Five Easy Steps to Get your Texas Real Estate License

So you decided to become a Texas real estate agent? That's amazing news! It’s a decision that can put you on a career path where you have more control over your schedule and income, but first, you have to earn your Texas real estate license. Getting licensed for your new career in Texas real estate might seem a bit overwhelming, but we’re here to guide you through the process. This real estate licensing information summarizes the minimum requirements established by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC). To begin you must meet the following initial qualifications:

Qualifications

  • Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
  • 18 years of age or older
  • Resident of Texas
  • Meet TREC’s qualifications for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.

Once you meet the initial qualifications, it's time to get started on the path to a great career! Read on for a further breakdown of the path to becoming a licensed real estate agent in Texas!

Step 1: Complete your Qualifying Education

For a Sales Agent: 180 Classroom hours of the following qualifying real estate courses

  • Principles of Real Estate I (30 hours)
  • Principles of Real Estate II (30 hours)
  • Law of Agency (30 hours)
  • Law of Contracts (30 hours)
  • Promulgated Contract Forms (30 hours)
  • Real Estate Finance (30 hours)

Education course completion documents must be submitted to TREC after applying online or with your paper application.

Step 2: File Your Application

Apply Online – Submit your application and fee to become a Sales Agent ($205) using TREC’s Online Services log in now. If you don’t already have a username and password for Online Services, you’ll need to register first.

Apply by Mail – You can also apply for your Sales Agent license using TREC’s paper application. This may take longer to process, and you will need to pay a paper filing fee ($20).

*You have one year from the date your application is filed to meet all license requirements.

Step 3: Get Your Fingerprints Taken and Pass Your Background Check

You are required by law to have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) so a background check can be performed.

Step 4: Take the Exam

License exams are administered by PearsonVUE.

You will be sent a notice with instructions for scheduling the exam and obtaining a copy of the exam Candidate Handbook.

Step 5: Find a Sponsor

After meeting the above requirements, you will be issued an inactive Sales Agent license. You need to be sponsored by an active Texas licensed broker to work. You can complete a sponsorship request using TREC’s online services. Once the broker has accepted your request, your active license will be issued, and you can work as a Sales Agent!

  • 90   hours of qualifying post licensure real estate courses, including the following, are required after receiving your license and within your first year:
    • Property Management (30 hours)
    • Real Estate Sales and Marketing (30 hours)
    • Real Estate Marketing (30 hours)

 

We provide: Texas approved qualifying education that meets all of the requirements to take your salesperson exam, required post-license and continuing education courses.
All classes are HD VIDEO or FULL NARRATION or PRINTABLE TEXT

5 Traits That Make a Texas Real Estate Professional

In Texas a real estate “salesperson” is far more than a person who helps to buy or sell homes for clients. That is merely the tip of the longhorn for what they really do which includes tasks such as: analysist, advocate, consultant, negotiator, media expert, and blogger just to name a few. Being a real estate agent in Texas means making yourself into a one-person show, but for those who are tired of the 9-5 Monday-Friday and have a desire for independence, this is just what your free spirit is looking for.

With that job description how do you know if a Texas real estate career is right for you?  We have compiled the essential qualities and traits that successful real estate professionals have and listed them for you below.

  1. Problem solver mindset
    Do you enjoy coming up with creative solutions to problems or issues? Thinking on your feet and solving issues creatively is sometimes all that stands between you and making a deal.
  1. Hustle and tenacity
    Being a top producing real estate agent requires a great work ethic. You must have the tenacity to pursue every lead and the hustle to aggressively market your clients’ properties in order to have success. It’s not just about putting in a lot of time—it’s about working smart and doing whatever is necessary to close the deal.
  1. Attention to detail
    Paying close attention to the details is imperative for your real estate career. Success comes from identifying and developing a focus or niche in the local real estate market that allows you to distinguish yourself from the competition. If you are organized, follow up with leads, communicate well, and pay attention to the needs of your clients, you will close more deals.
  1. Knowledge is power
    Staying up-to-date on the latest topics in real estate and in the local market will allow you to serve clients more effectively. Continuing education and professional development are doors to opportunity that you can utilize to expand your knowledge and stay at the forefront of the real estate field.
  1. Honesty and integrity
    Your professional reputation is crucial to a long and successful career in real estate. A good real estate agent doesn’t just sell properties—they sell themselves. It’s important to show your real personality. People will respond to you if you have a great attitude, are personable and honest and have confidence in your abilities.

