Is Becoming a Real Estate Agent Hard? Read This Before Starting

Dec 29, 2021
6 min

Becoming a real estate agent in California is more accessible and affordable than you think. You don’t need a college degree to start your real estate career. But, you are required to take 135-hours of real estate school courses approved by the state. 

Once you have taken the required courses, you can apply to take the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) licensing exam, also known as the real estate exam. 

If you pass the exam and complete the state’s licensing application process, including a criminal background check, you will become a licensed California real estate agent.

Easier said than done… or is it? In this article, we’ll show if becoming a real estate agent in California is actually hard.

How Do You Become a Real Estate Agent in California? 

There are 5 steps to becoming a California real estate agent. These steps are as follows:

#1 Enroll in an accredited real estate school

To obtain a real estate license in California, students must take 135-hours of courses from providers accredited by the DRE. Courses are available in person and online. Some online courses are self-guided, while others are live classes via video conferencing. 

#2 Pass the 3 required real estate courses

The California DRE requires anyone who wants to become a real estate agent to take these courses:

  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)
  • Real Estate Principles (45 hours)
  • An additional approved real estate course (45 hours)

#3 Submit your real estate exam and license application

Once you’ve completed your courses, you can submit your real estate license and exam application. 

The application will include:

  • Your 3-course certificates
  • Application RE Form 435
  • Live Scan Form 237 (used for a background check)
  • Valid photo identification
  • Payment of $305 (exam and license fee)

#4 Pass the real estate exam

You will have to pass the California real estate exam to obtain your license. The exam tests the applicant’s knowledge of California real estate law and practices. It will cover economic, ethical, financial, legal, and practice topics. Think of it as a final exam for your 135-hours of coursework.

#5 Sign with a real estate brokerage

In California, a real estate agent is required by law to work beneath a supervising broker. The brokerage is essentially the business organization through which all the real estate transactions will flow. 

They provide their real estate agents with the support, resources, and a network that allows the agents to do their job. In exchange, the brokerage will typically take a small percentage of each agent’s sale.

How Hard is Real Estate School?

A real estate education will be challenging, especially if you don’t have prior experience. The courses you take in a California real estate school are college-level, so there is a degree of difficulty, particularly for some students. Because everyone is different, everyone will have different experiences.  

How long is real estate school?

The California real estate course requirement is 135 hours with a minimum of 54 days. Some real estate schools will allow students to finish in 54 days exactly or take longer. 

The quickest way is through an online program, which lets you take the courses on your own time, not dependent on other schedules.

What do you learn in real estate school?

In addition to the required topics of real estate principles (45 hours) and practice (45 hours), students can choose an approved elective. These electives offer a range of real estate topics, including property management, finance, economics, appraisal, business law, general accounting, escrow, real estate law, office administration, real estate computer applications and software, common interest development, and mortgage brokering and lending.

Is the Real Estate Exam Hard?

How hard is the real estate exam? If you can grasp the college-level courses in real estate school and use the available study materials, you should successfully complete the California real estate salespersons exam. But, without studying or understanding the concepts, it can be hard.

What are the questions like on the real estate exam?

The California real estate exam can be tricky, and the questions are designed to trip you up. Less than half of the people who took the exam in 2019-2020 were able to pass the exam. 

There are several reasons why the California real estate exam is so difficult: 

  • The questions themselves can be tricky or misleading
  • Questions occasionally contain unnecessary information
  • There are numerous concepts and terminology that you will need to familiarize yourself with
  • The testing environment and the additional pressure you place on yourself can make things more stressful
  • There is a time limit

How long is the real estate exam?

The California salesperson exam has a 3-hour time limit and it consists of 150 questions in a multiple-choice format. To pass the exam, applicants must score a 70% or above.

How Hard is it to Find the Right Brokerage?

There is no shortage of real estate brokerages looking for agents, but you will want to find the right fit for you. You’ll want to determine which type of brokerage you’ll want to work for, such as a boutique firm, a national chain, or a virtual brokerage. 

You’ll also want to consider what commission split the brokerage offers its agents, the support and services it provides, and its reputation.

What are the Hardest Parts About Being a Real Estate Agent? 

Being a California real estate agent is not without its challenges. Here are some of the most complex parts of the job:

Working for Commissions

Because real estate agents work on commission, if they don’t sell, they don’t get paid. There are always ups and downs in the real estate market, which means that pay can be irregular. That uncertainty can be difficult for some people. 

Holding Yourself Accountable

Agents have a contractual and fiduciary duty to clients. If an agent breaches that duty due to negligence or other reason, they may be held liable. In some cases, they can be liable to the other party in the transaction.

Find Your Own Work

To be successful, a real estate agent needs to generate leads. A lead in real estate is the contact information of a potential client. For a real estate agent, generating leads can be a full-time job in and of itself.

Failure and Rejections

Real estate agents can count on experiencing failure and rejection at some point, particularly early in their careers. It is imperative that, after every rejection, a real estate agent picks themselves up and tries again. Continuing to move forward is the only way to be successful. 

Understanding Laws, Contracts, and Legal Work

While all laws, contracts, and legal work associated with real estate transactions may be daunting. Most agents will have a good grasp on these topics after taking an accredited California real estate course and taking the exam. 

Final Thoughts on How Hard it is to Become a Real Estate Agent

While becoming a California real estate agent will be a challenge for some people, it is not impossible. Thankfully there are so many resources out there, including real estate school, that can help you pass the California real estate salesperson exam and get you on the road to a lucrative career in real estate.

Is becoming a real estate agent in California hard? This article, we weigh the difficulties of each step to becoming a California Realtor® and give you insights into the hardest parts of being an agent.

Dec 29, 2021
6 min