The following are excerpts from the chapters on advice to real estate agents from my soon-to-be-written self-help book.

Chapter 1 – Why Not Get a Real Estate License?

It only takes some college level courses, most of which you can take on line, or through one of our great local community colleges like Saddleback or Irvine Valley College.

Pass all of the classes, then take the state licensing exam, and you have a license to help people buy and sell residential real estate.

Fair warning, the historical passing rate for the California state licensing exam is 50 percent, so study hard. You want to be in the passing group the first time around. Pass and you’re in business! Now, what kind of business will you be up to?

Chapter 2 – Types of Real Estate Practices

You can choose to be the personal agent for all of your own sales and purchases. This might happen once every 10 years or so.

You’ll need to keep your license up to date by taking more courses every two to four years. And stay up to date on changes in the required contacts and disclosures, which currently amount to over 50 pages.

You’ll have to hang your license with a broker each time you are representing yourself, since commissions in California are paid from broker to broker. And there are some brokers who frown on real estate sales people listing their own primary residences. If you know what your objectives are – either saving money or making a little money – you can figure out how to select a broker and structure the representation properly.

You can branch out to help your friends and extended family members with their sales and purchases. This might happen a few times a year. Again, if you know what your objectives are, you can figure out how to select a broker and how to best represent your clients. Many brokers offer extensive training programs for new agents that might be useful to you.

You can choose start your own business as a publicly available agent, helping people you’ve never met before with their home sales and purchases. This requires hard work to find potential clients, get them to know you, like you, and trust you, so that if they do decide to buy or sell a home, they hire you to represent them.

In addition to the training many brokers provide, there are a number of independent real estate coaching companies with programs, strategies, techniques, scripts, procedures, seminars, workbooks, and weekly coaching sessions to help you build a viable real estate business. You should look into these and the price tag attached to them versus the potential benefit to your aspiring business.

You can build a real estate team, with buyers’ agents, sellers’ agents, inside sales reps, marketing experts, social media managers, transaction coordinators, and team leaders. You can do this by becoming a broker and recruiting agents of your own, or under the umbrella of an existing brokerage.

Whichever type of real estate practice you choose, you can scale it up at any point by investing you time, talent and treasure to take it to the next level. And lean on those who’ve paved the way before you.

Leslie Sargent Eskildsen is an Orange County real estate agent. She can be reached at 949-678-3373 or Her website is

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