How to Start a Career in Real Estate the Right Way
Updated: Feb 21
Starting anything worthwhile takes planning. Starting a career in real estate is no different. Knowing all the steps to take will bring you success in your real estate career sooner, and with the maximum results for your efforts.
Why plan ahead? Well, around 17,000 people in the U.S. alone search for "how to become a real estate agent" every month, but they don’t all make it. Research tells us that about 80% of new real estate professionals fail or quit within their first year. So, planning ahead—and connecting with people who can help, (like our team!) can make all the difference.
Here’s what you’ll need to do as you launch into becoming a real estate professional.
1. Know Your Career Purpose
There’s a host of reasons to be in real estate, but keeping your eye on your purpose is going to help you be a success. So, get a vision of what you’d like your real estate career to look like. Real estate presents new and exciting opportunities every day. You’ll meet many new people and help them succeed in finding their dream property, all while being your own boss and managing your own schedule.
2. Get Your Real Estate License
Your first round of training is aimed at one focus—passing your state’s license exam. Study hard, and be prepared. It’s a demanding exam, but it’s well worth the effort when you pass it and are ready to move to the next step in your new career.
3. Pick Your Team
Nobody does anything great by themselves. You’ve got to have a team. So, after you get your preliminary license, you’ll need to choose a brokerage to join. This partnership is vital to your growth and hands-on education, so consider the broker your most important team member.
Different brokerages offer different advantages—such as potential ongoing training and education, dedicated office space, mentorships, leads, and other perks. They also offer different commission splits. Do your research, interview several, and make your choice carefully.
4. Consider becoming a REALTOR
Even though you may have seen the terms “real estate agent” and “REALTOR” used interchangeably, there's a significant difference between them. You can’t actually call yourself a REALTOR unless you are a member of the National Association of Realtors.
To become a certified REALTOR, you'll need to pay an annual membership fee, but the education and networking perks that come with it can make becoming a REALTOR a game-changer in your career.
5. Select Your Niche
There are many areas of real estate where you can specialize—such as residential, commercial, rentals, and more. So, consider this carefully too. Do you want to concentrate on business spaces? Do you prefer to help first-time homebuyers exclusively? Or work only with investors who flip houses? Are you into farmland and other land deals? Luxury homes, or apartment buildings?
While you can choose to be involved in all of the above, typically “staying in your lane” and narrowing it down is recommended, because knowing what part of real estate you want to work in will help you begin to know your tasks and establish business connections.
6. Build Your Network
As a new agent, the best way to kickstart your career is to get the word out that you’re in real estate by using your sphere of influence. Make a list of all your contacts and put them in a database. Once you’ve defined your sphere of influence, send out an email and/or a postcard about your new career to everyone in it and ask them all to share the news with everyone they know.
Add to this effort with social media posts and any other form of networking you can to get the word out, and before you know it, you’ll have people ready to list their house with you. And remember to lean on your brokerage. At McGraw, we’re happy to help you get creative to expand your reach.
7. Execute and Monitor Your Plan
The best way to see how effectively your career is moving forward is to keep track of everything you’re doing. Pay attention to key signs of success. What is working best for you to bring in new referrals? What are mistakes you’ve made, and how can you avoid them in the future? What continuing education can you take to expand your skillset? Monitoring everything as you go, including your budget, allows you to better execute your plan and achieve the successful career you desired to have from the beginning.
Take the Next Step in Your Career Path with McGraw Real Estate Academy
If you’re just starting to explore the possibility of a real estate career, we are here to help you achieve the success you’re dreaming of. We look forward to helping you get started!