Earning Your Real Estate License

By Jonathan Bales , last updated January 6, 2012

Anyone who wants to sell real estate in the United States must first earn a real estate license. The specific process of acquiring such a license will depend on where you live, as real estate exams and laws differ from state to state. Still, there are some laws and requirements which are mandatory in every state. All states will have a minimum age requirement, education and experience requirements, application fees and so on. Still, there are a variety of guidelines and exam rules which differ depending on the state in which one lives. Thus, state-specific real estate exam prep is the proper way in which to get ready for the real estate test. Before getting too deep into the real estate exam process, be sure you understand all of the rules and regulations of your particular state.

The majority of states do not test you themselves, but rather use outside testers to provide real estate exams to potential real estate agents. Do some research to determine if your state uses such a test provider. If this is the case, research the application fees, test fees and so on for that particular test provider. You will register with this company to take your exam. Make sure you fulfill all prerequisites for taking the exam before applying. Regardless of the state in which you live, you will need to be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or the equivalent education to even attempt the real estate test.

Before your real estate exam, you must sign up for a real estate course that is offered either in person or online. The former leads to greater success on the exam, but it is also usually more expensive and time-consuming. If money or time are significant issues, you will probably want to take the classes online. If you do decide to take the real estate courses at a physical location, check local areas where they might be offered. These locations depend on your region, but local colleges, real estate companies and so on are all great places to start. The website of the testing provider will often supply you with information regarding where and when you can sign up for real estate classes.

If you decide to take the courses online, uncovering the necessary information should not be a problem. There are a variety of companies that offer real estate courses very cheaply, and they often lead to great success rates. Most states now require that potential real estate agents take classes for a specific number of hours, such as 40, before attempting their exam. Before signing up for your real estate exam, make sure you have checked your state guidelines for the required number of class hours and subsequently fulfilled this requirement.

Whether you sign up for a class in a physical location or online, check out the success rates of specific real estate courses (for exam passing percentages). Some courses are better than others and result in a far superior rate of passing grades, so it will be your job to compare the success rates and prices for these courses. Also check the length of the course, as some courses can run longer than others. Usually, real estate courses run anywhere from two to eight weeks long. A longer course might be better for you if you have a very busy schedule, as this will mean shorter, more infrequent classes. The most important thing is that you make sure you are able to get to your courses on time and frequently.

When researching various real estate courses, be sure the information they offer is up-to-date and state-specific. The most common reason people fail real estate exams is not due to a lack of studying or effort, but rather having insufficient, irrelevant or outdated study materials. Search for the companies with the best reviews and those which make a concerted effort to keep themselves knowledgeable on all of the latest real estate laws and guidelines. Those who fail their first attempt at the real estate exam usually never get it, so you will want to be as prepared as possible going into it. This means not only studying your materials, but making sure those materials relate as appropriately as possible to what will be on the exam.

You are not officially a real estate agent once you take and pass your exam. You must first become affiliated with a real estate broker, who will activate your real estate license. Once they activate your real estate license, you will then be a certified real estate agent.

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