At the end of the day, you get out of it what you put into it. There is a certain level investment needed (time, energy, and money) to make any business venture successful. Texas real estate is no different. If you find the idea of going into real estate tantalizing but you aren’t sure how to get started, or you are passionate about real estate and have similar traits to those outlined here, you have a great shot at having a long and successful real estate career in Texas. Why not get started today?

Takeaways From ICNY 2020

Inman Connect 2020 is an event for residential real estate professionals to discuss the present and future of the industry. New York City's The Close attended the Inman Connect 2020 conference and shared their key takeaways from the event. Below is a short list of their findings, to learn more view the full article.

  1. Online Real Estate Lead Quality Has Dropped Since 2012
    In the past 8 years the number of online leads has grown by 510% while the number of new home sales has grown by 10%. Meanwhile, the cost of internet leads is steadily increasing, even as the quality declines. We all know you can't run a successful real estate company without leads so rather than ditching your leads as expensive and unproductive, take the time to really nurture your leads and change your expectations.
  2. Relationships are King but Content is Queen
    Relationships and content need to work hand in hand to represent your business. According to real estate marketing expert Katie Lance, "Every listing, every photo, every single letter of every single word of every single sentence is a representation of your brand. What sort of content are you making to create opportunities for incredible client experiences?” In other words, you need to create great content to engage your audience and make building relationships easier.
  3. Traditional Mortgages Are Being Disrupted
    Companies like Divvy, Flyhomes, and Orchard are providing buyers a new way to buy real estate.  Companies like Divvy will purchase a home for a buyer that doesn't have a down payment and lease it back to them.  A portion of lease goes towards your down payment - once you've saved enough Divvy sells the home to you. Learning about these companies and the growing number of financing options will enable you to market to totally new clients.

These are just a few of the major points from the Inman Connect 2020 conference. View the full article for more.

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED PRELICENSE COURSES AND CONTINUING EDUCATION

Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

How do I get a Michigan real estate broker license?

  1. Complete 90 hours of approved real estate coursework within 36 months of application, unless licensed continuously.
    All potential brokers in Michigan must complete an approved 90 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
    Note: if you have been a practicing attorney for 5 or more years you only need to take 30hrs to become a licensed broker.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license. Upon accessing iCOLA, you will be asked to create an account, pay your license fee, and submit your license application electronically.
    Note: You must have at least 3 years’ full-time experience as a real estate salesperson, or equivalent experience before applying as a broker (Rule 205).
  3. Register with PSI and pay the $76 exam fee.
    To schedule your exam date, call PSI at 1-800-733-9267. Use the 24/7 Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET. You will be informed immediately after the exam whether you passed or not. PSI will import your exam data into your iCOLA record within 48 hours of successful completion of the exam.

Where is the Michigan real estate broker exam offered?

  • Gaylord
  • Grand Rapids
  • Holt
  • Marquette
  • Southfield

What are the initial real estate licensing fees in Michigan?

Michigan operates on three-year cycles so initial licensing fees decrease each year. 2018 is the last year of a licensing cycle to fees are as follows:
Brokers & Associate Brokers: $71
Branch Office: $30

Who do I contact at the state level about getting a Michigan real estate license?

