Your Guide To Becoming A Real Estate Agent In California

Becoming a real estate agent in California can be somewhat of a challenging task, but the rewards can be worth it. A career as a real estate salesperson provides a seemingly unlimited opportunity to achieve personal and financial success. Here is a breakdown of everything you need to know on how to get started.

Meet Minimum Standards To Become An Agent

Before you even start on your path to a real estate license in California, you must first meet some minimum requirements. These requirements are standard in any state you wish to become licensed in. There are three primary qualifications you must meet to begin real estate practice in California.

  • You need to be at least 18 years of age or older
  • You need to be a United States resident
  • You need to have eligibility to work in the United States

The Department of Real Estate has established these requirements to give legitimacy for anyone who wishes to become a real state agent in California.

How To Gain Relevant Experience

Any successful real estate agent needs to be knowledgeable about the kind of work they will be performing daily. To begin, you should search for an accredited real estate school. Many individuals have busy schedules, so many California state real estate classes are offered with online courses instead of in person. Either way, you’ll be learning aspects such as real estate principles, the practice of real estate, and business law. The flexibility gives potential agents to work around their current schedules as needed. It is a requirement that anyone who wishes to practice real estate in California first complete 135 hours of prior coursework. Then, he or she becomes eligible to take the state licensing exam.  Once you are ready to take the exam, you can register in multiple locations throughout California. You will be subject to pay for fingerprints, registration, and licensing fees. You have up to two years to take the exam after you register.

Understanding The State Exam Process

The state exam to become a California real estate agent is demanding, so it’s best to familiarize yourself with everything you need to know. You have roughly three hours to complete the exam that includes 150 multiple choice questions on varying topics. A score of 70 percent must be achieved on the salesperson examination and a 75 percent on the real estate broker exam. Many institutions will offer additional study preparation before you set off to tackle the test on your own. You’ll be tested on your command of the English language, the basis of real estate business, real estate finance, and other duties that need to be fulfilled for your clients. As stated earlier, the exam is rigorous, but you should pass it if you take exam prep seriously. Don’t assume it’s a “breeze” of a test. At less than a 50% pass rate the first time around, it’s not something to take lightly. However, if you don’t pass the first time, it may be retaken it as many times as you need during your registration window. You will have the benefit of knowing whether you passed or not.  For a better result, take advantage of crash courses that are often offered so you can have the confidence you need to pass quickly. On the day of the test, you will need a form of identification along with your reservation confirmation.

Completing Your License Application

Congratulations! You’ve passed the exam to become an agent. So now what? The Department of Real Estate must receive your license application within one year of you passing the state exam. You will be asked to prove documents showing that you have indeed completed preliminary courses to become an agent in California.

Getting With The Right Brokerage

The real estate practice is all about working with a group of like-minded individuals. All the work that you have put into becoming a real estate agent doesn’t stop once you have your license. The next step is finding a brokerage that will sponsor you. You’ll want to search for one that has a good reputation that will support new agents starting off their careers. Finding the right brokerage can help you get acquainted with other professionals who can assist you in beginning your successful journey. Proper mentorship is essential because you’ll most likely have questions and concerns that need to be addressed. If you feel comfortable in the brokerage you choose, you’ll have a better understanding of all the legal aspects of real estate.  Here’s a breakdown of what a new agent should consider when selecting the agency that they will work for.

  • How are new agents supported?
  • What is the commission plan?
  • How does the brokerage handle marketing and advertising?

Keeping Your License Active In California

 

Continuing education requirements are required to keep your California real estate license active. Every four years, it is needed for an agent to take 45 hours of an approved real estate course. Keeping sharp on your skills can help you continue your success as you advance further in your career. It’s also good to stay fresh on any trends or changes in the field. You can find out more information on maintaining an active license on the California Department of Real Estate.  The state’s DRE can give you further information on any other questions as well.

Summarizing Becoming An Real Estate Salesperson In California

A real estate agent in California can remember these five steps to get started.

1.  Meet the minimum requirements.

2.  Get in an accredited school to learn real estate principles.

3.  Prepare and pass the exam.

4.  Interview and sign with a brokerage

5. Keep your license active with continuing education.

Being A Real Estate Agent In California Is Rewarding

 

It’s no secret that getting a California real estate license takes dedication and hard work. The real estate market for homes in the California area is extremely competitive, so you must be well versed in the skills you have acquired. A real estate career will require you to work closely with the brokerage that hires you. Ask questions, be determined, and you’ll have much success using your real estate salesperson license.

How to get a real estate license in New York

Once you have decided that the real estate industry is the career path for you, the next thing is to learn how to get a real estate license in the state of New York.

Like most states, New York has rules and regulations that real estate agents must adhere to.

 Regulations for those seeking a real estate license

  1. Applicants must be at least 18 years of age.
  2. Have at least a High School diploma
  3. Be a US citizen or legally admitted alien
  4. All applicants must have completed 75 hours of education that has been approved by the state f New York.
  5. You must have a sponsoring broker licensed in the state of New York
  6. You must take the New York State licensing test and pass the test with a score of at least 70 or higher. In order to take the test, you must bring with you a government-issued photo ID.
  7. When you have passed the New York State exam you must then apply for you New York State real estate license and pay the required licensing fee.

Items one through three are self-explanatory and if one of them is not met, there is not much point in reading on until that condition has been met.

75 Hours of approved licensing classes

New York State requires that all applicants for a real estate license take at least 75 hours of pre-licensing courses. The form that these classes take can be in a classroom or online.  Since everyone learns differently it is important that you choose the classes that work the best for you.

Check out the Best Real Estate Schools in New York.

For some people, the classes can be taken and gotten through in a week, for others, they may want to take full advantage that some online courses offer of taking six months to complete the classes. After the classes have been taken, they are valid for eight years after which time if the licensing test has not been taken, the course must be repeated. The New York State licensing board page has a list of all the schools that have been approved.

You may be wondering about the types of things that will be included in 75 hours of classes that are required.

Licensing course topics

  • Real Estate Instruments
  • Law of Contracts
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Closing and Closing Costs
  • Law of Agency
  • License Law and Ethics
  • Valuation and Listing Procedures
  • Human Rights and Fair Housing
  • Land-use Regulation
  • Real Estate Math

Once you have completed your 75 hours of licensing courses and received a satisfactory grade from whatever outlet you have chosen, it is time to prepare yourself for the licensure exam itself. You should be able to take some practice exams to get the nerves out of your system. You can go to the NY  division of licensing services website and schedule your appointment to take your test through eAccessNY.

Taking the real estate exam

The day of the final exam bring along a government-issued photo ID such as a drivers license or a military ID to the licensing site. Bring the $15 fee to pay to take the test. Print off the Summary of Your Submission from the eAccessNY site, it includes all of your information and most importantly your candidate number. Some  basic site rules apply:

  • Turn off your cell phone,
  • Reference materials not allowed
  • No large bags or briefcases allowed
  • No food and drink
  • No children or guests
  • No cheating

The New York State exam consists of multiple-choice questions. You are allowed an hour and a half to finish the test. In addition to English, the test is available in Spanish, Korean, Russian and Chinese. Grades will be given as pass or fail with no grade number. You must receive 70% or above to pass. If you fail the first time, you can reschedule on eAccessNy site and you will find the results of your real estate exam on the site as well.

Once you have passed the test you can apply for your real estate license and you are getting closer to beginning your new career. If however, you have ever been convicted of a felony, in most cases you will not be able to get a real estate license in New York. The license fee of a real estate salesperson is $50 for two years. During those two years, real estate salespeople are required to do 22.5 hours of continuing education. The pass rate for the NY real estate licensing exam is 68 percent.

