Become a Realtor

Real estate agents are professionals who assist in the purchase and sale of buildings and land. This competitive career is both rewarding and lucrative, and provides a unique opportunity to travel and work outside of the traditional office setting. Read this article to learn how.


  1. Get a high school diploma or pass the General Education Development (GED) test. You will need to have one of these certifications and be at least 18 years of age before becoming a real estate agent. [1]
  2. Know your state's real estate licensing requirements. [2] Requirements, laws, rules, and regulations for real state agents vary between states.
    • In California, you must be at least 18 years of age and provide documentation that shows you are a legal resident of the United States. [1] Applicants must complete the following educational requirements before passing the real estate examination: three real estate courses that have been approved by the Department of Real Estate, and two years working as a real estate salesperson. [1] Graduates with a four-year degree may be exempt from the two-year salesperson requirement if they have completed the necessary coursework in real estate studies (a total of eight courses).[1]
    • The requirements for real estate broker certification in New York include being at least 20 years of age, providing proof of legal residence in the United States, and having 2-3 years of experience working in the real estate field.[3] Applicants must then take 120 hours of approved real state courses before passing the real estate examination. Applications for certification must be completed within two years of passing the real estate exam.[3]
    • The state of Colorado recognizes three different kinds of real estate licenses: the Associate Broker license, Independent (self-employed) Broker license, and the Employing Broker license. The requirements for each type of license vary. Applicants who are licensed in other states may be exempt from certain requirements.[4]
  3. Get certified. Regardless of what state you live in, you will have to obtain a license in order to practice as a real estate agent. Complete all of the educational, work, and exam requirements before applying for certification in your state.
    • You don't necessarily have to be a resident of a certain state in order to practice real estate there.[3]
    • Be sure to keep your real estate license current. Some states require that you complete over 20 hours of continuing education courses during your licensure period. [3]
  4. Find a job. Check listings in your area for openings at real estate companies. You will need to market your services with business cards, name signs, and "for sale" signs, all of which you will have to pay for yourself. [5]
    • Build a client base by spreading the word to anyone and everyone about your services.[5] Build positive referrals by being personable, trustworthy, professional, and honest with each and every client.
  5. Choose your location wisely. Working in real estate can be very lucrative or not depending on where you live. The following were named as the the "hottest" cities for real estate in 2012 by [6]
    • Los Angeles, CA
    • Phoenix, AZ
    • San Antonio, TX
    • Orlando, FL
    • Miami, FL
    • Chicago, IL
    • Las Vegas, NV


  • Your income will be based on the commission you make from your sales, and it could take years for you to build a solid client base. Be sure that you have enough money to support yourself for at least the first year of your career.
  • Consider becoming a member of the National Association of Realtors.[7] Being a member gives you access to certain benefits and tools like free property listings, discounts on educational opportunities, financial protection for your services, and travel discounts.[7]

Sources and Citations