A career in real estate sales can be personally and financially rewarding for professionals who are highly self-motivated, personable, and knowledgeable about their communities. Because most sales agents work as independent contractors, they enjoy unparalleled control over their own schedules and income that's tied directly to their efforts. Here's how to get started as a real estate professional in Western Pennsylvania:
Step 1: PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
All potential real estate licensees are required to successfully pass 60 hours of professional training before attempting the state real estate exam. The training takes the form of two mandatory classes; each one concludes with a test: 1) Real Estate Fundamentals, which covers terminology, law, and theory; and 2) Real Estate Practice, which applies these principles to the in-and-outs of a sales transaction. The REALTORS® Educational Institute is accredited to offer these courses at its classroom in Pittsburgh and online. New sections begin monthly; click here to learn more.
Step 2: TAKE THE LICENSE EXAM
The Pennsylvania real estate license exam is a multiple-choice test, which contains 80 questions about general real estate principles and 30 questions specific to real estate laws in Pennsylvania. Examinations are administered periodically at locations across the state. To schedule your exam or to learn more about the testing process, contact PSI Examination Services, the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission's testing provider. The test fee is $56 (in addition to application fees you'll pay directly to the REC). Prior to the exam, you will be required to provide a transcript demonstrating your successful completion of the classes above.
Step 3: SELECT A BROKERAGE
Because all real estate sales agents must operate under the auspices of a licensed broker, you are required to choose your company/broker affiliation before obtaining a license. The broker of record at your new company must sign your initial license application. To arrange for consideration and/or an interview, contact the brokerage you wish to join.
Step 4: COMPLETE YOUR LICENSE APPLICATION
Submit the Salesperson Initial License Application to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. Along with the form, you must attach a verification of your exam passage (supplied by the testing company); a transcript demonstrating your completion of the education requirements (provided by the school); a recent criminal background check from the Pennsylvania State Police; and a $131 application fee. Additionally, the form must be signed by the broker of record at the company where you will do business. You may not practice real estate until your license has been issued by the commission.
Step 5 (optional): JOIN THE REALTORS® ASSOCIATION
Many real estate licensees elect to become REALTORS® by joining the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribing to its strict Code of Ethics. Your membership carries many professional benefits to help equip you for success, and the REALTOR® name conveys a high standard of conduct and competence to your clients. Click here to learn more about the requirements for joining our association.