before you get a real estate license

By Karen D. Friedman | 06.22.20 8:00 AM

Having a career in real estate can be rewarding and exciting. In real estate, your earning potential is limitless, and being your own boss will give you a lot of financial freedom. Being a real estate agent starts with getting your real estate license. But before you jump in, let talk about some steps you can take beforehand to ensure you will become a successful real estate agent. 

Knowing what to expect and having a plan is paramount to your success. Being prepared will help lay down a solid foundation for your future career and create a nice transition. Let’s go over the top 7 things to do BEFORE you get a real estate license.  

#1 Build Your Database

Start by building your database. Out of all things we will be discussing, this is the most crucial of the top 7.  Why?  Because your database is where all of your potential business will be coming from. A database is built from everyone you know, that you’ve met or haven’t met, or that you know of or knows of you.

Sphere of Influence

The easiest way to build your database is by starting with the people you know. Also called your “sphere of influence” or SOI.  This means adding people to your database like friends, family, people at your place of worship, and parents and teachers from the PTA meeting.  

Think about adding everyone you meet and know from networking and social interest groups as well.  For instance, people from the bowling league and the softball team. Think about everyone you have contact with and add them as well, like your hairdresser or dry cleaners. 

Don’t forget to share with everyone that you’ll be getting into the real estate field! Let them know that soon you will be there to help them with all of their real estate needs or questions.  Plant that seed that you will be their top real estate resource.

Database Management

You may be asking yourself where you should be putting all these contacts. Don’t overthink it.  You don’t have to invest in anything fancy right away. Your database can be a simple spreadsheet or the “Contacts” area within your email system. 

Keep in mind that growing your database will be an ongoing process. But starting this process early will make the difference in how soon you may get your first deal when you’re licensed. The more people in your database means increasing your odds of capturing more potential business in the future.

#2 Research Your Real Estate Sector

When you get licensed, you have the option of doing residential sales or commercial real estate. Although each sector will allow you to work with both buyers and sellers, there are a few differences between the two when it comes to training and the day to day practice. 

For instance, residential real estate is a good choice if you enjoy connecting with people on a personal level.  When practicing in this sector, the focus is more on knowing the demographics of an area and being more hands-on with your client.  

The focus of commercial real estate is primarily for investment. This sector is great for people who enjoy analyzing properties for their profitability and dealing with data such as statistics. Transactions in commercial real estate are usually more complex and time-consuming than in residential but yield higher commissions due to price points.

There are other factors to consider as well, so do a little research before you get licensed to see if you would prefer one over the other.

before you get a real estate license

#3 Develop Your Brand

Let’s be clear, “to brand” yourself is not coming up with a great logo. That’s marketing, which is important too, but let’s focus on developing your brand.  Simply put, your brand is how people will instinctively feel about you and the service you’re providing.

The best way to develop your brand is to start thinking about how you want to be perceived in real estate. Fun and personable? Straightforward and no-nonsense?  Do you want to be known as an “expert” in a specific area?  As you know, there are many people in the real estate field, and developing your brand will help you stand out from the competition. 

This will be important because when you get licensed, you don’t want to be a secret agent. Have a social media presence and remember to share with everyone that you are in real estate.

#4 Organize Your Finances

Being financially prepared before you start practicing real estate is vital.  Why?  Because you don’t know how long it will take to get your first deal.  Typically it can take upwards of 3-6 months before you receive your first commission check. Create a reserve of your living expenses during this time so you can focus on your new career and not your bills.

Other fixed expenses that you can plan for will be the costs associated with being a real estate agent.  These will be joining a Board of Realtors which is inclusive of C.A.R. and N.A.R. dues and a Multiple Listing Service where you can search for properties.

Yearly, you can expect to pay an average of about $1000 for all these expenses, depending on which Board or MLS you join.  When you start practicing real estate, these fees are usually paid immediately so be proactive and have the funds ready.

#5 Work Solo or on a Team?

Start thinking now about if you want to work solo or on a team.  Both have their own pros and cons but one is not necessarily better than the other. You simply have to evaluate the benefits and decide what’s going to work best for you.

Working Solo

If you are self-motivated and confident, working solo may be the way to go. It will allow you to make your own schedule, answer to yourself, and when you earn a commission it’s not shared with team members.  If the idea of handling all aspects of your business on your own gets you excited, then working solo is a good choice for you.

Working on a Team

As exciting as it may be to be starting your new career in real estate, perhaps you feel that you’ll need some support.Being part of a team will give you stability and structure. You may not get as much of the commission when you close a deal but being on a team means you will get handed leads, have accountability, and someone there to keep you on track.

real-estate-directories

#6 Choose Your Brokerage

Where you decide to hang your license can really make a difference. Training, agent support, and in house services like marketing and escrow, will vary from brokerage to brokerage.  More importantly, so will the energy. Remember that a brokerage is still made up of people and you want to make sure that you are comfortable with the energy and vibe of the office.

When you are interviewing offices, take that into consideration.  A brokerage that has great positive energy not only will inspire you but will keep you motivated. You will want to be at the office and that means you’re more likely to take advantage of all the great services.

So remember this when it comes down to choosing a brokerage. If all things are equal, base your decision on the vibe of the office and the people you would want to surround yourself with. 

#7 Research Your Competition 

We’ve all heard the great saying, “You can learn a lot from your mistakes” but in this case, we want to flip it.  Like we discussed earlier, there are many real estate agents in the field. Watch the ones that are doing it right! 

Take note of what successful real estate agents are doing so you can implement the same strategies and tactics. Watch what they are doing on social media regarding content and posts.  If you have received print marketing or emails from a real estate agent that really made an impression, use that and make it your own.

Researching the competition before you’re licensed will help you get a leg up in your success as a real estate agent. Keeping up with it after you’re licensed, will help with your continued success.

Final Thoughts 

So there you have it! Having a plan and being prepared is the best way to succeed in real estate. Implementing these 7 steps is a great start to getting prepared and having a great career.  So remember to be proactive, have a positive mindset, and start laying down the foundation for your future career in real estate.

What else would you do BEFORE getting licensed that would get you more prepared? Share it with us!


Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, we would love if you could share it with a friend who you think would get something out of it.
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