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Becoming a Realtor: A Stepping Stone to a Career in Real Estate

Jun 10, 2019

For many Americans, becoming a real estate agent is a great way to secure a second source of income, and can be a rewarding career in and of itself. In the thriving, dynamic real estate markets of states like Tennessee, Texas, New York, Pennsylvania, and California, dedicated, professional self-starters can quickly find themselves closing million-dollar deals on a wide range of different properties, from single-family homes to large commercial buildings.

But a real estate license can also be a stepping stone toward a staggering array of different jobs in the real estate world, which is one of the reasons why investing in the education and credentialing fees necessary to become a licensed Realtor can pay off so handsomely.


If you have already gotten your real estate license, or if you are considering getting your real estate license and want to know what options for career advancement are available to you, here are four careers that your real estate agent’s license opens the door to:

1. Real Estate Broker

A real estate broker is one step up from a real estate agent in terms of what services they can provide and what kind of sales they can handle, so once you have gone through the 4 steps to becoming a Realtor in NYcontinuing your education and becoming a broker can be a smart move once you’ve had time to gain some practical experience in the field.

In the State of New York (as in the rest of the country), real estate agents are not able to operate independently — while they can help clients purchase or sell property, they must work under a broker. Brokers pass an additional licensing test, and are generally more experienced and knowledgeable about the market.

Some brokerages can be quite large (a third of all residential real estate deals in America were handled by the top five hundred brokerages), but many operate on a much more modest level. On average, people work as realtors for at least three years before taking their brokerage exam, so if you are eager to set out on your own as a broker, you don’t have to wait long before taking the next step.

2. Home Appraiser

How much is a house worth? It’s a complicated question, and there are a lot of different factors that go into it. For example, a riverfront property may be desirable for its proximity to water, but as climate change brings on more and more extreme weather events, that very proximity to water may become an insurance liability. Factors like public transit, lot size, and the whether or not the house has access to public utilities can also play a major role in determining the price.

The job of an appraiser is to ensure that, when a house is sold, everyone is getting a fair deal. Even experienced homeowners may not be able to tell what shape a roof is in or whether or not the house is a flooding risk, and essential elements like plumbing and electric wiring are often hidden from view.

For example, Texas has a lot of construction and there are plenty of people who want to move to growing urban areas like Austin-Round Rock and Dallas-Fort Worth. Many of these people don’t know the local market at all, and could easily be taken advantage of due to their ignorance. Home appraisers exist to ensure that the consumer has the benefit of expert opinion in making their decision.

For this reason, when a house is being prepared for sale, the appraiser will often walk through a house with a real estate agent who will draw their attention to certain features that affect the price (good light that might increase the home’s value, or awkward architectural quirks that might cause it to sell for less).
Because real estate agents work so closely with appraisers, it can be a natural career move, especially for those who enjoy working in real estate but are getting tired of the financial uncertainty that is part and parcel of sales work.

3. Real Estate Property Manager

A property manager is responsible for the financial and physical wellbeing of a property, and also need to make sure that the tenants concerns and needs are being met. Property managers play an essential role in the real estate market by ensuring that owner’s property is being properly cared for and will not depreciate in value due to damage.

Similarly, a good property manager will be attentive to tenants needs by ensuring that repairs are made promptly and issues such as structural wear and tear are dealt with before they become expensive problems. After all, the value of a piece of real estate is directly tied to its function, and especially in large cities with a lot of old housing stock, otherwise ideal property investments can quickly degrade if they are not properly cared for.

Real estate agents who have been involved in selling and leasing usually develop a strong working knowledge of these aspects of the market, making switching from buying and selling to property managing a fairly organic career move.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, most states require that property managers have their brokerage license, so if you are interested in potentially taking care of buildings full-time in a city like New York, it is essential that you further your knowledge of real estate by taking the state-mandated 75 hour real estate course NY so that you will be eligible to take the NY real estate agent licensing exam and, later on, the brokerage exam.

4. Real Estate Investor

Over the course of a few years working in real estate, many agents develop a strong sensitivity to the market, and are able to foresee early on how market and demographic changes will impact the price of land or housing in a particular area. While many real estate agents are content simply use this knowledge to benefit their clients and their firm, others see in it an opportunity for something more.

Moving from being a real estate agent to being a real estate investor can be a big jump, and pulling it off takes a high tolerance for risk. In order to make money off a property, investors need to bet that it is going to increase in value, or that it could be worth much more if a few minor changes were introduced. This requires a strong understanding of the market, and an ability to predict what direction prices are going in before other investors do.

For this reason, investors with experience working in the real estate industry as agents or brokers actually have a significant advantage. Not only have they put in the hours building a detailed knowledge of what buyers want, over time real estate agents often develop a kind of sixth sense about value, an ability to see promising properties where others simply see run-down neighbourhoods.

While this kind of work is obviously not for the faint of heart (and requires a significant amount of start-up capital), the returns can be enormous. If you see yourself venturing into this exciting world down the road, it is a good idea to plan your moves carefully and long in advance to ensure you will be ready to set out on your own when the time comes.

Over the course of even a few years in the industry, real estate agents will gain a wealth of experience working with customers, studying property values, closing deals, and following the market. For many, this information will simply serve to make them even more effective at their current jobs. Others may grow restless after awhile and decide it’s time to try something new.

One of the great benefits that becoming a real estate agent has over different professional career paths is that it doesn’t narrow your opportunities to switch into another career later in life. Instead, it can be imagined as the trunk of a tree, which leads to a dizzying array of different branches as it grows and evolves.
If you want to start your own career as a real estate agent today so you can start exploring these opportunities for yourself, the best way to get started is by taking one of our specialized real estate courses. Every state has different qualifications for real estate agents, which is why we tailor our courses to the needs of each individual state.

And when you prepare for a career in real estate through RealEstateU, you are guaranteed to be getting a superior education in the most flexible possible way. Call us today to find out how you can begin you real estate journey today!

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