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. Schools offering Real Estate degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

What Does A Real Estate Broker Do?

Real estate brokers are real estate professionals who are licensed to operate their own office, but they may work as managers of others' real estate companies as well. Brokers determine market values for properties, act as an intermediary between buyers and sellers and handle property-transaction paperwork. When representing a seller, they list and promote the property; when representing a buyer, they try to find properties that meet the buyer's needs and often escort the buyer through houses of interest. Brokers may also work with individuals who want to rent houses.

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 (2014-2024) 2% (slower than average)*
Median Salary (May 2015) $56,860*

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.

What Are Some Related Alternative Careers?

If you have a gift for gab and sales, you may wish to explore a career as an advertising sales agent. In this position, you will be meeting with prospective clients just as a real estate broker would do. Your job would be to sell advertising to promote a business to a particular market. A large portion of the job will entail making sales presentations, following up on leads, and maintaining client accounts. You should be able to handle pressure to make your sales quotas. Successful candidates must be able to handle many rejections and keep themselves motivated until a client agrees to advertise with their firm. Advertising sales agents work in many different industries, which include radio, television, newspaper, Internet publishing, and advertising agencies.

Insurance agents may sell one or several types of insurance to a customer, such as life, health or car. They need to know how to simplify complex insurance terminology for their customers to understand. They help customers select the best policy that suits their specific needs. Insurance agents usually work in an office, but sometimes they have to travel outside the office to meet with customers in their homes. A high school diploma or equivalent is needed to enter into this profession.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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