Getting into Real Estate

by kcoble

The process to become a real estate agent, costs involved, choosing a company, and completing real estate pre & post-licensing courses.

I came from an office setting where I dealt quite a bit with builders, lenders, and brokers. Everyone always asked me why I never got my real estate license. One day I began to ask myself the same question, so I decided to look into it. The amount of information out there can feel overwhelming. I googled everything from real estate school to the top real estate companies in my area. After replying to an ad I found on Craigslist, titled IS REAL ESTATE RIGHT FOR YOU, I was invited to attend a career night for a nationally recognized real estate agency. The information I received helped me make my decision.

Steps to becoming a real estate agent

Information on how to get your real estate license in Wilmington, North Carolina
  1. Attend a Real Estate Pre-Licensing Class. 
    Look up real estate schools in your area, and see which upcoming class schedules work best for you.  I found classes that were a few days a week for 10-12 weeks, some that offered evening classes, and even a few that were every weekend for 6 weeks. They all had about the same cost (about $400).  I ended up choosing one that was two days/week (9-5) for 6 weeks. Not only did it fit my schedule perfectly, but it came highly recommended and has the highest rate of students who pass the state exam on the first try. 

  2. Take the Real Estate Licensing Exam.
    Once you've passed your course, you can apply to sit for your state's Real Estate Provisional Broker Licensing Exam.  The school I'm attending actually helps us get this process started, and the day of our final exam we submit our applications to the state, which has a cost of $30 in North Carolina. This also comes with a $45 annual fee to maintain your license going forward, which is in addition to the cost of Continuing Education (CE's) as required by your state's real estate law.  

  3. Join to your local Realtor Association.
    For my area, the Wilmington Regional Association of Realtors (WRAR) has quite a list of fees to get started, for a grand total of $918.50, then $86/month thereafter.  We don't have to be members, however this gains you access to the local Real Estate Listings (MLS).  In some cases you may be able to avoid joining your local association, such as working under a Broker-In-Charge for a planned new homes community.  Either way, you should look into your local fees and be prepared to make whatever arrangements are necessary for your situation. Here is an example of the fee schedule, based on my region:

         $400.00 Application Fee
         $  86.50 Local Assessment from WRAR
         $165.00 State Assessment from NCAR (annual)
         $155.00 MLS Assessment (annual)
         $  56.00 MLS Initiation Fee
         $  56.00 Allied Fees (whatever that means)
         $918.50 Total

         $  56.00 MLS Monthly Fee
         $  15.00 Local Monthly Fee
         $  15.00 eKey monthly Fee (key code to get into lock boxes)
         $  86.00 Monthly

    Keep in mind that if you decide to join the larger real estate companies, many have their own fees as well. I've only gotten figures based on one real estate company in my area, and plan to get the information from the other major players while I complete my pre-licensing class, so that by the time I've passed my state exam, I am ready to decide if I want to go out on my own or work under a larger company.  There is some merit to working for an established company, such as established and recognizable branding, co-op marketing, training and leadership. I like to think of it as a franchise fee.....
    The only fee example I have so far is $115/mo which includes errors and omissions insurance premiums, a technology fee (which pays for my personal website), database and customer management software (CMS), marketing templates, in-house training and mentor programs, and access to electronic contracts or required documentation. If I wanted to have a permanent desk in their office, that is available at an additional $50/mo.

  4. Attend 90 hours of Post-Licensing Courses to remove the provisional status from your license.
    This must be done within 3 years, at a minimum of 30 hours per year.  You can complete these faster if you want, but it is not necessary.  Also keep in mind that these additional classes are not free (though the larger companies may be willing to absorb some of the cost). In my situation, the same real estate school offers this to be completed as three classes (30 hrs each), at a combined cost of $599 if you register for all three.  Individually they are $239 per course.

Well, that about sums up the information I received. I'll keep posting as I begin attending class next week and as I obtain more information on the different real estate companies in my area. 

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Updated: 07/30/2015, kcoble
 
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