Becoming a NJ Real Estate Agent: What’s the Road Map Look Like?


July 8, 2022

“When I signed up for the real estate school, I didn’t really understand what it would take to actually succeed in a real estate career.”

So said a young woman in my recent class for people wanting to get a NJ real estate license. Her comments were not unusual. Many people sign up for Garden State Real Estate Academy’s real estate courses because a friend suggested it, or because they are unhappy with their current jobs. But they don’t look at the big picture of how to succeed in that first years as a new real estate agent.

So what does the road map look like from when you decide to get a real estate license, to when you close on your first year of career success??

How to get a New Jersey Real Estate License.

Step one is to get your license. In New Jersey, you cannot earn a real estate license in an online self-study program. You must attend a 75-hour course led by an instructor. Garden State Real Estate Academy is the top-rated real estate school in New Jersey with over 420 5-star Google reviews. We offer daytime, part-time, and evening real estate classes that start every two weeks and which you can attend in person or on Zoom.

You must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or the equivalent, and be legally allowed to live and work in the US. Once you complete the course, you must pass a state licensing exam and have a criminal background check. Then you choose a broker and activate your brand new real estate license!

“I got my license. Now what?”

Hopefully, you choose a broker with a great training program and one that offers you a coach or a mentor to show you the ropes.

Even before you finish real estate school you should be compiling a database of your “sphere of influence.” Your SOI can be put together on a simple Excel spreadsheet with first name, last name, phone number, and email address across four columns. Your list should include everybody who knows you or whom you know who might choose you if they had a real estate need and knew you were an agent. It is not a static marketing tool; you should commit to adding to your database every day. If you hire a painter to do work on your home, add him. Your hairdresser, your cousin, your CPA—all of them should be added to your database.

Once you have your new real estate license, let your database know you are now a real estate agent and would love to help them if they have any real estate questions or needs, and maintain communications to keep you “top of mind” when they think of real estate.

Get to know the local real estate market.

Buyers and sellers say that knowledge of the local market is one of the main values they look for in a real estate agent. Study the market. What do four-bedroom homes sell for in this neighborhood versus that neighborhood? How quickly do properties sell in one area compared to another, and for what percentage of list price are they selling? Do homes with pools sell faster, or for significantly more money, or not?

Go to as many open houses as you can. Tell the agents at the open houses that you just wanted to preview the listing—they will be happy to have a warm body showing interest! And they will also be grateful that you might then recommend their listing if you have a buyer. There is no better way for you to learn about the local housing inventory, from what pricing is like to the type of amenities found in typical homes.

Take advantage of every training opportunity you can.

Most broker training is free, and you should attend as many training classes as you can. Nothing can take the place of hearing advice on how to succeed from agents who are already successful. You don’t need to reinvent the wheel; you just need to hitch a ride on somebody else’s wheels!

Get a mentor.

Even if your brokerage firm does not have a formal mentor program, ask one of the top agents if you could shadow them on a listing appointment, an open house, or a closing. Ask them if they could give you advice on how to get a fast start—they were newbies once, too! When markets are really hot, top agents often don’t have time or interest to show low-priced homes or rental properties, so ask the star agents if they would throw those clients your way rather than just turning them away.

Remember, today’s renters can be tomorrow’s buyers when heir lease expires next year.

Don’t spend it ‘till you earn it!

New licensees get swamped with offers from marketers pushing everything from lead generation services to signs to printing. It is so easy to be talked into signing up for a lead generation service that promises you will get “Every single buyer that we get for your ZIP code,” only to then discover the leads are worthless, or few in number—and you have signed a one-year contract at $299 a month.

Treat your real estate career as a business. Have a budget. Make every marketing dollar you spend accountable, meaning track the results to ensure that you derive more than $1 in commission income from every $1 you spend.  One of the most important questions you can ever ask of a person who contacts you is, “How did you hear of me?”

 Don’t give up!

Real real estate is not like they depict it on reality TV. It takes a long time to get buyers and sellers. Sometimes, after spending months with a client, the deal falls through because the buyer loses her job or the mortgage is denied or they find structural problems with the property.

You have to take the long view. New real estate agents should never assume this is a get-rich-quick career.

One of the best resources to help new real estate agents plan for real estate career success is the new book, “Zero to Hero: Winning strategies for new real estate agents to become SuperStars in their first year.” At an introductory price of only $25, it is the best road map you could ever invest in. You can order it here:

For information on the real estate school’s upcoming New Jersey licensing classes, click here:


Garden State Real Estate Academy also offers online self-study real estate licensing classes in 21 states through our partnership with The CE Shop. And while New Jersey does NOT allow self-study pre-licensing classes, we do offer self-study pre-licensing classes in 25 other states by clicking here:


David C. Forward is a licensed real estate broker and instructor and was first licensed as a Realtor® 34 years ago. During his career, David and his business partner sold more than 500 homes in South Jersey.  He is now School Director of Garden Real Estate Academy, has won numerous awards for real estate sales, is a much-requested public speaker who has addressed audiences on six continents. His 20th book Zero to Hero: Winning strategies for new real estate agents to become SuperStars in their first year was released this month.

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