Switching your career path to become a real estate professional can be a gratifyingly lucrative move. Real estate activity in Washington has increased dramatically.
According to a recent report by Zillow, the average house is currently valued at around $582,732. This represents a 23.7% jump since last year.
If you’re interested in becoming a broker in the state of Washington, here’s what you’ll need to know.
The Difference Between an Agent and a Broker
Before you decide to make the change in careers, it’s essential to understand the primary differences between an agent and a broker. Though there’s a bit of overlap, the two have different capabilities under the law.
A real estate agent is licensed to sell property in the state within which he or she has received the license. Such professionals are legally required to work under the aegis of a brokerage firm.
A real estate broker possesses the license to own a real estate firm that manages other agents. This position requires more education, coursework, and general responsibility.
Get Your Broker’s License Online
In the state of Washington, you’re allowed to take a real estate broker course online. This is a 90-hour course. The course will entail 60 hours of Washington real estate fundamentals and 30 hours of Washington real estate practices.
Once you pass the course and receive your certificate of completion, you’ll have to schedule a state exam at a PSI testing center. The state licensing fee is currently $138.25 for each attempt, and you’re given three and a half hours to complete the exam.
Fingerprints and Application
Before you’re cleared to apply for a brokerage license, you’ll have to be fingerprinted so the state of Washington may conduct a background check. This should cost about $43.
After you’ve undergone that step, you’ll finally be able to apply for your Washington Real Estate Broker License, which will cost $146.25. You’re allowed up to twelve months after passing the national and state exams to apply.
Once the process is complete, you can expect to pay roughly $450 – which includes the course, exam, background check, and license application – assuming you pass the exam on the first attempt.
What It Takes to Become a Broker
Real estate broker is a competitive job. Most people want to become one because they hope to open their own firm, which means you become a business owner.
Although you may have spent years building your reputation as an agent in your region and fostering a professional network, you’re on a completely different playing field as a broker. For your firm to succeed, you need to have a solid business plan along with the financial backing to start a company.
While you’re developing your business plan, try to home in on your mission and values. You should address the following facets:
- What sets your firm apart from the competition?
- How do you plan to brand and market your firm in a way that aligns with your goals?
- What is your strategy for generating new leads?
You’ll also want to recruit agents to join your firm, with the hope that they’ll be prepared to bring their clients with them.
You have the option of hiring newly licensed agents, which would enable you to teach and mold them into the style of real estate professionals that suit your operation. This approach comes with a downside, because these individuals won’t have the experience or client base to bring to the firm.
If you want to become a broker in the state of Washington, you have to be willing to take the necessary steps with patience. At the very least, it will take you several months to complete your licensing and get your firm established.
Do your best not to burn bridges with your current or past company along the way. It’s worthwhile to foster strong relationships in the real estate market. A house your firm wants to sell could be a great fit for one of your former colleagues’ real estate investors looking to buy.
Be smart and methodical about your approach to becoming a broker. It could have tremendous benefits, but that’s most likely if you go about it the right way.