Becoming a real estate agent was one of the best decisions I ever made. Real estate has provided me with a great income, a flexible schedule, and incredible investment opportunities. There are many ways to make money as a real estate agent or a Realtor, but while it is not hard to get your license, it is difficult to become a successful agent. I have been an agent for over 15 years and specialize in listing REO (foreclosures) and HUD homes, but I also run a team with buyer and seller agents. Being a successful agent has given me the income to flip houses and buy rental properties as well.
How hard is it to get your real estate license?
If you are thinking of getting your real estate license, you need to know how hard it is to get your license. That is a difficult question to answer, because each state has different licensing laws and requirements. However, a good friend of mine just passed the real estate test in Colorado and I have some great information from him on what to expect when getting your real estate license in Colorado. This information may not be state specific for where you live, but it will give you an idea of what is involved. Some states have fewer requirements and some have more requirements to get your real estate license than Colorado. I have had my license since 2001 and it was not easy for me to get my license; things have become even more difficult over the years. Colorado is one of the most difficult states to get a real estate license in; here is a list of the requirements for all 50 states.
How long does it take to get your real estate license?
In Colorado, you must take 168 hours of real estate education before you can take the Colorado real estate exam. That is over four weeks of classes if you went to school full-time for 40 hours a week. Most people do not have the time to devote 40 hours a week to real estate school. It took my friend 8 months to take the classes and pass his real estate test. He had a full-time job and I was forced to take classes after work and on the weekends. He took his real estate classes online so that he could have a flexible schedule. In Texas, you need 210 hours of education, but in California, just three courses are needed. In most states, it takes much less time to get your real estate license.
If you are interested in getting your real estate license, I suggest Real Estate Express, which offers classes in most states and has some of the lowest prices on real estate classes.
What do you have to do to become a real estate agent?
There is more to getting your real estate license than taking classes and passing a test. Real estate is a highly regulated industry and here are some of the other requirements in Colorado.
- You must pass a background test, which involves being fingerprinted.
- You must pass tests and quizzes to go along with the 168 hours of education you take. The education required for a Colorado real estate license is not a stroll through the park. Here is a quote from my friend, “Reading dry material at night after work and after family time. I was usually tired. The tests at the end of each section were flipping impossible. They would ask about minute details that had little to do with comprehension. My school didn’t even try to make it interesting or add commentary. They pretty much copied and pasted out of the Colorado legal documents on the topics.”
- You must hang your license with a broker once you pass the exam and pass the background check to activate your license. Each brokerage has different costs; some take part of your commissions and some charge base fees.
- You must buy E and O insurance and most likely will want to become a Realtor, join a local board and join local multiple listing service (MLS). It is not cheap to become an agent.
- Once you have your license you must take 24 hours of continuing education every three years to keep your real estate license active.
If you would like more information on becoming a real estate agent, finding success as a real estate agent, and how much fun it can be being an agent. Check out my book, How to Make it Big in Real Estate, on Amazon.
How hard are real estate classes?
You can take the real estate courses online or in person in a school. My friend took the classes online to work with his busy work schedule. In my experience and my friends taking real estate classes, online courses are extremely boring, and staring at a computer for 168 hours is not easy to do. Here is what my friend had to say about his experience with the real estate education.
“If I could do it over again I would take the classes in person if it fits your lifestyle. In person would have been much more engaging and exciting. Online is good for flexibility of hours, but that is about it. The material is dry, so it is exhausting reading that much on a computer screen for that long. You are probably fully familiar with this. Some online schools are starting to do video-based instruction. I personally would put this in last place. With written material, you can move at your own pace and easily copy/paste, and review sections as needed. Video would be at their pace and you would have to manually take notes. I’d avoid online video like the plague.”
I took the classes online 11 years ago and I struggled to get through the courses. I had been around real estate my whole life and I still had a hard time reading all that information online. The material that is covered in the classes is very dry. If you are hoping to learn how to invest in real estate or learn advanced techniques in selling homes, think again! The material is about technical laws, rules, settlement sheets, and case history. Very little is covered on material that will help people sell houses or help you personally invest in real estate. The material is meant to keep people from going to jail for committing fraud or misleading buyers and sellers, not to actually help you succeed. Here is a great article on some misconceptions about being an agent.
How hard is the Colorado real estate test?
The Colorado real estate test is not easy! To tell the truth, I failed it twice myself even though I thought I would breeze through it. Many of the questions on the Colorado test are very tricky with double negatives and wording meant to trick the test takers. There is also a ton of memorization needed and you need to be able to do math for the settlement sheets!
The test is about memorization and your ability to take tests. The test itself takes up to four hours, is conducted in a high security test center and you are not allowed to bring notes. My friend passed the test on his first try, but as he says, he is used to taking exams like this. He has his MBA and he has taken many similar professional exams in his previous corporate career.
How much does it cost to get your real estate license?
In Colorado, the real estate courses vary widely in cost. Some online schools cost as little as a few hundred dollars, while classroom school courses can run into the thousands. The exam itself costs $80 and you must pay an accredited company or a law enforcement office to fingerprint you. Once you get your license, you will have continued costs like board dues, MLS dues, operating expenses, and fees or commission splits to pay your broker.
Getting your license is the first step of becoming a real estate agent
Once you have your license you will not magically start selling houses without a plan or hard work. Here are a few articles to help you understand what it takes to be successful.
- You must take care of your clients to be a successful agent
- Is Zillow or Trulia a good source of leads?
- Why real estate agents should join a team
- How to find the perfect broker to work with
How I save money by being a real estate agent?
One of the biggest advantages to being a real estate agent is the money I save on my investment properties. I have saved at least $70,000 in the last year on properties I have personally bought or sold. The savings on commissions on my investment property is why I think it is vital that real estate investors should become real estate agents. I save money on fix and flips when I buy the flip and when I sell it. I save money on my rental properties when I buy them and I get more deals because I am an agent.
If you want to become a real estate agent, make sure you research what is involved in your state. Some states have easier requirements than others do, but it is not difficult to get your license in most places. It costs a lot of money to become a real estate agent, but it is well worth it in my opinion. Becoming a real estate agent saves me a ton of money and allows me a better opportunity to buy properties below market value. I consider those bonuses on top of the incredible income you can earn from real estate.
Editor’s Note: Launch Your Real Estate Career the RIGHT Way – My book: How to Make it Big as a Real Estate Agent: The right systems and approaches to cut years off your learning curve and become successful in real estate, teaches agents everything they need to know to be successful. It is available as a paperback or eBook on Amazon.