How to become a real estate agent in Canada [updated]

Start a new career in 6 steps

UPDATE: This how to become a real estate agent post was originally published on 26 February 2019 and updated on 26 February 2020, 28 October 2020 and 24 February 2022.

If you enjoy meeting new people and like having control of your work/life balance, a career as a real estate agent might be perfect for you. In this post, we’ll describe how to become a real estate agent in Canada.

Part of your role as a real estate professional will be to meet with buyers, listen to their requirements — their likes, dislikes, needs, style preferences, etc. — and help them find a property that matches their specifications.

You’ll work with the listing agent (if it’s not you) to arrange property viewings, negotiate with the seller and help finalize the sales process.

The other part of the job entails meeting with those looking for an agent to list and sell their properties.

You’ll need to:

  • Inspect the property
  • List it in your various advertising mediums (online MLS portal, website, magazine, newspaper etc.),
  • Show it to interested buyers
  • Prepare the various purchase documents and legal contracts to finalize the sale

Buying and selling homes can be a tedious and lengthy process that might leave some dizzy. But with an organized work schedule and proper client-management skills, you can make life as a real estate agent a fulfilling and enjoyable experience.

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How to get into the real estate industry in Canada

Becoming a real estate agent who can legally buy and sell property in Canada is fairly straightforward and involves these six steps:

  1. Begin your real estate certification.
  2. Join a brokerage agency.
  3. Apply for licensing and take the licensing exam.
  4. Get errors and omissions insurance.
  5. Complete an articling/professional practice.
  6. Get your first clients.

The following steps provide a general overview of what is required to become a real estate agent in Canada, from licensing requirements to supervised training and articling. Let’s dive in!

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Start selling property in 6 steps

To start, there are several prerequisites you must satisfy before you start training for work in the real estate industry. You must:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have graduated grade 12
  • Be a citizen of Canada

Some provinces have more stringent application requirements, including pre-application articling experience, preparatory coursework, background checks and more.

For more information about what is required to work in the real estate industry in your province, specifically, simply click on the provincial link in this article.

1. Begin your real estate certification

How to Become a Real Estate Agent Online Classes
Many real estate classes can be taken online at your convenience.

The first step in the process is successfully completing the basic real estate licensing course in your province. Each province administers their own certification courses through sanctioned real estate councils or association boards.

For instance, British Columbia provides real estate education through UBC Sauder’s Real Estate Division. Manitoba, on the other hand, offers training through the Manitoba Real Estate Association (MREA). Each province handles educational certification in a different manner from the others.

While education requirements, institutes and courses vary between provinces, the basic real estate licensing requirements appear to be fairly consistent across the board.

2. Join a brokerage agency

Next, you’ll need to find an agency to sponsor your real estate license application. You’ll want to meet with various brokers to find the ideal fit. Ask questions about their work style, agency setup and brokerage fee structure.

The goal is to find an agency that accommodates your work habits and adheres to a reasonable fee structure.

Since you’ll likely work with this agency for at least your first couple of years, you’ll want to make sure that you enjoy the work environment and staff. If there are any aspects you’re unsure about, address and resolve them now so they don’t become an issue later on.

3. Apply for licensing and take the licensing exam

With your new-found agency to sponsor your application, it is time to submit your application for a real estate license. While licensure varies across provinces, most provinces require a written licensing exam in order to receive your real estate license.

If your application is approved, you’ll need to pay your licensing fee. In some provinces, you could also be required to become a member of a professional organization and pay applicable dues.

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4. Get errors and omissions insurance

In order to become a fully licensed real estate agent, you’ll need to get errors and omissions insurance through your province’s real estate association. This will insure you against any mistakes, damage or other mishaps that might happen while on the job.

5. Complete an articling/professional practice

How to Become a Real Estate Agent Woman with Mentor
Articling is a period of training supervised by a professional mentor.

Upon approval of your real estate license, many provinces expect the new real estate agent to complete certain articling educational requirements.

This is essentially a period of supervised training where the freshman real estate agent receives mentorship from a more senior professional in the real estate industry — most likely with their chosen brokerage agency.

6. Get your first clients

Once you’ve finished your articling period, it’s time for you to hit the pavement and get your first real estate client. Here are some tips that might help:

Take advantage of the tools your real estate association provides

You’ll need to gain access to your local multiple listing service (MLS) portal so that you can post properties online. Additionally, you should rent several lockboxes from your brokerage or realty association so you can provide easy access to your listed properties.

Advertise your services

Even though your budget might be tight starting out, you’ll need to invest in some basic advertising. This should, at a minimum, include:

If you have a larger advertising budget, you could invest in online ads, radio spots and even search engine optimization (SEO).

Become well-known and liked in your community

How to Become a Real Estate Agent Man Unlocking a Front Door
Delight your first clients and more will follow.

The best kind of marketing is relationship marketing. This is based on the premise that people who know you are more inclined to trust you to provide a high level of service.

Even if you have active marketing campaigns, you should still invest time in becoming well-known in your community.

  • Go to your local chamber of commerce meetings.
  • Host a community BBQ.
  • Sponsor a sporting event.
  • Go knocking door-to-door with a free pen or fridge magnet.

All of these things will help people put a face to the ads, so that next time they move or buy, you’re the first person they call.

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That’s how to become a real estate agent

This post has outlined the general steps required by most provinces to start a career in the real estate industry, from licensing requirements to insurance needed to work in the real estate industry. While various provinces differ in the specifics, these are the steps most commonly followed to get a real estate certification in Canada.

