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When it comes to real estate licenses, there are two jobs to which prospective licensees can aspire: real estate agent and real estate broker. Agents are entry-level personnel; brokers have some seasoning. Also, you have to be a real estate sales agent before becoming a real estate broker.

Requirements for a Real Estate License for a Sales Agent

Each state has its own specific requirements for acquiring a real estate license, but there are some general guidelines for every state. Depending on where you live, you must be either 18 or 19 years old to have a license. You must also complete a set number of hours of education. You also have to be a legal resident of the United States.

Once you complete all of the education requirements prior to becoming licensed, you must take the applicable licensing exam. Each state gives its own exam. To help prepare for the exam, it would be a good idea to speak with agents who already have their licenses to get an idea of what's in store.

You must also remember that you may not work in the industry unless you are under the supervision of a real estate broker. It's another good idea to find a real estate broker for whom you would like to work and with whom you get along as you work toward earning your license. That way, when you pass the test, you and the broker who hired you can file the remaining paperwork with the state immediately.

Requirements for Being a Real Estate Broker

As with agents, the requirements vary by state. Most states, however, require an agent to work in that capacity for one to three years before seeking a broker's license. To become a broker, you must first hold a valid agent license. You also have to undergo further training stipulated by your state. Such training is more extensive than agent training and might even include certain aspects of both real estate law and estate law. Some states also require prospective licensees to pass criminal background checks.

Brokers also have to be familiar with a broader range of topics related to the world of real estate than agents. Some of those include:

•Property management

•Construction and building codes


•Financing options

Brokers should always be developing a network of partners in addition to a network of possible clients. It's much easier to get things done, such as inspections, title checks, and the like, if a broker "has a buddy" who handles that sort of thing. Other than building inspectors, some of the partners with whom a broker should cultivate relationships include:

•Lawyers with focus areas germane to the real estate process

•Private investigators to check titles, research property surveys, etc.

•Insurance experts

•Law enforcement professionals

You can also decide to join the National Association of Realtors. If you plan to use the title of "realtor," this is required. The association provides professional support and an array of benefits to its members, including real estate trend reports, discounted continuing education programs, and ethical oversight.

No matter which way you decide to go, agent or broker, the profession can be both rewarding and lucrative. Good luck!

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