Can You Teach Yourself to Be a Real Estate Agent?

Nov 21, 2019 by

If you’re interested in a career change, you might consider becoming a real estate agent. Real estate agents help people buy and sell properties, and might even buy and sell properties of their own. They can work as an employee of a full-fledged agency, or start their own practice from scratch. The possibilities are practically limitless, so it seems like a compelling option.

Can You Become a Real Estate Agent on Your Own?

However, to become a real estate agent, you must be educated and experienced in the real estate field. Is it possible to learn everything there is to know on your own?

The Licensing Process

First, you should understand the typical process for becoming a formally licensed real estate agent. The rules and licensing regulations for real estate agents vary slightly from state to state, so no matter what, you’ll need to investigate your own state’s requirements, and follow those specifically. However, high-level, you’ll need to be a legal U.S. resident of age 18 (or 19 in some states).

If you meet those baseline requirements, you’ll need to take several formal classes to learn the basics of real estate law and real estate transactions. The exact requirements for these courses will vary by state, but these days, you can take classes online. When you’ve met the minimum number of course hours and specific courses for your state, you can take your state-level real estate license exam. Assuming you pass, you’ll have all the credentials necessary to manage real estate transactions. From there, you may begin working with an agency or operating on your own.

What does this mean for you? It means while it’s possible to learn most of the information necessary to be a real estate agent on your own online, you’ll still need to enroll in formal classes in order to be certified.

Is Real Estate Right for You?

There are a lot of advantages to becoming a real estate agent, but it’s not a career that suits everyone equally. Real estate agents tend to have lots of career flexibility; it’s a position that’s always in demand, no matter where you are in the country. You can work by yourself, with a couple of partners, or as part of a broader agency—and you can always change things up if you’re not satisfied with your current situation.

It can also be a lucrative career, depending on your performance. Highly experienced real estate agents who are skilled at landing sales can make extremely rewarding salaries. They can also “sniff out” good real estate deals, buy them before they hit the market, and reap the profits of selling at some point in the future.

However, real estate can also be very challenging. It’s a competitive field, and even if you’re good at sales, all it takes is one aggressive real estate agent from a competing organization to compromise your efforts. You’ll be expected to negotiate on behalf of your clients, and land the best possible deals for them. You may also be faced with nearly impossible tasks, like selling a home in a dead area, or helping a perfectionistic, demanding homebuyer find their ideal next home.

On top of that, real estate can be a volatile field. You’ll generally need to be available for your clients, who might have day jobs; in other words, you’ll be expected to be available nights and weekends to help them look for houses and finalize the paperwork. And because the real estate market is somewhat unpredictable, you’ll likely have periods of high volume, where you’re overstressed and overworked, and periods of low volume, where you’re bored and making little money.

Learning Through Experience

It’s also worth noting that while there are several required classes that teach you the basics of buying and selling real estate, much of the “learning” process comes with experience. You can read online articles explaining important tips, but only by actually buying and selling houses, working with other real estate agents, and getting a feel for your local neighborhoods will you gain the experience necessary to improve your art. In this way, it’s not possible to “teach yourself” to become a real estate agent; once you’re licensed, you’ll have to go through these experiences firsthand.

So is it possible to teach yourself to be a real estate agent? It’s certainly possible to learn about real estate online, by yourself, but if you want to be formally licensed, you’ll have to enroll in formal classes (based on the requirements of your state). Beyond that, you’ll need to learn how to become a better real estate agent by observing others, analyzing your own deals, and gradually making adjustments over the course of years, based on what you learn.

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