Published by Kartik Subramaniam
Changing careers and becoming a Realtor is a major step in anyone's life. As such, a real estate agent has to budget for pre- and post-licensing expenses as accurately as possible. But it isn’t only real estate agents who have to account for these sorts of expenses. Most professional service providers like accountants and attorneys are just a few of the similar models that budding real estate agents can look at as a model.
Before becoming a Realtor, prospective agents have to pay for real estate license classes in order to sit for the state examination. Real estate courses aren't free and as such you should budget the cost of real estate school into your plans.
ADHI Schools’ real estate license courses: $150-$499
In addition to the cost of the licensing courses at a state approved real estate school, there are exam and license fees to consider as well. Also, remember that this article is written and published in March of 2020. These fees can change over time. You are encouraged to check our website or call us at 888 768 5285 to ensure that you are looking at the most recent set of fees.
State examination: $60
4 year real estate license: $245
Criminal background/Livescan fee: $80
Once you complete all these pre-license costs, the broker you decide to associate with will determine the next set of costs. When shopping for a place to hang your hat in the early days of your real estate career, be sure to find out about:
⦁Desk fees, if any, that you will have to remit to the broker. These are fees that the broker charges whether or not you actually sell anything.
⦁ The commission split you have to pay to the broker. Most brokers will take some portion of the commission you pay to them from every transaction that you close.
⦁ What day-to-day expenses, if any, the brokerage will cover.
⦁How and if the brokerage will help you get leads.
All the factors listed above should play a part in your decision about which broker to choose after you get your real estate license. Remember, there's much more to your upfront expenses than real estate courses and tuition for real estate license school. Note that, like most other business professionals and entrepreneurs, you will have some expenses even before getting a license. After that, there will be other costs, only some of which should be considered "upfront" in nature. A few, like ongoing marketing expenses, continuing education costs and travel expenses should be put into the "ongoing" category since they need not be paid before you earn your first commissions.
Don’t forget that to join professional associations like the National and California Association of Realtors will also set you back over $1,000 annually in California. This will cover your access to the Multiple Listing Service, the contract generation software and an eKey that will allow you to open homes with lockboxes.
As an active real estate agent, you will also likely have ongoing marketing fees of at least $1,000 or more per year: This category includes necessary items for getting your name out there, like business cards, flyers, advertising, signs, websites and similar items.
Keep in mind that your broker might cover some of the above expenses for you. That's why it is essential that you discuss all the details of expense coverage, desk fees and commission splits with your prospective broker. Those factors will have a profound effect on what comes out of your pocket as opposed to what someone else will pay once you decide to become a Realtor.
Starting your new real estate career with eyes wide open is helpful. I wanted to write a blog post specifically about this as I know that the newer real estate licensee will likely have many of these questions.
If you haven’t taken the first step to become a real estate agent, enroll in our real estate license courses today! Call me at 888 768 5285 if we can be helpful.