5 Ideas on How to Get a Real Estate License from the President of RE/MAX

Every year, thousands of new real estate agents join the ranks of millions of people in the field trying to help buyers, sellers and renters with their real estate needs.

While thousands of real estate agents are also leaving the industry, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that demand for real estate brokers and sales agents will continue to grow 3% over the next decade.


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Despite volatility in the real estate sector, including high mortgage rates and the historic agreement with the National Association of Realtors, Amy Lessinger, president of RE/MAX, says the industry will adapt. For the smartest real estate agents, she adds, it’s an opportunity for success and growth.

So for those who are itching for a challenge, look no further than real estate. However, as an Internet search will demonstrate, getting started in this field can be a complicated task, largely because the exact requirements for obtaining the proper license differ from state to state.

While relatively new to her role leading one of the largest real estate companies in the U.S., Lessinger joined RE/MAX 26 years ago (at the age of 26) as a new agent. After years of hard work, she finally purchased a brokerage and helped lead a team of 135 agents to dominate their real estate market.

Fortune recommends She chatted with Lessinger about the world of real estate education and how people can get their real estate license and eventually be as successful as she is. Here are some of the key steps:

  1. Do a self-assessment
  2. Complete pre-licensing training, background check, and fingerprinting.
  3. Pass the real estate exam
  4. Find a brokerage that suits your needs
  5. Continue learning and growing.

Do a self-assessment: Do you have “fire in your belly”?

Before spending hundreds of dollars on real estate training, not to mention the hours of study and preparation required to pass the exam, it is important to do your research in real estate.

First, consider that we are in an anxious time in real estate. During the pandemic, there was a surge of people entering the real estate world and now many of those people are exiting.

Also, don’t be fooled by real estate agents on social media and television. Although many may appear to be incredibly wealthy, their income can come from a variety of different sources other than commissions. They may also be crying profits for those who work for them at their brokerage.

Veteran real estate agents will tell you that the first few years in real estate involve long hours, few days off, and a general strain on your family and personal life. The countryside is not for the faint of heart. However, there are also different levels of participation in the real estate sector; Not everyone does it full time, not everyone is dedicated to residential sales; There are several ways to find the lane that best suits your goals.

“I think they (those starting out in the field) need to be honest about what they are willing to give to their new career: how much focus, attention, and time they can devote to developing their skills,” Lessinger explains. . “And ensuring they can scale up quickly will be a key component of their long-term success.”

Some of the skills that the best agents have are:

  • Highly focused
  • Self-motivated and directed.
  • Willing to take responsibility
  • Have a community network

Having experience in sales or marketing, for example, was often an indication of a natural fit for the real estate sector. However, he noted that, ultimately, real estate agents come from all kinds of backgrounds.

“I wanted to find agents who had fire in their bellies,” he says. “Because the company will not hold you responsible directly. You have to take direct responsibility for carrying out daily activities and completing tasks that will help you find more buyers and sellers to serve.”

Complete pre-licensing training

The next step is to make your passion a reality. First, check your state’s requirements for pre-licensing training as well as its list of approved providers.

In every state, there are dozens of programs, both online and in-person, where you can learn the skills needed to become licensed. In Texas, for example, there are about 65 qualified education providers where the required 180 hours of courses can be taken. The price may also vary depending on the provider; It usually costs a few hundred dollars.

During real estate school, Lessinger says students learn about many highly specialized topics such as easement and how people can choose to obtain the title. While these areas can actually be addressed by a specialist, it is important for a real estate professional to know them to alert buyers and sellers.

Ultimately, while real estate school is an important step in the process of becoming an agent, the real learning comes in the field.

“Truly where they will develop their skills in the daily activities of a post-licensing agent, as well as the education and support they will receive from their brokers,” Lessinger explains.

Pass the real estate exam

Don’t forget that you can’t just take the pre-baccalaureate courses without studying and putting in the effort; For many newcomers, passing the exam can be more challenging since it includes both national and state topics.

For those who took the exam between May 1, 2022 and April 30, 2024 in Texas, the sales agent exam pass rate was only 57.16%. Don’t let this discourage you, however, as even some of the most successful real estate agents in the field have had to take the test multiple times.

After passing the exam, check all the boxes in your state and receive your license; You can then explore the possibility of joining the National Association of Realtors.

Find a brokerage that suits your needs

After becoming an agent, it’s time to join a brokerage. Because the group you join can have such a big impact on your career, it’s important to find one that fits your goals and lifestyle.

“I think it’s important for new agents coming into the business to understand what the brokerage will provide me in terms of support, tools and education, so I can hit the ground running and gain a skill set fairly quickly.” Lessinger says.

Some brokerages may offer a mentoring program, which will put you alongside an experienced agent and really help you navigate your early transitions and develop your skill set. Additionally, finding a quality brokerage that offers education, tools, support, and a culture of productivity is really important, Lessinger adds.

“We have a saying here at RE/MAX, and it’s that producers want to be around great producers,” Lessinger says. “That’s why we think it’s incredibly important that our culture is driven and based on high productivity, because we are surrounded by great players and you play better too.”

Continue learning and growing.

Lifelong learning is key to being a successful real estate agent. Markets, regulations and trends are constantly evolving and the best real estate agents will stay ahead of the curve to best serve their clients.

After recently moving out of state, Lessinger herself has gone back to studying real estate to obtain her broker’s license in Colorado. She says it’s been surprising to her that even after being in space for 30 years, simply crossing state lines can open up a new world of rules and opportunities.

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