How to Become a Real Estate Agent

Becoming a real estate agent is a great opportunity for a career that is both exciting and financially rewarding. But before you can start your business, you must first go through the necessary educational and training requirements. After you finish your licensing courses you will need to choose the right kind of brokerage for what you plan to do as a real estate professional.  In order to make this decision you should be familiar with the different kinds of brokerages.

How to Become a Realtor

One of the many attractions of becoming a real estate agent is that it offers a quick path to becoming a professional, and a relatively inexpensive path to starting a potentially lucrative business. No college or university education is required. To begin the Ontario Real Estate Salesperson Program, you need to be 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or GED equivalent. You must also be a citizen or permanent resident of Canada.

Before You Begin Your Education

While you may be eligible for the Real Estate Salesperson Program already, you will need to make sure of a few things before starting your application. Firstly, are you the right fit? This article will help you decide if real estate is the right career path for you.

Secondly, are you able to finance your education? The sum of the costs of licensing school and the various fees to get registered will cost approximately $7000 in Ontario. While that total may seem daunting, having either financial support from your family or money tucked away in a savings fund will help you work around these costs.

Educational Requirements for Registration

In order to start trading in real estate in Ontario, you must be registered with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO––see glossary). But before you can register with RECO, you are required to complete five courses and two simulation sessions in the pre-registration phase of Humber College’s Real Estate Salesperson Program, in 24 months or less––though it could be completed in as little as six months. The pre-registration phase consists of:
- Course 1: Real Estate Essentials and Exam
- Course 2: Residential Real Estate Transactions and Exam
- Course 3: Additional Residential Real Estate Transactions and Exam
- Simulation Session 1: Residential Real Estate Transactions
- Course 4: Commercial Real Estate Transactions and Exam
- Simulation Session 2: Commercial Real Estate Transactions
- Course 5: Getting Started

Once you have completed the pre-registration phase, you have one year to register with RECO. But in order to become a registrant with RECO, you must first be employed by a licensed brokerage.

Choosing a Brokerage

After completing your pre-registration education requirements, the next step is interviewing brokerages and choosing between the ones that feel like a good fit for you.

Different kinds of brokerages offer different perks. For example, virtual brokerages might offer extensive technology tools and an ability to work from home. But these brokerages may provide less in other areas such as potential leads and training.

Full-service brokers offer the widest breadth of perks, such as financial and management support, though only certain ones provide truly valuable training. It will require some research to see which training programs look the most impactful. Our module on how to choose a broker provides more in-depth insights on this process.

Renewing Your Registration

Once you have chosen a brokerage and registered with RECO, you have two years before you must renew your registration by taking a mandatory 15-hour course, as well as two 10-hour electives. Throughout your real estate career in Ontario, you must take 20 hours of training courses every two years to renew your RECO registration, regardless of experience level.

Joining a Real Estate Board

Becoming a realtor means joining federal and provincial real estate associations and your local real estate boards. After registering with RECO (or another organization for a different province), you can then become a member of the Canadian Real Estate Association (CREA) and a local real estate board in order to become a realtor. OREA/CREA registration involves a one-time $400 fee.

A local board will also require a one-time membership fee, and an annual fee to renew your membership. The Toronto Regional Real Estate Board (TRREB), for example, charges a one-time membership fee of $460, as well as an annual fee of approximately $860.

These boards assist realtors in many ways but most critically by providing the multiple listing service system (MLS––see glossary). The boards also promote the interests of brokers and brokerages through public outreach initiatives, lobbying for legislation that advances the interests of the realtor community, and providing other services that help realtors conduct their business.


Real estate offers the cheapest and quickest path to starting a business that could gross upwards of $1 million. Now that you have a clear idea of the steps involved to becoming licensed, you are one step closer to turning that goal into reality.