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How do you become a realtor?

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Quick Answer

To become a Realtor, a person must first meet state licensing requirements to become a real estate agent and then join the National Association of Realtors, or NAR. Specific requirements vary by state, but typically agent licensing standards include a minimum age of 18, successful completion of a prelicensing training course and successful completion of an agent's exam.

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Each state has approved prelicensing courses that meet licensing requirements. Courses vary in length, from a few weeks to a few months. Some programs offer online and correspondence courses. States may also substitute approved college real estate programs in lieu of the prelicensing course. Courses cover various terms used in real estate transactions, local and state laws, and paperwork completed during real estate sales.

After completing a course, a candidate sits for the state real estate exam. After achieving a successful score and paying a modest licensing fee, the person becomes licensed to transact real estate. Some states also mandate formal background checks before issuing the agent's license.

Though the term is commonly used in place of "real estate agent," a Realtor is an agent-member of the NAR. Membership not only shows professional credibility, but it also indicates that the agent has agreed to abide by a strict code of ethics.

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