A career in real estate can prove to be a rewarding one and offers many benefits, including:

  • The ability to set your own schedule
  • Work with a high-energy group of professionals
  • Continually interact with new people

If your personality fits this description, a career as a real estate professional might be the perfect fit for you.

Why not give it a shot?


Frequently Asked Question about becoming a real estate agent in Canada

In Canada, many people are interested in becoming real estate agents because it offers:

  • Flexible working hours
  • Above-average salaries
  • The potential to make a much better wage if you’re talented as a real estate agent

However, they usually have questions and concerns about choosing real estate as their career.

This section will answer some of the Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about becoming a real estate agent in Canada.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Canada?

To become a real estate agent in Canada requires 9-12 months of training. Since real estate agents are a regulated profession in Canada, you’ll need to first register with your provincial real estate board.

Once your provincial real estate board has accepted you, you can begin taking courses known as ‘pre-licensing training.’ The pre-licensing courses will provide basic knowledge about:

  • Real estate as a career
  • Land structure
  • Real estate trading
  • Residential real estate
  • Commercial real estate
  • The basics of real estate transactions
  • An overview of real estate law

You can take these courses in-person or online, and most pre-licensing courses will allow you to complete the course schedule at your own pace. This means that you can become a real estate agent faster if you’re willing to put in more effort.

After completing the pre-licensing exam, you can apply for the licensing exam, which is a 9-12 month process, depending on your province. If you pass the licensing exam, you can seek employment at any real estate brokerage within your province or territory.

What education is required to become a real estate agent in Canada?

You’re not required to have any college degrees to become a real estate agent in Canada. To begin your career as a real estate agent, you’ll only need to possess a high school diploma (or equivalent).

Once you have your grade 12 diploma, you must further your academic training by completing the ‘pre-licensing training.’ This training will provide the groundwork for your real estate career by teaching you about selling real estate and the laws associated with trading real estate in Canada.

After you’ve passed the pre-licensing exam, you can apply for the real estate licensing exam. To take the exam, you’ll need to complete a series of real estate courses that cover the principles of:

  • Real estate appraisal
  • Mortgage and financing
  • Property management
  • Real estate investment

The courses for the licensing exam will require about 12 months of training to complete. If you pass the exam, you can seek employment at any real estate brokerage in your province or territory.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Canada?

On average, the cost of getting your real estate agent’s license in Canada will be between $3,000 to $7,500, although the price will vary. In addition, the cost of acquiring your real estate license in Canada will vary depending on the province you live in and the educational institutes you attend for your training.

You will be required to pay for the pre-licensing training program, the licensing program, and then you will have to pay to become a member of your provincial real estate association. In addition, your local real estate board will also have a yearly premium that they charge to its members.

Your provincial real estate board will be able to provide you with a list of all required courses that you must complete, along with the educational institutes that you can use to complete your courses. If you contact these institutes, they’ll provide you with course costs to gain a better understanding of how much it will cost to get a real estate license in your province or territory.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Ontario?

If you’re looking to become a real estate agent in Ontario, it will take about 9-12 months of training and course work and another two years known as the ‘articling period’ before you’ll become a fully authorized real estate salesperson.

As a real estate salesperson, your profession will be regulated, so you’ll be required to follow the training standards set by the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), which all take time to complete.

Firstly, you’ll be required to have a grade 12 diploma before you can pursue a career as a real estate salesperson. Then you’ll need to complete the ‘Pre-Registration Learning Path,’ which is Ontario’s equivalent to the pre-licensing training offered by the real estate associations in other Canadian provinces.

Depending on your course schedule, the Pre-Registration Learning Path will take between 9-12 months to complete. After passing the exam, you can apply at a real estate brokerage and begin your two-year articling period to become a real estate salesperson in Ontario.

Can you get rich as a real estate agent in Canada?

Being a real estate agent will give you an above-average salary in Canada. Still, you’ll need to be in the top 10% of real estate agents across Canada if you want to make a lot of money and become wealthy from selling real estate.

Having a real estate agent career is often seen as a coveted job that provides a flexible schedule and a high-paying wage. However, if you’re an average real estate salesperson, it’s unlikely that you’ll get rich from a career in real estate.

How much does a real estate agent make in Canada?

According to the Government of Canada, a real estate agent will make between $24,746/year and $134,783/year.

The median salary for a real estate agent in Canada is $46,212/year.

 

The compensation you receive will be determined by the commission you receive from the brokerage that hired you and how talented you are at acquiring new clients and selling their homes as a real estate salesperson.

What skills are required to be a real estate agent in Canada?

It’s relatively easy to become a real estate agent in Canada, but becoming a successful real estate salesperson is increasingly difficult. So if you’re looking to build your career as a real estate professional, you’ll need to acquire skills that will help you.

As a real estate agent, you’ll be required to talk to clients regularly. This means that you’ll need to work on your:

  • Communication skills
  • Active listening skills
  • Personal manners
  • Time management
  • Understanding of social signals

You will also be required to have the ability to sell homes, negotiate prices and make both parties happy with the final sale price of the property. This involves problem-solving skills, patience, and good people skills.

If you want to acquire more clients because your past clients have given you glowing reviews, you’ll need to ensure that you have integrity in business. Without integrity, your real estate career will be short-lived.

As a real estate professional, you’ll also need to be tech-savvy so that you can list your properties online, respond to emails and calls, and schedule appointments with potential buyers or sellers.

Lastly, you’ll be required to have a good understanding of real estate, the location and neighbourhood that you work in, architecture design and basic construction, and a working knowledge of the real estate industry as it fluctuates.