Planning to start a new career or a side hustle to earn extra money? You might be thinking about real estate. After all, some 17,000 people in the U.S. alone Google “how to become a real estate agent” each month. And those who take the leap join the nation’s estimated 2 million active real estate licensees.

Compared to other careers with similar earnings potential, it’s relatively easy to become a real estate agent or broker. There are lots of perks, too—like being your own boss, meeting new people, and helping people through one of life’s biggest milestones. Still, building a successful real estate career is more work than many people imagine. Here’s a closer look at the job to help you decide if a career as a real estate agent or broker is right for you.

Job Outlook for Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Real estate agents and brokers help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS), the number of real estate agent and broker jobs is projected to increase by 2% between 2019 and 2029, which is slower than the 4% average for all occupations.

Still, the BLS notes that “Demand for these workers will continue, because people turn to real estate brokers and sales agents when looking for a home, such as to buy a larger home or to relocate for a job.”

How to Become a Real Estate Agent

There’s no national real estate license, so you’ll have to meet your state’s unique licensing requirements. Visit your state’s real estate regulatory office website for information, or check out the regulatory agency directory from the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO).

These are the general steps to becoming a real estate agent:

  1. Take a pre-licensing course
  2. Take (and pass) the licensing exam
  3. Activate your real estate license
  4. Join a real estate brokerage

Real estate agents always work for an under the umbrella of a licensed real estate broker. Eventually, you may want to become a broker, in which case you’ll need to meet additional educational and experience requirements. Once you have your broker license, you can work independently and hire sales agents to work for you.

In most cases, you can expect to spend about four to six months getting your real estate agent license. And you’ll need some cash, too. Between the licensing course, exam, and start-up expenses (think: MLS fees, business cards, sale signs, open house signs, websites, etc.), you might want to budget anywhere from $1,000 to $3,000 to get started.

The term Realtor can only be used by real estate agents, brokers, and other industry professionals who are members of the National Association of Realtors (NAR)—the largest trade association in the U.S. All Realtors must pay an annual membership fee and subscribe to NAR’s strict Code of Ethics.

When deciding if a career in real estate is right for you, be sure to consider if you have the time and cash to get your license and cover your start-up costs.

From his success on the sales floor of an automotive dealership  to becoming a veteran trainer and then the adoption of technology for Internet-based marketing, his career has evolved to deliver the skills and tools needed to help consumers. Richie Bello combined his automotive expertise with his robust desire to “take care of the customer first” to become an automotive influencer, published author, and renowned trainer.  Bello absorbed the wants and needs of consumers as he worked up the ladder of the automotive industry.

Over the thirty-five years of his career, he developed strong Internet marketing skills, leading him to developing software solutions that create ease for consumers, and helps dealers improve relationships with customers. Innovation drives success. And, for Bello, it’s in his DNA. took years to come to consumers and arrived in a timely manner, during the 2020 Pandemic. With over 6 million vehicles on the site, features that help consumers deliver, finance and warranty, Bello has met the retail digital age head on.

Bello also is founder of Richie Bello Institute of Leadership and Management, a 501C3 not for profit, dedicated to the recruitment, education and employment of veterans into the automotive industry. Visit


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