A career in real estate can be personally and financially rewarding in both the commercial and residential real estate sectors.
- Commercial real estate spans many diverse sectors such as land, office, retail, industrial, property management, leasing, investment, and development. Property deals can be time consuming from initial interest to the closing table, and highly competitive. Financial analysis, market demographic and environmental research are involved. Commercial real estate commissions on transactions can vary widely between .5 and 10%.
- In residential real estate, most sales agents work as independent contractors. Licensees enjoy unparalleled control over their own schedules and income that is tied directly to their efforts. Residential commissions can vary but a 6% split by the seller's and buyer's representation is most common. Residential agents do well by specializing in areas such as seniors representation, luxury homes, international properties, etc., and by becoming a broker.
Here's how to get started as a real estate professional in Pennsylvania:
Step 1: PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
All potential real estate licensees are required to successfully complete 60 hours of education before attempting the state real estate exam. The education takes the form of two mandatory classes; each one concludes with a final exam: 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 has been licensed since 1979 and offers these courses at its classroom in Pittsburgh and online. New classes begin monthly; click here to learn more. Take your classes at our trusted school, the largest real estate school in Western PA. There is never any recruiting pressure and, unlike schools associated with real estate companies, there are never any employment contracts to sign. Our only focus is on student success!
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. Examinations are offered daily (five to six days a week). The Candidate Information Bulletin has a list of all local testing facilities. To download a copy, go to www.psiexams.com. There is an exam fee (in addition to application fees you'll pay directly to the State Real Estate Commission). 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 found on their website. Along with the form, you must attach a verification of your exam passage (supplied by the testing company, PSI Examination Services); a transcript demonstrating your completion of the education requirements (provided by the school); a recent criminal background check from the Pennsylvania State Police; and an 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.