Authored by Patricia Cherry in Real Estate
Published on 10-19-2009
Becoming a real estate agent isn’t as simple as deciding you want to sell houses for a living and advertising your services. You’ll have to get a real estate license and that involves taking a few courses and passing them. But your education doesn’t stop after that. You will also have to keep up to date on new real estate rules and regulations and that may involve taking future classes as refresher courses. The process will vary a bit from state to state, but the topics you will be required to cover and the state exam are fairly similar no matter where you live.
Like many college courses, you may be able to take real estate classes online as opposed to attending classes in person. There are quite a few real estate schools who allow you to study this way, so you do have some flexibility depending on what your time and lifestyle needs are. Taking classes online to get a real estate license may be the way to go for someone who already has a job and is interested in real estate as a second career. But if you’re more of a hands on person or think you would do better in a traditional classroom, then you might want to opt for classes in person.
In order to get a real estate license you usually have to be at least twenty-one years old. You can take the classes if you are younger, but won’t be allowed to take a state exam and actually get your real estate license. So it may be better to take the classes not terribly long before you can take the test, while the information you learned is fresh in your memory. Besides being at least twenty-one, you will generally also have to have a high school diploma or GED.
There are several courses you will need to pass before you can take a state exam and get your real estate license. The field of real estate is generally regulated by The Bureau of Real Estate Professionals. They set the rules, regulations and standards by which real estate agents must operate. It’s those areas that will be covered in your classes, including financing and lending rules, how to do appraisals, deeds, contracts to buy or sell and several other topics. If you want to become a real estate broker you will have to take more classes than if you become a real estate agent. In all, you can expect to spend from forty to fifty hours of course study.
The first set of classes you’ll have to pass in order to get a real estate license are broken down into two general areas of study, which are license laws and regulations, and the other is escrow. In license laws, you’ll learn all of the rules pertaining to actually doing business as a real estate agent, the details of administration and all of the new laws governing real estate sales. For escrow, you’ll be educated as to how it actually works and what is legally required and acceptable.
The second part of your real estate education will usually deal with how to write, negotiate and handle contracts. This includes knowing all of the federal and state laws pertaining to real estate sales and lending. It will also cover disclosure and what you are legally and morally obligated to tell a buyer about a house or property and what, if anything, you are allowed to keep confidential. A big part of your class will focus on fair housing laws, equal housing and disability housing rules and acts and the regulations and penalties involved if a buyer is discriminated against unfairly.
It may sound somewhat complicated, but getting a real estate license is an attainable goal for anyone who wants to invest a little time, effort and study. You might even be successful enough to eventually become a broker and have real estate agents working for you someday.