Contact Information

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Board of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons
Website:  http://www.michigan.gov/realestate
Phone:  517-241-9288

Licensing References

Michigan Real Estate – Frequently Asked Questions
Michigan Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons — Occupational Code


Licensing Resources

Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 90-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE

Home on the Range: How to Sell a Texas Ranch

Texas has its fair share of massive luxury ranches, each highlighting the state's diverse terrain. The scenic parcels go hand in hand with Texas' country identity. But for some property owners looking to unload their massive properties, the multimillion-dollar parcels can be difficult to pair with qualified buyers. Some sellers have taken to selling their ranches by auctioning them off rather than listing them at a set price. Typically, folks think auctions are for hard economic times but in reality, the best time to sell at auction is when times are good - there's more competition. When you are living in the longest economic expansion in U.S. history, selling by auction can change the game for both seller and buyer.

Important Basics for Getting Auction Ready:

Ranches come in all sizes and uses including hunting, hay, cattle, fishing and recreation, high fenced exotics, vineyards, and true working ranches. You need to really get the ‘feel’ of the property, and your sellers are your best resource. After discussing the aspects of the ranch with your sellers, discuss the options to list traditionally or sell at auction. Certainly, we all know that the “basics” are important in selling a ranch and they are more far reaching than when selling a home but no matter how they decide to sell, there is an immense amount of homework for everyone to take on. The data needed to accurately list the ranch can be overwhelming but here is a good place to start:

  • Land surveys
  • Legal descriptions
  • Tax information
  • Property assessments (agricultural, timber, wildlife, etc.)
  • Production
  • Water rights
  • Wind rights
  • BLM leases or other agricultural leases
  • Conservation easement documents (if applicable)
  • Well logs
  • Zoning information
  • Local utilities
  • Inventory list of exclusions and inclusions from the seller.

Once you have this info together for your property, it is a good idea to gather similar information on competitive properties and projects, including sold and closed properties within a determined area.  This could include several states! Collecting regional and local information and articles is also a good idea.

Get Specific: Illustrate Defining Characteristics

You will also want to gather all building descriptions and specs, floor plans, building diagrams, blueprints, etc. Know your boundaries. How much is wooded, how much in crop production, hay production, native grasses?  How many water features? What’s the size and depth of ponds and lakes? Figure the carrying capacity of your pastures, and know the current pasture plans in place. When it comes to hunting and fishing amenities, try to get photos of the wildlife that can be found on the property. Good photography, both still and aerial from a drone, is essential on large properties.

Compare and Contrast the Property for Marketing:

Assembling all of the critical information that makes you as knowledgeable as the seller about your ranch listing is paramount so that you know which marketing strategies will get the best response.  Foremost is determining if your ranch listing is a local, regional or global property in its appeal. Ranches are a niche segment of the real estate business which is why the auction method of marketing allows agents to offer large tracts in smaller pieces or any combination which allows more participation from small, medium and large property buyers. Dividing large lots can make the purchase more approachable for some buyers who can't afford 400-acre plots or can't pay for the expensive maintenance. Smaller tracts, especially at a price a buyer bids, can be less intimidating and more marketable. The buying pool for a 4,300-acre ranch is much shallower compared to the pool of 500- to 1,500-acre buyers. The auction makes it possible to increase the number of buyers and sell it all on the same day.

Auctions are more familiar to ranch buyers who have attended similar sales, many of them have attended cattle auctions and equipment auctions since they were kids. They understand markets, competition and the fair value that an auction creates, and they trust the process. The multi-parcel process is unique to the auction method, but sellers really like the opportunity to get more buyers involved and competing for ownership.

 


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Get Ready for a New Year and New Career!

How exciting! You’ve decided to take the leap and you are ready to start your new career in 2020. There are a million questions you must have. There are a few things you need to know to get started on the licensing process and start your journey to becoming a stellar real estate salesperson. The time it takes to go from nothing to fully licensed will depend largely on the state you’re trying to get licensed in. Although that may seem daunting imagine working for yourself in a flexible career where you can set your own schedule with annual earning potential of $100,000 or more. There are so many reasons to choose real estate as your career.

1. Know your Application Requirements

There are some legal requirements that all applicants must fulfill. These requirements will change slightly depending on the state you’re in, so make sure to double-check with your state’s licensing commission to make sure you know every requirement.

