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Become A Real Estate Agent

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Working As A Real Estate Agent

  • Getting Information
  • Performing for or Working Directly with the Public
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others
  • Interacting With Computers
  • Selling or Influencing Others
  • Deal with People

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $79,000

    Average Salary

What Does A Real Estate Agent Do

Real estate brokers and sales agents help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Although brokers and agents do similar work, brokers are licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Sales agents must work with a real estate broker.

Duties

Real estate brokers and sales agents typically do the following:

  • Solicit potential clients to buy, sell, and rent properties
  • Advise clients on prices, mortgages, market conditions, and related information
  • Compare properties to determine a competitive market price
  • Generate lists of properties for sale, including details such as location and features
  • Promote properties through advertisements, open houses, and listing services
  • Take prospective buyers or renters to see properties
  • Present purchase offers to sellers for consideration
  • Mediate negotiations between buyer and seller
  • Ensure that all terms of purchase contracts are met
  • Prepare documents, such as loyalty contracts, purchase agreements, and deeds

Because of the complexity of buying or selling a home or commercial property, people often seek help from real estate brokers and sales agents.

Most real estate brokers and sales agents sell residential property. Others sell commercial property, and a small number sell industrial, agricultural, or other types of real estate.

Brokers and agents can represent either the buyer or the seller in a transaction. Buyers’ brokers and agents meet with clients to understand what they are looking for in a property and how much they can afford. Sellers’ brokers and agents meet with clients to help them decide how much to ask for and to convince them that the agent or broker can find them a qualified buyer.

Real estate brokers and sales agents must be knowledgeable about the real estate market in their area. To match properties to clients’ needs, they should be familiar with local communities, including knowing the crime information and the proximity to schools and shopping. Brokers and agents also must stay current on financing options; government programs; types of available mortgages; and real estate, zoning, and fair housing laws. 

Real estate brokers are licensed to manage their own businesses. As independent businesspeople, brokers often sell real estate owned by others. In addition to helping clients buy and sell properties, they may help rent or manage properties for a fee. Many operate a real estate office, handling business details and overseeing the work of sales agents.

Real estate sales agents must work with a broker. Sales agents often work for brokers on a contract basis, earning a portion of the commission from each property they sell.

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How To Become A Real Estate Agent

Real estate brokers and sales agents need at least a high school diploma. Both brokers and sales agents must be licensed. To become licensed, candidates typically must complete a number of real estate courses and pass a licensing exam. 

Education

Real estate brokers and sales agents must have at least a high school diploma or equivalent. Although most brokers and agents must take state-accredited prelicensing courses to become licensed, some states may waive this requirement if the candidate has taken college courses in real estate. 

As the real estate market becomes more competitive and complex, some employers are preferring to hire candidates with college courses or a college degree. Some community colleges, colleges, and universities offer courses in real estate. Some offer associate’s and bachelor’s degree programs in real estate, and many others offer certificate programs. Courses in finance, business administration, economics, and law also can be useful.

Brokers intending to open their own company often take business courses, such as marketing and accounting. 

In addition to offering prelicensing courses, many real estate associations have courses and professional development programs for both beginners and experienced agents. These courses cover a variety of topics, such as real estate fundamentals, real estate law, and mortgage financing.

Licenses, Certifications, and Registrations

In all states and the District of Columbia, real estate brokers and sales agents must be licensed. Licensing requirements vary by state, but most have similar basic requirements:

Candidates must:

  • be 18 years old
  • complete a number of real estate courses
  • pass an exam

Some states have additional requirements, such as passing a background check. Licenses typically are not transferable among states. However, some states have reciprocity agreements and will accept licenses issued by some other states. 

To obtain a broker’s license, individuals generally need 1 to 3 years of experience as a licensed sales agent. They also must take additional formal training courses. In some states, a bachelor’s degree may be substituted in place of some experience or training requirements. 

State licenses typically must be renewed every 2 to 4 years. In most states, brokers and agents must complete continuing education courses to renew their license. To verify exact licensing requirements, prospective brokers and agents should contact the real estate licensing commission of the state in which they wish to work.

Work Experience in a Related Occupation

To get a broker’s license in most states, real estate brokers must have experience working as a licensed real estate sales agent. Requirements vary by state, but most require 1 to 3 years of experience. 

