March 03, 2018

How to Become a Real Estate Broker

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Have you been thinking of stepping into a real estate career? If so, the Department of Labor has some great news for you! The millennial generation, which for years has delayed home ownership, is now on the cusp of becoming one of the major drivers of the real estate market. With this expected change, we can expect a significant uptick in the number of jobs and opportunities available to real estate sales agents and brokers. So, if you’re someone who has had real estate career aspirations in the past, now is the time to make your move! But how do you break in to the industry and grow your career from Wannabe to Sales Agent to Broker? Don’t fret, this article has got you covered.

From the Ground Up – Building a Strong Foundation

If you are just starting out in the business, it can be a little overwhelming. To develop a strong footing, a good real estate school or community college can guide you through the process of getting your real estate sales license with classes on real estate law, ethics, finance, and taxes. You can also find courses online that will give you a comprehensive outline of the field you’re about to dive into. This will poise you to take the next step as a real estate sales agent.

Once you’ve made the moves to become a real estate sales agent, good on you! You've opened the door to a fulfilling and rewarding career. You're ahead of the game and are in a strong position to become a full-on broker, where you can take advantage of the looming rise in real estate activity. However, even though all that classroom training helped you earn your license to sell real estate, there are several things you need to take care of before you start ramping up your business and fully taking advantage of the opportunity that you’ve created for yourself. Sure, there are all the classic administrative items like business cards, signs and a good networking plan, but with how rapidly you’ll be able to grow your business, you will most importantly need some way to keep track of both your clients and your time. After all, you don’t want a lack of organization to slow you down! For this reason, it is imperative to have powerful contact management tools.

Real Estate Broker Kristen Derkrikorian knows just how important these tools are when it comes to the real estate business. She started off as a part-time sales agent while working as a medical biller so scheduling her time and contacts was a big part of her life. Kristen – and any other experienced real estate agent for that matter – also knows how imperative it is to have strong customer relationship management (CRM) tools, in order to keep track of your clients and ongoing sales opportunities. Not only do these tools allow realtors to handle clients more efficiently, but they can also help generate more referrals, leads, and business.

When Derkrikorian's client base expanded along with her listings, she knew that in order to keep up with her growing responsibilities she needed support in the form of CRM software. This software has taken many of the administrative headaches out of her day-to-day so that she can focus her best efforts on the thing that she truly loves – real estate. Today, after 18 years in the industry, the second-generation realtor and Director of the American Real Estate Academy has no regrets. "It's a great job. If you like people and you are interested in houses it's really enjoyable," she said.

After getting their feet wet in the industry for a couple of years, many sales agents – like Derkrikorian, make the move to become real estate brokers. Earning that license gives you the option of opening your own office or working as an associate broker for an established real estate chain. Depending on the state where you intend to do business, however, you will need one to two years of on-the-job experience, more classroom training, and a broker's test to finally reach that goal. Expect your classroom learning to include information on how to operate a brokerage, manage property and develop real estate along with refresher courses in several logistical and legal domains.

However, since the industry is always changing, getting your broker’s license is not a one and done deal. States often require both sales agents and brokers to renew their licenses every two to four years and continue their real estate education by attending classes. You can check out the exact licensing requirements by contacting your state's real estate licensing commission.

Becoming a Real Estate Broker Means More Than Just Selling

Once you get your brokerage license, it's often advisable to start off as an assistant broker for a local or national brokerage firm. Here, you will have the opportunity to gain valuable real estate experience, while also gaining insight and understanding of the internal operations of the brokerage business. Without the responsibility and liabilities that come with ownership, this is a great opportunity to build a strong base before launching your own brokerage.

If you opt instead to open your own real estate office right away, you will need to manage everything about your business from prospecting for clients and handling escrow deposits to advertising your client's property. And you will have to do it with diligence, independence, and organization. If all that sounds a bit overwhelming, don’t worry, you’re not alone! There are several resources and coaches available to support you in this endeavor. It may just be slow-going for the first little bit.

Overall, the real estate business is a busy one. With a wide range of clientele, networking events, not to mention all the laws governing the industry, it can be overwhelming at times. But even as an independent brokerage owner, you can do it all and still have time for family life if you take a smart approach to your business. Beyond just digital calendars and smartphones, today’s businesses need technology and tools to keep you connected with your clients – and your potential clients. Make your work life easier and your business organization better using real estate contact management tools that more effectively keep up with your business’ ongoings. Furthermore, combine these with a powerful CRM software to stay in-sync with your clients and drive more sales opportunities to your business. The combination of these two tools will allow you to scale your business sustainability, and – just like Kristen Derkrikorian – will allow you to focus your best efforts on your passion.