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Start Your Career in Real Estate

Whether you are looking to change careers or complement your existing career, real estate sales can be very exciting, offering great personal satisfaction and financial rewards. The field is a highly competitive business requiring a strong ambition to succeed. 

A career in real estate can be challenging and even those possessing all the skills are often unsuccessful. That’s why it’s important to know the facts up front. This document is designed to provide valuable information to assist you in determining if real estate is the career for you. 

Real Estate Can Take You Down Different Paths 

You’ll find yourself wearing a number of different hats while working in real estate. You will find yourself working as a counselor, negotiator, advisor, and problem solver. You may also decide you’d like to concentrate on a particular area of specialization such as property management, commercial and industrial sales, appraisals, or relocation. Some licensees even elect to be personal assistants for other  successful sales agents. 

You may decide to obtain your broker’s license and pursue the management side of real estate. Or you can get involved with the service related end as a settlement agent for a title company or mortgage offices with a financial institution. 

There are so many choices and directions you can pursue in real estate. You really are only starting to open the door when you obtain your  license. Many areas of specialization demand high level skills which can only be achieved through additional education courses and training. 

It’s More Than Just Listing and Selling Properties 

Projecting yourself as knowledgeable, competent, and confident is important. The best way to do this is to really know your material, be familiar with the various financial institutions and their lending terms, know your market area, and constantly be sharpening your skills. 

You must learn to meet people and to talk with them sincerely both in-person and online. It is important to be an empathetic listener and to employ proper e-mail and social media etiquette skills to be able to put people at ease. 

Within your firm, you will have certain requirements and responsibilities which can also help you produce. Monthly, you likely will be assigned a certain amount of “floor or duty time”, when it is your responsibility to be available to handle incoming calls and questions concerning various properties.  Good telephone and e-mail skills are essential.  Knowing your material and utilizing current social media marketing skills can turn this into a golden opportunity to obtain leads. 

You will need to do some prospecting, e-mail and social media marketing, telephone calling, and canvassing of specific market areas. This takes perseverance and consistency to identify potential buyers and sellers. 

After you have spent some time in the business, you’ll find that one of the nicest and easiest ways to obtain business is the referral. Previously satisfied clients will refer their friends and business associates to you.  In today’s age of technology, possessing computer and smart phone skills and having access to both is a necessity. The internet is used frequently to market real estate companies, agents, and listings, as well as obtain mortgage, school data, and other property information. This includes social media and online advertising. There are many software products and smart phone apps written specifically for real estate. 

The Successful Professional 

Those who become successful in real estate become so because they work at it. It takes self-discipline, motivation, and a will to succeed. The financial results and personal rewards make the hard work well worth it.  

On-going education and training is an important part of the real estate business. Keeping yourself informed about industry trends and developments, newly enacted laws and regulations, and an ever-changing market area is not only good business, but good for business. 

The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires each real estate licensee to complete 14 hours of approved continuing education during every two-year license renewal cycle. Newly licensed individuals need to complete the two required module courses.

Getting Paid 

As a real estate sales agent, you typically will not be a salaried employee. As an independent contractor, you will be paid on a commission basis. The money you earn will be based on your performance – you set your own goals and limitations. You will be paid a percentage of the total brokerage fee, a certain percentage for listing and a certain percentage for selling, once the settlement of the sale has occurred. 

As a new agent, you will not be paid immediately — it will take time and plenty of work. Only you can determine — based on what you want to do — how soon and how much you’ll make.

This Is The Job For You! Let’s Get Started!

In order to sell real estate in Pennsylvania, it is necessary to obtain a license from the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. To apply for licensure, an applicant must be 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or equivalent, and complete 75 credit hours of real estate instruction as prescribed by the Commission, and pass written examinations. 

The Greater Harrisburg REALTORS® Institute offers the two courses, needed to fulfill the education requirement. They are: “Real Estate   Fundamentals” which is 30 hours, and “Real Estate Practice” which is 45 hours. Students must attend 80% of the classes and earn a passing grade of 70% in each. Students must pay course tuition and purchase a textbook.  An ordinary calculator is sufficient for these classes.  Eventually, successful real estate practitioners will want will want to download real estate financial calculator apps or use other online  calculating tools available for real estate licensees. 

An applicant must then receive a passing score on the National and State licensing exam, which is administered by PSI at various locations.  A fee of $49 is charged for  the license examination. Details on the test and testing procedures are found in the PSI Licensure Certification pamphlet and application from PSI, which is available at the Greater Harrisburg REALTORS® Institute. Also included is information about obtaining the required criminal background check to submit with your licensing application.

The Big Decision—Choosing a Broker

As a licensed salesperson, your license must be affiliated with a licensed broker. It is important that you select a real estate firm that is right for you and your expectations. Different people have different personal habits and needs, so there are no hard, fast rules in selecting a broker. However, good common sense questions can help you evaluate the environment that is right for you. 

For a new agent, an important question involves training and mentoring. What training is offered? How extensive is it and are there any extra costs? What topics are covered? What additional help is available? Because a good, solid background can be the key to a successful real estate career, it is important to compare training programs carefully. 

Other things to consider in your selection include the firm’s image, reputation, location, and involvement in the real estate industry and community. Also consider other benefits or programs that may be available for your use.

Equal Opportunity For All

Because success is determined by one’s own goals and efforts, real estate careers offer the same opportunity to everyone regardless of race, color, sex, religion, national origin, handicap or familial status. Affirmative recruiting procedures and programs by brokers attempt to foster minorities’ interest in pursuing real estate as a profession.

Best wishes for a successful career in real estate!