represents a buyer or seller during a real estate transaction. Generally, an agent works under a licensed broker to represent clients in the field and is paid on a commission structure.
Real estate agent commission is often a percentage of the property’s sale price, though some brokerages charge a flat fee.
- Real Estate Broker. Real estate brokers are advanced agents who typically own their own brokerage firm. They often have other agents working under them and have passed additional levels of certifications to achieve the title of broker.
- Real Estate Appraiser. An appraiser is a real estate professional who helps to determine the overall value of a real estate asset. They work hand-in-hand with banks, buyers, sellers, and other groups to determine the value of a home or property.
- Real Estate Developer. Real estate developers have a unique role in that they specialize in taking a barren plot of land and developing it into something that is built up.
- Property Manager. A property manager is a person or organization that represents the property owner on a day-to-day basis. They are paid on a fee structure and function similarly to a landlord in many situations.
- Real Estate Loan Officer: Finally, a real estate loan officer is a person who works for either a bank or individual lender and helps borrowers during the loan application process.
Some of the above roles require a real estate license whereas others on the list may not. However, having a real estate license is always a great idea as it means you can pivot to a different area in real estate far more quickly.
Earning a Real Estate License: What You Need to Know
For many, the process of actually acquiring a real estate license can seem shrouded in mystery. While the process can vary from state to state, in California the requirements are quite clear:
- Wait until you are at least 18 years old before beginning the process
- Ensure you are a California resident or meet the out-of-state applicant requirements
- Enroll yourself in the following real estate courses:
- Real Estate Principles
- Real Estate Practice
- One of:
- Real Estate Economics, Finance, or Appraisal
- Real Estate Office Administration
- Legal Aspects of Real Estate
- Property Management
- General Accounting
- Business Law
- Computer Applications in Real Estate
- Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
- Common Interests Developments
- Obtain copies of your transcripts prepared with proof of successful completion
- Fill out your real estate license application online and attach all necessary documents
- If approved, receive your final examination date
- Pass your final exam and receive your real estate license after a background check and fingerprinting (in some circumstances)
Don’t forget to invest in California real estate license renewal training in the future when your newly appointed real estate license is set to expire.
Building Your Business in Real Estate: Tips to Follow
Launching a career in real estate is easier said than done. To be successful a person needs to dedicate themselves to their craft and always work on building out connections. The following tips can help ensure that the process is successful:
1. Be purposeful with your networking
When starting to network with others in your field of real estate, go into every conversation with a purpose and something you hope to gain from the conversation. Whether it is career advice or simply a person in your field who can be a mentor, networking must always be performed with intent.
2. Improve your time management
When you start in real estate, prepare for a busy schedule all the time. Whether it’s building new connections or showing properties while working with buyers and sellers, you will not have a large amount of free time on your hands.
3. Let go of any fear
Networking and building your book in real estate will require putting yourself out there to strangers, which can be a challenge for some people. The best way to be successful in this venture is to let go of your fear. The answer is always no unless you ask, so don’t be afraid to start working with others.
4. Ask for referrals
If you know people in the field already, don’t be afraid to ask for referrals from those who may be able to help you succeed. Use the success of others in your field to bolster your own success.
5. Embrace social media
Finally, in the modern day of digital marketing social media is everything. Use platforms such as Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, and others to start building out your book.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, real estate may not be the right field for everybody, but its variability makes it a great choice for many. By offering a slew of different career paths, people with differing interests can find a path in real estate that appeals to them specifically. The hardest part about seeing success in real estate, though, is building out your book and making connections with others within your field. Focus on developing interpersonal skills while also studying for your real estate certification to give yourself the best chance at success.