What constitutes continuing education?

For the most part you are free to choose the areas of continuing education that will be most beneficial to you in your particular situation however there is a requirement that at least 3 of the 22.5 hours be about fair housing and discrimination in the rental and sales of real estate and at least one hour be about the law of agency.  Some exceptions apply to these requirements and the NY state licensing website gives all the particulars and schools to attend.

Once you have passed your test and received your real estate license you are ready to be a New York real estate salesperson. You will be joining the almost 170,000 other New York real estate salespersons enjoying a real estate career. A step farther will be to consider becoming a real estate broker which involves additional education and licensing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to get a real estate license in Michigan

License Requirements

The process to get a Michigan real estate license is easy if you follow some simple steps. Before you get started, make sure you are eligible so you don’t end up wasting your time. In order to obtain a real estate license in Michigan and become a real estate salesperson, you need to be at least 18 years of age and either be a citizen of the United States or a permanent resident. Higher education is not required as part of the education requirements, but you will need to prove that you either graduated from high school or at least have a high school equivalency.

Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course

Your first step after making sure you are eligible to become a real estate agent is to find and enroll in a 40 hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course. There are exam prep packages and online courses which will help you learn the material. The State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) has a list of approved courses which it will accept to meet this qualification. Included in the course material will be at least 4 hours of civil rights law, with an emphasis on equal opportunity in housing. Depending on which course you choose, you may have up to six months to work through the material. Real estate licensing is regulated by the state, and you can get most of your questions answered on the LARA website.

Your Real Estate License Application

After you pass your course in real estate fundamentals, you are finally allowed to fill out and submit your application to get your real estate license. The application and fee are good for a year, but if you have gone past that time without testing you will have to reapply. You can find the application on the LARA website, where you will create an account so you can log in and take care of your license. This is also the website where you can notify LARA of changes and renew your license. Currently, the fee for the application is $88.

Wait for Authorization

Once you have turned in proof of education and submitted your application, you will need to wait until you get an email from the State of Michigan LARA before you take the next step, which is to register for your exam. This may be a good time to start thinking about who will be your sponsoring real estate broker. If you are serious about your real estate career, you may already have contacts and supports within the profession.

Take the Michigan Salesperson Licensing Exam

Register for your final exam at PSI Exams Online. Psychological Services, Inc. offers exams in several states for several different professions, including the Michigan real estate licensing exam. The real estate salesperson exam is scheduled to last 180 minutes and currently costs $79, and the fee to retake the test is also currently $79. Make an account and provide your personal information so you can register on the website. If you need to reschedule or cancel, PSI requires you to notify them two days in advance. There are testing centers in multiple cities, including Holt, Gaylord, Grand Rapids, and Dearborn. You can also use the PSI site to ask for special accommodations, and there are practice tests available which will help you become better prepared for the test.

You should arrive at the testing center 30 minutes early, and make sure you understand beforehand what kind of identification you will be expected to bring. Different testing locations have different rules so it’s better to read your written instructions carefully. You are not allowed to bring food or drink into the testing center, but there are usually only about 10 applicants in a room at once and the room is quiet. Because the test is on a computer, most people will know their results immediately.

Get an Employing Broker Sponsor

Even after you pass the licensing exam, you can’t immediately go out and start selling real estate on your own. You need to find a sponsor who is a licensed Michigan Employing Broker. You can either make your original application with a broker sponsor if you already have someone willing to sponsor you. If you know who your sponsor will be at least 48 hours before the exam, you can get your photo license when you are still at the exam site, as soon as you have successfully passed the test. Even if you did not know which real estate broker you would be using before you took the exam, you can always still provide that information to the State of Michigan through the LARA website.

Continuing Education

You will still need to keep taking classes so you can keep up with what you need to know even after you have obtained your license. Michigan has a 3-year cycle which starts and ends at the same time for everyone. This current cycle started on November 1, 2018, and will end on October 31, 2021. During that three year time period, you will need to get 18 hours worth of credit.

The State of Michigan is no longer keeping track of this information for individuals, so it is important for you to keep track of your requirements and make sure you meet your obligations in a timely manner. As of November 1, 2018, classes won’t meet the requirements unless they are certified by CE Marketplace. CE Marketplace will assist you in finding the right classes and offers a free tracking service to help you keep track of your certified credits.

License Renewals

Don’t forget that you will need to renew your license every 3 years at the michigan.gov website. You are responsible for making sure your education is up to date and your fees are paid.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Florida

In 1925, Florida’s state legislature enacted a law that created the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC). FREC was established with a fundamental purpose –to protect the public with regard to real estate matters. FREC continues to protect the public nearly a century later.

One of the ways in which FREC (in conjunction with the Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR)) and the Division of Real Estate) protects the residents of Florida is to administer and oversee the required processes (and qualifications) to earn, and maintain, a Florida Real Estate Sales Associate License.

Florida Real Estate License Requirements

Florida issues several types of real estate licenses. The narrative that follows focuses on the first level of real estate licensing — the real estate sales associate.

Applicants for a Florida Real Estate License must meet the following criteria –

  • Be 18 years of age, or older.
  • Be honest, truthful, and trustworthy, and of good character. One cannot overemphasize the important for honesty in the real estate business and on the license’s application. Lying likely brings about an application denial, and potential consequences.
  • Possess your high school diploma, or a GED.
  • Disclose correct information. Is/Has the applicant –
    • Entered a plea of nolo contendere?
    • Under investigation for dishonesty? Convicted of a crime of fraud?
    • A patient in a mental health facility?
    • Worked under an aka– also known as?
    • Had a license revoked, suspended, surrendered, or otherwise acted against from anywhere in the country?

A social security number is required to confirm that there are no outstanding child support payments due, at the time of application.

Preliminary Steps to Real Estate Licensing

It is important to submit your license application a month or two before you are planning to take the exam. Follow these simple steps –

Submit An Application. Florida’s My Florida License Website allows for an applicant to track their real estate license application online.

  • Applicants are not required to state residents; however, there are specific caveats for which one must comply.
  • Pay fee of $89 upon submission.
  • Order a background check and fingerprints from a Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) provider.
  • Enroll in a FREC-approved pre-license course.

The Pre-License Required Sales Course

To become eligible to take the Florida Real Estate Licensing exam, a sales associate applicant must complete a FREC-approved pre-license course of 63 hours. This course completion is valid for only two years; so license applicants are encouraged to take the state real estate exam within this timeframe.

It is noted that those who hold a bachelor’s degree in real estate, are waived from taking both the broker and sales associate’s state test.

Prepping for the Exam

Real Estate license candidates should allow for sufficient preparation time prior to sitting for the state examination. The DBPR, and many other education-prep websites provide many practice tests to test your knowledge before, during and after the completion of the pre-license course. Additionally, the DBPR offers a Candidate Information Booklet at no cost; which is an exceptional education and studying tool.

Florida law Mandates that real estate license applicants complete the preliminary work (i.e. application and registration) before the applicant is eligible to sit for the FREC approved exam.

 

The Florida State Real Estate Exam

Pearson Vue Is the professional testing organization sanctioned by the Florida Real Estate Commission to administer the state test. The first step is to call Pearson Vue to set up an exam date. State real estate exams are generally available either on a monthly or even a weekly basis.

When you arrive for the test, the test-taker must bring –

  • 2 forms of Identification; one that has a photo.
  • Your pre-license course completion certificate.
  • The state-licensing fee is $105; however, veteran/veteran spouses can have the fee waived.

The Florida State Real Estate exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions, with a passing grade of 75% required. The exam consists of the following topics, which are all included in FREC’s required pre-license course syllabus–

  • Real Estate Principles (45%).
  • Florida & Federal Law (45%).
  • Real Estate Math (10%).

