Thinking about starting your real estate career in Maine? I regularly get messages on social media asking how to get started and if I have any advice to share, so I created this seven-step article in hopes of helping those interested in becoming an agent in Maine! This is based on my personal experience when I got licensed in 2017. ***Please verify all current rules/information independently.
Step 1 – Sales Agent Real Estate Course
To get started you’ll need to enroll in the real estate Sales Agent course. I signed up in 2017 at Arthur Gary School Of Real Estate in Westbrook. The Real Estate Learning Group also has the Sales Agent course (I took my Associate Broker & Designated Broker Course here and had a great experience). The course was around $500 or so. I took the in-person class (I learn better that way), and there is also an option for taking the course online only. The course is 55 hours total. At the end of the course you’ll take a test. You need to pass this test in order to move onto the Maine Real Estate Exam. Now it’s time to study!
Step 2 – Study For The Maine Real Estate Exam
Everyone has a different way of studying. For me, I took notes in class during discussions (this came in handy!). At the end of the course I compiled all of my notes into flashcards and studied that way (the question on the front and answer on back). That’s just my way of studying, I know everyone has their own strategy! I’ve heard of other agents who took “practice tests” through Pearson VUE for around $20 and they found that helpful.
Step 3 – Maine Real Estate Exam
I took the state exam at Pierson VUE. It cost around $85 per attempt and was 120 questions long. You’ll have 4 hours to complete the exam and must pass with at least a 75% score. I’m often asked if the test is hard and if there are a lot of math questions. I didn’t have too many math questions on my test and the test wasn’t extremely hard OR easy. I felt prepared enough and was confident I would pass. Of course I couldn’t sleep the night before and was still on edge, however I still felt pretty good about passing! You’ll receive your pass/fail results on the spot after taking the test, so you don’t have to wonder for too long what your results are!
Step 4 – Real Estate License Application
Now it’s time to apply for your license online through the Maine Real Estate Commission. The fee is around $120 for the application, license, and background check. Your application is usually processed within a week or two. A few requirements: you must be a US citizen, be 18+ years old, hold a high school diploma and pass a background check.
Step 5 – Join a Brokerage
You will need to join a real estate brokerage in order to start practicing real estate (you can not practice real estate without being part of a brokerage). TIP: While I was still in the Sales Agent Course I was actively interviewing with real estate brokerages to determine which brokerage I wanted to join, and I also interviewed with TEAMS at the brokerages because I wasn’t sure if I wanted to be an independent agent or part of a team.
When you are ready to join a brokerage I recommend interviewing a few different ones so you can compare. Every company is different. Some have hundreds of agents and others have 10. Some take a higher % of your commission and others have “caps”. There are so many variables from company to company. Do your homework and prepare questions to ask at the interview.
Step 6 – Decide if you should join a team or be an individual agent
This is one of the more popular question I’m asked. It’s really a personal preference. For me, I knew I wanted to join a team right away. From my experience, here are some of the pros/cons of joining a team. ***Please keep in mind there are a lot of different teams out there and my experience may not reflect how all teams operate.
- Admin support
- There’s always someone you can call with questions
- You have leads coming in right away
- Typically the team covers all marketing costs
- The team gives you a sense of direction so you don’t feel so lost in the beginning
- At some companies you pay a lower “company split” when you are on a team vs. being an individual agent
- Learn the ropes from experienced agents on the team
- A sense of “family/community” within your company – a smaller group of people all working together as a pack
- You are branded within the team – NOT yourself individually and you can get “lost” in the lead agent’s name/brand
- If you decide to leave a team be careful about what will happen with the leads you have been working, every team has a different “dissolution policy”
- Some teams will make promises to give you a TON of leads/training/growth and not deliver
I joined a team because I really had no idea where to start, and I’m glad I did. The team I was on was a top team and provided an abundance of leads and I was pretty happy there. After just under a year I went on my own (at no fault to the team) because I wanted to brand myself individually.
Step 7 – Start Selling!
For the first year to year and a half I worked another job because I didn’t make a lot of money right away. It took me 6 months or so to close on my first sale. I sold 12 homes in my first year, however that commission was split 50/50 with a team and then a % given to the company, so there wasn’t a ton leftover after taxes and I needed a steady income, so I cleaned homes on the side. In my 2nd year I sold 30+ homes and started to make a decent income and it took off from there.
When should you expect to start making money? Everyone is different! I worked full time in real estate even while having another job in the beginning. I worked weekends, holidays, late nights. I traveled pretty far to sell homes. I did whatever I needed to because I was fully invested in succeeding. Not everyone is going to want that type of life for themselves, and that’s okay. I always say, “You get out what you put in and this career can be whatever you want it to be”.
I am an open book and welcome messages/calls/emails with questions, especially about what Maine Real Estate Co has to offer to new and experienced agents. Reach out anytime!