Training

Real estate sales agents improve their skills through practice and repetition. Because of the sales environment and the complexity of real estate deals, new agents typically observe and work closely with more senior agents. In addition, some of the larger real estate companies provide formal classroom training for new agents as a way to gain knowledge and experience, while others provide training to employees studying for their real estate licensing exam.

Advancement

Sales agents who earn their broker’s license may open their own offices. 

Important Qualities

Business skills. Because most brokers are self-employed, they must manage every aspect of their business. This task includes reaching out to prospective clients, handling their finances, and advertising their services.

Interpersonal skills. Strong interpersonal skills are essential for real estate brokers and sales agents, because they spend much of their time interacting with clients and customers. To attract and keep clients, they must be pleasant, enthusiastic, and trustworthy. 

Organizational skills. Real estate brokers and sales agents must be able to work independently, managing their own time and organizing, planning, and prioritizing their work.

Problem-solving skills. Real estate brokers and sales agents need to be able to quickly (sometimes immediately) address concerns clients or potential customers may have with a property. They also mediate negotiations between seller and buyer.

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Real Estate Agent Career Paths

Real Estate Agent
Recruiter Platoon Sergeant Operations Officer
Assistant Vice President Operations
8 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Instructor Chairperson
Board Of Directors Member
8 Yearsyrs
Mortgage Consultant Sales Consultant Sales Account Manager
Business Development Account Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Leasing Agent Office Manager Account Manager
Business Development Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Realtor Broker Operations Manager
Business Owner
6 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Account Manager Marketing Director
Chief Marketing Officer
10 Yearsyrs
Security Officer Account Manager Property Manager
Community Association Manager
9 Yearsyrs
Realtor Personal Banker Assistant Vice President
Development Vice President
10 Yearsyrs
Leasing Consultant Property Manager
Director Of Property Management
6 Yearsyrs
Leasing Agent Property Manager Regional Manager
Director Of Sales
10 Yearsyrs
Registered Nurse Nursing Director Regional Director
Division Director
9 Yearsyrs
Recruiter Project Manager Owner
Owner/Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Assistant Property Manager Leasing Manager Property Manager
Portfolio Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Driver Operation Supervisor Account Manager
Regional Accounts Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Leasing Consultant Assistant Property Manager Property Manager
Regional Property Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Broker Operations Manager Account Executive
Regional Sales Director
11 Yearsyrs
Personal Banker Branch Manager Account Executive
Relationship Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Driver Dispatcher Operations Manager
Territory Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Assistant Property Manager Office Manager Account Manager
Territory Sales Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Broker Finance Advisor Assistant Vice President
Vice President, Business Development
13 Yearsyrs
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Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Real Estate Broker 6.1 years
Broker Realtor 5.1 years
Associate Broker 4.5 years
Licensed Realtor 4.2 years
Associate Realtor 4.1 years
Real Estate Agent 4.0 years
Affiliate Broker 3.8 years
Real Estate Closer 3.7 years
Buyers' Agent 2.9 years
Top Careers Before Real Estate Agent
Owner 6.3%
Manager 5.7%
Internship 3.7%
Teller 2.9%
Teacher 2.6%
Top Careers After Real Estate Agent
Owner 7.2%
Manager 5.1%
Realtor 3.9%

Do you work as a Real Estate Agent?

Real Estate Agent Demographics

Gender

Female

56.6%

Male

41.5%

Unknown

1.9%
Ethnicity

White

60.9%

Hispanic or Latino

16.6%

Black or African American

11.2%

Asian

7.4%

Unknown

3.9%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

57.5%

French

7.8%

Portuguese

4.1%

German

3.8%

Italian

3.6%

Chinese

3.4%

Arabic

3.0%

Mandarin

2.8%

Russian

2.6%

Japanese

1.8%

Hindi

1.7%

Korean

1.2%

Vietnamese

1.1%

Urdu

1.1%

Thai

0.9%

Cantonese

0.9%

Polish

0.9%

Greek

0.8%

Tagalog

0.7%

Gujarati

0.6%
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Real Estate Agent Education