It is noted that the test-taker receives the results of the state exam right after the test is completed.

Is a State Exam Re-test Possible?

The Florida Real Estate Commission regulations allow for real estate license-applicants to reschedule another test date for the state exam (should they miss the passing mark on the first attempt), after 24 hours has passed. Note, however, FREC has set no limit as to the number of times the state exam can be retaken.

The Florida Real Estate License

The Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR) issues the Florida real estate license. Licenses act as the written verification that denotes that the license holder has met the Florida state mandates.

Florida Real Estate licensees are required to renew their real estate licenses every 24 months, after the licensee’s first licensure period.

Florida Real Estate License Continuing Education

1st License Period — Post Licensing Course

Every newly licensed real estate professional is required to complete a post-license real estate course that covers 45 hours worth of relevant material. This 45-hour post license course must be completed before the licensee’s initial license expires. Topics include –

  • Appraisals.
  • The Law of Agency.
  • Finance for Real Estate Matters.
  • Real Estate Management/Property Management.

This post-license course requires each licensee to –

  • Attend at least 90% of the course’s classroom hours.
  • Pass the course’s final exam with a grade equal to or higher than 75%.

Continuing Education Requirements After the Initial Period

After this initial renewal period, the state of Florida mandates real estate sales associate licensees to complete a minimum of 14 hours of continuing education credits each license period. The required continuing is available in a traditional classroom, and online. The continuing education must be completed in accordance with FREC’s mandates-

  • 3 Hours regarding Florida Law Updates.
  • 3 Hours regarding Ethical Business Practices.
  • 8 Hours regarding FREC-approved Specialty Topics.

Florida Administrative Code 61J2-3.009 delineates exam requirements and course guidelines.

 

Best Online Real Estate Schools In California

Making the decision to get your real estate license is an excellent career choice, and there are some very online schools that can make reaching your goals very convenient. Online training to become a realtor means you will be able to move at your own pace while studying the courses and passing the knowledge tests. Also, you can study from anywhere – a favorite coffee shop, at a public library, or in the comfort of your own home – day or night. Need more info on the process of getting a license? Check out our guide to becoming a California real estate agent.

Career Web School

Headquartered in Brookfield, Wis., Career Web School (OnCourse Learning) is a privately-held business that offers online professional education from regional offices located across the country, including California. The company employs anywhere between 51-200 administrative, technical, and educational professionals to assist those looking to start a new career as a real estate professional.

The school is nationally approved for training in pre-licensing courses required for a number of real estate careers, including real estate agents, brokers, home inspectors, and real estate appraisers. Career Web School has existed since 2007 and boasts an impressive rate of graduation with over 600,000 alumni.

Career Web School makes it easy to find your state’s licensing requirements, with online self-paced courses for a California real estate salesperson license include:

  •  Real Estate Appraisal
  • Real Estate Principles and Practice
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Property Management
  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Finance

You can expect plenty of support from the company’s website, including an online bookstore, informative blogs that keep you up-to-date with the issues affecting realtors, and regularly scheduled webinars that present excellent discussions of the real estate profession.

Overall Pass Rate (9/1/2017 to 8/31/2019)  – 70.90%

Sales Agents Exams Passed (9/1/2017 to 8/31/2019) – 171

Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express is one of the nation’s top leaders in real estate education. Since the company’s launch in 1996, they have trained tens of thousands of real estate professionals with a school focused on pre Licensing, continuing education, professional designations, and exam prep Mastery. Real Estate Express is  accredited, and they offer free student guidance through their online Career Hubs.

When you partner with Real Estate Express, you are connecting with a family of leading real estate training and marketing brands including McKissock Learning.  For those real estate professionals that are already practicing, Real Estate Express offers post-license courses as a pathway to upgrade your present designation and enter the world of real estate brokering.

To get your real estate license, Real Estate Express offers the following California Real Estate Packages:

  • The Basics – 135-Hour Pre-License Courses
  • Exam Preparation – The Basics plus Exam Prep
  • Exam Preparation Plus – Adds a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee
  • Ultimate Learning – Additional 90-day boot camp and textbooks included

Not only will you enjoy the ability to study when and where you want to, Real Estate Express instructors have over 80 years of combined experience and enjoy a 4.3 out of 5-Star Rating from its students. You can also take individual courses like Real Estate Appraisal and Real Estate Finance online to boost your skills in certain areas.

Overall Pass Rate (9/1/2017 to 8/31/2019)  – 68.63%

Sales Agents Exams Passed (9/1/2017 to 8/31/2019) – 1,162

Rockwell Institute

A good place to start your California real estate career online is with Rockwell Institute. The online school was started in 1974 by David L. Rockwell, and eventually one of the leading real estate school in the Pacific Northwest. With headquarters in both Washington state and California, Rockwell Institute has served more than 150,000 students looking to enter a profitable career. If you’re looking for competitive rates, high-quality, pre-licensing and test prep courses, then Rockwell Institute may be a good choice for your online real estate education goals.

The Rockwell Institute offers a passing guarantee. If you complete all their prerequisite courses and pass all their practice exams, but fail the state license exam the first time – they will refund you the cost of the state exam.  If you think this is the real estate school for you, watch their Online Course Demo, to get a greater understanding of what this school has to offer.

The online Salespersons package includes:

  • Real Estate Principles
  • Real Estate Practice
  • 45-Hour Elective
  • Cram Course (eBook)

Rockwell Institute Pass Rate: NATIONAL 80% STATE 80%

Kaplan Real Estate Education

Kaplan Real Estate Education offers a range of professional development and pre-licensing courses for online students. Kaplan is a national leader and well-known business school with flexible schedules and a wide selection of courses.  Studying online at Kaplan is great for those California students who want a wider range of career options. You can study with instructor-led online courses for the following professional real estate careers:

  • Real Estate
  • Appraisal
  • Home Inspection
  • Contracting

Kaplan also offers professional development courses that can take a student into higher paying fields, such as Commercial Real Estate Brokerage and Business Brokerage Training. If you decide to partner with Kaplan Real Estate Education, you will have access to different education delivery formats including:

  • Live Online – the benefits of a classroom setting from your home or office
  • Online OnDemand Video – allows you to study on the go with our prerecorded courses
  • Live Classroom – for maximum teacher/student interaction
  • Textbook Home Study – can be completed from home at your convenience

Not only is Kaplan nationally-accredited, but it also bears approval by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). This association works to safeguard and promote REAL ESTATE MATTERS and public awareness through real estate licensure, regulation, education and enforcement.

Now that you are familiar with the best online real estate schools in California, start your new career with all the benefits of online study. You will enjoy the flexibility to continue working or care for your family and the coursework can be completed within a year. Real estate professionals enjoy excellent pay and working conditions making over $50,000 per year on average in a profession that is expected to grow at above-average rates, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS).

Best Online Real Estate Schools in Texas

Real estate is a fantastic field to enter into, but for some, attending classes in person is simply not a feasible feat. That being said, there are some truly wonderful options for online real estate classes that prepare you for the Texas real estate license exam as it is administered by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC).

The Texas Real Estate Commission sets forth very stringent standards for their agents and works to make sure that every real estate school is teaching real estate courses that fit the guidelines set forth. TREC works to make sure that each new real estate agent is prepared to meet the unique challenges that come with being a sales agent and passing your exams. The schools featured here were chosen for their ability to product students that meet the standards of the commission and that are going to be a distinct benefit to the real estate business.

