Hooray, you passed your real estate licensing exam! What now? Besides taking a moment to celebrate your achievement, there are plenty of things you should be doing after you pass the exam to get prepared for your new career.
Let’s talk about five of them.
1. Figure Out How to Get Your License
Every state has a different real estate license application process, but most require you to do some amount of paperwork after you pass your exam before you can be issued a license.
That might involve submitting fingerprints, undergoing a background check, finding a supervising broker, or just finishing the application and paying a fee. Check out our career center for state-specific guides to get getting your license.
But whatever you need to do to finish your application, don’t delay! The sooner you’re licensed, the sooner you can start making money.
2. Find a Supervising Broker
Nearly every state requires new real estate agents to work under the supervision of a real estate broker. Generally, you’ll need to be registered with your broker before you can start practicing real estate.
Your broker can have a huge effect on your career, so put some serious thought into your choice (but don’t worry, if it doesn’t work out, you can always change brokers). Ideally, you would want to interview several local brokers to find the best fit for you.
Here are a few factors to consider when choosing your broker:
How much training does the brokerage offer?
How much ongoing support does the brokerage offer?
Does the broker have a good reputation?
What is the work environment like?
How much of each commission will you keep and how much will go to the broker?
Does the broker charge the agents any additional expenses, like a desk fee?
3. Tap into Your Network
One of the toughest parts of being a new agent is finding clients. Initially, you won’t have any word-of-mouth customers coming your way, so it’ll be up to you and your hustle to find prospects. One of the most powerful tools at your disposal is something you already have: your network.
Your network initially consists of the people you already know: friends, family, neighbors, former colleagues, social media contacts, people from your house of worship, alums from your high school or undergrad, and people you know from clubs or volunteer work.
Make sure everyone in your network knows you’re an agent now, and ask them to send people looking to buy or sell a house your way. These referrals are how you can start building up your reputation in the area.
You will also want to start building strategic professional relationships. Seek out lenders, investors, and other industry professionals. Figure out how you can provide value to them (perhaps through a referral or regular market updates). Then nurture those relationships for the long term. Find people you work well with and whose style meshes with yours. It’ll help you provide a smooth experience for your clients.
4. Build a Website and Social Presence
Being findable online is pretty much a must these days for agents. While you’re waiting for your license to be finalized is the perfect time to get started building a website and establishing a social media presence.
You can use your website and socials to market any listings you eventually get, but also to market yourself! How elaborate you get is up to you and your level of comfort with social media. The most important thing is just to have a professional internet presence. When a potential client googles you and finds a good-looking website, it reassures them that you’re a safe choice as an agent: after all, if you can’t market yourself successfully, how are you going to market their property successfully?
There are plenty of “plug and play” options for creating a website. You could go bare bones and create a site that just has listings and contact info, or build out a blog that includes posts from you about real estate topics. Writing useful content can make you more findable on search. It also establishes you as an expert in the field.
Many agents also develop a newsletter list. You can use that list to market property and share your content. Be sure to put a sign-up on your website.
On social, you’ll again want to share your listings (someday!), but you can also network with other real estate professionals, share content about your local market or the home-buying process, or even create your own content — many agents find success with this on TikTok or Instagram.
At the very least, you’ll want an Instagram, Facebook, and Linkedin. Twitter and TikTok can be great for building a following if those are platforms you feel comfortable using. Right now, before you have anything to sell, just start posting content and building a following.
Be sure to keep your social media presence focused on real estate. Avoid personal posts or topics that might alienate some clients (like politics, religion, or anything not safe for work). Also, avoid disparaging other agents or brokerages. Consider locking your personal social media if you post a lot about hot-button or nsfw topics.
5. Draft Your Financial Plan
Set yourself up for success by starting your new career with a realistic financial plan. The first year is tough for most agents. On average, it takes new agents three-to-six months to earn that first paycheck. Figure out how you’ll cover your living expenses for the first few months before you quit your current job (perhaps with savings, a significant other’s income, or a side hustle that allows you to focus on real estate).
You’ll have a few upfront expenses to cover, so make sure you’re factoring those in. Find out how much you’ll need to spend on business cards, marketing, and any brokerage fees and membership dues. Don’t forget to include these costs in your financial plan.
And plan conservatively. It’s always a good idea to have a little cushion in case unexpected costs arise, things take longer than you’d hoped to get going, or there are shifts in the market.
Those five things should keep you plenty busy in the time between passing the real estate exam and getting started in your career.
Still haven’t taken your pre-licensing education? Get your real estate license today.