The world of real estate is a field that constantly is in need of agents, and a career in realty has the potential for promotion and opportunities to make important decisions. In many real estate markets there is also the lure of making a high income. Therefore, becoming a real estate agent is an attractive idea, but one must be aware that the process is long and fraught with technicalities.
Real estate professionals focus on physical property: land and the structures and features found upon it. Therefore, they must be very familiar with laws and regulations that apply to their business, which vary at the federal, state, and local levels. There are many laws and codes that need to be memorized and studied on every level. The goal of real estate is to achieve efficient passing of property title from one person to another through sales. Real estate professionals are referred to as agents because they represent the aims of either the buyer or the seller of property.
All states in the U.S. require potential real estate agents to take pre-licensing courses. The standards set by each state for education achieved, however, varies in terms of number of courses and credit hours. To be safe, an individual interested in becoming a real estate agent should always refer to his or her state’s real estate commission so all the proper steps are taken in school.
Colleges and universities offer courses and certificate programs in real estate, and some even offer bachelor’s degrees in the subject. In any case, students who major in business, economics, or urban planning are in a good position for further education in real estate after college. With proper preparation and hard studying, anybody from any background can acquire his or her real estate license by passing the written exam.
The licensing process is in place to protect consumers while they buy or sell property. Real Estate is a very confusing world for many people, especially outsiders who are buying a home for the first time. A licensed professional is provided the training to ensure he or she can be informative and helpful to clients as they try to make the best decision available. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) was set up with the similar purpose of helping clients. Association members pledge to uphold a code of ethics and standard practices.
Each state administers its own version of the real estate license exam. Most states offer the exam through outside testing providers, so the testing procedures will of course vary. Researching one’s own state’s procedures for taking the exam is a necessary first step of the process. For example, researching Pennsylvania’s Real Estate Commission (through the Department of the State’s website), one is directed to PSI Exams, the private testing provider, where one registers for the exam. From there, information is given on when and where the next real estate license exam will be held.
Most real estate agents begin their professional careers by working at a brokerage. Brokerages are offices or agencies that collect property listings and the market and represent the interests of the sellers or buyers. Brokerages find themselves in a position of negotiating the interests of the two sides, while taking a percentage of the final sale price as a commission.
Real estate is a commission-based industry, so financial success in the field is contingent upon individual and interpersonal skills, along with luck every now and then. Salary ebbs and flows with the volume and price of sales, so real estate agents should be prepared to deal with swings in income. The commission system encourages agents to acquire as much knowledge and expertise as possible, so they are ready to answer all concerns raised by their clients.
There is much room for advancement in the real estate industry. Star brokers within an agency can move up the corporate ladder and become managers and executives. Those who earn their broker’s license may choose to open their own firms. Still others may choose to become real estate appraisers or property managers.
Becoming a real estate agent is a long and complicated process, and one that prepares agents for the complex business of realty. Preparation is important for agents because it is designed to ensure they are educated and knowledgeable about what to expect. It is also designed to instill in them the proper ethics to help their clients fulfill their real estate needs. There is much potential to a career in real estate, and success in the business is accompanied by commissions on the sales. All of this makes real estate a highly exciting profession.