Everybody is complaining about house prices, except realtors!

How to become a real estate agent… and start a new career

This is the best time to start a career in real estate and learn how to become a real estate agent. The Canadian housing market is booming, and prices are at an all-time high.

Working as a real estate agent offers a great deal of variety. You meet different people and enjoy the satisfaction of helping buyers find their dream homes. You can also combine it with another career, and you are your own boss. Immigrant entrepreneurs will like that.

To become a real estate agent, here are 5 steps for you to follow:

Step 1: The prerequisites

You must be above 18 and meet the following pre-entry conditions:

  • Canadian citizenship or Permanent Resident status
  • Hold a valid work permit or visa
  • Be of “good personal reputation” and have no record of bankruptcy or insolvency proceedings
  • Pass the criminal record check

How to become a real estate agent… and start a new career

Step 2: English language proficiency requirement

The next step in becoming a real estate agent in Canada is to satisfy the English Language Proficiency Requirement (ELPR) before writing a licensing examination.

The ELPR must be satisfied by achieving a level 7 or higher on each of the four components of the Canadian English Language Proficiency Index Program General test. (CELPIP-General)

You can be exempted if you graduated with a bachelor’s degree or higher from an accredited university, college, or technical institute where English is the primary language of instruction.

Step 3: Take the real estate course

The next important stage in becoming a real estate agent is to successfully complete the basic real estate licensing course in your province. Each province administers its own real estate certification courses through sanctioned real estate councils or association boards.

The duration of this course is around 18 months, but there could be regional variations.

Step 4: Licensing

Once you have completed your education, you will need to join a brokerage that will sponsor your real estate license application.

This brokerage must be a member of the Real Estate Board in your area and sign your application before licensing.

After your application has been signed and sent off, you should get the approval within 10 days. That’s it. You are now a licensed real estate agent in Canada.

Step 5: Errors and omissions insurance

To fully complete the whole process of becoming a real estate agent, you will need to get the errors and omissions insurance through your province’s real estate association.

This will insure you against any professional mistakes, damage or other mishaps that might happen while on the job.

How to become a real estate agent… and start a new career

What expenses do you need to plan for?

Here are some of the initial and ongoing budget items you should plan for to start a successful career as a real estate agent:

  • Licensing course fees
  • Real Estate Council licensing and assessment fees
  • Language Proficiency Test
  • Criminal record check fee
  • Real estate board fees
  • Brokerage desk fees
  • Advertising and promotional costs
  • Work items: smartphone, computer, printer, website, internet access, business clothes
  • Car and business car insurance.

Is real estate agent a good career?

Venus Ding, a highly respected real estate agent with HomeLife New World said, “being a realtor is a rewarding experience which enriches my knowledge and expands my character.”

Ardi Honarmand, a platinum agent and owner of Condo on the Six, further explained: “Becoming a realtor helped me gain soft skills such as negotiation, business etiquette, and most importantly, customer care. I learned how to adjust to different personalities and unique circumstances and still make it a joyful experience. Never underestimate your client’s judgement.”

You can get more information about licensing, continual education and career opportunities from the various regional Real Estate Councils.

Finally, where’s the money and where are the Chinese?

You now know how to become a real estate agent. The next deal is to get clients and start making money!

The sharply suited real estate agents you see in their “designer” cars might make it look all so glamorous and easy. But it’s not a walk in the park.

Make no mistake. There is stiff competition as there are over 100,000 realtors in Canada. A good number of them are Chinese. In Vancouver, for example, the Chinese control one-third of the real estate market.

Now that you know what it takes, go ahead and get licensed to become a real estate agent. Then you can join the train and see how far it takes you.


Royal LePage

Pemberton Holmes


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