Generally, the legal requirements for real estate licensure are as follows:

  • Be 18 years of age or older
  • Be legally allowed to work in the United States
  • No pending criminal indictments against you
  • No criminal convictions for violent or home invasion-related offenses

The last two criteria, related to an applicant’s criminal background, are determined in most states on a case-by-case basis. A conviction doesn’t necessarily disqualify an applicant but trying to hide something in the application process almost certainly will.

2. Take a Pre-licensure Course

Nearly every state requires at least 30 hours of pre-licensure study before an applicant is eligible to sit for the state real estate licensing exam. There are two major reasons for this. First, real estate is a relatively complex business and in order to get started in the business, there’s a minimum knowledge base you’ll need to properly operate. As a real estate agent, you’ll be tasked with caring for the needs of your clients, a task that would be reckless to take on if you didn’t know the best ways to help them.

3. Pass Your State’s Real Estate Exam

Once you’ve completed your real estate pre-licensing course, you’re free to take the actual exam whenever you’d like, but we suggest you spend some time taking some practice exams. As many as you can find. Really. As MANY as you can find. Once you’ve completed your state’s pre-licensure requirements and prepped with some practice tests, it’s time to take your licensing exam. So what’s on the Real Estate License Exam?

Each state administers multiple versions of the test, and each state is different, it’s impossible to say exactly what you’ll see, but there are a few topics that real estate agents consistently see on the test.

  • Fair housing law: This topic is one that you’ll spend a good chunk of time on in your pre-licensing class, so pay attention. Knowing these facts is important if you want to adhere to state and federal guidelines on discrimination and equal housing opportunities, so the test will hammer them.
  • Basic contracts: Contracts are a critical component to using a real estate license, so the basic rules for contracts and negotiations appear regularly.
  • Real estate math: You won’t be asked to do anything more than arithmetic, but you’ll definitely be asked to do a lot of it. Understanding interest rates, percentages, and prorations will be put to the test in a number of questions.

4. Choose Your Brokerage

Once you’ve completed your pre-licensure requirements and passed your state exam, it’s time to start thinking about where you want to work. Even though you’ve demonstrated to the state that you have the knowledge required to practice real estate, you still need a brokerage to sponsor you. In order to buy and sell real estate, every real estate agent requires a broker to sponsor them. A broker is a real estate agent who has demonstrated that they not only have advanced knowledge of the industry, but that they also have a track record of success.

5. Register with the State You’re Practicing In

Once you’ve made a decision on a brokerage, the next step is to formalize your licensure with the state you’ll be operating in. It will involve submitting your personal and brokerage information and, in many states, completing forms for a basic background check. Real estate is a field that requires constant learning in order to maintain success. Find a mentor or a set of mentors who you can ask questions of, bounce ideas off of, and get advice from.

Finally, remember that this business is all about servicing our clients, not ourselves. When you accept your Realtor designation from the National Association of Realtors, you agree to always place your client’s fiduciary best interests over all others, including your own. If you are ever faced with a tough decision in a transaction, stop and ask yourself if your choices are in the best interest of your clients.

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Tips and Tricks to Pass your Real Estate Exam

If you are like me, deciding to get your real estate license is a big deal. You’ve spent time looking for the best exam prep course for the best price and now you’re signed up to take your exam. You’ve circled the date on your calendar and the pre-test jitters are setting in. You have questions like “how much should I study? and "what should I study?” Every state's exam may be slightly different but the test taking skills you will need are universal. Here are some of the best exam taking tips to help you pass your exam.

Obviously the most important factor in passing the real estate exam is knowing the material. However, don't lose sight of the goal: passing the test! Learning is great but you can't use what you've learned if you don't pass.

