How to Become a Real Estate Agent in NYC



After completing your pre-licensing classes and passing the state real estate exam, it’s time to start looking for a brokerage. The right agency can offer you the mentorship and professional support you need to thrive in this fast-paced career, so it’s important to find an agent you click with. The right questions can help you weed out agents who might not have the experience and qualifications you’re looking for. Plus, interviewing agents gives you an opportunity to negotiate commissions—you’re going to be spending a lot of time working with your agent, so it’s worth trying to get the best deal.

Aside from getting your mortgage pre-approved and finding a real estate lawyer, one of the most important early steps you can take is to connect with your local real estate trade organization. In NYC, this is REBNY (Real Estate Board of New York), which can offer invaluable guidance as you navigate your first year in the business. They can also recommend a sponsoring broker to work under for the initial few years, as every licensed salesperson in New York must have a broker “sponsor.” Read more

Once you’ve found your sponsoring broker, it’s time to prepare for your real estate license exam, which is typically split into two sections—one on federal and general real estate law and one on state-specific laws. The number of questions and the amount of time allowed for each section will vary by state, and most pre-licensing courses and state real estate commissions provide sample exams online.

In addition to preparing for the exam, it’s important to ask prospective agents about the type of real estate they specialize in and how they differentiate themselves from their competitors. For example, you’ll want to know if they specialize as buyer’s agents or listing agents, and whether they use cutting-edge technology or market insights to better serve their clients.

After the interview, ask the agent for references and contact information for a few of their recent listings and closed deals. Reach out to those past clients to learn more about their experiences working with the agent—including how long their home-buying or selling process took, what was easy and what wasn’t, and whether they’d hire the agent again.

Another consideration is whether the agent works as part of an agency team or independently. Many agents choose to join agencies because they feel it will help them build rapport with their colleagues, but some agents prefer to work on their own. In both cases, it’s important to determine whether you’ll be comfortable with the way your future agent interacts with their colleagues and clients.


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