New, confused, or not sure where to start your career in real estate? Keep reading!

If you are like most prospective real estate agents, you are likely searching for a career where you can create your own schedule, be your own boss, and have unlimited earning potential.  But where do you begin?

Step 1: Pre-Licensing Course

In order to obtain your real estate license, each state requires that you complete an approved real estate pre-licensing course.  The pre-licensing course reviews and discusses a wide variety of essential real estate topics ranging from ethical standards to understanding the mortgage process.

Depending on the source that you use, the cost of the pre-licensing course may vary in range from $200 to $500.

TIP: check GrouponLivingSocial or other discount sites for deals to save money on your pre-licensing course!

Most local real estate board associations offer a classroom pre-licensing course that generally involves attending classes full-time for two weeks.  In order to accommodate hectic schedules, many people prefer to complete their pre-licensing course online through such websites as Real Estate Express or The Institute of Real Estate.

At the end of your pre-licensing course, you will need to take a proctored final exam to test your overall knowledge of what you learned.  You will need to pass this final exam in order to obtain your course completion certificate, and then go on to take the state licensing exam.

Step 2: State Licensing Exam

Once you have your pre-licensing course completion certificate, it’s time to sign up for your state licensing exam.  There is usually a simple fee each time you take the exam; in New York, that fee is $15.  You MUST pass this exam in order to apply for your real estate license!

TIP: take your time in completing the exam, and read each question carefully to fully understand what it is asking!

The timeframe for when your results will be released may take anywhere from a week to a month or longer.  Check with your local real estate board to find out how long it generally takes to receive your licensing exam results in your area.

Step 3: Apply for State Real Estate License

Congratulations!  You passed your state licensing exam, and are ready for the final step – to actually apply for your license!  At this point, you will need to select a sponsoring broker to affiliate your license with.  The license application fee may vary in range from $50 to $100.

TIP: Interview brokers and select the agency that you feel will provide the best commission and expense structure, training and resources, and values and culture.

Summary of Estimated Initial Investment Costs

Pre-licensing Course:             $300
State Licensing Exam:           $15
License Application:               $50
Total:                                         $365

For a more comprehensive list of costs and expenses you will incur after obtaining your license, check out The Costs of Doing Business.

Begin Building Your Real Estate Business!

Once licensed, your sponsoring broker will aid you in building your real estate business, providing the tools, education, and resources you need to jump-start your path to success!