How to Become a Real Estate Broker in 5 Steps

Explore the career requirements for real estate brokers. Get the facts about buying and selling real estate properties, the complex laws and regulations involved, and training and licensure requirements for real estate brokers to determine if this is the right career for you.

Career Information at a Glance

Like real estate agents, brokers help their clients to buy, sell and rent houses and properties; in addition, brokers may operate their own real estate office and supervise agents. The following chart provides an overview of a real estate broker career.

Training Required Real estate courses for licensing
Key Responsibilities Managing a real estate office; looking for clients; helping clients buy, sell and rent properties; managing properties; preparing legal documents
Licensure Required
Job Growth (2012-22) 11% (as fast as average)*
Median Salary (May 2014) $57,360*

Source: *U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Step 1: Research Real Estate Broker Job Responsibilities and Education

Real estate brokers help individuals buy and sell property. Brokers differ from real estate agents in that they're licensed to manage their own real estate businesses. Agents must work for licensed brokers. In addition to locating and showing properties, brokers help clients list properties for sale, search for titles, negotiate contracts and navigate the closing process.

Step 2: Get Real Estate Training

All real estate brokers and agents need formal training. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, when hiring, firms may favor agents and brokers with some college education. Many community colleges and 4-year colleges and universities offer real estate programs at the associate's or bachelor's degree level. Alternately, many local real estate associations or larger real estate firms offer training programs. These programs prepare students to meet state licensing requirements for sales agents.

Step 3: Gain Experience as an Agent

In order to work as a real estate agent, you must pass a state licensing exam. Agents may work for established brokerage firms or individual brokers. Most states require real estate agents to gain experience before applying for a broker's license.

Step 4: Apply for a Brokers' License

To obtain the broker's license, you must have completed 60-90 hours of formal training, in addition to having 1-3 years' experience selling real estate. In some states, a bachelor's degree may be sufficient to meet these requirements. Brokers must pass a licensing exam on real estate transactions and law. The broker's exam is more comprehensive than the agent's exam.

Step 5: Consider Opportunities for Career Advancement

Brokers often open their own real estate firms. Brokers become more successful by increasing their clientele and maintaining a loyal customer following. Some brokers choose to move into other related areas, such as mortgage financing or real estate investment.

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