Becoming a real estate agent can be a very rewarding career path. It offers a wide range of opportunities. As a real estate professional, you can help people with buying and selling of homes, farmland, commercial or industrial property. You can also be involved in property management, land development, mortgage banking, urban planning, and real estate appraisal.
However, the process of becoming a real estate agent does require some formal education. In Ontario, Humber College Real Estate offers a Real Estate Salesperson Program for those who aspire to become a real estate in Ontario. It is a 3 step program that takes students through all aspects of becoming a real estate agent.
Step 1: Pre-Registration Phase of becoming a Realtor
This steps involves the future realtor completing 5 courses, 2 week long simulation sessions, and 4 exams through Humber Real Estate. The courses include Real Estate Essentials, Residential Real Estate Transactions (2 courses), Commercial Real Estate Transactions, and Getting Started. First simulation session will be done after both Residential Real Estate Transactions courses. The second session after the completion of Commercial Real Estate Transactions. You must successfully pass (75%) an exam after exam of the first 4 courses before moving onto the next course. The learning path for this step found here.
This step is roughly 150 hours worth of work depending on how quickly you are able to understand and process the information.
Step 2: Register with Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO)
Once you have completed step one at Humber Real Estate College, it is now time to find a brokerage to work for. Before registering with RECO, you must be an employee of a brokerage. Furthermore, you must register with RECO within one year of completing the Pre-Registration Phase. Once registered with RECO, you can start trading in real estate. You are now officially a Real Estate Agent!
Step 3: Post Registration Phase
To be eligible to renew your registration at the end of your initial two-year registration cycle with RECO, you must complete the Post-Registration Phase. During the Post-Registration Phase, you can choose two of five electives in addition to the mandatory Compliance course as you complete the final phase in the Real Estate Salesperson Program learning path.
Does becoming a real estate agent interest you? If you aren’t 100% sure if it is a career path you want to go down, a great way to find out is to work for a real estate agent. Not everyone working in real estate is a licensed real estate agent. There are many non-licensed real estate assistants. Non-licensed assistants help real estate agents with their day to day duties. Becoming a non-licensed assistant allows you to work closely with an agent and get a first hand look at what the profession is like.
How do you get clients as a Realtor?
First time buyers are likely a good source of business
When you first become a real estate agent and begin working, you’ll be working with a lot of first time buyers who will need your guidance when buying a house. The reason for this is because first time buyers haven’t entered into the market yet, so they’re unlikely to have formed a relationship with a licensed Realtor.
It’s beneficial to start with a team. Working with more seasoned or highly rated real estate agents out of the gate is recommended. These Realtors get regular leads from their existing client base, or a steady stream of cold calls which they could pass on to you.
Depending on the type of market you are in- whether it’s a buyers market or a sellers market, you’ll likely be working a little while before you receive any pay. Remember: when your client buys or sells a house, you don’t get paid until the transaction closes, which could be 60 – 90 days away!
You should also be aware of trends and apps in the marketplace, such as HouseSigma. Buyers and sellers have more tools at their disposal than ever these days, meaning the role of a realtor is changing. An example of changing technology in real estate came during COVID. Open houses in Guelph, once a real estate staple, no longer happened. Many Realtors used these as a way to connect with clients. But since the real estate market has been booming, do we really need open houses again? Many feel that we don’t and as a result, Realtors need to find new way to to differentiate yourself from other Realtors.
How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Ontario?
These courses are the ones that are mandatory in order to get a license, as covered in Step 1 above. There are both pre-registration fees as well as post registration fees. The total cost, assuming you pass all exams and don’t need to retake anything is $4,160. There are some additional costs related to program fees, retakes and credit card chargebacks, but these may not be applicable to your situation.
Regarding real estate license Ontario cost
This is just the fee to complete the courses, there are additional startup fees like insurance and local real estate board fees. To be safe, you should estimate a total startup cost of $7500 to get your real estate license in Ontario.
What’s the difference between a Real Estate Agent vs a Real Estate Broker?
Many people get these two titles mixed up, or use them interchangeably. A real estate agent and a real estate broker are not the same thing.
Real estate agent
A real estate agent (also referred to as real estate “salespersons,” by definition by OREA) must be employed by a brokerage in real estate in order to practice their profession, or “trade”. All deals must go through the brokerage that the agents work for. The agent typically works for a “Broker of Record” at a real estate brokerage. Beth and Ryan are Guelph real estate agents, but can sell homes anywhere in Ontario.
Real estate broker
A real estate broker is a professional who must work as licensed agent for at least two years. After that, they can then choose to complete additional training (three courses) on top of the education they had to become a real estate agent. Once completed, they are now a real estate broker.
Once a Broker, the individual can choose to work under the same brokerage in the same capacity as they did as a real estate salesperson. However, becoming a broker now means that themselves can start their own brokerage and employ real estate agents. Real estate broker is the highest level achievement within real estate.
