Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

How to Get Started in Real Estate

Image of a large house with a green outline and check mark

Posted by: Kaplan Real Estate Education

Published: August 29, 2019 

Not every real estate agent or broker takes the same path towards a successful career. Some get licensed and start working right after high school, and others may work in a different field for many years before making a career change to real estate. Some may even start in a related field such as house flipping, residential contracting, or home appraisal before making the switch.

There is no single journey to a successful career in real estate. However, there are ways to boost your chances of success. Maybe you’re not sure if real estate is right for you, and you’d like to learn more first, or maybe you’ve decided to educate yourself as much as possible about the life of a real estate agent before making a big career move. Take a look at the following ways to familiarize yourself with the world of real estate before jumping in.

4 Ways to Start Your Career in Real Estate

1. Become a real estate assistant.

Getting experience in a brokerage office can illuminate the day-to-day duties of agents and brokers. You’ll get a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in a brokerage office, including all of the work real estate agents perform that you might not be aware of, such as marketing, paperwork, and lead generation.

If answering incoming client calls, performing marketing tasks, and putting together listing presentations sounds like a good way to get hands-on experience to you, try applying for positions as a real estate assistant. Not only will you get a good idea of the daily operations at a real estate brokerage, but you could also improve your chances of landing a position as a real estate agent at a brokerage once you’ve earned your license. Your experience and the connections you make as a real estate assistant could give you a leg up in the industry later. It’s also not uncommon for newly licensed agents to start their career working as an assistant for an established agent.

Thinking about starting a real estate career? Download the Launching Your Real Estate Career eBook.

2. Shadow a real estate agent or broker.

Try contacting a few local brokerages to ask if any agents would be willing to let you shadow them occasionally. Or better yet, ask friends and family if anyone knows a real estate agent or broker who would be willing to mentor you. One-on-one time with an agent will give you an opportunity to ask any lingering questions you have about pursuing a career in real estate.

Advice from someone who has already been in your shoes can prove to be an invaluable asset. Shadowing an agent or broker could also be a great way to make connections in the real estate world. The more connections you make, the more opportunities you’ll have once you start your real estate career.

3. Start your prelicensing education.

An excellent way to get started in real estate is to begin the prelicensing education requirements that you’ll need to fulfill in order to become licensed. Each state has different requirements, so make sure to research your state’s requirements to see exactly what you’ll need to do.

Starting your prelicensing education will give you a better understanding of the type of background knowledge you’ll be expected to have as a real estate agent. Even though each state’s requirements are different, most will cover topics related to real estate principles, practices, and legal aspects.

When you decide to fully commit to becoming a real estate agent, you’ll already be aware of your state’s requirements, and you’ll have started working towards completing them. Just make sure to check your state’s expiration terms for classes. In some states, you may need to retake classes if you’ve let a long period of time pass without earning your license.

View Licensing Packages

4. Attend a real estate seminar or workshop.

You might be able to find local seminars or workshops on topics of interest to current or future real estate agents. Try researching online event calendars or websites of local real estate brokerages to see if any of them are offering free events for those interested in real estate.

Not only will you gain valuable insight on topics of interest in real estate, but you’ll also have the opportunity to network and make more connections. You might meet someone at an event who either works at a brokerage or knows someone who does. You never know if a connection you make today could open doors for you later on.


Many of these tactics are a good way to determine if real estate is right for you and to get your foot in the door with brokerages and local agents. If you are feeling ambitious, you could try a combination of these four tips for beginning a career in real estate. Starting your prelicensing education while also shadowing an agent or broker could give you the well-rounded picture of a real estate career that you need to make an educated decision. Ready to start? Choose your state from this list to learn more about your prelicensing requirements.