If you want to make money and avoid high office costs, become a virtual real estate agent.
The good news is, there’s already a high demand for homes as populations grow.
Why get a brick-and-mortar office when most people are looking for homes online? The intelligent thing to do is to go the digital way.
Want to know how? It’s not rocket science. You can get started with a good computer, Wi-Fi connection, and a few apps.
First things first…
What Is a Virtual Realtor?
Is there a difference between a real estate agent and a realtor? Yes, there are slight differences.
A real estate agent has a license. They help clients buy, sell or rent a property. An agent gets a commission at the end of every sale.
As a professional, a realtor has registered with the National Association of Realtors.
In the US, the National Association of Realtors is the biggest trade group.
Not every real estate agent is a realtor. However, a majority become realtors.
Therefore, a virtual realtor is a realtor without a physical office. They only meet clients physically once in a while.
It can be a meeting to view the house for sale. It can also be a restaurant meeting to discuss other matters.
Do Real Estate Agents Really Make Good Money?
Yes, they do. But, some factors come into play where payment is concerned. Why? An agent gets a commission for their work.
This commission is usually a percentage of the property’s selling price. However, some agents may opt for a flat fee.
A client, therefore, pays a broker directly. Afterward, the broker pays the agent. In this case, a broker is a company you work for.
The amount of money a real estate agent makes will depend on:
- The cost of the property they help sell or buy
- The number of transactions they do
- The percentage split with their broker
Real Estate Agent Salary
Want to know how much an agent can earn from helping sell or buy a house? Here’s a breakdown:
Typically, if you help a seller get their property off the market, you can earn between 4% and 6% commission. At 6% commission, the agent and the broker may decide to split the pay at 3% each.
Say you sell a property worth $360,000. The commission will come to $21,600. As an agent, you stand to make $10,800. Imagine if you make five more sales like this in a year. You can make a cool $54,000.
But remember, this money doesn’t come easy. If you represent a buyer, it can take weeks for them to decide, meaning you have to show them many properties.
If you represent a seller, you may also have to go through a couple of buyers before you close a deal.
Can You Be a Real Estate Agent Remotely?
Yes, a real estate agent can work from home. Although this is a personal choice, a majority of agents now use the remote work option.
The incentives such as saving on fuel and lunches can make an agent prefer the work-from-home option.
However, there are still those who prefer the office. Some say being in the office helps them keep a professional mindset.
How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent Online?
For most people eager to become a virtual real estate agent, the faster they can do so, the better.
However, you must follow some crucial steps before you can start earning. One essential requirement is a real estate license.
How long it will take to get one depends on:
- The number, of course hours your state requires
- Will you go to a classroom for your courses or do virtual learning?
- How long your license application will take
How to Get a Real Estate License
Each state has its laws on real estate agents, so the process you follow might differ from one region to another.
But, there are essential steps no matter the state where you live.
a. Familiarize yourself with the state’s law
All states require that you pass their exam before starting the licensing process. You can take up courses at any accredited college or university.
Other requirements may include a clean criminal record. In most states, there’s a minimum age requirement.
b. Enroll in a real estate school
You can either take classes online or offline. The number of course hours differs from state to state. For instance, in Missouri, you have to take 48 hours, while in Colorado, the requirement is 168 hours.
Once done with the course, you get a certificate or transcripts. You will use these to apply for the license.
c. The application
Again, depending on your state, there can be various application requirements. Download the forms and check the fees on your area’s real estate website.
d. Take the test
Your goal should be to pass the exam, so prepare well by taking exam prep courses in your school. Ensure you check the exam pass rate for your state. Most states use a third party to administer the exam.
It is upon you to register and select a date on which you’ll take the test.
You should present a valid photo ID.
e. Pay for a background check
Although not all states require this, you might have to undergo a background check in most areas. You have to pay for the check.
f. Settle on a broker
The first two years of your life have to be under a broker. The advantage of this is that you’ll gain experience when you’re attached to a brokerage.
Do your research on the brokerage’s reputation.
g. Get insurance
Finally, some states need you to get Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance. The E&O protects your brokerage from claims by clients, for example, due to inadequacies.
Virtual Real Estate Agent Jobs
You must be wondering where to get jobs as a virtual real estate agent.
The best strategy to get virtual real estate jobs is to network to get job leads.
Alternatively, you can look for a job with a company and agree with them to allow you to work remotely.
Also, you can try some of the sites for jobs:
How to Start a Virtual Real Estate Brokerage
Look around. Who’s your competition? You can learn something from successful virtual organizations.
b. Set up a website and link to social media
Ensure you have a detailed website with call-to-action buttons.
c. Get the right technology
Ensure your agents have the right equipment for the job. The basics are a computer and a strong Wi-Fi connection.
You can also make use of platforms like Google Apps, which make sharing easier.
d. Have some office space
Having physical space despite being a virtual real estate brokerage might still be helpful. Sometimes agents might need to meet with clients in a conducive place.
You don’t need to get huge office space. Just a small meeting room will do.
e. Recruit and train agents
Get people with the right skill set for the job.
Still, keep the team motivated by having meetings once in a while to discuss issues regarding the job.
Pros and Cons of Virtual Real Estate Brokerage
a. You can work from home
Like any other remote job, virtual real estate comes with many benefits, such as spending more time with your loved ones.
Also, it gives you the flexibility to work within your schedule.
b. Virtual tours make it easy for you and the client
As a virtual real estate agent, you might have to conduct virtual house tours from time to time.
The advantage is neither you nor the client has to leave the comfort of their home for showings.
c. You save on costs
A virtual real estate brokerage eliminates costs like office space, licenses, and utilities.
The upside is that even the clients get more affordable services as there are few costs to pass down to them.
d. No time lost
Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with all the emails, therefore delaying responses.
When you work virtually, you can respond to clients’ emails at any time. The time you’d have spent in traffic getting to the office is put to better use.
a. Some buyers prefer to deal with agents face to face
Some clients prefer to walk into an office and ask all their questions before embarking on physical showings.
b. More distractions
Not everybody can work from home seamlessly. Some people say the office provides a more suitable work environment than home.
Set Up a Real Estate Brokerage Without Going Broke
If you’ve been wondering how to become a virtual real estate agent the right way, now you know.
The amount of money you make can range from thousands to millions of dollars. You stand to make more money with many transactions.
But before that, you have to enroll in a real estate school and pass the exam. This route will be your gateway to acquiring a license.
The great news is that you don’t need office space so you can start today.
Hi, I’m Andia.
An expert personal finance & investment writer and blogger. I help people like you turn your spare time into $1000 per month or more outside of your day job.
I’ll help you identify proven side hustle ideas you can take action right away and make six figures working from home or whenever your schedule allows.