  1. Start by only answering the easy questions. Read the entire exam and only answer the questions you absolutely know the answer to. This will give you a sense of progress and your subconscious will begin thinking about the questions you skipped. When you’ve got a timed test, there’s always the concern that you’ll get hung up in a section and not be able to finish the test. Don’t be one of those people--unanswered questions are marked wrong. Wouldn’t it be a shame if the last three questions on the test were easy ones— guaranteed points for you--but you wound up just having to fill in a random answer on them because you didn’t have time to actually read and think about them? By skipping through the questions you don’t know the answers to and focusing first on the questions you do know the answers to, you’re assuring yourself that you get time to answer the questions you are most likely to get right.
  2.  If you don't know it, wait. Skip questions if you don't know the answer--don't waste time on questions you don't know. For example, if math is difficult for you, skip the math problems until after you finish the rest of the exam. Occasionally, the answer to an earlier question will be revealed in a later question. It is not uncommon on the real estate license exam to have questions that relate to one another, like using the same purchase or sale scenario. These hidden answers are another reason why reading all the way through the exam once at the beginning is a great idea.
  3. Don't second guess yourself. As a general rule, once you've answered a test question, don't change your answer even if you're unsure of the answer you selected. It has been statistically proven that you are much more likely to change an answer from correct to incorrect. An easy way to get tripped up on the real estate licensing exam is to misinterpret an answer choice, thanks to complicated wording. Deceptive language is fair game on tests like this, so double-negatives, unrelated conclusions, or red herrings (especially in the math portion of the test) are common. Do your best to puzzle it out, but ultimately move on without answering if you estimate having to spend more than a minute thinking about the correct answer.
  4. There is no penalty for guessing. Once you have gone through the exam at least twice, time may be running short and now would be a good time to start guessing. The worst that can happen when you guess on a question is that you don’t get any point. The best thing that can happen though, is that you have a one in four shot at getting a point. Unanswered questions are marked wrong, and it is far better to take a chance on a wrong answer than eliminate any possibility of getting the correct answer. That being said, you can increase your odds by trying to make an educated guess--there is likely at least one answer that is obviously wrong, so don't guess blindly: read the question and answers first and choose the most likely answer.
  5. Don't compete with other applicants. You're given plenty of time to complete the exam and you should use as much of it as you need. Don't worry if other examinees finish before you do, most likely they are taking a completely different exam. All types of exams are given in one room. You may be sitting next to a plumber taking his exam or a beautician completing hers. If by chance, there is more than one real estate hopeful, remember that many students who finish quickly… fail.

Real estate licensing exams are pass/fail, there is no extra credit for a perfect score. If you’re like me, the allure of a perfect score on a test is hard to ignore, but in the case of the real estate licensing exam, we must. Remember, your goal is to answer the number of questions correctly that will get you a passing score. Use all your best energy to get to the passing threshold—anything beyond that doesn’t matter.

Bonus Tip: do as many practice real estate exam questions as you can. The test is multiple choice and you will perform MUCH better if you've been doing practice tests that mimic the exam. Use a trusted service like ours to prepare for the actual real estate exam.

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Why YOU Should Get Your Real Estate License In Texas

Recently, cities like Austin, Houston and San Antonio have become an alluring option for young Millennials who dream of owning their own home. Young people are looking to Texas’s vibrant culture and lively economy to set down roots.

It is projected that by 2050, Texas will have a population of 54.4 million. As people flood in, the Lone Star state will become more and more urban. With more than 400,000 new arrivals each year, current Texans now have a once in a lifetime opportunity to flourish in a growing real estate market. That means that YOU should consider a career in Texas real estate and cash in on this profitable and highly rewarding career.

Getting your real estate license in Texas is easier than you may think. The Real Estate Training Institute wants to help you fast track to your new career, and our new Texas pre-license course is ready to help you do just that. Our program is fully approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC), and it includes every subject you need in order to pass the licensing exam:

  • Law of Contracts
  • Law of Agency
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Promulgated Contract Forms
  • Principles of Real Estate I
  • Principles of Real Estate II

Making a career change can be nerve wracking, but a career in real estate is both rewarding and an opportunity to invest in your future. Our TREC approved courses are  a mix of video and text to help you study how you feel most comfortable. Additionally, our courses are available anywhere, anytime on any internet enabled device—making it simple and time effective to complete your pre-license education and get on the path to a rewarding new career today!

