How to get started — and thrive — as a real estate agent

Share this Article

How much total do you plan to tip the building staff this year?

The hours are flexible, the pay (potentially) lucrative and, best yet, you can pretty much work for yourself. It's no wonder our post on how to become a real estate broker is so popular. But should you take the plunge? You may need to be prepared for clients who cancel at the last minute, endless haggling over fees, and hidden costs. Here’s what it takes to become a broker and what life is really like if you do:

  • Getting started: To get licensed, you’ll first need to take a class, including relatively cheap online options from such places as Career Web School. Afterward, you’ll have to pass the course exam, then the 100-question state exam. The test—which costs $50—is only offered a few times per season, and in only a handful of locations convenient for New Yorkers without a car: the Financial District in Manhattan and Franklin Square in Long Island. Once you’ve passed, you can legally start working as a broker.
  • The daily reality: At first, you might feel like a lot of your time is being wasted with tasks such as writing and posting ads for apartments and creating lists of suitable units for potential clients. But it’ll all be worth it once you get a couple of commission checks. You’ll have great experiences with some clients, and bad ones with others who might call you at 4 am or who seem to fall off the face of the earth right when they appeared ready to sign a lease. But no matter how good or bad the experience, be prepared for nearly every single client you deal with to have an issue with the broker’s fee. That’s just the way it is.

For more, read “Do You Really Want to Become a Real Estate Agent?” 

In Case You Missed It: Every so often, BrickUnderground digs through the archives to find the best advice our experts have shared through the years.


10 Signs You Might Be Your Broker’s Very First Client

Real Estate Agent and Blogger Malcolm Carter Explains Why He’s Giving Up on New York