I’ve been in your position, wondering how to become a REALTOR® 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 new career? Or want to work part-time? Or maybe you have just graduated from school?
Working in the real estate industry 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 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 from the University of British Columbia 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 haha) 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 are essential. The advantages of being a REALTOR® are that you set your schedule, run your own business, and ultimately have control of your career.
Each day is different and can vary from developing a marketing plan for one of your listings, showing a new home to a first-time buyer, attending an open house, negotiating and completing due diligence for an offer, finding a client their dream home, or viewing luxury homes!
Real estate agents provide real estate services to both home buyers and home sellers. As a real estate agent, you have a responsibility to work in the best interest of your clients.
A REALTOR® who represents a home seller is called a listing agent and a REALTOR® who represents a home buyer is called a buyer’s agent or selling agent.
Real estate professionals will educate their clients on the real estate market, the home buying process, and the home selling process. Navigating each step of the process with your clients and ensuring that your clients receive the best possible experience and quality of services.
Ideally, you should aim to have at least three to six months’ worth of savings before starting your real estate career full-time. Everyone’s situation will be different so it’s important to take some time to think about what works best for you.
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.
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 from the registration date. It is the same course if you want to go into residential or commercial real estate.
Once you’ve passed your exam 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 real estate 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 to find the right place.
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, the managing broker will need to sign and submit your completed real estate application to the BC Financial Services Authority (formerly the Real Estate Council of British Columbia – RECBC). Required with your application will be your criminal record check, government-issued photo ID, and credit card payment information.
The application form is called the “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. This brokerage must be a member of the real estate board in your area.
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®.
The benefits of being a board member include and can provide a real advantage for you and your clients:
Continuing education is a big part of maintaining your real estate licence and being able to apply for your 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 and 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
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