Anyone who wishes to enter the real estate business needs to invest a huge amount of time and money into it. However, there are some parts of the process that few people talk about. Read on to find out what they are.

1. Education

It doesn’t matter where you live; you’ll have to do at least one course before you get a license. However, the specifics of this course will vary greatly depending on which state you live in. For example, you’ll need 3 college-level courses in California. Other states will require you to pit in a set number of hours. You need to find out exactly what to do in order to become an agent in your state.

Some estate agencies also have their own educational prerequisites, which means that you may be forced to take some extra courses after being hired by the agency.

2. Choose a brokerage

Every real estate agent needs a brokerage. Since you will have to work with a broker in order to succeed as an agent, try contacting one even before you graduate from your course. A broker will have at least three more years of training and can help you navigate some minefields.

When looking for the right broker, consider the brokerage’s size, reputation and whether it offers extra training. Peruse online forums and comment sections to find out about reputation. Talk people you know and ask them to review any services they may have used in the past.

3. Get a license

You will need to have passed national and state exams if you want a real estate license. Many places also require you to pass a background test. Considering exam, licensing and course fees, you’ll have to pay around $200, although this will depend according to where you stay.

4. Develop your budget

Entering the real estate business is not exactly cheap, but you don’t have to break the bank either. You will need around $2000 to start up your business. This money will be used for licensing courses, advertising, business cards and association fees. You’ll also have to pay extra exam fees.

Real estate is not a business where you’ll get a fixed amount of money every month. Since it operates on the basis of commission, you will have to cultivate a saving culture. Keep enough money in the bank to help you survive in case business slows down. In some cases you might even want to paint the walls or do other minor improvement tasks on certain properties, so it’s helpful to have some extra in the bank.

Also keep in mind that the costs above are just estimates. Depending on where you stay and your personal choices, you may shell out a different amount of money.

5. Realtor or Real Estate agent?

To become a realtor, you need to join the National Association of Realtors. To do this, you select a brokerage and attend a fixed number of meetings at your local chapter.

6. Build your portfolio

The best way to advertise a business is through word of mouth. Tell your friends to tell their friends about you. Ensure your services are top-notch so your reputation grows. Getting a mentor also makes it much easier for you to build your network. Remember that you aren’t just trying to make money; you’re helping people to buy a house.