Quick and Well Organized: Aceable Agent

Aceable Agent offers a six course, 180 hour real estate agent degree that affords you the chance to get your license quickly and with minimal stress. They provide you with the skills and the knowledge that you need to be able to ace your licensing exam and get your license in the state of Texas. For those that do have a day to day that does not allow for traditional classes, this is a great option as you can learn at your own pace and at whatever times you have available. This is a fantastic school for those pursuing their salesperson apprentice education (SAE).

As far as real estate school goes, this school does offer a wide range of resources that are aimed at success. They offer clear and concise classes, easy to user interface, and provide you with the right information to pass your licensing exam the first time. Classes like Principles of Real Estate and state specific laws for the State of Texas make it possible to learn what you need to learn and then move on to take your test. Pass rates for this online school are high and most former students state that they passed their exam on the first try. This is a fantastic school if you are looking for something that can be completed in your down time and that has a ton of great information that is going to work to help you to pass your licensing courses and real estate courses in general.

Classes at Your Own Pace: Real Estate Express

This is another fantastic school that allows you to find the courses that are going to work for you. They teach students through various learning modules that can be purchased and completed one at a time as it is convenient for the user. Their goal is to help those that want a real estate career achieve just that. The school was started in 1996 and they offer both pre-licensing and post licensure courses. They also offer the chance to upgrade your license and to continue your education. They offer the preparedness courses that you need to take the exam and also offer state specific courses that help you to learn the laws of the state of Texas.

They offer all the foundation courses that are needed to help you get your real estate license and to be a fully productive and successful real estate agent. They offer exam prep and offer free PDF text books to help you succeed in all your courses. They have an easy to use online interface with all the real estate courses and resources that you need to be successful. They also offer you the chance to have other resources after you pass your exam so that you can keep learning and so that you can keep your license current. If you do live in Texas and want to become a Texas real estate agent you can search for courses near you to complete your real estate education.

Great Support and Great Classes: OnCourse

OnCourse offers a range of different resources and classes including those for new agents,  current agents looking to upgrade their license and even those that want to become a real estate broker. They are fully compliant with all rules and laws of the state of Texas and the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) and are also going to be able to offer you the resources to help you take your tests and pass. They have a great support team that is ready and waiting to help you work through any technical issues you might have or through any issues you have with the courses. They have over 50 years of service and create unique online classes that are sure to fit your needs no matter where you are in your career or learning journey.

Content is varied and is accessible at all times of the day so you can work through the content at your own pace. They offer courses for new licenses, continuing education, post license courses, appraisal courses, and home inspection licenses as well. They also have student reviews, webinars and other resources to help you stay apprised of all current rules and regulations that might be changing in the state of Texas. Courses may include topics like law of contracts, law of agency, real estate finance and more all in anticipation of getting you ready for your real estate exam.

Online and In Person Classes: Kaplan Real Estate

This school offers a range of options in terms of courses and resources to help get your career off the ground. They have classes that are structured and they offer in person, online and home based study depending on your needs and on what you are capable of doing. Courses are taught by professionals that are both former and current in the real estate market. Courses include the principles of real estate as well as state law specific content for Texas. You can take both in person and online courses and Kaplan will help you find in person courses near you.

They offer exam prep, courses that teach the basics of real estate as well as classes that help to prepare you for the laws that are specific to your state. Kaplan is one of the most trusted resources in real estate sales agent education in both online and in person courses. They offer a huge range of services that make it easy and enjoyable to complete your Texas real estate license degree. For those looking for a flexible and effective process, Kaplan offers some truly great courses that are going to help you to learn what you need to in order to pass your exam and become a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas.

Real estate school can be a truly rewarding career move. It does take time and effort but with the right school for your needs and for your particular goals you can become the agent that you have always wanted to be. Any of the schools listed are fantastic when it comes to becoming a licensed real estate agent in the state of Texas according to the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). These courses will work to help keep you apprised of legal update, will provide practice exams, pre-licensing courses and so much more.

 

 

 

Best Online Real Estate Schools in New York

Earning a real estate online in New York is the fast and convenient way to jumpstart your career. Online real estate licensing classes can be scheduled around your current work and family commitments. Many enrollees of real estate courses complete their licensing requirements in the evenings and weekends when they have more downtime. The following are the best online real estate schools for getting a NY Real estate license.

Aceable Agent

Aceable Agent is a self-paced real estate education program that promises a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the licensing exam. Aceable Agent is headquartered in Texas, but provides online real estate education program for multiple state licensing examinations including New York. As one of the first providers of real estate coursework on mobile devices, Aceable Agent continues to be at the forefront of using technology to deliver pre-licensing content to enrolled students. Content includes real-world scenarios as a way to truly prepare agents for the challenges that may face in the industry. Course options include real estate legal updates, geographical farming, listing tips, and onboarding processes.

The NYS Board of Real Estate accredited program consists of 75 content hours that can be viewed at your convenience. The Aceable Agent course will review all of the topics needed to pass the New York licensing exam. Content highlights include:

  • New York real estate laws
  • Federal real estate laws
  • Common real estate terms
  • NYC agent disclosure rules
  • Buyer and seller requirements
  • Practice exams

 

Besides licensing prep courses, Aceable Agent also has a number of continuing education courses for current New York real estate agents. Useful real estate career advice can also be accessed through the website.

Aceable Agent has one of the highest licensing pass rates of all online real estate education programs. An average of 83 percent of Aceable Agent enrollees pass the state licensing exam.

 

Kaplan Real Estate Education

For more than 80 years, Kaplan has been a leader in providing educational solutions to high school and college students. In recent years, the company has expanded to offer a line of professional development courses including real estate licensing prep materials. Kaplan does have live courses for agents available, but most professionals choose to enroll in their online real estate classes. Students have multiple study options when preparing for the New York real estate examinations, including viewing live classrooms virtually, downloading on demand videos, or choosing a self-paced text study program.

The pre-licensing examination course for prospective New York real estate agents includes 75 credit hours. In addition to examination preparation, the package from Kaplan includes the class Modern Real Estate Practice in New York. By enrolling in any of the Kaplan courses, you are given full access to the class instructor and can reach out with questions or assistance at any time. Live class sessions are led by a licensed real estate salesperson with proven experience. Real estate license topics covered in the Kaplan online course include:

  • New York real estate laws
  • Federal real estate laws
  • Common real estate terms and definitions
  • Home inspection basics
  • Buyer and seller rules and disclosures
  • Real estate finance

 

Kaplan has a high 75 percent pass rate for students enrolled in their real estate licensing programs.

OnCourse

The real estate education programs from OnCourse are accredited on a national level. Licensing preparation courses are state-specific as a way to prepare students for their final exam. The content from OnCourse was designed by successful real estate professionals including licensed brokers, licensed agents, and certified home inspectors. OnCourse has multiple course options including group training to help brokerages train several agents simultaneously and pass the New York Department of State licensing examination.

Besides pre-licensing preparation, OnCourse also has a vast number of career services available to real estate professionals. Webinars, blogs, and how-to videos provide practical career advice. The website also advertises local networking events to help professionals connect with others in the real estate industry.

OnCourse has different levels of agent and broker training. The deluxe packages include extra study guides and tools like virtual flashcards. However, all packages include instructor support and a 75-hour pre-licensing course. The course uses text, audio, video, and interviews to keep enrollees engaged and optimize learning outcomes. Examples of content taught in the OnCourse New York Pre-Licensing classes are:

  • New York real estate laws
  • Federal real estate laws
  • Math refresher skills
  • Real estate terms and definitions
  • Buyer and seller disclosure requirements

 

OnCourse has an overall pass rate of 70 percent for the New York real estate state license exam. License renewal courses and real estate continuing education classes are also available through OnCourse.

