I’ve been in your position, wondering how to become a realtor® in BC or if becoming a realtor® is the right career choice. Ultimately, it’s up to you to make the decision for yourself and evaluate your career goals. Are you looking for a career change? Or want to work part-time? Or maybe you have just graduated?
Real estate offers a flexible career where you are in control of your earning potential. The advantages are numerous: setting your hours, no limit on income, networking and meeting interesting people, and having access to some beautiful real estate.
Below, I’ve outlined the five steps to becoming a realtor® in BC. It is simplified, but it will give you an overview of the steps involved. I offer some personal examples, but please keep in mind everyone’s situation is different. While I took a slightly different path to get my real estate trading services license (I completed the Diploma in Urban Land Economics program with a brokerage specialization), almost all of the steps were the same.
What I’ve noticed so far (and you will always hear but never believe lol) is that it can be months before earning your first commission cheque and months between commission cheques.
As a result, a positive attitude, continuous learning, and establishing a strong network is essential. The advantages of being a realtor® are that you set your schedule, run your own business, and ultimately you have control of your career.
Minimum requirements before registering for the Real Estate Trading Services Course:
Ideally, you should aim to have at least three to six months’ worth of savings before starting your real estate career full time. There’s always the option to work part-time as a realtor® in the beginning. Honestly, I would recommend it as a viable option, and I did it for the first year and a half I was licensed. It takes the pressure off having to have a more substantial amount of savings set aside, and that way, you still have some income coming in. However, it does require discipline to keep learning about real estate and maintaining a full-time commitment to your clients while still working on your other job.
You will need to register and complete the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course through UBC’s Real Estate Division. The course is online and self-paced, but I believe the course modules and assignments need to be completed within a year. It is the same course if you want to go into residential or commercial real estate.
Once you’ve passed your exam, at that point, you will need to enroll in an in-person Applied Practice Course. There are several dates for the applied practice course, and it is usually over two days. The course times do book up quickly, so it’s best to select your dates as soon as you know if you passed your exam.
Also, at this point, you would choose whether you’d like to specialize in commercial or residential real estate and complete the appropriate Applied Practice Course. You only need to complete one Applied Practice Course. You must finish the pre-licensing components of the Applied Practice Course before you can submit the application for your real estate license.
After you pass your exam but before you complete the Applied Practice Course, you should start researching brokerages in your city or town where you will “hang your license.” In order to be a licensed real estate agent, you must belong to a brokerage.
It’s a great idea to interview a few real estate brokerages to see which one is the best fit for you. While you may be in a rush to commit to any brokerage, I recommend taking your time at this step.
Real estate brokerages can differ on location, office layout, desk fees, commission splits, support staff, advertising opportunities, training programs for new agents, and continuing education and resources for all agents.
Once you have selected a brokerage, your brokerage will mail your completed real estate application to the Real Estate Council of BC (RECBC) along with your criminal record check, government-issued photo ID, and credit card payment information.
The application form is called “Application for Representative, Associate, or Managing Broker Licence Form.” Your application must be signed by the managing broker of the real estate brokerage that you intend to join.
Congrats, your application is approved! You will have six months to complete the final components of the Applied Practice Course while at your selected brokerage.
All your hard work of studying, writing the exam, and completing the applied practice course has paid off. The final step is to join your local Real Estate Board. In Victoria, it is the Victoria Real Estate Board (VREB). As a board member, you will also become a member of the BCREA and Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). Now, you are a Realtor®!
Continuing education is essential to maintaining your real estate licence and being able to apply for licence renewal every two years. Throughout your first two years, you will need to complete mandatory courses and 18 professional development credits through your real estate board or BCREA
Now for the fun part, jk! But it’s good to be aware of the fees and business expenses when starting your own business.
Thank you for reading, I wish you all the best in your real estate journey!
*Disclaimer: The topics of discussion, content and resources on this website are general information that may not be the right solution or advice for you specifically. Not intended to solicit buyers or sellers currently under contract with a brokerage.
*Stock images from Social Squares