A real estate model

The Best Way to Become a Real Estate Agent in 2019

by Ellen Georgiou 30th January 2019

There’s not really a ‘best’ way to become a real estate agent as the requirements are very straightforward and basic: take a pre-licensing course, pass the licensing exam and work with a broker.

It is best, that you understand the different steps involved – as they vary from state to state – and to make smart and informed decisions along the way.  Once you have that license you are on your way to a great career with flexible hours, lucrative deals, and the benefit of being able to work for yourself.

It is a career that requires resilience.  Resilience to be able to weather the trials of the local economy, resilience in understanding the market, and resilience in continually networking and connecting with consumers.  

Before you start printing the business cards and taking out billboards, however, there are a few basic steps all prospective real estate agents have to follow:

1: Register for a real estate pre-licensing course

There is no national real estate license, so you must be licensed in the state you plan to practice in.  A good place to start is your state’s real estate regulatory office website.

All states require you to pass several classes that teach you the basics of real estate before you can sit for the licensing exam.  These classes teach you real estate basics such as law, contracts, valuations, as well as mortgages. The required number of class hours varies from state to state. In California, the course requires 135 hours. In Florida, on the other hand, the course takes 63 hours. Most states will fall in between.

You can enroll at real estate institutes or take classes at colleges or universities. There are also plenty of online options.

Studying online means you can study as well as working full-time. You can set your own hours for studying. In general, distance learning is more affordable than studying on campus.

Many students prefer face-to-face learning as well as the social interaction of being in a classroom. Furthermore, many students feel they need the discipline of going to a set class at a set time.

Before settling for an online course or school, make sure that it is accredited by your state’s real estate licensing authority.  

3. Take the real estate licensing exam

Your pre-license courses will lead to your real estate license exam and it’s recommended you take the exam as soon as possible after completing your courses.  

This way the material you have studied is still fresh and it also gives you plenty of time to retake the exam if you must.  

Many states allow you to retake the exam as often as you need to within two years. After that, you’ll need to take the courses again.  

The exam is an electronic test that generally consists of approximately 150 multiple choice questions. It is generally divided into two sections:  most questions make up the national portion focusing on general real estate while the rest pertains to specific licensing laws in your state. Most states require that the exam is given in two parts and that you pass both.   

4. Join a real estate brokerage

Most states require you to work under a supervising broker who sponsors your first two-to-three years as an agent. You will benefit from this expertise especially when dealing with legal and ethical issues.  

You should research this carefully and find a broker or brokerage that invests in mentorship and training programs. Everyone needs mentoring and you will benefit from every minute you spend with a seasoned broker.

You should also give special consideration to how a brokerage manages commission structure, charges for desk fees, how leads are distributed, and furthering education opportunities. You can choose between a national franchise or a smaller brokerage. Ensure that you opt for the option that benefits you the most.

5. Submit your application for a real estate license

Once you have found a broker to sponsor you, you can apply for a real estate license.  Fees and requirements vary in different states and you may be submitted to background checks and fingerprinting.

Once your license comes in, you can join the National Association of Realtors.  This isn’t legally necessary, but you certainly need the designation to participate in Multiple Listing Services (MLS).


You’ve completed all the steps to becoming a real estate agent.

This is when the real work begins. You will be focusing on lead generation, advertising and/or buying leads, networking, and promoting yourself on every social media platform there is.  

You have just started an amazing career working with buyers, sellers, investors, appraisers, and title companies.  Now, you just have to sell that first house!

Ellen Georgiou - author at Eduvenio

By Ellen Georgiou

Ellen Georgiou is a writer who was born in London, studied journalism in the United States and has worked as a journalist and editor around the world.

All posts by Ellen Georgiou