If you wish to simply be a real estate salesperson and have no desire to eventually own a brokerage, there is no real benefit to becoming a broker. Unless of course, you want the additional knowledge of the broker courses.
Beth and Ryan Waller are Guelph Real Estate Agents and Guelph Realtors.
What is a Realtor?
The term realtor is synonymous with real estate salesperson although they aren’t technically the same thing.
Realtors are agents who are also members of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA). In order to maintain their status, Realtors must pay an annual membership fee and complete ethics training.
Clients who work with Realtors can expect that the professional representing them will be fair and honest, and will display a level of integrity throughout their service. Realtors who meet specific training and membership dues can legally use the registered REALTOR® trademark on any materials they use to market their services.
Things that a new Realtor should be aware of
You need to treat real estate like a small business- because that’s what it is
Real estate is just like a small business that sells ice cream. You need to strategically figure out how you can make it sustainable through profitability. The major downfall that most Realtors fall into is that they don’t do this. They live paycheque to paycheque without budgeting. Or maybe they spend too large of a percentage of their income on advertising.
Write a business plan, understand who you are clientele is and be strategic with your marketing. Getting this right will mean long term success. Getting it wrong will put you on the path to failure.
It’s not just about the sale
You also need to realize that it’s not always about the sale. Yes, it’s nice to get a paycheque. But if you do things that compromise your integrity, it’s a very short sighted approach. Sure, if you push a client to buy a house they may buy it. But if the transaction didn’t feel honest or ethical by the client, you’ll never hear from them again.
Sometimes, you need to tell your clients to walk away from a house. Once you start to understand the market, your clients will trust your opinions. Being honest may cost you a sale in the short term, but it helps you maintain a long term relationship.
You need to be a professional to succeed
There’s an old saying that you need to dress for the part. Would you hire a realtor who shows up in shorts and flip flops for a listing appointment? Where they’re asking for your trust and trying to demonstrate their professionalism? Probably not.
Clients want a real estate agent who is a representative of them. If you’re disorganized, don’t return calls and don’t know the real estate market, why should they hire you?
As an example, the real estate market is changing quickly in Guelph today If you’re going to a listing appointment, the seller trusts that you know basic market information!
You’re the professional and you need to come prepared to answer their questions and provide guidance. This is also key to winning listing presentations where you are competing with others. The most prepared, organized and influential sales people win listing presentations- not the pushy, sales type.
Add value to a clients experience
Real estate is a saturated market. When there is a hot real estate market, it seems as though everyone wants to be part of it. But the facts are the facts: in 2021 in Guelph, 83% of real estate agents sold 3 houses or less! If you do the math on this, most realtors in Guelph make minimum wage.
How will you succeed? By providing value to your clients. “Value” can mean different things to different people. You need to understand who your clientele is and what they value. It could be improved service through value added staging, organizing storage units or dumpsters. It could also be through market updates like real estate blogs or real estate videos.
The point is, you can’t become a Realtor with hopes that people are just going to come to you. You need to hustle and gain clients trust.
You also need to be an expert in your home market. A Toronto realtor specializes in the Toronto market. A Guelph realtor specializes in the Guelph market. A plumber may know how to do basic electrical work, but would you trust a plumber to wire your house?
Form meaningful relationships
Your clients will need your help in many other ways outside of the real estate transaction. Often times they will recommendations on mortgage brokers, lawyers, tradespeople, home inspectors and much more.
And you shouldn’t wait for your clients to ask- get out there any form these relationships! As a Guelph realtor, we are able to tell our clients the current best mortgage rate, or be able to call up a home inspector on short notice for a home inspection. Or be able to text an electrician a picture in a house and have an answer within minutes. These connections are incredible differentiators between you and other realtors.
Understand ALL the expenses
Channels like HGTV glamourize real estate, making it look like it’s all income and no expenses. That’s very far from the real world of real estate, which is a very expense heavy career. In fact, if you’re only selling 2-3 houses per year, you could actually be negative income for the year after all expenses are paid! Brokerage fees, local real estate board fees, insurance, marketing and office expenses are all real. And, don’t forget: this is all before the Government taxes you!
Realtors to be should build a business plan that takes all of this into account. You should set realistic goals for yourself in the first few years. Also watch what other Realtors in your market (and outside your market!) are doing. Be careful though- just because someone else does it, doesn’t mean it works.
About the Beth and Ryan Real Estate Team
In 2021, Beth and Ryan started working with a real estate agent to-be, Jesse Giovinazzo. Becoming a real estate agent is something that has always interested Jesse. He completed his courses to become a real estate agent in Guelph in 2021.
Now, Jesse is a solid member of the team who has been successful in helping clients buy houses. Jesse will remain on Beth and Ryan’s team as a licensed real estate agent into 2023.
Beth and Ryan Waller are Guelph Realtor who are always open to answer any questions you might have. This could be related to the processes of becoming a real estate agent or buying/selling a house.