Should I get a Real Estate License this year or wait?

Indeed, the real estate market isn’t always booming, and the constant changes in volume and home prices can be nerve-wracking for even the most skilled real estate agents. So if you’re looking to get your real estate license, a downward market trend might leave you second-guessing yourself. You’ll find yourself saying, “Maybe I should wait to get my license!”

You should get a real estate license this year. There’s always a market for people buying or selling, and, as long as you’re willing to generate leads, it’s still a “good” market. Even when the market dips, the only thing you need to worry about is being the one working with a buyer or seller. 

Before you decide for or against getting your real estate license, it’s essential to break through the stigma of what you think the real estate industry is all about. So keep reading to find out why this year might just be the best year to get your real estate license and how to make the most of your first year!

Why Prospective Agents Hold Off on Getting Their License

It’s not unusual for prospective real estate agents to be hesitant about getting their real estate license. After all, the real estate market is often unpredictable, and it’s completely normal to feel nervous about the “unknown” and what lies ahead. 

Some reasons that may leave you wondering, “Should I get a real estate license this year or wait?” might include:

  • It can take a few months to a few years to get a steady stream of listings and referrals rolling in, two things that take a lot of time and effort.
  • Between pre-licensing courses, exam fees, application fees, and brokerage fees, you might be out a few thousand dollars—so a license this year can be out of your budget.
  • The local market seems to be fluctuating, homes are taking longer to sell, or home prices suddenly increase or decrease.
  • Outside forces that impact the market are changing (or are expected to change shortly): Mortgage rates, a global pandemic, the economy, and political influences or changes.
  • Getting a license requires you to learn about complex topics, sometimes complete up to 135 hours of pre-licensing courses, and pass an exam—so it’s time-consuming.

While your reason for waiting to get your license may be unique to you, some people just aren’t ready for such a big change in their lives. They tell themselves, “If XYZ does (or doesn’t) happen within the next year, I’ll get my real estate license.”

As you know very well, “next year” always seems to mean the year after that, and so on. That’s precisely why this year is the absolute best year to get your real estate license.

If you are ready to get started on your journey, you can check out my article on the 7 steps to becoming a Realtor.

9 Reasons This Year Is the Year to Get Your License

Some people might ask, “Why not get my license this year?” Other people are looking to answer, “Why should I get my license thisyear?” 

If you need a little peace of mind that getting your real estate license should be on the schedule for this year, let’s review nine reasons! As we go along, you’ll start to realize any excuse you currently have can be viewed from another perspective.

1. There’s Always a Good Market With Lead Gen

One of the biggest worries of prospective agents is when the market isn’t hot, or it seems to be taking somewhat of a downward turn. The following might happen:

But no matter how the market is doing in a general sense, one thing is for sure: There’s always a good market, so long as you’re willing to generate leads.

So you might have to reach out to 150 prospects instead of 75, follow-up with leads twice a week instead of once, and take marketing avenues you’ve never experimented with before—like giving farming a go instead of relying purely on social media.

It’s essential to realize that your success in real estate will depend on your ability to generate leads, not on how the market is doing. 

Think about it this way: There can be 100 possible listings and 100 local agents, but that doesn’t mean each agent gets one listing. Some agents will get a more significant portion of the available clients because they thrive in lead generation. 

If you’re willing to generate leads, this year is better than ever!

2. Fluctuations in the Real Estate Market Are Natural

The trends in the real estate market are always on the move. We’ve seen mortgage rates drop to the lowest levels in history as the national economy slows down, unusually slow markets around the holidays and winter-time, and upcoming national elections putting the market on hold.

It’s safe to say that the real estate market is highly unpredictable. At the same time, it’s also very predictable—these dips and spikes in home prices and market volume always happen.

So while you might be fearful of getting your license this year because the market could always crash, you need to know that the market always recovers, albeit at a different rate each time. Sometimes, the market recovers at a rate as quickly as 25% per year. 

Here are a few questions to answer.

  • If you hold off on getting your license until next year and potentially miss the most remarkable upward trend in home prices, will you regret it?
  • Regardless of when you get your license, will you get out of the real estate industry and find a temporary job every time the market dips?

You can’t control the real estate market, but you do have complete control over your success as an agent. So don’t let the current market rate be the determining factor in your decision to get your license this year or wait. 

Market changes come with the territory, so don’t wait!

3. Most Real Estate Licenses Last for Years Before Renewal

So let’s say you take the plunge and get your real estate license this year, but then life gets in the way. You need to take on more hours at your current job to pay off your credit card debt, a loved one ends up in the hospital, or you’re just not ready to start a new job yet.

Did you go through all that pre-licensing (sometimes over 100 hours of training) for nothing?

The good news is that you don’t have to renew your real estate license yearly, nor do you have to take a listing or sell a home to keep it active annually. Most states will require a license renewal every two to four years, along with a few fees. 

So even if you decide to hold off on affiliating with a broker and decide to start on this path a year down the road, you’re not risking your licensure or success in the industry. Get your license this year, even if you don’t plan on being an active agent for a little while.

You’ve got nothing to lose, and it’s there waiting for you when you’re ready!

4. There’s Always a Market for New Buyers and Sellers

Even when the real estate market isn’t right, people will always need to buy or sell homes for all sorts of reasons, like:

  • Downsizing
  • Upsizing
  • Relocating (for school, job, neighborhood, or more)
  • Renting to owning
  • Moving out
  • Getting married or divorced
  • Selling a deceased loved one’s property
  • Flipping houses

Each of these life events will happen in their own time, and, aside from downsizing and upsizing, the market trend will play very little role. So while the market might slow and housing prices might drop, there’s always going to be a need for real estate agents looking to keep the market moving. You might have to work harder for the fewer listings there are, but they’re there.

