Over the past 15 years, I have had the opportunity to train and observe agents who are professional REALTORS. There are currently almost a million REALTORS in the United States according to the National Association of REALTORS. While, you can be a real estate agent without being a REALTOR, the fact is that the largest percentage of home selling in the United States is handled by REALTORS.
There are two questions which individuals considering a career in real estate often ask.
1. What do I need to do to become a real estate agent?
2. What do I need to do to be successful?
The answers to both questions are at once simple and yet complex. We will explain the process in the remainder of this blog post.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent?
To become a real estate agent, you must complete the requirements mandated by the State in which you intend to practice. Every State has different requirements. Find out what are the requirements for the state in which you live.
Most States will require you to complete a course of study, pass some tests, verify that you have the required hours of training and may require you to complete an internship style program under the supervision of a Broker. Once the requirements and the pre-requisite test have been fulfilled, you will be granted a license as either a Real Estate Salesperson or a Broker depending on State statute.
In States like the State of Michigan in which a Salesperson’s license is the initial starting point, you will be required to indicate who your Supervisory Broker will be and that Broker must also sign a form indicating that they will supervise your activities. You see, the real estate profession is one of the most regulated industries in the United States because it is the purveyor of the largest investment that 97% of all Americans will ever make.
In many States, in addition to the educational requirements, you will be asked questions about your character which can include information regarding misdemeanors and felonies. Your answers to these questions must be forthright because lying on the application can cost you your license or more if discovered later on.
Which brings us to the second question…
What will it take to be successful?
Success in the real estate industry is often measured by volume of sales an individual transacts and the individual’s service to the community. One of the most important foundations necessary to build a successful career is ensuring that you receive the best training possible. Ideally, your training should incorporate both classroom instruction, real life experience and Mentoring opportunities.
As our society has become increasingly adept with technology, owning a computer, smart phone and camera are just a starting point. You must become adept at using them and also gain an understanding of the technological tools which are often a part of the real estate transaction process such as utilizing appropriate social media portals, and acquire knowledge of business blogging and business apps designed to facilitate more effective and efficient communication with your clients and customers.
Today’s real estate professional need not be limited by the resources available through their community or Broker when it comes to training. Online training portals now provide learning opportunities which are varied and cover many important topics. An excellent resource for aspiring real estate agents are the Udemy real estate courses which feature a number of Free and Paid classes on a variety of real estate related topics. One example of the variety of courses provided on the Udemy platform, is a free course I developed to teach business professionals about how to successfully market themselves and expand their network. The course is entitled Flickr Foto Fun. Flickr is the world’s largest photography network. An agent who desires to succeed will take advantage of obtaining the best training possible and carefully follow the instructions that are suggested.
But perhaps, the most important attributes of a successful agent are the willingness to work hard and the character traits of honesty and humility. Real estate is not for the faint of heart nor is it ideally suited for those who want to get rich quickly without working diligently. One of the best aspects of a real estate career is that it can be flexible. Client appointments are often after hours when customers are done with work. This flexibility also allows you to pursue training options online in the evening or during the day. Working with a real estate Mentor will greatly enhance your chances for success as a Mentor can give you guidance which has been gained through experience.
The real estate transaction involves skill with negotiation, the ability to understand the human psyche, the knowledge of legal constraints and obligations as well as business acumen. Each one of these areas could arguably require 4-8 years of study at an Institute of higher learning. To expect to be an expert in your first year as a real estate professional is the utmost folly. A better approach is to understand that this incredible field of endeavor is a lifelong process. One which rewards you with the knowledge and satisfaction of knowing that you are indeed facilitating an important part of the American Dream when you assist someone with a real estate transaction
About the Author
Lola grew up in West Africa, in the cities of Lagos, and Jos. These two locales were about as different as any two places on the earth.
The contrast of the steamy, chaotic, commerce driven city of Lagos where her family resided was a 180 degree opposite to the small educational community with quaint little homes, dormitories and scenic gardens of her boarding school experience in the small village just outside of Jos. The juxtaposition of these two environments were critical in shaping a manner of thinking and relating which incorporates and finds meaning in elements which are seemingly contradictory. The ability to think ’outside the box’ has been a valuable tool in her professional career as a REALTOR®.
Lola has been involved in the real estate community in West Michigan for almost 18 years as a Broker, Trainer, Speaker and as a Director on the Boards of the local and state REALTOR Associations. As one of the early adopters of social media in Michigan, she wrote and taught the coursework in Social Media and Blogging that was certified for Continuing Education in the State of Michigan in 2007. To facilitate the training of business professionals in the areas of social media and technology, Blogging Seminars was launched in the same year. Lola has also created a Udemy course which teaches business professionals about how to expand their business networks with the popular Flickr platform entitled, Flickr Foto Fun.
Through her blogs, teaching and speaking, she actively engages her peers and members of her community in thoughtful discussion. Lola is available to speak on various topics related to new media and relationship marketing.