Becoming a successful real estate professional is a combination of investing time in education, researching a broker who can help you get your first clients and passing state and national licensing exams. But that’s not all there is to the industry. The Alaska Real Estate market is hot right now and research shows it shows no sign of slowing down, so now is a good time to make the career change. Read on to find out some of the more overlooked aspects of the real estate business.
1. Get Educated
No matter in which state you live, you must take pre-licensing courses. However, state requirements differ greatly. For instance, California requires three college-level courses. Others (such as Idaho, which requires two courses totaling 90 hours) require a set number of hours of education. Contact your state’s real estate commission for your state’s requirements for licensing.
Some real estate brokerages have specific education requirements. Thus, you may have to take an additional course after being hired on with a brokerage.
2. Choose a Brokerage
A real estate brokerage is the office from which real estate professionals and brokers work. Since working with a broker is a requirement in order to practice as a real estate professional, you will need to contact a broker before graduating from your training course. Brokers have at least three years additional real estate training, and can guide you through questions you have when it comes to working in the field, as well as listing and selling homes.
When you look for a broker, think about size of brokerage, its reputation and additional training offered. Check broker reputations by reading online comments, asking friends and neighbors who they’ve had experiences with and getting advice from your instructor on choosing a brokerage.
Another way to learn more about a brokerage is by carefully crafting your interview questions. This will not only help you gather information, but solid interview questions help the broker determine if you’d fit in well with the brokerage.
A few questions to ask:
Does your brokerage require additional coursework?
How many years of experience do you have?
Is there someone within the brokerage I can work with a majority of the time while learning?
What is your client contact style for developing leads?
How long does it take on average to earn commission checks?
Which answers are acceptable is up to you. For instance, one person may prefer a brokerage that does ask for additional coursework because of a desire for more training before jumping in, while another may appreciate having someone who will work with them every day while learning.
3. Get Licensed
Real estate licenses require the passing of state and national exams. In addition, you may have to provide a criminal background check. Between the exam and license fees for a real estate salesperson, you can expect to pay at least $395, in the state of Alaska.
4. Develop a Real Estate Professional Budget
While becoming a real estate professional isn’t cheap, it’s cheaper than entering many professions. Startup fees are estimated between $1,500-2,000, which should be divided between licensing courses, business cards, signs and advertising and association fees – not counting additional exam fees.
Since real estate is a commission-based business, you’ll also need enough money set aside for you to get by for a few months. These are approximations of actual costs because they can vary based on individual choices and state-by-state costs.
5. Build Your Client/Referral Portfolio
The best way to build your portfolio is twofold: get a mentor, and use your personal network. Barbara Kennon, the vice president of the National Association of Realtors, says the best arrangement for a new licensee is to find a mentor in the real estate brokerage you choose who guides you towards buyer/seller contacts and splits commission. You’ll learn the profession from your mentor, while gaining your first commission checks.
Also, asking your friends and family for referrals of people who are considering buying or selling a home is a great way to begin networking. Someone’s always looking for a new home, and that referral may get you started in your new business.
Becoming a real estate professional is similar to starting a small business. Even though you’ll work within a brokerage of established real estate professionals, you need a startup fund for business expenses and to cover several months of personal expenses while you build your client base. Take every step seriously, and you’ll have your first “sold” sign up with your savings account still intact. Still Interested? Check out our upcoming classes now!