How to Get Started

Let’s look at how to get from desire to sales and into a successful career.

You must get licensed
The Real Estate Agency of the State of Oregon controls licensing and governs real estate practice in our state. For the most up to date information on licensing go to the REA site and search out its information and brochures:

You will have to complete 150 hours of required curriculum, pass many quizzes, take several proctored tests, and pass a final exam with two sections covering both state and national issues. You can get your classes through community colleges (in their normal curriculum), through local classes, or online through approved schools (I took mine online through Proschools, but there are others to shop as well). More information is on some of the REA forms. Costs are about $365 plus the cost of the course at $600+.

You must pass an FBI background check
This involves submitting a full set of your fingerprints. This is usually done in conjunction with licensing and often the schools will do this for you.
Interview prospective real estate offices
You will need to be under the supervision of a Principal Broker for at least 3 years. While you are taking your pre-license test, it is time to interview various brokerage firms or offices and learn everything you can. You are not applying for a job; you are on a fact-finding mission to see who you will join based on what you learn about them. You have a lot to learn about:

  • Being an “independent contractor”, a technical term with the IRS. This is similar to being self-employed in business.
  • Different Business Models in our industry and how to differentiate between them (the world has changed a lot).
  • Requirements and responsibilities you will have in that office
  • Your compensation (including commission splits & caps, royalties, fees, and expenses).
  • The ‘corporate culture’. Some offices are large, some small, but that does not say enough about the working conditions. All Realtors® are competitors with each other, but there can be big differences in the way that manifests itself within a brokerage. New agents can be particularly vulnerable to extreme completion. Be thoughtful and do your due diligence.
  • How much independence and autonomy do they offer? Do they dictate commission amounts? What about personal transactions? Can you develop a team? What is required in advertising; whose phone number?
  • What happens should you leave the brokerage? What happens to the listings, for example?
Your principal broker will authorize your license.
Your Principal Broker will sign a form authorizing you to ‘hang’ your license at the brokerage of your choice. Now is the time to finish the process of being able to sell:
  • Go to the REA Office in Salem and pay your $230 to get your license. When you walk out, you will be a licensed Realtor® and part of the office of your choice; congratulations!
  • Go to the RMLS (Regional Multiple Listing Service) office in Salem and pay your subscription fees for the MLS access ($100 & $35 per month), and your electronic Realtor® Key (about $50 deposit and about $10 per month). You can purchase lockboxes now or later ($100 each new, sometimes used are available for slightly less). If you choose to belong to a second MLS, you can go to the WVMLS (Willamette Valley MLS) office and sign up and pay your subscription fees.
  • Pay for your OREF Real Estate Forms subscription through RMLS, about $75 per year.
Bella Casa Orientation
At Bella Casa Real Estate Group you will be given an orientation by several people. Bring your laptop, and some of the things we will do are:

  • Receive keys for 24/7 access to the offices and review the security system
  • Connect to wireless network
  • Enter access code for printer/scanner
  • Set-up your RMLS software settings
  • Purchase signs, directionals, flyer boxes
  • Get bio information on the website
  • Register for your efax number
  • And more…
Important real estate websites
  • State of Oregon Real Estate Agency (REA) state law governs most real estate, and this agency governs licenses for real estate agents (referred to as ‘licensees’) and property management, You can access the statutes and the rules related to them on this site. You can also look up any licensees anytime and see the status of their licenses, who they are with, and when the licenses expire.
  • National Association of Realtors® (NAR) is a trade organization of real estate agents who join together to serve our industry and the housing sector. The term Realtor® is a trade name. Not all licensees or agents are Realtors®; only those who belong to the NAR can call themselves Realtors®. is the public site for NAR, and is the Realtor® resource site,
  • Oregon Association of Realtors® (OAR) is the state organization for Realtors® and oversees local Associations,
  • Yamhill County Association of Realtors® is our local Association. Read articles there about the value of each association to you, our industry, and our clients, Other close local associations are PMAR (Portland Metro Area Realtors®, and SAR (Salem Area Realtors®,