As you embark upon this journey here are some thoughts to consider.
• Do I have the right personality? A successful REALTOR® is both a "people person" as well as detail-oriented and organized. You need to be self-motivated because in reality you'll be managing your own business. Therefore it's vital you can stick to your goals, stay focused, manage your time, handle various responsibilities and keep a positive attitude. There are many ups and downs every day in this business so keeping a level head and a sense of purpose will make all the difference.
• Do I have enough time to devote to this? Just like every career path it requires ample time to achieve any measure of success. If you are starting part-time and plan to work your way into full-time be prepared to dedicate many waking hours to getting your career off the ground. You'll need to market yourself, prospect regularly and constantly educate yourself about a myriad of issues. Make sure you have enough flexibility to be available for education, contract writing, showings and appointments. Although this juggling act may be tough to accomplish, many successful Agents have done it... but with heavy doses of fortitude, commitment and support on the home front. When starting part-time it's wise to set a goal for yourself as to what date you will sever ties with your current employment.
Whether you intend to remain part-time or transition into full-time, consult with your Managing Broker for advice about how to schedule your time for achieving success despite limited time. Some brokerages do not accept part-time Agents, but some will welcome you.
• Can I place the needs of others above my own? You'll be working with people who are making the greatest single financial investment of a lifetime. Not only is their financial future on the line, but the happiness and well being of their families are at stake. Their needs must always be foremost in your mind and in your actions. There is tremendous satisfaction when you know you helped people achieve the American Dream of home ownership and helped them shape a promising future. It's this sense of pride that keeps many Agents forging ahead and loving their careers for many years.
When you champion the cause of others instead of putting your own wants and needs in the way, the natural by-product is a healthy income and career satisfaction. Becoming a REALTOR® means you promise to uphold the Code of Ethics of the National Association of REALTORS.®
• Do I have the financial resources? Working on 100% commission can be somewhat daunting until you establish yourself. There are start up costs for school, licensing, affiliations, education and personal marketing. If you are starting full-time the most common recommendation is to be sure you can sustain your living expenses plus business costs for up to six or nine months. Sure, things can start popping for you earlier, but developing a steady steam of income can take time. Starting part-time requires a very real investment, too, so be ready for what might occur.
Are you raring to go? Congratulations and welcome to the world of Real Estate!
1. In most cases the best first step is to interview with area real estate companies and determine where you will be working.
State law requires you to begin licensing as a Salesperson who works under someone with a Broker's license for at least two years. Most Agents stay affiliated with a brokerage in this way for their entire career as opposed to striking out on their own.
Who to call? You might know a REALTOR® who can recommend a company, or perhaps you've seen For Sale signs around your area from companies that impressed you. Some brokerages have "Career Seminars" or they will meet with you for a personal interview.
You can search online for offices and simply call to arrange an interview with the Managing Broker so you can talk about the future there, their expectations, the benefits to a newcomer, and their philosophy and style of doing business. They can explain the exact costs involved in getting started and what it means to be affiliated with Heartland Multiple Listing Service and your support organization, Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®.
2) Is there training available?
For your initial sales training some brokerage companies provide start-up education for their Agents. Later on, once you are a member of KCRAR, your continuing education courses for license renewal are free of charge as one of the benefits of your membership. Fortunately, for residential practitioners, there are many basic and intermediate courses available online for anyone. Read about them here.
Most residential real estate companies accept new agents, but most commercial companies do not because education is not as widely available. The fields of commercial, industrial, development, etc. are sub-specialties that require advanced study. Read here about the various designations and advanced educational opportunities which you may want to pursue in different categories.
And you may enjoy this book outlining some little known career fields in the real estate industry as written by a past president of Heartland Multiple Listing Service.
3) You'll attend a licensing course and then pass the state examination.
Your license comes from the Real Estate Commission in your state (the governmental regulatory agency). After you complete the course work and pass the exam (that's done in person, not online) you can start processing the paperwork to have your license issued. The length of time from starting school to having a license in hand is usually around 90 days.
Various state-accredited license schools offer the required course work and the list includes independent schools as well as private schools operated by individual real estate companies. There are online programs, too. Following are links to two independent license schools in the Kansas City metro area, but always ask your future Broker what they recommend.
The law requires that you obtain a license in your resident first. Most Agents pursue licenses for both Kansas and Missouri and you may apply for the second one after additional schooling and testing. Having both licenses is mandatory depending on your anticipated market area because you must be licensed in any state where you want to do business.
Career Education Systems
Real Estate Express
4) You have your license. Now what? This is when you will join Heartland Multiple Listing Service and the Kansas City Regional Association of REALTORS®. There is an Orientation course for both organizations that will help you get your bearings. Then you'll have the right to use the registered trademark of REALTOR® as you join the ranks of more than one million people who hold that tile.With your membership in place you'll start marketing yourself, meeting fellow Agents, listing and showing homes, attending office and REALTOR® functions, and building a satisfying career in one of America's most important industries.
Welcome aboard! Remember that KCRAR is here to help!
Best wishes for your success,
Jan Pringle, Education Director