 

Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express has designed their programs to deliver high-quality online content in an impactful way. Progress can be tracked through a virtual portal with exam prep chapters completed at your own pace. With the New York pre-licensing real estate education program, state-specific content is included to help increase agent pass rates.

Real Estate Express has been established for more than 20 years with online licensing prep work available for prospective agents in 30 states. With more than 200,000 professionals trained over the years, Real Estate Express is consistently ranked as one of the top online real estate schools. If you don’t pass the New York State licensing examination on the first attempt, you are protected under the company’s money-back guarantee. All salesperson course completions done under Real Estate Express are uploaded to the New York State Board of Real Estate’s system.

New York real estate laws will be covered throughout the 75-credit pre-licensing courses. Other key subjects featured in the content include:

  • Real estate financing
  • Real estate terms and definitions
  • Real estate broker rules and regulations
  • Agent ethics
  • Federal and NY state laws
  • Practice exam

 

Real Estate Express has an overall first-time pass rate of 68 percent for state licensing examinations.

How to Run a Free Background Check on Yourself

Background checks are pretty common these days and are run for a variety of different reasons. Many people have been in a situation where they were required to have a background check done in order for the person or business they are dealing with to get a good idea of who they are and the history of their behavior.

While anyone these days can get online and search to find out personal information about someone via search engines and tell-tale social media pages, a real background check is so much more in-depth than that. Now-a-days, nearly every business, institution, and person you deal with on a financial or even personal level wants to know your history and what they can expect from you – and they find these answers by doing a background check.

From employers and property managers to insurance and loan companies…and even a new dating partner – it seems like everyone has a reason they want to do a background check and find out different information about you. Some are looking for financial information, others are looking to verify your education, while others want to know your driving history, or if you have been arrested. Background checks can show all of this personal information to just about anyone who searches, so you definitely want to ensure yours is completely accurate and up to date to make the best impression.

Is Your Personal Background Information Accurate?

While this background information on you is wanted to ensure you are creditworthy, an upstanding citizen, or simply to confirm that you did indeed graduate Magna Cum Laude as your resume indicates, it is important to know that background checks offer a detailed report that is very comprehensive. This means that the reports may also include personal items about yourself that you may not realize, including income, bank loans, criminal records, debts, as well as other private data.

Because of the sensitivity of this information, it is crucial that you are aware of exactly what people see when they run a background check on you. Savvy consumers want to know what details are being given out about them and what information businesses, financial institutions, and others can actually request, as there are some limitations that may apply.

Since these background checks can have a huge impact and effect on many areas of your personal and business life, it is recommended that you conduct a “do-it-yourself” (DIY) background check periodically to ensure the online records and details reflect a complete and accurate account of your history. Performing this research now and learning what others can see about you when they perform a background check, lets you prepare your online resume to pass a background test in the future.

Tips for Conducting a Free DIY Background Check on Yourself  

There are some simple steps you can take to review the information that others will see when they run a personal background check on you. In addition, there are some websites that you can visit that let you find out what information is circulating on the internet about your background that may need to be hidden from the public, corrected to be accurate, or completely removed. You just may be surprised at what you might find out about yourself!

To save money, you may consider the DIY approach for your background check. With the high-tech world we live in today, there are a variety of ways to gather information online and see everything that others can view about your history and give insight to your background. When you begin your background research and check of yourself, be prepared to find errors, omissions, and outright lies which will need to be corrected. While it is not fun to find any negative information about yourself online, you can rest assured that it can fixed with the proper documentation and by contacting the agency or organization responsible for the post.

Here are some of the different types of personal background checks you can run on yourself as well as some helpful websites that provide background information. Most institutions that require a background inquiry are very thorough and are likely to look into more than just a criminal background check, so it is smart to be prepared for them to see information about you from a variety of sources, including these:

How to Run a Free Background Check on Yourself

  • Search Engines – The quickest and most convenient way to begin a background search on yourself is to utilize internet search engines. They are free and easy to use and are a great way to get started just by entering your name. Also, be sure to do a search for any other aliases you may go by like a maiden name or previous married name. Make a note to yourself of which name variation has the information that needs to be corrected or deleted so you can resolve that issue once you have completed all of your research.
  • Social Media – Social media is the next place you should look to see what personal data or information is being broadcast online about you. Too often, we do not set our privacy settings on our social media accounts as well as we should, and unintentionally expose private information that we shouldn’t. Make it a point to view all of your social media accounts as a viewer of the page and not the owner, to see what information is available for the public to see. Check out your Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn accounts and adjust privacy settings as needed.
  • Public Records – When performing your own personal background check, do not overlook access to public records, which is very telling about a person. A simple online search can give access to a variety of personal records including marriage licenses, birth certificates, divorce decrees, trials and court appearances, death certificates, and more. While you will need to do a search for each individual record you wish to view information about, it is all there and available for free public viewing for anyone to see.
  • Internet Domain Registration – If you own or manage a website of any kind, be sure to remember that anyone can do a search to find the IP address and data for those websites to see your association. This information can typically be easily found free in a “WHOIS” look-up via any domain registration company. In addition, companies like Domaintools will help determine all of the domains a someone might be associated with, giving an insight to their background, habits, hobbies, likes, and dislikes.
  • Credit Reports – Businesses of all kinds check your credit reports to verify creditworthiness. Anyone from employers to auto insurance companies to banks and credit card companies are checking to see your score, so it is definitely a good idea to check yours often. In fact, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year from each of the three credit bureaus. Visit AnnualCreditReport.com today to get a copy of your credit report so that you can review it for accuracy. If there are any errors or omissions on the report, you will need to file a dispute to have the issues reviewed. They will determine the validity and make adjustments as needed. Be advised that this could take several months, so regularly monitoring of the report is crucial for good credit.
  • Insurance Reports – The insurance industry has their own industry-specific insurance screening companies that they use to determine the approval of your coverage. It is your right to receive a copy of your free specialty insurance report each year when you have coverage such as auto insurance, homeowner’s insurance, or personal property insurance. Simply contact the insurance company to request a copy of your report to check for accuracy.
  • Personal Medical Information – Viewing your medical specialty report is a good idea for those who intend to apply for or purchase any type of insurance policy including life insurance, health insurance, long-term care policies, or disability income insurance. Companies like MIB Group, the kind of reporting companies that the medical insurance industry and firms use to evaluate you, are also required to let you know what they are saying about you in their reports to these companies. Therefore, consumers are allowed to have one free report per year, which can be requested on their website here.
  • Social Security Number – It is a good idea to review your Social Security account periodically. This can be done on the Social Security Administration website, where you can easily see and verify all of the names that have been associated with your Social Security number over the years. This may include name changes due to marriage, divorce, and other legal name changes
  • National Sex Offender Registry –Visit the Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website to check to see if your name is on the sex offender list if this is a concern to you in any way. The website allows anyone to search sex offender registries for all 50 states, The District of Columbia, U.S. Territories, and Indian Country by entering a name.
  • Driving Record – Checking your driving record is a good idea, especially if you have a career that depends on your maintaining a certain type of license or status with your state. You can request a copy of your personal driving record through your local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) to ensure its accuracy. This can be done either online or by visiting a local office near you. It is also smart to check your driving records in any other state you may have had a driver’s license from in the last 20 years to ensure accuracy in their records.
  • Education – It is common practice for prospective employers to check your education by verifying your degree through your college or university’s records. Be prepared for this part of your background check by contacting the educational institution directly to verify that your record is accurate. In addition, you should request a copy of your transcript to keep on file for your personal records.
  • Criminal Record – Check to see if your conviction or arrest records (if any) are accurate by requesting them from the court that issued them. It is very important to know that any criminal convictions, paroles, probation, or jail time you have incurred will be reflected in this criminal background report and can be seen by others. In addition, please note that if you have been arrested within the last seven years, this may still show up on your record or background check even though there was not a conviction.
  • National Crime Information Center –The National Crime Information Center (NCIC), nicknamed the lifeline of law enforcement, assists law enforcement officers in performing their duties more safely. You can visit the National Crime Information Center website to see if your name is on the government fugitive database during your DIY background check.

