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Understanding Real Estate Licenses


While it may not have occurred to you before, to enter the world of real estate, you’ll need a real estate license. Many different real estate careers require a license, and obtaining one can open some doors whether you plan to make this your main career path or a side gig.

This article will help explain what a real estate license is, a few careers that require one, how to get one, and how to renew it. By the time this article’s over, you’ll not only understand the benefits you could enjoy with one and what real estate license renewal in California may look like.

What is a Real Estate License?

A real estate license is the certification you need to get that’s required to work in the real estate industry. This is the reason why a homeowner must work with an agent to sell their home, as the agent is licensed to value and sell the home, whereas the homeowners may not be.

There are two different types of real estate licenses, though some states only have one. The first type is the sales license. Those with a sales license will work with a broker and try to convince others to purchase real estate. While not all agents will work with land or buildings used for housing, we’ll use a housing salesperson as an example. They may bring potential buyers through the house for tours and point out the benefits the home would have for them.

Those with the broker license are what you’d expect: brokers. Real estate brokers are the people who either represent the seller or the buyer during a sale. Those who represent the seller will set a price and negotiate to keep the sale price as high as possible, while those who represent buyers will try to haggle for a lower price for their clients. Real estate brokers may work for a licensed firm or may be independent.

Which Careers Require a License?

A real estate license opens the door to career opportunities you may not have considered before. The most common career sought by those with a license is that of the real estate broker, and while we did discuss a few of the duties they may have, there’s more that they must do.

For one, they must ensure that all paperwork is completed, can represent a person during a legal mediation, can move money to and from escrow accounts, and more. This profession is sought-after due to its flexibility and potential growth opportunities; you could go from being a broker-owner to a brokerage company with many employees if you have the drive and good business sense.

Another career opportunity you could explore is that of the property manager. Property managers help landlords manage their properties. Based on their specific deal with the landlord, they may be able to maintain the building by hiring repair companies, listening to tenant complaints, trying to remedy those complaints, and more.

While a property manager may not own the building they oversee, it’s their responsibility to ensure it’s in good condition. However, should a tenant leave, then it’s up to the leasing agent to fill the now-empty home or apartment.

The final career we’ll discuss here is that of the leasing agent, and it’s their job to market the property, screen tenants to ensure they meet the requirements to live there, show the home off, and more. The end goal for them is to have a tenant move into the empty property as soon as possible.

How to Get a License?

While the requirements for obtaining a real estate license vary from state to state, there are some basic steps that everyone seeking a license must take. The first is obvious if you read the first section of this article: choose which license you wish to pursue.

While not all states offer both a sales license and a broker license, if you live in one that does, you’ll need to decide which will be better for you. You’ll also need to look into the specific requirements for the state you plan to work in. Each state has different requirements on which courses you must complete, how many credit hours you need, what a passing score is for the exam, and more.

Once you have that information in hand, then it’s time to find your course. Enrolling in pre-licensing courses will allow you to begin the process, although whether this can be done online or not varies by state. If you do get to choose, you must decide whether you prefer the flexibility of an online course or the stability and kinship provided by a physical real estate school or college course.

When the courses are completed, you can then apply to take the licensing exam. You can apply for a real estate license once you have passed.

What are the Renewal Requirements?

The real estate market is always changing, and you’ll have to renew your license every few years as a result. This is to ensure that you still understand the duties involved with real estate and that you retain the knowledge necessary to complete your tasks. There are quite a few options available to you for when it’s time to renew your license.

You’ll need to research which requirements your state has on post-licensing education, such as when it needs to be completed.

Luckily, every renewal after the first will usually have fewer coursework requirements since you’ll have gained experience. For example, the first-time renewal requirements for California state that you must complete forty-five hours of coursework within four years. For those looking to renew their license beyond the first time, you’ll also need to complete forty-five hours of work every four years.

Being Prepared For A Career In Real Estate

Whether you’re looking to obtain your license or renew it, there are many resources online that can help you. For some states, you’ll use these online sources for research only, while others may allow or even require you to do your coursework and exams online.

These requirements are well-documented and easy to find, so you know exactly what you need to do to succeed.

Jacob Lindsey

Jacob is a home remodeling guru having worked over 15 years in construction in Reno, NV, mainly focused on home renovations. He likes taking ideas from his clients and making them a reality.

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