Schools

University of Phoenix

20.0%

Liberty University

6.4%

Arizona State University

5.2%

Kaplan University

4.9%

University of Houston

4.8%

Hondros College

4.7%

University of Texas at Austin

4.3%

Northeastern University

4.3%

Georgia State University

4.1%

Florida State University

4.1%

Temple University

4.0%

University of Central Florida

4.0%

Ashford University

3.9%

Texas State University

3.9%

University of Utah

3.6%

New York University

3.6%

Strayer University

3.6%

West Virginia University

3.6%

Northern Virginia Community College

3.6%

Michigan State University

3.5%
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Majors

Business

29.5%

Real Estate

18.8%

Marketing

5.3%

Accounting

5.2%

Psychology

4.2%

Communication

4.1%

Management

4.0%

Finance

4.0%

Education

3.3%

Criminal Justice

2.7%

Liberal Arts

2.4%

Nursing

2.0%

General Studies

2.0%

Legal Support Services

1.9%

Law

1.9%

Political Science

1.8%

English

1.8%

Computer Science

1.8%

Health Care Administration

1.8%

Human Resources Management

1.6%
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Degrees

Bachelors

37.6%

Other

28.1%

Masters

11.1%

Associate

10.7%

License

5.4%

Certificate

4.8%

Doctorate

1.5%

Diploma

0.8%
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Real Real Estate Agent Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Real Estate Sales Agent He Homeward Bound Program for Children, Inc. New York, NY Nov 14, 2007 $90,889
Real Estate Sales Agent Troystar Investments Inc. DBA Century 21 All Pro West Covina, CA Oct 12, 2007 $83,689
Real Estate Sales Agents New Star Realty & Investment Corp. Fairfax, VA Apr 16, 2013 $77,771
Real Estate Sales Agents New Star Realty & Investment Corp. Fairfax, VA Jun 26, 2014 $69,514
Real Estate Agent Optimar Realty Group, LLC Sunny Isles Beach, FL Mar 30, 2016 $64,800
Real Estate Sales Agents New Star Realty & Investment Corp. Fairfax, VA Jan 30, 2012 $61,610
Real Estate Sales Agent Inoue Realty Inc. New York, NY Mar 08, 2010 $60,982
Real Estate Agent Commerce Consolidated, LLC Salt Lake City, UT Jan 03, 2013 $50,000
Real Estate Agent Commerce Consolidated, LLC Salt Lake City, UT Sep 26, 2013 $49,754
Real Estate Agent Commerce CRG Utah, LLC Salt Lake City, UT Oct 01, 2013 $48,648
Real Estate Sales Agents Saggio Realty, Inc. Miami, FL Dec 04, 2012 $48,069
Real Estate Marketing and Sales Agent Signer Realty, LLC Brookline, MA Jun 15, 2015 $40,352 -
$85,000
International Real Esate Agent JYP Enterprises Inc. Newton, MA Sep 27, 2010 $40,352
International Real Esate Agent JYP Enterprises Inc. Newton, MA Oct 01, 2010 $40,352
Real Estate Marketing and Sales Agent Signer Realty, LLC Brookline, MA Jun 01, 2015 $40,000 -
$85,000

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AVERAGE SALARY FOR A Real Estate Agent

Average Yearly Salary
$79,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$40,000
Min 10%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$79,000
Median 50%
$153,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Crye-Leike Realtors
Highest Paying City
Middletown, PA
Highest Paying State
Delaware
Avg Experience Level
3.8 years
How much does a Real Estate Agent make at top companies?
The national average salary for a Real Estate Agent in the United States is $79,341 per year or $38 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $40,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $153,000.

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Top Skills for A Real Estate Agent

  1. Real Estate
  2. Prospective Buyers
  3. Property Sales
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Negotiated, facilitated and managed real estate transactions.
  • Coordinated appointments to show homes to prospective buyers; accompanied buyers during all visits to and inspections of the property.
  • Created marketing opportunities for sales area that successfully transitioned to listings and property sales.
  • Organized and successfully implemented Open Houses.
  • Presented ownership opportunities, establishing clientele and maintaining customer relations * Performed marketing and follow-up with new owners assuring quality customer service

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Top 10 Best States for Real Estate Agents

  1. New York
  2. Alabama
  3. Tennessee
  4. Alaska
  5. Indiana
  6. California
  7. Washington
  8. Ohio
  9. Rhode Island
  10. Pennsylvania
  • (465 jobs)
  • (285 jobs)
  • (376 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (208 jobs)
  • (1,088 jobs)
  • (382 jobs)
  • (200 jobs)
  • (18 jobs)
  • (372 jobs)

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