Please be advised that the inclusion of your name in a negative way on any of these background reports or lists can have a major effect on your background check and can be a determining factor for several important decisions that banks, employers, landlords, and other institutions make concerning you. It is a smart decision to perform a DIY background check to avoid any issues in the future.

People Search Websites for Free Background Checks

Considering the vast amount of online resources available to investigate one’s background, it is obvious that the gathering of information can be very time-consuming. Fortunately, in addition to the websites, organizations, and resources listed above, there are several “people search” and other types of companies that specialize in background checks. These businesses were created especially to help you easily learn and identify what is in your records and online history.

If you do decide to use a background check service for your own personal background investigation, it is important to know which type of service you would like:

Types of Background Check Services:

  • Full-Service Background Check – A full-service background check is when the company does all of the investigative work for you. The company searches their online databases and may also visit courthouses to check for criminal history. They are also able to verify your past employment, education, and any other requested details.
  • DIY Background Check – A do-it-yourself background check can be done via websites that allow you to conduct online searches of your own and provide you with instant results. The online background check websites are typically inexpensive and very easy to use, offering instant results and plenty of background details.

Websites such as BeenVerified, TruthFinder, and Intelius are examples of companies that do the investigative work for you by gathering digital information quickly from public records that are readily available These free search options on the website will include background information on you such as:

  • Aliases
  • Cities and States Lived In
  • Age
  • Known Relatives
  • Social network profiles

These background checking companies offer dynamic search engines that allow you to find the information you are looking for via a search by simply entering a name, address, or phone number, for instant results. No matter what type of information you wish to find out about yourself, the search engines quickly gather and organize the data from public records, police records, social media, civil judgments, and white pages into an easy-to-read format to give you the requested background information and history you require on yourself.

If you find that  you need to expand the search for background information on yourself, details such as addresses and phone numbers can be found free of charge at websites such as Spokeo, US Search, and WhitePages which allows you to look up all the addresses that are associated with your name and/or Social Security number by performing a simple search.

In addition to the information available on these sites via a free search, each website also gives you the option to view a more complete background profile of yourself for a fee. If you find that there is a need for any type of additional verification of the information found while doing your self-background check, it may make sense to utilize one of the affordable paid service companies to investigate your background.

These companies offer an affordable alternative to tiresome research that not only saves you time, but offers a comprehensive background check that is reliable with access to credible, verifiable data for your search. Quickly and easily find information such as:

  • Public Records
  • Criminal Records
  • Reverse Phone Lookup
  • People Search
  • Email Search
  • Reverse Address Lookup
  • Background Check
  • Arrest Records
  • Sex Offenses
  • Details on Arrests and Plea Deals
  • Bankruptcies
  • Civil Legal Judgments
  • Marriage Records
  • Social Security Number Verification

 

Benefits of Using a Background Check Company

While there are plenty of resources available online to perform a free background check on yourself, sometimes getting the help of experts in the field is the right solution. Here are some good reasons to use an established company for your own personal background check.

  • Affordable – Background screening companies offer affordable services with access to several levels of information discovery.
  • Safe – Access from reputable companies get you the needed information quickly, allowing you to promptly access what needs to be done to keep your personal information safe and sound.
  • Private – All background checks and searches you perform are completely private with the utmost of confidentiality
  • Access – Background searches provide access to over 20 billion public records and the best and most detailed information available online as well as from other resources including courthouse documents, former employers, and educational institutions.

How to Choose the Right Background Check Service for Your Personal Background Check

There are a variety of different background check services available today, so it may be difficult to decide which one is the best choice for you.  Here are a few tips to consider when looking for the right background service company for your needs.

Questions to Ask Yourself When Choosing a Background Check Service

  • Does this service offer the ability to provide all of the information I need for my personal background check?
  • Is the cost of the service affordable to me?
  • Does the company offer an easy to use online portal that you can access to order searches and review the results?
  • How quickly am I able to access the search results?
  • How will I receive my search results? Are the reports clear, accurate, and complete?

Savvy Consumers Know What Is in Their Background Report

It is a good idea to do a periodic background check on yourself to see exactly what information others may have access to when conducting an investigation into your credit history, educational background, or criminal past. It is a great way to ensure that your reputation is protected, and you don’t lose any opportunities due to incorrect or outdated information that shows up in your background check.

Once you receive the results of your background check, be sure to examine the information thoroughly and promptly make request any necessary corrections if there are any issues with accuracy. Following these tips will help you run a successful, free online background check on yourself and know exactly where you stand.

 

 

How to Get a Real Estate License in 2019

Selling real estate is a popular and lucrative profession for many people across the U.S. The rules vary from state to state about the requirements for obtaining a professional real estate license, so it is important to decide where you would like to assist people with buying and selling properties to ensure that you are licensed with the proper state or states in which you intend to start your new career in real estate.

Here are the typical state requirements for becoming a licensed real estate agent in the U.S:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must be a legal resident of the US
  • Completion of required pre-license real estate school classes
  • Successfully take and pass the state real estate license exam
  • Background check and fingerprinting
  • Sponsorship by a licensed broker

State guides:

California Real Estate LicenseHow to get your license in New York  , Michigan real estate license and Florida real estate license.

It is also helpful to be familiar with the term real estate agent versus Realtor® and to know that not every real estate agent is in fact, a Realtor®. While both must be licensed to assist people in buying and selling properties, the Realtor® title is only given to real estate agents that are also a member of the National Association of Realtor’s. Most new real estate agents find that it is advantageous to become a member of the association, which is explained more in detail later.

Why You Need a Real Estate License

All states require you to be a licensed real estate salesperson or real estate broker to represent buyers and sellers who want to buy or sell a home.

Real estate licenses are issued by the government of each individual state. The state real estate license allows you to represent buyers and sellers in all legal real estate property transactions. To become a licensed real estate agent in your state, you must first be able to meet the state eligibility requirements, which are listed above, and may vary from state-to-state. When you are certain you qualify, you must then take all of the approved pre-licensure classes, successfully pass the real estate agent exam, find a broker to sponsor you, then finally apply to the state’s governing real estate board for approval and licensing. After approval, most new agents join the National Association of Realtors to add the prestigious title of to their credentials, which also gives real estate agents the following perks:

Perks of Being a Licensed Realtor®

  • Increases your earnings
  • Real estate software
  • Gives you access to the multiple listing service (MLS) to view all homes available for sale
  • Shows your credibility and helps you gain trust with clients and investors

How to Get a Real Estate License

From pre-licensing courses to continuing education classes, the more you know about real estate in your state, the more successful and lucrative your career as a real estate salesperson or real estate broker will be. Although each state does have different classes and hour requirements, many follow these general rules about how to become a licensed real estate agent. Here are the necessary steps needed to teach you how to get a real estate license in 2019.

A Successful Career in Real Estate Starts Here 

The cost of real estate school and continuing education classes and requirements differ from state to state, so make sure you check costs for the pre-licensing real estate school classes, registration to sit for the real estate license exam, and the application fee for the license so you will know exactly what to expect. New agents should be aware that they will be required to seek a real estate broker to sponsor them as they are getting started in their new career, which is typically a requirement for new real estate agents. You can find important information about the necessary sponsorships and other important details from the real estate commission website for your state.