5. You Can Complete Pre-Licensing at Your Own Pace

One of the more common reasons that potential agents hold off an extra year is that they “don’t have time” this year. Each state will set the standard for how many hours of pre-licensing courses you need, and if you live in a state like California or Ohio, this is over 120 hours.

And since in-person courses might have long eight-hour sessions or eat up your weeknights, you just can’t find the time to work your real estate license into your schedule this year.

While this is understandable, most states make pre-licensing far easier. Online real estate schools like Colibri Real Estate, MBition, and The CE Shop will help you fulfill your state’s pre-licensing requirements via the internet from home. You can complete these modules at your own pace (sometimes in less than a month) and speed up the time until licensure.

So now, you don’t have to choose between going to your child’s soccer game or attending class, and there’s no need to quit your current job as you work toward your license. 

This is the best year to get licensed, even if you take the full 12 months to finish pre-licensing.

6. You Don’t Have to Be a Full-Time Agent

Many brokers will give a deep sigh toward any prospective agent intending to split their time between real estate and another full or part-time job. The reason will be evident to you when you try to make headway in the industry: Real estate is time-consuming and requires a ton of focus.

But you don’t have to be a full-time agent.

This might be good news for you, especially if you were nervous about quitting your current job to pursue real estate full-time. As you may know, being a real estate agent means that you’re an independent contractor, and you only see a deposit in your bank account when you make a sale. So it’s possible to keep a part-time job for the paycheck as you ease into real estate.

There’s no reason to wait until you hate your current job enough to quit or suddenly find yourself unemployed and looking for a new path. Get your license this year, and follow your dreams!

7. There Are Tools in Place to Ensure Success

What you’ll either love or hate about real estate is that you don’t report to anybody. You create your own schedule, and you’re responsible for how much you end the year within your bank account, and so on. But since you don’t have a boss, per se, you might be reluctant to take the leap this year—you’re worried you don’t know enough about the industry to succeed. 

Maybe next year you’ll be more motivated, right?

While there’s a lot of self-guidance needed in real estate, there are also plenty of tools in place to ensure that you succeed in your first year and as you continue in the industry. You’re not thrown to the wolves and forced to fend for yourself, as you have access to things like:

  • Course offerings (virtual and in-person) from the National Association of Realtors
  • Networking events where you can meet new agents and get referrals
  • In-office sales meetings, mentorship, and company-wide new agent training
  • Successful real estate bloggers and YouTubers sharing tips for success

If you affiliate with a reputable company and a broker that genuinely wants you to succeed, they’ll be willing to set you up with the tools you need to be successful in year one. They might even be willing to mentor you one-on-one or help you along during your first listing presentation.

Transitioning into the real estate industry is a big change, but it’s possible to do this year!

And real estate pros like Tom Ferry will give you tips through his YouTube channel, especially if you’re a brand new agent. Take a look at the video below, where he talks about advice for new real estate agents:

8. There Are Other Real Estate Career Choices

Maybe you’re worried that you’ll go through the hassle to get your license and affiliate with a broker, only to find out that you’re not built to be an agent. You may find out that you’re not the negotiating type or that there’s a lot of agents that have to juggle (lead generation, listing presentations).

Firstly, you’ll never know if real estate is for you unless you give it a try. Second, there’s no need to hold off on licensure out of fear of disappointment, as there are other careers you can pursue with your license if the agent title doesn’t pan out. 

Many brokers prefer their real estate agent personal assistants and administrative assistants have a license to fulfill the full list of duties for the job. You’ll be able to do things like designing marketing materials and reaching out to clients, but not have to worry about negotiating deals.

You can even turn your salesperson license into a referral license. That way, you can send your leads through your company’s system and make a fraction of commission on referrals that turn into sales with other agents. And you can be a referral agent on the side for passive income!

So as you can see, there are plenty of opportunities that you can discover this year.

9. Online Pre-Licensing Courses Are Affordable

What keeps many people at bay is the price factor: You’ll have to spend money on pre-licensing courses, your real estate exam, state fees, and more! So if you’re tight on cash right now, you might assume licensing is a better idea next year or after you get your tax refund.

It makes sense, but the fees don’t all have to be paid at once and aren’t as high as you might think they are.

The fees for initial licensure include:

  • Pre-licensing courses (oftentimes $200 to $400, in total)
  • Background check & fingerprinting (around $25)
  • Real estate exam (between $85 to $200)
  • Initial license fee (varies by state, but usually between $150 to $300)
  • Application fee ($25 to $100)

All in all, you might be able to get your real estate license for less than $500, though it can run you a few thousand dollars. And considering you typically have 12 months to complete your course and another year post-course completion to take your exam, it’s entirely possible to spread most, if not all, of these fees throughout the entire year. 

So why not this year?

3 Ways to tell if real estate is right for you.

Don’t fall for the trap of a real estate company offering to pay for your real estate classes. There is always a catch that ends up costing you thousands of dollars as I explain in another article.


Any time you pursue additional education or plan to switch career fields, anxiety, and self-doubt will follow shortly behind. But getting your real estate license does have its perks.

Should I get a Real Estate License this year or wait

Most notably, there isn’t much of a risk!

Pre-licensing courses are affordable and self-paced if taken online, there’s always a market for buyers and sellers if you’re generating leads, market changes aren’t unusual and don’t dictate your success, and you can use your license how and when you please. Even if you don’t affiliate with a broker and start selling until next year, you’ll be ready when the time comes.

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