How to Get a Job in Real Estate

Growth Trends for Related Jobs

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Specialized Training Sets You Up for a Flexible, Family-Friendly Career

Real estate agents and brokers are responsible for assisting in the sale or purchase of a home or other property. If you enjoy numbers and would feel a sense of fulfillment in helping a family find a place to call home, a career in this field could be right up your alley. Flexible hours are a bonus when you have children; some people even run this kind of business as a family, which keeps everyone connected and involved.

Job Description

Real estate agents and brokers normally help in the purchase and sale of residential property, though some also handle business and other larger sales. They are responsible for finding clients, being aware of market conditions, advising clients accordingly, promoting properties, matching clients to suitable properties, mediating between buyers and sellers, and ensuring that all details of the sale are attended to properly.

Excellent people skills are a must, as is careful attention to detail. When you truly care about matching your clients to a home where they can make memories for years to come, it shows, and they are likely to refer more clients to you. For this reason, excellent relational skills and a genuine sense of care and compassion are important in this industry.

Education Requirements

It may be possible to enter the real estate industry with a high school diploma or the equivalent, but many employers favor candidates with at least a bachelor's degree in finance, business or a related field. Following graduation, you will need to first enroll in real estate classes that last a few months and then pass a licensing exam to become a real estate sales agent. Some real estate agents go on to become brokers after acquiring a few years of experience in the field and successfully passing an additional exam. Real estate brokers are qualified to run their own businesses, while agents must operate under the supervision of a broker. In both professions, expect to take continuing education courses and renew your license every couple of years.

The median annual salary for real estate agents and brokers is $60,370, which means that half earn more, while the other half earns less. The top 10 percent earns more than $174,120, while the bottom 10 percent earns less than $25,460. In general, brokers can expect to earn slightly more than agents, but in both cases, building client relationships and closing sales are the biggest determinants of income.

About the Industry

Over half of all real estate agents and brokers are self-employed. While some may work from a home office and meet with clients to confer on properties, many work from office spaces and spend part of their time in the office doing paperwork and the bulk of their time in the field meeting with clients and finding listings. Roughly 3 percent work in construction and assist with larger commercial sales and spend time with developers and contractors and on job sites.

Years of Experience

Real estate agents and brokers tend to earn more over time as they establish relationships in the community and become a known-and-trusted name. Relationships and sales are key to income, no matter how long you have been in the field. One projection for real estate agents looks like this:

  • 1‒2 Years: $39,692‒$40,279
  • 3‒4 Years: $39,860‒$40,419
  • 5‒6 Years: $40,014‒$40,559
  • 7‒9 Years: $40,279‒$43,059
  • 10‒14 Years: $40,587‒$46,848
  • 15 or More Years: $42,564‒$49,155

Job Growth Trend

Job opportunities for real estate agents and brokers are expected to increase by 4 percent over the next decade, slower than in other industries. Job opportunities are growing at the rate of the market, as people continue to need new homes and relocate for work and as the economy strengthens. Job prospects are good for those who receive the proper training and have the people skills to succeed in the field.