5 Steps To Becoming A Real Estate Agent North Of Houston
Ask any real estate agent, and they’ll tell you that nothing compares to the rush of helping people find their dream home.
Take Keller Williams Professionals Agent MaryKate Berlin, for example: she made the switch from a career in oil and gas to real estate four years ago, and she hasn’t looked back since. Today she is her own boss, with an impressive portfolio and a work schedule that allows plenty of flexibility for her personal life.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about becoming a real estate agent north of Houston!
1. Make Sure You Meet The General Requirements
To receive a Texas real estate license, you must:
- Be a citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
- Be 18 years of age or older
- Be a resident of Texas
- Complete pre-licensing classroom hours with a state-accredited real estate school or program
- Complete a licensing application and submit required licensing fees
- Complete the real estate licensing exam with a score of 80% or higher
- Obtain a sponsorship by an active Texas licensed broker
2. Select A Real Estate School
To find a list of qualified real estate license education providers, the best reference is the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) website. For those who prefer in-person learning, Champions School Of Real Estate (Berlin’s real estate alma mater) has a Houston North campus just twenty minutes outside of Spring, and the Texas Association Of Realtors offers courses year-round in nearby downtown Houston.
Juggling a busy schedule or just prefer learning from home? Plenty of companies like Texas State Online and Aceable Agent offer 100% TREC-approved programs online that can be completed on a computer or smartphone.
After selecting a program, it’s time to start studying! Texas requires 180 total classroom hours of the following qualified courses:
- Principles of Real Estate I (30 hours)
- Principles of Real Estate II (30 hours)
- Law of Agency (30 hours)
- Law of Contracts (30 hours)
- Promulgated Contract Forms (30 hours)
- Real Estate Finance (30 hours)
3. Apply For A Real Estate License
Courses aced? The next step is actually applying for the license. TREC accepts online and paper applications, and for both, applicants must submit all of their course completion documents. We recommend keeping original transcripts and course completion documents for your records, as well as submitting copies to TREC.
For an application to be approved, you are required by law to have your fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (fingerprints on file with other agencies will not be accepted) so TREC can run a background check. They will not issue a real estate license for anyone who does not pass a background check.
Real Estate License fees due on initial applications include the Individual Broker fee ($305), Fingerprint Fee ($38.25), Background Check Fee ($28.25), and Real Estate Recovery Fee ($10).
Pro Tip: Apply online. Online applications process much faster than paper applications (less risk of snail mail delays, etc), and there is a $20 processing fee when submitting any paper documents for transactions available online.
4. Ace The Real Estate License Exam
Once you submit your application, you will receive instructions for scheduling your license exam with Pearson Vue and obtaining a copy of the exam Candidate Handbook. You have one year from the date of filing an application to pass the exam.
On exam day, bring two (2) forms of current signature identification (make sure the name you enter on your exam registration exactly matches your name on your ID). Candidates have four hours to complete the exam and must earn a score of 80 percent or higher to pass.
After three failed attempts, an additional 30 hours of qualifying education must be completed for each failed portion of the exam before you can register for re-examination. The exam fee is $54 and Pearson Vue offers online practice tests for an additional $19.95. (Remember: if you have to re-take the exam, you must pay the fee again.)
5. Find A Sponsoring Broker
Before you can practice as a licensed real estate agent, you must find a Texas real estate broker with an active license to sponsor you. It’s helpful to write a letter of introduction (like a cover letter) that explains your background, your real estate goals, and what you’re looking for in a sponsor. Then, send your letter to area companies and ask for an interview. Remember, you are interviewing them as much as they are interviewing you, so don’t be afraid to ask hard-hitting questions.
Larger companies often have the experience, personnel, and resources to give you a leg up. For example, Keller Williams is dedicated to providing unparalleled comprehensive training to its agents. Once the broker has accepted your sponsorship request, you will be issued an active licensed, and you can begin working as a licensed Real Estate Agent.
What’s the trick to becoming a top agent? Well, one is to continuously build and maintain your network. Take it from Berlin. After being ranked a Top Twenty Agent her first three years in real estate, she swears by “reaching out to clients with hand-written notes. It’s a lost art, so people appreciate it.” In an uber-digital age, pen, paper, and personal touches can make all the difference.