Mississippi Real Estate Investors Jailed After Bid-Rigging Scheme

Nine real estate investors in southern Mississippi are facing jail time and hefty fines after violating federal antitrust laws, reports WLOX. On February 21, 2019, Christopher Vaughan and Jon Gregg Goodhart Jr. were ordered four months jail time for their part in a bid-rigging scheme.

WLOX reports that Vaughan and Goodhart Jr. conspired not to bid against each other on properties at real estate foreclosure auctions between 2009 and 2017. They predetermined a bid winner and exchanged payouts to their counterparts who did not compete against them in the bidding process.

Their illegal agreement prevented competition and drove property prices down. Vaughan was ordered to pay $20,000 in fines plus restitution. Ivan Spinner, Jason Boykin, Shannon Boykin, Kimberly Foster, Kevin Moore, Chad Nichols and Terry Tolar were also sentenced in a separate part of the same investigation.

They were sentenced to four months of jail plus fines between $20,000 to $48,000 and restitution to victims of their crimes. Bid rigging is market manipulation has been illegal since the Sherman Antitrust Act of 1890. Experts say bid rigging hurts free market competition as well as taxpayers and consumers.

Bid rigging comes in many forms, according to Investopedia:

  • Rotating the bid winner
  • Intentionally selecting bidders to sit out of the auction process to let someone else win
  • Placing uncompetitive bids to let another bidder win
  • “Phantom bidders” that place fake bids to spur real bidders to go higher than normal

Bid rigging and other ethical and legal topics are covered in our comprehensive continuing education classes.

The classes are available online from any Wi-Fi connection on tablet, computer or cellphone.

 


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Step-by-Step Guide to Getting a Broker License

Michigan is one of the only real estate markets expected to grow in 2019. If you're ready to upgrade your salesperson license, here is everything you need to know.

How do I get a Michigan real estate broker license?

  1. Complete 90 hours of approved real estate coursework within 36 months of application, unless licensed continuously.
    All potential brokers in Michigan must complete an approved 90 Hour course. Real Estate Training Institute offers this course online in HD video so you can fit it into your busy schedule. The onscreen instructor, Gwyn Besner is available to answer any questions you have while taking the course.
    Note: if you have been a practicing attorney for 5 or more years you only need to take 30hrs to become a licensed broker.
  2. Submit your real estate license application. Go to www.michigan.gov/icola to apply for a license. Upon accessing iCOLA, you will be asked to create an account, pay your license fee, and submit your license application electronically.
    Note: You must have at least 3 years’ full-time experience as a real estate salesperson, or equivalent experience before applying as a broker (Rule 205).
  3. Register with PSI and pay the $76 exam fee.
    To schedule your exam date, call PSI at 1-800-733-9267. Use the 24/7 Automated Registration System or speak with a representative between 7:30 A.M. to 8:00 P.M. ET. You will be informed immediately after the exam whether you passed or not. PSI will import your exam data into your iCOLA record within 48 hours of successful completion of the exam.

Where is the Michigan real estate broker exam offered?

  • Gaylord
  • Grand Rapids
  • Holt
  • Marquette
  • Southfield

What are the initial real estate licensing fees in Michigan?

Michigan operates on three-year cycles so initial licensing fees decrease each year. 2018 is the last year of a licensing cycle to fees are as follows:
Brokers & Associate Brokers: $71
Branch Office: $30

Who do I contact at the state level about getting a Michigan real estate license?

Contact Information

Licensing and Regulatory Affairs
Board of Real Estate Brokers & Salespersons
Website:  http://www.michigan.gov/realestate
Phone:  517-241-9288

Licensing References

Michigan Real Estate – Frequently Asked Questions
Michigan Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons — Occupational Code


Licensing Resources

Should You Get A Real Estate License?

Step-by-Step Guide to Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson

Why You Should Upgrade to A Broker License

 


ONLINE STATE-APPROVED 90-HOUR PRELICENSE COURSE