Buying a home is the single largest financial and emotional commitment that most people will make in their lives. As such, we want everything to run as smoothly as possible. In order to ensure this happens we generally employ the services of a realtor or a real estate broker. A real estate broker or sales agent does more than simply show people around potential homes, although this is an important part of their job.

Real Estate Agents and Brokers

Generally speaking, a real estate sales agent works on a contract basis for an established and licensed real estate broker. Once a contract is completed it is either renewed for another period of time or the agent moves on to work under a different broker. In some cases, the agent will study to become a broker themselves and thus begin their own real estate business.

A real estate broker supervises agents with less experience. Many brokers own the firms they work in; others work with national real estate franchises, banks, or government agencies. Brokers tend to have high levels of knowledge and experience in the areas of advanced real estate practice, law, finance, appraisal, economics, property management, escrow, and real estate office administration.

A real estate broker or agent needs to know everything there is to know about the area where they operate. How well do the schools perform? What is the crime rate? What types of jobs are available? What is the average home selling price? These are all questions that a real estate professional must be able to answer quickly and accurately in order to satisfy their clientele.

Real Estate Appraisers

A real estate appraiser is another key player in the transaction of buying and selling a home. These professionals inspect the property (land and/or structures) to estimate an accurate value and verify the condition of the property and its improvements. An appraiser must have in-depth knowledge of building techniques, geography, finance, and economics to arrive at a representative value of the appraised property. In order to secure a bank loan, the property must have an appraisal by a licensed appraiser.

Employment and Earnings Statistics

There are half a million real estate brokers and sales agents throughout the USA. A growing population and increase in new home construction means a greater need for real estate professionals. However, the real estate market is highly dependent on economic and social factors. For example, high interest rates often lead to fewer home sales and a decline in the demand for realtors. With that said, experienced and knowledgeable agents with a strong reputation and satisfied clientele are often successful even in the most difficult of real estate markets.

The average starting salary for a real estate sales agent is slightly more than $35,000 and ranges from $25,000 to $60,000. Some agents earn $100,000 or more in a good year. In contrast, a broker earns an average wage of nearly $60,000 and a number earn more than $100,000 a year. This is because brokers tend to have a team of agents working under them with each agent contributing a percentage of their earnings to the broker.

A great deal of this money is made from commission of sales and this commission rate will vary from region to region and employer to employer. More than half of real estate brokers and agents are self-employed giving them a greater potential to earn higher commissions. In many states, a 6% commission is normal; 3% will typically go to the seller’s agent and the remaining 3% to the buyer’s agent.

A beginning residential appraiser can make from $24,000 to $30,000 per year or more. If the appraiser chooses to continue their education by obtaining additional certification licenses (i.e., Certified Residential Appraiser or Certified General Appraiser) their income levels can increase to up to $70,000 or more annually.

The Best Course of Education

It is essential in every single state for a broker or an agent to be licensed. The gaining of the license, though, is comparatively simple. One must be a high school graduate and must sit and pass a written exam. The examination tends to concentrate on the appropriate laws and regulations that govern real estate and the sale and purchase of real estate. In most cases it is necessary to re-certify every year or two years.

Because of the increased complexity of state laws that govern real estate, it is becoming important that prospective agents receive continuous training even after passing the initial exam. Real estate schools will provide an extensive list of real estate courses that can be pursued.

Real Estate Program Details

There are various diplomas and certificates that are geared towards the real estate market; however, these aren’t the only programs you should consider. Certificates that concentrate on business, economics, mathematics, and English are also useful and regarded highly in the eyes of potential employers.

Real estate courses will generally deal with the ethics of working with real estate. They will also cover business studies, economics, and some may cover further topics. Customer service is an absolutely essential part of the real estate professional’s work. In addition, freelance employees will want to study general business topics. California real estate schools offer courses that cover all of these disciplines and more. Consider exactly where you want to go with your career in real estate and then choose the course that most closely fits that.

View a list of real estate programs in California >>