How to Become a Real Estate Agent at 18: Your Guide to Starting Young in the Industry

Embarking on a career as a real estate agent at the age of 18 offers a unique opportunity for early entry into the professional world. The real estate industry presents an avenue for young individuals to start establishing a lucrative career path, combining the flexibility of self-employment with the potential for significant financial rewards. It is essential, however, for aspiring agents to have a clear understanding of the educational requirements and the licensing process, which vary by state but generally include completing a pre-licensing course and passing a real estate exam.

Entering the real estate market at such a young age also involves proactive steps to join a brokerage, which is a necessary move since most states require agents to work with a brokerage for their first few years in the industry. Starting a career early means that young agents can begin building a professional network almost immediately, leveraging mentorship opportunities, and gaining practical experience. Comprehending the ethical and legal aspects of real estate is paramount, ensuring the trust of clients and the establishment of a reputable career over time.

Key Takeaways

  • A clear understanding of the educational requirements and state-specific licensing processes is crucial for becoming a real estate agent at 18.
  • Joining a reputable brokerage is mandatory and beneficial for mentorship and practical experience in the early stages of a real estate career.
  • Adhering to ethical and legal standards is fundamental to building a trustworthy and successful career in the real estate industry.

Understanding the Real Estate Industry

Entering the real estate industry at 18 offers a promising career path, encompassing various roles and specializations. Prospective agents must discern the differences in career options and the unique terminology used in the field.

Types of Real Estate Careers

The real estate sector provides numerous career opportunities, each with distinct roles and responsibilities. Real estate agents act as intermediaries in the buying and selling of properties, providing guidance and expertise to clients navigating the housing market. Working within a real estate brokerage—a firm that facilitates real estate transactions—agents gain valuable experience in the local market dynamics. Other careers include commercial real estate agents specializing in business properties, and individuals focused on the financial side, such as interest rates and property investment analysis.

Real Estate Agent vs. Realtor

While often used interchangeably, the terms real estate agent and Realtor signify different qualifications. A real estate agent is licensed to help clients buy, sell, and rent properties and typically works under a brokerage. To become a Realtor, a real estate agent must join the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and adhere to its strict Code of Ethics. This membership can lend additional credibility and illustrates a commitment to maintaining high industry standards. Realtors may work in various markets, dealing with both residential and commercial properties, and must stay well-informed about shifts in the real estate market, such as changes in interest rates that affect the affordability of properties.

Educational Requirements

Before embarking on a career as a real estate agent at 18, it’s crucial to understand the educational foundation required by one’s state. This involves selecting an accredited real estate school and completing the necessary pre-licensing education.

Choosing the Right Real Estate School

When it comes to real estate education, aspiring agents must choose an accredited institution that aligns with state requirements. It’s essential to research and find a real estate school providing courses specifically designed for pre-licensing education. Schools like Kaplan are renowned for offering comprehensive real estate classes that cover all the facets of real estate principles and practices.

  • Benefits of Interactive Learning: Many schools offer interactive classes in a classroom setting, which can be beneficial for those who prefer structured learning environments.
  • Online Flexibility: For those with scheduling constraints, online courses provide flexibility to complete real estate courses at their own pace.

Overview of Pre-Licensing Education

Each state mandates a certain number of educational hours in pre-licensing courses to ensure that agents are well-prepared.

  • Education Requirement: Typically, these requirements range from 60 to 150 hours of real estate education.
  • Curriculum Content: Students will delve into topics such as property rights, contracts, real estate law, financing, and more.

Attaining a college degree is not a prerequisite for real estate licensing; however, the completion of pre-license education is non-negotiable. It’s vital to pursue real estate classes that meet the education requirements of the state where one intends to practice. Real estate principles form the core of pre-licensing education, preparing candidates adequately for the state exam and their future career in real estate.

Licensing Process

The licensing process for becoming a real estate agent at 18 typically involves meeting state-specific requirements, preparing for and passing the real estate exam, and meeting additional criteria such as a background check and fingerprinting.

State-Specific Licensing Requirements

Each state has its own licensing requirements that dictate the path to becoming a licensed real estate agent. Prospective agents must first ensure they meet the minimum age requirement, which is often 18 years. It’s essential to visit the website of the state real estate commission to understand the specific educational hours and courses required in the state. For example, in some states, you might need to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing education, while others may require over 100 hours.

Preparing for the Real Estate Exam

Preparation for the real estate exam is a crucial step in securing a license. The exam typically covers national and state-specific real estate laws and principles. Prospective agents can benefit from a range of study materials, including courses from licensed education providers. For instance, detailed information about required pre-license education is available through various accredited platforms like

Taking and Passing the Licensing Exam

Upon meeting the educational requirements, candidates must register with a testing center to take the licensing exam. The test is divided into national and state sections and includes both multiple-choice and scenario-based questions. Successful completion requires a score that meets or exceeds the state’s cut-off mark. Additionally, applicants may need to submit to a background check and fingerprinting as part of the application process for a real estate license. Once these hurdles are cleared and the state real estate commission issues a license, an individual can begin practicing as a licensed real estate agent.

Joining a Brokerage

After obtaining your real estate license, the next critical step is joining a brokerage. This aspect of your career involves careful consideration as the brokerage you choose can greatly influence your development and success as a real estate agent.

