5 Steps to Get Started in Real Estate

Thinking about a career change?  Real estate is an exciting, rewarding, and challenging career field.  It’s an easy industry to get started in, but without proper preparation, it can be difficult to build a successful real estate career.  Here are some steps to take to get your new business off on the right foot. 

  1. Do your research.  Read articles, collect information from real estate certification programs, talk to successful, established real estate professionals.  Take a good look at your finances and be sure to make a comprehensive plan for your career transition.  There are two potentially challenging aspects that you should consider before making this leap: (1) the cost to get started and (2) the potential irregularity of income and the time it could take before your get your first check.  These factors should not scare you away from your goal of becoming a real estate agent, though.  These are just things that are important to take into account when making your plan.  Let’s talk more about them. 
    • Cost of getting started. It generally costs about $2,000 to get started in real estate.  This estimate includes classes, the fee for the state licensure exam, board and MLS fees, and initial marketing expenses.  This number could be a little higher or lower depending on which state/local Board(s) of Realtors and MLS(s) you will be joining, which real estate certification program you choose, how much and what type(s) of marketing you choose to do, etc.  
    • Getting paid.  Most real estate agents work solely on commission.  This means that they only get a paycheck after a closing.  With a robust business plan and diligent follow-through on that plan, an agent can build a strong business with (mostly) regular pay.  Another factor to take into consideration:  It can take as long as 3-6 months to get a paycheck.  However, when you are executing your business plan, it is very realistic to have a deal put together in your first 30-60 days, and a closing (read: paycheck) in the first 60-90 days.  Either way, it’s a good idea to save up enough money to cover your living expenses for a few months.  Lohmiller Real Estate offers a W-2 agent program with a base pay that can really help out during this transition time.  Contact LRE to schedule a time to meet with us and learn more about getting started. 
  2. Start classes.  Today, many real estate certification programs are available online to complete at your own pace.  The deadline for completion of these programs varies, but for most people, the classes are completed in two to three months.  Some spend close to a year, and others complete the classes in as little as two weeks.  This avenue is great for a lot of people, especially if you need the flexibility to work around your busy schedule.  However, many individuals (myself included) are much more attentive and productive in a classroom environment.  Having an instructor available during your classes can be invaluable.  They can offer explanations and further information that may not be outlined in the books, and also be available for questions.  Check out LRE’s recommended provider list here. 
  3. Take your state licensure exam.  There are plenty of great exam prep courses out there, and these are great tools to prepare you for the big test.  You can also schedule a study session with your sales manager at LRE.  Most states require an FBI background check and fingerprinting prior to testing, and some states require that you and your sponsoring broker submit paperwork to the Real Estate Commission or Division of Real Estate prior to testing.  Your sales manager at LRE can help you find a testing location with a date and time slot that works best for you.  The exam itself usually costs around $60.   
  4. Join the National Association of Realtors and your state and local boards.  Lohmiller Real Estate is a member of the National Association of Realtors.  Therefore, to work as a real estate agent at LRE, you will need to join also.  Once you pass your test, schedule a time to meet with your manager to complete the paperwork necessary to join NAR and the MLS.  The total fees for this usually total around $1,000; however, this varies from state to state and local board to board. 
  5. Create your business plan and start selling real estate!  By now, you should have met with your sales manager to help you put your business plan together.  Now it’s time to finalize and put it into action!   


Lindsay Lohmiller

EVP, Lohmiller Real Estate 









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