The cost of real estate classes varies by state and institution but typically ranges somewhere between $350 to $1,000. The cost varies due to the number of course hours required from each state that is needed to sit for the state real estate licensing exam. Here are some typical costs involved with obtaining your real estate license:

Costs Associated with Obtaining Your Real Estate License

  • Pre-licensing Education at Real Estate School – $200 to $1,000
  • Real Estate Exam Registration – $25 to $100
  • Real estate License Application – $75 to $175

Additional expenses might include any state-required items like background checks and fingerprinting, as well as test preparation classes and guides, which can also vary in cost in each state. Those who are interested in becoming a Realtor® should be prepared to pay organization fees to the National Association of Realtors which are $150 annually.

Real Estate Courses – Pre-Licensing

To prepare for your real estate license, you must first take the pre-licensing classes needed to prepare real estate agents for the exam. All states require that these courses be taken before you can even think about registering for the exam. It is to be noted that each state’s required pre-licensing hours can vary greatly and range from 60 to 150 hours, so please plan you real estate coursework accordingly.

These professional courses provide a wealth of information to prepare you for a new career in real estate with classes that explain the important aspects of being a real estate agent  including:

  • Contracts
  • Titles
  • Real Estate Investments
  • Deeds
  • Fair Housing Laws
  • Finance and Mortgages
  • Real Estate Law
  • Real Estate Appraisal

…and more.

In addition, there are additional courses designed to teach you about your specific state as well as all federal real estate laws and regulations.

Choosing a Real Estate School

When it comes to selecting a real estate school, it is important to choose one that offers a state-approved pre-licensing course. Most states allow for convenient, online coursework for your real estate pre-licensing courses, including Arizona, Delaware, North and South Carolina, Idaho, Connecticut, New Jersey, Washington, DC, and Rhode Island. It is recommended that you take the online courses if your state offers them due to the fact that not only is it more affordable, but it is also so much more convenient.

Once you have chosen a state-approved real estate pre-licensing course, you can either register online to enroll or visit the school’s website along with the state’s real estate commission website for information, courses, location, cost, and other important enrollment information you will need to be aware of.

Preparing for the Real Estate License Exam

You can sit for the state real estate licensing exam when you have completed the real estate pre-licensing courses and successfully passed the final exam for the course of study. You’re your time and ensure you know the materials and take the test when you feel like you have studied and are completely prepared to sit for the final exam. This can be scheduled online via your state’s real estate commission website.

You will be scheduled for the exam when you have completed the online registration with the state, and will receive notification of your exam time, location, and date. Be sure to schedule your real estate license exam as soon as you can after the completion of your real estate school classes, because most states require that the exam be taken within a certain number of days of completing your coursework.

The exam will be timed, so be prepared to answer the test questions quickly, yet efficiently. Make it a point to answer the questions you are certain of and come back later to any that you are not sure of. This allows a higher percentage of correct answers on the exam. You will be notified about your test results online or via mail, depending on your state’s preference.

If you fail the exam, this may be frustrating, however, don’t fret, because you are allowed to retake the real estate exam. You can register to retake the test a mere 24 hours after notification of failure to pass the course. In addition, you can take the exam up to three times each year. Feel free to visit your state’s real estate commission website to register or to get more information.

You’ve Passed the Real Estate Exam – Here’s What to Expect Next

You are now well on your way to becoming a licensed real estate agent. Once you have successfully taken the real estate exam and passed, most states require that new real estate agents find a broker to sponsor you.

Having a broker sponsor you gives you the hands-on training and experience needed to be successful in the industry. It is recommended that in order to successfully find a sponsor that is a good fit for you, make time to review brokers in your area and schedule sponsorship interviews with each of them. Here are some questions you should be prepared to ask your potential broker during the interview:

Interview Questions a New Real Estate Agent Should Ask their Prospective Sponsors

  • Commission Split – Since most real estate agents get paid on commission, it is important to know that you will be splitting the commissions with your broker. There are several different types of commission structures, so be sure to discuss and possibly negotiate a commission split that satisfies your needs.
  • Support and Culture – There are many variations of types of brokerage firms, so look for the style that suits you best. While some brokers offer extensive mentoring and free training and marketing opportunities, others simply offer an office to call home while you grow your real estate business. Ask questions to help determine if the broker offers what you are looking for.
  • Fees and Other Costs – Make it a point to ask the real estate brokers you are interested in working with about any fees and other costs that are associated with their company. Do your research to ensure that the fees are common in the industry. Such costs may include desk fees, printer and copier fees, transaction fees, insurance, and more.

Doing your homework and asking these important questions will not only help you learn about each broker and their pertinent company information, but it will also help you make an educated decision and choose a broker that is a good fit for your goals. Having a broker that you will enjoy working and mentoring with makes all the difference.

It is important to note that new agents must have a sponsoring broker before the application for a license can even be submitted to your state’s real estate commission. After you have chosen a sponsoring broker and have a signed sponsorship agreement to submit, you are ready to submit the agreement and application for your license to the real estate board. It can take anywhere from a couple of weeks up to a few months for the application to be approved, depending on your state’s period of consideration. When the board has approved your real estate license, most states send out an email confirmation, followed by the license and official approval letter in the mail.

I’m a Licensed Real Estate Agent, Now What?

You have passed your real estate exam, secured an agreement with a sponsoring broker, and have received notice of the approval of your license – so it is time to get to work helping people buy and sell homes! Here are a few tips to help you get started in your new career as an agent.

  • Join Industry Associations – It is crucial for your career in real estate to join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) as soon as you can. The NAR is the largest professional association for real estate agents in the U.S. While becoming a member is not a requirement to buy and sell real estate, it is required to list properties and have access to the Multiple Listing Service. In addition, the NAR offers a variety of agency resources, including valuable networking opportunities, real estate software, continuing education resources, and a special designation among agents. To join the National Association of Realtors, visit their website for the application, and pay the annual membership dues of $150.
  • Create a Website – Real estate agents will need a website of their own. It is important to plan for the expense of having a website designed for your new career in real estate in addition to the one your agency has. Maintaining your own business website allows you to create your own brand and get your name out there. This includes choosing a domain name, designing a logo, finding a website host, selecting a theme, and ensuring you are connected to a hosting company with IDX capabilities, which allows you to connect to the MLS so your website visitors can easily search the available property listings for sale.
  • Select a Contact Relationship Manager – As a real estate agent, you will need a customer relationship management (CRM). This is a type of software that helps you keep track of your leads and organize clients from first contact all the way through to the closing. Choosing a good CRM allows you to stay organized and engaged with your client leads and track the progress you have made with them as clients. Look for a good free CRM to get started and graduate to a paid service once you have clients. Make sure that your new CRM is easy to use with popular features to keep you as efficient as possible.

Maintaining Your Real Estate License and Keeping an Active Status

Just about every state requires a real estate salesperson to renew their real estate license every two to four years. This requires continuing education courses in real estate to make sure you are up to date with any new laws, rules, or regulations. Your state real estate commission website can provide the necessary requirements for maintaining your real estate license and keeping it in an active status.  In addition, members of NAR can find useful information about requirements and continuing education courses in your area.

Your Career as a Licensed Agent

From required pre-licensing courses needed to pass the state real estate exam to finding a sponsoring broker, and creating a new brand, there are many things a prospective new real estate agent must do to prepare themselves for a successful career in real estate.

Savvy potential real estate salespeople begin by learning all of their state’s licensing requirements about how to get a real estate license. They then make a professional plan from there to complete real estate school for the required pre-licensing classes, pass the licensing exam, find a broker to sponsor them, and secure their real estate license for a successful career in the real estate industry.