Finding a Brokerage That Fits

Choosing the right real estate brokerage is pivotal for a new agent. You’ll want to align with a brokerage that offers support, training, and a culture that matches your professional ethos. Additionally, it’s essential to work with a supervising broker who is not only licensed but also possesses a wealth of experience. They can provide invaluable guidance on handling clients, conducting open houses, and navigating complex transactions. As you evaluate potential brokerages, consider the size, reputation, the level of mentorship available, and whether they can foster your growth.

Understanding Brokerage Commission Structures

A clear grasp of commission structures is vital before joining a brokerage, as this often directly affects your income. Most brokerages work on a split-commission basis, where a percentage of your earnings from a property sale goes to the brokerage. The exact split can vary, from a traditional 50/50 between broker and agent to more agent-favorable structures like 70/30. Some brokerages may even offer a graduated commission, where your share increases after achieving certain sales milestones. It is critical to understand and be comfortable with the commission structure as it will dictate your financial progression within the brokerage.

Building a Real Estate Career

Entering the real estate industry at 18 unlocks the potential for robust personal development and career growth. Success hinges on one’s proficiency in gaining clients, continuous learning, and mastering the fine art of communication and negotiation.

Marketing and Client Acquisition Strategies

Real estate agents must develop strong marketing plans to stand out in a competitive market. An effective plan often includes leveraging online platforms such as and the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) to showcase homes and attract potential clients. They should also consider direct mail campaigns, local sponsorships, and maintaining an active social media presence for maximum exposure.

Specialization and Expanding Your Knowledge

Specialization in a particular market segment can greatly benefit a real estate career. Agents may choose to concentrate on residential properties, luxury homes, or commercial real estate. Complementing this specialization with continuing education is crucial, as it not only enriches an agent’s understanding of the market but ensures they stay abreast of legal and ethical standards.

The Importance of Communication and Negotiation Skills

Effective communication skills are the bedrock of any real estate transaction process. They facilitate clear and transparent interactions with clients and other stakeholders, streamlining the path to closing deals. Additionally, sharpening negotiation skills through on-the-job training and practice can give agents an edge in securing the best terms for their clients.

Ethical and Legal Considerations

As an aspiring real estate agent at 18, it’s imperative to grasp the importance of ethical practices and legal requirements. These form the bedrock of trust and professionalism in the real estate sector. This section delves into the critical ethical standards and legal frameworks, including the Code of Ethics and key regulatory bodies, that a young agent must understand and adhere to.

Understanding the Code of Ethics

The Code of Ethics is a cornerstone of the real estate profession, particularly for members of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR). It sets forth a framework for behavior that emphasizes honesty, integrity, and fairness in all transactions. Members who carry the REALTOR® designation are committed to this code, which extends beyond the letter of the law to include a range of professional courtesies and higher standards of practice.

Key principles include:

  • Loyalty to clients
  • Avoidance of exaggeration and misrepresentation
  • Cooperation with other brokers

These guidelines ensure that young real estate professionals conduct their business in a manner that not only complies with the law but also meets the high standards expected by clients and colleagues.

Real Estate Regulatory Organizations

Real estate agents, including those newly entering the field at 18, are regulated by various state and federal agencies. These bodies enforce real estate law and ensure that practitioners have the necessary licenses to legally work in the industry. In addition to state-specific regulatory organizations, the NAR plays a vital role in maintaining professional standards.

Designations offered by the NAR and other industry groups not only signify an agent’s commitment to ethical practices but also represent a level of education and expertise. Adherence to the standards set by regulatory organizations and the NAR assures clients of an agent’s credibility and dedication to ethical conduct.

Frequently Asked Questions

Embarking on a career in real estate at 18 can lead to a rewarding path with ample opportunities for growth. These FAQs are designed to offer clarity on the prerequisites and outline the journey for young, aspiring real estate agents in Missouri.

What are the education and licensing requirements to become a real estate agent in Missouri?

In Missouri, a potential real estate agent must complete 72 hours of pre-licensing education from an accredited school and pass the Missouri real estate license examination. They must also submit an application to the Missouri Real Estate Commission with the required fees.

Is prior experience necessary to start a career in real estate at the age of 18?

No prior experience is needed to begin a career in real estate at 18. However, individuals should possess a strong understanding of the industry and demonstrate excellent communication skills to navigate the market effectively.

What steps should someone under 20 take to prepare for a career in real estate?

Individuals under 20 should focus on completing the necessary education requirements, networking with professionals in the field, and possibly finding a mentor. Acquiring a solid foundation of the market and sales techniques is also beneficial.

How long does the process of obtaining a real estate license typically take for a beginner?

The time frame to obtain a real estate license can vary but generally includes the time taken to complete educational courses, study for and pass the state exam, and submit the application for the license. On average, it can take a few months to complete all these steps.

What are the potential earnings for a new real estate agent just starting out?

The average annual income of a real estate agent is often cited around $48,340, but actual earnings can vary based on numerous factors such as location, commission rates, market conditions, and individual work ethic.

How challenging is the Missouri real estate licensure examination for candidates?

The Missouri real estate licensure examination is designed to test a candidate’s knowledge of both national and state-specific content. It is considered challenging and requires thorough understanding and preparation.

About the author

Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.