In 2014, I set out on my own and started an independent brokerage firm. It has been a long and exciting road, and I bet some of you are wondering if it’s time for you to become a real estate broker and start your own journey. 

I can help you think through all of the pros and cons of becoming a real estate broker, but first, I’ll dive into some basics. In this article, you’ll find the information and resources you need to make this major decision and to know if you’re ready to take this giant next step in your real estate career.

What Is a Real Estate Broker?

First things first, real estate brokers are experienced real estate agents who have continued their education, completed the requisite courses, passed a broker’s exam, and have been licensed by their state.

If you’re in Texas, California, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Massachusetts, or Michigan, check out our state-specific guides.

Why Should I Become a Real Estate Broker?

In my dozens of years in the real estate industry, I’ve been a REALTOR 30 Under 30 agent, broker-owner, franchise partner, recruiter, speaker, coach, and author. I’ve launched two brokerages, invested in two others, and coached broker-owners. I’ve put in the crazy workweeks and the sleepless nights, and yes, I made plenty of mistakes along the way.

There are many reasons one might want to become a real estate broker. It’s a natural progression in your career and an important step in professional development. But I want to make sure you’re taking this next step for the right reasons, help you avoid major mistakes, and save you a lot of heartache in the process. 

Becoming a Broker Means You Can: 

  • Earn more, either by getting a better split within your brokerage or by starting your own brokerage and earning splits from your salespeople. 
  • Build your own brand or offer a unique service or system that other brokerages are not doing. Your competitive advantage separates you from the competition in the customer’s view. This would allow your brokerage to stand out.
  • Cut back on selling and instead focus on recruiting, training, and leading new real estate agents. 

On the Flip Side, Don’t Become a Broker Just To:

  • Save money.
  • Avoid supervision and/or regulation.
  • Grow your business just for the sake of growth
Related Article
7 Things I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Real Estate Brokerage

What Are the Steps to Getting a Real Estate Broker License?

Here is a quick overview of the process in all 50 states:

1. Learn the basic requirements for your state

2. Complete and document the required experience

3. Take your real estate broker prelicensing courses

4. Pass the real estate broker exam

5. Apply for your broker license online

1. Learn the Requirements for Your State

The first step is, of course, to learn the requirements in your state. In most states, there are basic legal requirements to get your license (in addition to education and experience), and these include a minimum age requirement and a clear criminal history. 

Minimum Age to Get a Real Estate Broker License

You must be at least 18 years old in order to get your real estate broker license in all 50 states. Some require you to be 20 years old. Of course, since you need to be at least 18 to get your real estate salesperson license, this makes sense.

Criminal Conviction History

Likewise, since you cannot get your real estate license with a felony conviction on your record in most states, you cannot get your broker license either. If you did manage to successfully petition your state licensing department to grant you a salesperson license with a felony conviction, you will need to do the same for a broker license.

Our State Specific Guides to Getting a Broker License

Learn more about what’s required in these states with our specific guides:  

CaliforniaIllinois New York
FloridaMassachusetts Texas
Georgia Michigan

2. Complete & Document the Required Experience (+ Transactions, if Needed)

Most states require a certain number of months or years of real estate experience to qualify as a broker. However, if you are in a state like New York or Texas that requires a minimum number of transactions, then you need to complete and document those transactions before getting your license. 

Since your managing broker is legally your broker of record, they will likely document your qualifying transactions for you. Don’t worry, though—in order to apply for your license, you do not need to provide any details from your transactions. You just need to know the number and type of transactions you’ve closed as a salesperson.

3. Take Your Real Estate Broker Prelicensing Courses

Once you’ve learned the qualifications you need to get your broker license and completed and documented the right number of transactions, you need to complete your real estate broker courses.

Consider taking your real estate broker courses online with Colibri Real Estate. They offer the same courses as everyone else, but often for a better price. Plus, they’re our top pick for best online real estate school. 

Visit Colibri Real Estate

Many agents don’t realize that there are often exemptions for the education and experience requirements. Attorneys in good standing admitted to the state’s bar and those who have college degrees in real estate-related majors generally don’t need to take the required education courses and may not need the required experience either.

4. Pass the Real Estate Broker Exam

Just like your salesperson license, the next step in getting your broker license is to take and pass your state’s broker prelicensing exam.

While the tests vary from state to state, they are all multiple choice and will take you several hours to complete. All real estate broker exams are pass/fail, and in order to pass the exam, you need to get 70% of the questions correct.

5. Apply for Your Broker License Online

Once you’ve passed your broker exam, all you need to do to officially become a real estate broker is to apply for your license!

The process is pretty straightforward in most states. You need to gather your information, including your application, documented experience (if needed), and certificate of completion of the course, and submit everything to your state’s licensing or real estate commission.

That’s it! Congratulations, you are now a licensed real estate broker!

Want to Start a Brokerage?

Now, I’m not necessarily encouraging you to start your own brokerage. I just want to provide you with information to ensure that you have a real and true picture of what becoming a real estate broker means. From here, only you can make the best decision for you—based on your individual goals and situation. 

If you think starting a brokerage sounds like your next great adventure, I have plenty of resources to help you along the way. Consider these five important next steps:

  1. Really do some soul searching and decide what kind of brokerage you’d want to build. Read my article on how to start and get those wheels turning. 
  2. Create a budget with my worksheet.
  3. Consider your comparative advantage and come up with a name. Start thinking about branding your new business.
  4. Determine your procedures and processes. For example, what splits are you going to establish?
  5. Start strategizing for recruitment. Learn how to attract both customers and agents!

Bottom Line

Getting your real estate broker license can be a long and expensive process, but follow these steps and you can become a broker and even consider starting your own brokerage. Take it from me, becoming a broker can be one of the most rewarding career steps you ever take. 

Do you have advice for someone considering becoming a real estate broker? Leave a comment below!