How Do I Become a Realtor in Pennsylvania?
So, you’re thinking about becoming a realtor in Pennsylvania.
According to Glassdoor.com, the average realtor in Pennsylvania makes around $48,535 a year. But depending on your sales and what brokerage you work with, that number can go up to around $70,000 or $80,000 a year. Becoming a realtor can be a smart move in your real estate career.
If you are interested in becoming a realtor in Pennsylvania but have questions or are not sure where to start, we are here to help guide you through the process.
Realtor vs. Real Estate Agent
First things first: what is the difference between a realtor and a real estate agent?
A Realtor is a trademark word referring to someone who's an active member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A real estate agent is a licensed professional who can help customers buy and sell commercial and residential real estate property.
But, not all realtors are strictly a real estate agent. Realtors include home appraisers, property managers, real estate brokers, and real estate counselors. While most professionals who are realtors will need a specific license to practice their career, realtors are not limited to real estate agents or individuals who hold a real estate license.
And on the flip side of that, you do not need to be a part of the NAR to be a real estate agent. In fact, only about half of all licensed real estate agents in the US are realtors (members of the NAR).
According to the Pennsylvania Association of Realtors, (the Pennsylvania branch of the NAR), Pennsylvania currently has over 34,000 residential and commercial realtors.
Become a Pennsylvania Realtor in A Few Steps
To become a realtor in Pennsylvania, you can follow these simple steps:
- Get your Pennsylvania real estate license (or proper license for your specific field)
- Go to the NAR website and find your local Pennsylvania branch
- Visit the local branch’s website to learn how to apply
- Take any necessary furthering education courses or ethics exams required
- Pay the required dues to the NAR
- Start buying and selling property under your new brand as a realtor!
While these steps seem simple, we are going to break down exactly what they mean and what the benefits are to becoming a realtor in Pennsylvania.
How to Become A Realtor and Member of the NAR
If you are interested in becoming a member of the NAR in Pennsylvania and therefore becoming a realtor, you will need to join through your local real estate board or association. Once you become a member at the local level, you are automatically a member of the national organization as well. For Pennsylvania, you can visit this page on the NAR website that lists the state and local boards. Local boards for Pennsylvania include:
- ALLEGHENY HIGHLAND ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- ALLEGHENY VALLEY BOARD OF REALTORS®
- BEAVER COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
- BRADFORD SULLIVAN ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- BUCKS COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- BUTLER COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
- CAMBRIA SOMERSET ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- CENTRAL SUSQUEHANNA VALLEY BOARD OF REALTORS®
- CENTRE COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- CLEARFIELD JEFFERSON ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
- ELK CAMERON BOARD OF REALTORS®
- FAYETTE BOARD OF REALTORS®
- GREATER ALLEGHENY KISKI AREA BOARD OF REALTORS®
- GREATER ERIE BOARD OF REALTORS® INC
- GREATER HARRISBURG ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- GREATER LEHIGH VALLEY REALTORS® INC
- GREATER MERCER COUNTY ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® INC
- GREATER PHILADELPHIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®
- GREATER SCRANTON BOARD OF REALTORS® INC
Once you find your local branch, you can visit their website and fill out the application forms to apply. Most branches include a PDF application to fill out that includes personal information, along with your license number, the name of your brokerage, and your specific field of business.
How Do I Know If I am Qualified to be a Realtor?
The typical requirements for obtaining membership in NAR include: Having an active real estate license Active engagement in the industry Having a clear civil and criminal legal history for the 7 prior years Having no pending bankruptcy Having no professional sanctions Agreement to abide by the NAR Code of Ethics Completion of an orientation course Payment of membership dues
What Sets Realtors Apart from Real Estate Agents?
The main aspect that separates realtors from real estate agents is the code of ethics held by the NAR. While all real estate professionals have to study ethical practice for their licensing exams, the NAR requires its members to abide by these standards.
New members of the NAR are required to take an online course in ethics and successfully pass an ethics exam to solidify their membership. And after the initial exam, current members must take an online ethics course every four years to continue their membership.
Members are also required to pay an annual fee to cover membership dues for the NAR and any state-level real estate associations.
Why Join the NAR and Become a Realtor?
Becoming a realtor takes extra coursework, exams, and dues. So why join when you could work independently?
Since the NAR sets the ethics standard so high for its members, realtors get to align themselves and their own personal brand with the ethical, respectable reputation of NAR members.
Clients know that NAR members can be trusted. If a client has a choice between going with a real estate agent who has only passed the bare minimum ethic requirements to practice real estate versus someone who has gone the extra mile to ensure their clients get the deal they deserve, they will go with the latter.
Joining the NAR also means that you will also be a part of a collective voice that can lobby state and federal governments for improved legal protections for realtors and real estate professionals.
Another benefit of being a part of the NAR is that you join an organization that holds a wealth of knowledge about your field of work. Local NAR branches know the market in that area better than anyone, and by becoming a member you will also be in the know. Most branches also provide access to exclusive online real estate databases that will make generating leads a breeze.
The NAR also holds national conferences where you can stay up to date on all things real estate and network with other people in your profession. And through the required continuing education, you will have a higher chance of success in this competitive industry.