Since I shared the exciting news that I have become a licensed real estate agent, I have gotten so many questions about what the process was like, especially in this wild market. I'll take you through my experience from start to finish.
Let’s start with why I decided to take advantage of this opportunity. I’m obsessed with real estate, as you probably are too if you have been following along with my home build
and the dreamy home inspiration I feature on my Instagram, or if you’ve made your way to this blog! For years, I’ve been asked real estate questions on Instagram, from buyers and sellers looking for me to represent them, to sellers looking for advice on staging homes. Folks send me pictures of homes they are about to put an offer on looking for remodeling ideas (how lucky am I?). I’m often asked questions from buyers looking at new construction homes, who need information on anything from negotiating with the builder, to what finishes to splurge on. I’ve always been honored that people think of me as an expert to reach out to for their most important financial and life decisions. I also felt like I could help a lot more if I had a license and could truly represent.
My other “why” is an idea about marketing that has been eating away at me for YEARS. Why aren’t homes marketed before they are listed, and in an engaging way? What if we shared the behind the scenes of your home before it hits the market. Why don’t we use the power of social media to interact with the audience to help vote on colors, staging ideas, and perhaps even get in front of buyers who will fall in love with your home before it’s officially listed.
Talking to the experts
As with any idea, some people are going to laugh just because it’s different and “not how things are done”, I needed to connect with people I trust, and admire. I called on three people in the business, who I highly respect as successful business women, and luckily for me, they were gracious enough to spend some time with me to share their experiences, tips, and to bounce ideas off of. I'll get into the process in just a sec, but first, I need to brag about these amazing women. I hope that hearing what my questions were, and the backgrounds of the wonderful women who helped me, inspires you to seek out people in your life who can encourage you to get after your passion.
I’m forever grateful to Case Rutherford, who has an incredible Instagram account, a gorgeous website, she mentors others, and is a top 10 agent in Atlanta! I have admired her page for years, and watching her become a star in real estate has been so inspiring. I love the balance she has of sharing her business, her home, and her family.
The way that Case runs her business is similar to what I've had in mind with a social focus. Some would hold their cards close to their chest in this situation, not Case, she is so kind, transparent, and helpful. She shared so much amazing insight with me, and took the time out of her busy life to let me pick her brain. If you aren't already following her, you need to go follow her!
Donna Muska, was our real estate agent here in Western Mass. I have so much trust and respect for Donna. She has a really amazing way of being graceful and empathetic, yet so very effective in this business. She runs a high quality, boutique style business, where she takes on just a handful of clients and offers phenomenal service. I have been asking her questions about the business for years, and have always been in awe of how she gets it done. I hope to share these qualities as well, and am beyond thankful Donna has agreed to take me under her wing and coach me on all the things.
My friend, and former colleague in corporate america, Jessica Vieira, is an expert real estate agent here in Western Mass. She has so much experience from construction, to flipping, to rentals, and doing it all while balancing a family construction business, and two adorable littles. I love how Jess looks at real estate as being a matchmaker!
I went into my conversations with Jess thinking there was no way I could do this with everything else on my plate, she has a similar work/life/family set up, and girl bosses the heck out of it. She is the one that made me feel so confident that I can do this.
Every time we connect, I leave feeling lifted and inspired!
I’m going to explain what the process was like here Massachusetts, keep in mind that other states may have slightly different processes. Google your state + real estate license, and look for a .gov url, and that should get you to the information you need for your state.
The first thing I had to do was complete a 40 hour training, from a state approved trainer. My preference was to take the training through a broker, because it would be more interactive with an onground format, and I would be able to get a sense of the culture in that broker's office. My schedule was not having it, so I ended up enrolling in an on online course. I used the CE shop, I made sure they were on the state approved list before purchasing. I did the course in bits and pieces over a few months, I liked that I could chip away, even if it was just 20 minutes at night after the littles went down.
This next part blew my mind, it's bananas to me that we use such an antiquated process. Once I completed the course, there was some paperwork I had to fill out and get notarized to mail to the vendor the state uses to get approval to take the test. I assumed it would be a few days in the mail, then a few days to process. Nope. From there it was a 6 week wait as my papers likely sat in a pile, and eventually someone approved it and ran the background check. The website said it can take a few days to two weeks, I'm guessing the huge delay I saw was because they are inundated with applications from the market being so hot.
Once I finally heard back, I was able to schedule the exam. I realized 6 weeks was a long time from completing the course to getting the exam scheduled, and I needed to freshen up on all that I learned. I used a web based prep course called night before the exam, which Jessica had recommended. I did a practice test every night until I was consistently scoring in the 80’s and then I felt confident that I could score the 70 needed to pass. Of course we all came down with covid in my house the week I was going to test, so I had to reschedule it, I'm thankful we didn't get too sick, but yet another delay.
I studied hard the day before the exam, then took that night and the day of the test “off” to rest my brain. The exam was held at a testing facility, we weren’t allowed to bring anything in, including water, which made me feel extremely thirsty as soon as I sat down in the cubicle (anyone else freak out without water?). I did the national and state portions of the test in about 90 minutes. There were questions in there that I had never seen before, and it was nerve wracking to have absolutely no idea how I was doing. Once the exam ended, the screen said that I passed. I ran to the proctor to get my score, and found out they don’t give you a score, they only tell you if you passed or failed. I have no idea if I just passed it or had my best score ever, the mystery of it all is slowly killing me.
Couple things to keep in mind on testing day. They take your picture, and if you pass they will use that picture on your license. Not a huge deal because you’ll use whatever headshot you want for business cards and for sale signs. Also to note, if you pass, you’ll have to pay the prorated license fee to get your license.
I hope this has given you helpful information about getting your license. If I missed anything, or you have questions, please let me know. And, if you are local to Massachusetts and looking for a broker led class, shoot me a DM on insta or an email and I can try to direct you to an upcoming class!