Real Estate: Dealing with Agents/becoming a realtor
I am thinking about looking into getting my realtor license but would like to know a bit more about what all is involved in being a realtor first.
That's a broad question, since there are several ways you can use a real estate license and there are many specialties and market niches. I'm in California, so I can only talk about specific use of the license here, but maybe that will give you some ideas of what to look into in Oklahoma.
BUSINESS BROKERING: In CA a license allows you to broker the sale of businesses, whether they own real estate or not. This isn't a common use of the license and most who get into this line of work deal in only small businesses (restaurants, single location gas stations, etc.).
PROPERTY MANAGEMENT: In CA there must be one broker responsible for operations in a property management company, everyone else is not required to be licensed.
COMMERCIAL SALES: Brokering commercial properties can be very different from homes. The buyers and sellers are business people and they want their real estate professional to have a strong business background and understand the financial dimensions of the properties they're working with.
RESIDENTIAL SALES: Working with home buyers and sellers is the most common use of a real estate license, but it also has the most specialties and niches. You can choose to not have a niche or specialty and work with any clients willing to hire you, but that's seldom a successful approach. I have worked with many types of properties, from 2 bedroom condos to $15M parcels of land. I will take most reasonable opportunities that come my way, but I have 3 niches that I focus my marketing efforts on: luxury residential, land and probate/trust sales. If you click through to my web site I hope you'll see this focus.
In general, an agent is an individual business. If you go to work for a broker, it is usually under contract as an independent contractor. Here in California, agents are considered employees for general liability purposes only. As primarily contractors, they are responsible for determining the type of specialties/niches to have, which geographic markets they will serve, and for paying their own business expenses and taxes. I know of no brokerages that offer regular paychecks and benefits, though I've heard they do exist...somewhere...
Successful agents develop their own unique brand rather than relying on the name of the brokerage they work for. Agents who stay in the profession for many years will usually work at more than one brokerage. Developing their own business identity helps them keep their clients when they switch offices (brokerages).
The level of support provided by the brokerage where you "hang your license" can vary greatly, usually depending on your "commission split" with the broker. The bigger bite they take out of each of your commission checks, the more support you should expect. Some brokerages provide a lot of marketing support, office services, and training, some just a little. The first deal you should negotiate as an agent is the contract with your broker.
Bottom line, it's your business and you are responsible for everything. Success or failure is completely dependent upon you and how you match your skills and resources with opportunities available in your market. This is all general information. If you'd like to know more about any particular subject, I'd be glad to address any follow up questions.