The real estate industry is a dynamic business that can be a lucrative, satisfying and rewarding career. Being a real estate agent is similar to being an entrepreneur – it is up to you to determine how successful you will be. A real estate agent typically does the following:
- lists property
- promotes sales of properties through advertising and open houses
- mediates negotiations
- discusses conditions of sale
- ensures proper documents are reviewed and signed
- advises their clients on homes suited to their needs
- executes many other important functions for a successful real estate sales transaction.
A real estate agent, or “salesperson” according to New York State (NYS) Department of State Division of Licensing Services (DLS), is a licensed professional “who acts as an intermediary between sellers and buyers of real estate/real property and attempts to find sellers who wish to sell and buyers who wish to buy.” (Wikipedia) A real estate agent works for and is supervised by a licensed real estate broker. There are specific mandatory requirements that must be fulfilled in order to obtain your New York real estate license and practice real estate in New York:
- be at least 18 years old
- successfully complete a 75-hour pre-licensing course and exam
- pass the New York State exam
- be sponsored by a NYS licensed real estate broker
Pre-licensing and Education Requirements
For starters, you must be a U.S. citizen who is at least 18 years old, possess a high school diploma, have no prior criminal records, and be current with child support payments, if applicable, to even apply for a New York real estate license. According to the NYS Department of State DLS, “an applicant must have satisfactorily completed a 75-hour salesperson qualifying education course in real estate approved by the Secretary of State, and have passed a qualifying examination administered by the Department of State.” Choose your school wisely. You are paying an investment to learn about current real estate practical studies (real estate taxation and finance, mortgages, appraisal, insurance, inspection, etc.), policies, laws and regulations that are necessary to successfully navigate the complicated real estate world once you obtain your real estate license. The school should be State approved, provide flexible classes that fit your lifestyle, and teach you both technical studies and real-life experiences to better prepare you for the realities and challenges of being a real estate agent. Also, a good school will help you through all these steps so you don’t have to brave it alone.
Taking Your Exam
You must schedule your real estate salesperson exam on the NYS Department of State DLS Occupational Licensing Management, eAccessNY by creating an account if you don’t have one already. When going to your exam site, do not forget your government issued signature photo ID (driver’s license, US passport, etc), and your printed copy of the “Summary of Your Submission” that includes all your exam information, including your candidate number (you are asked to print this when you schedule your exam on eAccessNY). You will need to submit a $15 non-refundable fee with your application to take your written exam made payable to the NYS Department of State. The written exam is multiple choice and is based on the 75-hour pre-licensing curriculum. You will be allowed 1 1/2 hours to complete test and must correctly answer a minimum of 70 percent of the questions to pass the exam.
Applying for Your Real Estate License
You must have successfully completed your 75-hour pre-licensing education plus passed the qualifying NYS written exam before applying for you real estate salesperson license. You must submit your Certification of Satisfactory Completion section of the application completed by the Department of State approved school, AND your passed examination notification with your license application form and a $50 application fee. You will need to have your sponsoring NYS licensed broker information for your application as well. Once approved and granted a New York real estate license, the term of licensure is two years.
Helpful Tips to Begin Your Career
As you begin your exciting profession as a New York licensed real estate agent, here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- You must complete 22½ hours of Department of State approved continuing education classes within your two-year licensure period in order to renew your license once the term expires. Also, you will need to submit a $50 fee when completing your license renewal.
- Find a mentor to help you learn by observation, give you professional advice, or provide you with emotional support when encountering difficult situations
- Start you career by being organized and managing your time. Incorporating these great habits will help give you precious added time in your day for juggling your personal and professional life
- Become comfortable and keep yourself updated in technology and social media. Learning these skills can help your daily routines become more efficient.
- Create a niche for yourself to help you stand out among your competition. For example, become an expert in smart technology for homes, or be the “go-to” agent for short sales or foreclosures. Whatever you decide, do it well and consistently and you will build yourself a solid reputation.
- Have a good amount of money saved, and keep saving. The first few years may be challenging and you will need a financial safety net just in case. Even though New York City real estate agents make on average $109,000 a year according to research from Indeed, you may not get paid until you have successfully completed a real estate sales or rental transaction.
- Build solid relationships with your clients, colleagues and local neighborhood community. This is a great way to build your client/referral portfolio and increase your professional brand awareness – aka free marketing.
- Keep updated on current news and trends affecting the real estate marketplace
Congratulations and Good Luck
The real estate industry has many attractive careers that may interest you as you grow in the field. Perhaps you realize you want to pursue a career as a real estate broker and own your own brokerage. Maybe you find home inspection fascinating, or real estate financing is better suited for your professional passion. Or, you just love being a New York real estate agent and enjoy the pursuit of helping people find their dream homes or business spaces. Wherever your path leads you, remember to find support among your colleagues through networking events and professional groups for your current or future career choices. Through hard work, persistence, smart planning, patience, and dedication, you can enjoy a fulfilling career with potentially a very high income and flexible hours, plus have a prominent influence in your local community and develop strong professional relationships. For additional information on how to get your New York real estate license, check out the Real Estate Education Center’s Real Estate Career Overview page where you can find additional resources and insights into getting started and maintaining your real estate expertise.
About The Real Estate Education Center
Located in four of the five boroughs of New York City, The Real Estate Education Center (REEDC) is New York’s premier pre-licensing and certification school. Offering an array of licensing courses and continuing education classes in Real Estate, Insurance, Appraisal, Home Inspection, Mortgage and Property Management, REEDC has been helping people realize their professional dreams since 1985. Visit their website at www.reedc.com to find out more about how REEDC empowers real estate professionals every day.