3

Virginia Landlord Tenant Laws

Just like in every state, it is vital that both landlords and tenants understand what the laws are that pertain to their business relationship. Understanding the basics of state law allows both parties to deal with most legal problems or questions without the need for an attorney. Let’s take a look at those basic laws in the State of Virginia so that you will be prepared, no matter whether you are the landlord or the tenant in the arrangement.

Virginia disclosure requirements

In Virginia, landlords are required to disclose specific information upon conception of a rental agreement. This information ranges from the landlord’s name and address to anyone else that is authorized to act on the behalf of the landlord, to the condition of the property and move-in date:

  • Owner/Agent: Landlord must disclose in writing the name and address of the owner or agent of the property. (Va. Code Ann. §55-248.12)
  • Military zone: If the property is in a locality where a military air base is located, the landlord or his authorized agent must disclose the fact that it is in a noise or accident potential zone.  (Va. Code Ann. §55-248.12:1)
  • Mold: The move-in report should include whether there is visible evidence of mold; if affirmative, tenant may terminate the contract or not move in. If the tenant opts to stay, the landlord must get the mold issue handled within five days, get the property inspected again and issue a new report indicating no evidence of mold exists. (Va. Code Ann. §55-248.11:2)
  • Utility billing: Any landlord that uses a ratio utility billing service, or who intends to collect monthly billing, administrative or late fees, must disclose the existence of these fees in the written agreement. (Va. Code Ann. §55-226.2)
  • Condo plans: If any application to register the complex as a condo or cooperative has been filed, the landlord or authorized agent must disclose that information to prospective tenants in writing. (Va. Code Ann. §55-248.12(C).)
  • Drywall issues: If a landlord knows of unrepaired defective drywall in the unit must disclose this fact in writing before the tenant signs the rental agreement. (Va. Code §55-248.12:2.)
  • Move-in checklist: Landlord or tenant, but ideally both together, must prepare a written report that details the condition of the rental unit. This must be done within 5 days of move-in. Any presence of mold must be noted and handled. (Va. Code Ann. § 55-248.11:1)
  • Local ordinances: Check with the city or county for additional disclosure requirements specific to the area.

Virginia Security Deposit Rules

In Virginia, state laws put a limit on how much a landlord can charge for a security deposit, when it must be returned to a tenant, and they also offer other restrictions on Virginia security deposits.

Nearly all residential rentals in Virginia will require a security deposit to be paid to the landlord. This dollar amount is typically one month’s rental payment, and is used by the landlord to pay for any damages caused by the tenants to the unit that are over and above normal wear and tear. The security deposit can also help if a tenant does not honor the terms of their lease agreement.   This summary of Virginia laws pertain to security deposits:

  • Security deposit limit: A landlord may not charge any more than two months’ rent for a security deposit.

  • Security deposit return: When a tenant moves out, a landlord is required to return their security deposit within 45 days. Tenants have the right to be present at the final inspection as well.

  • Security deposit interest: Landlords must pay their tenants interest on their security deposit; the rate is calculated based on the Federal Reserve discount rate at the beginning of the year. Security deposit interest is only due after a landlord has held it for more than 13 months.

You can look up the actual Virginia statutes on security deposits at Virginia Code Annotated § 55-248.15:1. Keep in mind that the particular city or county might have different, or additional landlord-tenant laws or security deposit rules.

Small claims for landlord-tenant disputes

Disputes over security deposits take up the greatest percentage of landlord-tenant suits in small claims court. In the event you have a disagreement over security deposits, it is important you know that a tenant can sue his landlord in small claims court, up to a limit of $5,000. For additional information, your local realtor’s board can offer a good place to look.

Typical lawsuits of this type are filed by tenants against their landlords who they feel withheld their security deposit money without good reason. For their part, landlords often feel justified in retaining the deposit for cleaning, repairs or any rent that remains due and payable. Here are a few rules for hammering out a solution in court:

  • Know the law: Be sure that you understand the relevant state rules, and know that the landlord has a 45-day window to return your deposit, after itemizing any deductions. Tenants have the right to be present at the final walkthrough.

  • Know what your landlord can deduct: Your landlord is permitted to use your security deposit for some items; if you owe unpaid rent without giving notice, for instance, or unpaid utility bills or other obligations according to your rental agreement. Repairing damages caused by you, your pet, or any guest can be deducted, unless it is “ordinary wear and tear”. Cleaning charges can only be deducted to the extent that the unit is as clean as it was when tenancy began. A landlord can also charge you for undoing any changes that you made; for instance, painting the bedrooms a bright color or leaving hardware on a wall where a flat screen TV once resided.

  • Attend the final inspection: While some landlords would prefer to do this and send out itemized statements, Virginia law does require that the landlord give his tenants the right to be present at the final inspection. Using a landlord-tenant checklist upon both move-in and move-out is wise to protect both parties.

  • Photos and videos: Pictures and videos can go a long way in court, should it come down to that. Renters would be really smart to photograph or video every room in the rental unit upon move-in, and again before they leave the premises, resulting in a matched set of photos to prove the condition of the property.

  • Request your deposit: If your landlord has not returned your deposit by the end of the 45-day period, you should ask for it in writing. Spell out the facts, tell him or her that you expect them to comply with state law, and let them know that a lawsuit is forthcoming if necessary. Not only does this give your landlord the chance to return your deposit, it also helps build a case for court if it is needed. The letter also makes it more likely that punitive damages will be awarded, since the landlord failed to follow the law as it pertains to security deposits. Send your letter certified mail with a return receipt; keep a copy of the letter and the delivery receipt you get from the post office.

  • File your suit: If you get no response, or a less than adequate response, from your landlord, you can file in your local small claims court right away. It typically costs less than $50 to file, and attorneys are not needed. Expect it to take a month or two before your case comes up.

Virginia lease, rent and fee rules

In Virginia, there are several issues related to rent that the state regulates. For instance, how much to allow for a bounced-check fee or how long a tenant has to pay their rent before a landlord can file for eviction.

Your rental agreement or lease contract will outline your key rent rules, including your rental amount, where to pay your rent, when and how your rent should be paid, and how much notice a landlord has to give you if they intend to raise your rent. There should also be provisions for a bounced-check fee, late fees and termination procedures.

Late fees are not regulated by the state, but if your rental agreement does not make note of them, the landlord cannot charge you a late fee.

Virginia does address bounced check fees, and limits the amount to be charged to $50, pluse any amount charged by the landlord’s bank.

Virginia does not regulate how long landlords have to give tenants a notice if they intend to raise the rent and they are on a month-to-month tenancy. However, the typical standard is 30 days and the rental agreement should spell out the procedure in this case. 

Notice and Entry Rules

There are a number of other landlord-tenant laws (Va. Code Ann. §§ 55-217 to 55-248.40) that people need to be aware of when entering into a rental agreement on either side. These include the landlord’s right of access to their rental property, protections against landlord retaliation, protections for domestic violence victims, and housing discrimination issues.

Landlord access is available when he or she requests it 24 hours in advance. However, if the tenant requests and requires maintenance, this does not apply. (Va. Code Ann.§ 55-248.10:1)

Tenants are protected from landlord retaliation after a tenant complains about an unsafe living condition. (Va. Code Ann. § 55-248.39)

There are additional, special protections available for tenants who are domestic violence victims, specific procedures for handling abandoned property tenants leave behind, and a ban on discriminating in rental property. (Va. Code Ann. 55-248.15:1; 36-96.3)

For further information, Virginia’s entire code is online at http://legsearch.state.va.us/. The site is user-friendly and searchable and does not require you to know the code numbers to find what you need.

 

1 2 3 10