A realtor is a person licensed to act on behalf of a vendor to market and sell their home.
A realtor works hard to win clients, advertise a house to get as many people through as possible, and to negotiate a sale price with the lucky purchaser.
They also provide service after the sale, making sure the property transfer goes smoothly.
If you are a strong communicator, think you would be excellent at sales, and don’t mind working long hours in exchange for a good income, then you might like to become a realtor.
While you don’t need a college degree to succeed in this industry, you do need to put in a lot of time and effort to start making the big money.
While there are many realtors who earn big salaries, there are also many that struggle to make ends meet.
This industry has a high turnover, with many people not staying on for more than a year.
Often people consider the terms realtor and real estate agent to be interchangeable, however to be legally allowed to call yourself a realtor, you must be licensed with the National Association of Realtors, or NAR.
Education Requirements to Become a Realtor
The first step to become a realtor is to attain your real estate license.
The steps to do this are different in every state, so you should find out from the board where you live exactly what you need to do.
Generally, the first step is to take a pre-license course at a local community college.
Each state has a preset number of education hours you must complete before you can become a realtor.
In some places you will need to do this in the classroom, while in others you can do this online.
You will then need to take an exam on what you have learned.
A lot of the focus on the test is on contract law, as well as ethics.
To become a realtor, you will need to become licensed with NAR.
This licensure is the difference between calling yourself a real estate agent, and a realtor.
Realtors are bound by a firm code of ethics, and held responsible for their actions.
This helps give the industry a good name, and also makes clients feel more assured about dealing with NAR licensed agents.
As a realtor you will also receive many benefits, other than just recognition.
You have access to multiple listing services, which allow you to sell homes listed for sale by other agents, and in turn they can introduce more buyers to your listings.
Realtors are also expected to participate in continuing education courses throughout their career.
Many of these courses have a focus on ethics as well as consumer protection.
Realtor Job Description
When you become a realtor, your main task will be to list and sell houses.
Your best asset in doing this will be your interpersonal skills.
Being able to understand where a person is coming from, what their motivations are, as well as their personality is all essential to securing a sale.
When you work in real estate you will learn a lot about human psychology and behavior.
Here are some of the tasks of a realtor:
- Meet with prospective vendors and appraise their homes
- Prepare marketing proposals
- Prepare marketing materials and book ad space
- Add properties to a website
- Take prospective buyers through a home
- Negotiate a sale price
- Prepare contracts
Realtor Salary and Career Path
Most realtors will start out their career as an associate salesperson.
Of course, to gain this position you will need to have your real estate license, and if you wish, also be licensed with NAR.
Usually most realtors are mentored by other more experienced agents in the brokerage, until they learn the ropes.
After a little while, you’ll be out on your own.
To begin with, you will mostly sell homes listed by other agents, but with experience and networking you will be able to list homes yourself.
Many realtors go on to become real estate brokers.
To do this you will need to attain an additional license from your state.
This gives you the ability to open your own office.
Many realtors go on to work in similar jobs, these could include:
- Property Manager
- Real Estate Agent
- Insurance Agent
- Community Association Manager
- Sales Representative
- Business Development Manager
The median salary for a starting realtor is $40,000 a year, however the top 10% of earners in this industry make over $100,000 a year.
There can be a lot variation in-between.
If you’ve got sales ability, and want the opportunity to make a good salary in return for a bit of hard work, then you might like to become a realtor.
Employment prospects in this sector are good, and look to improve as the real estate market recovers.
Even in tough markets, there are plenty of opportunities in real estate for those ready to seize them.