Some of my earliest memories was sitting with my mom scrolling through new homes on the market online. Each of us would take turns guessing the listing price based off the photos, location, and description. Sometimes she’d get it right, other times I would.
Ever since, I’ve been keen on real estate as a strategic investment opportunity. In fact, it helped fund my college tuition payments. But beyond its inherent and speculative value, homes are also our most private, intimate spaces in which we recharge, reflect, and live our lives. They are our sanctuaries in which we can be our true, honest selves. They hold our most cherished memories.
My mom once said, “The two biggest decisions you’ll make in your life are finding the right partner and buying a home.” Since moving to Seattle, I’ve been eyeing the markets, obsessively scrolling through Redfin for the latest active listings, and attending open houses. I thought I might as well take the chance to learn the ins and outs of real estate and become an agent myself.
In Washington, you just need to be at least 18 years old with a high school diploma and take 90 hours of real estate education, including a 60-hour Fundamentals and 30-hour Practices course before taking the broker’s exam. Simple enough, I thought, and so I signed up for an online course with the CE Shop to have the flexibility to take the lessons self-paced. I scheduled time to work through the course in the evenings and on the weekends.
The CE Shop lessons introduce the topics with reading or multimedia materials, with links to other websites and resources such as flashcard decks, along with practice drill questions that test comprehension and application. Each unit has an exam that requires an 80% passing score. Both courses have a final exam along with practice exams that are multiple choice.
Once I completed the exams, the CE Shop sent over my course completion certificatesDepartment of Licensing within a day. I booked my licensing exam in two weeks time, giving me the chance to cram for the real deal.
I also purchased a practice exam on the national content for more practice. It’s an investment to get comfortable with the same testing software environment and also get a feel for the format and content of real exam questions. I would highly recommend the more expensive option to get a detailed explanation of every question once you complete it. The CE Shop also offers exam drill practice, but I wanted to get offical study material.
To prepare for the licensing exam, I reviewed the Candidate Handbook for more information on how the exam is proctored. At the end of the booklet there’s an outline of all the exam topics with the number of expected questions on the exam. I highlihgted and studied the ones that were the most important and most tested (e.g. agency, contracts, and practices). From there, I created notecards on each topic and tested myself on recalling everything I could on the topic. I kept at this until I was confident in each of the subject areas.
I also checked out from the library a copy of a pre-licensing course textbook offered by Rockwell. I used it as a secondary resource to review certain topics I was unsure about.
To prepare for exam day, I made sure to buy a calculator (there are some to borrow at the proctoring center I was at) and prepare my two forms of identification (I brought my driver’s license and passport). The proctoring center is pretty strict on protocol: all electronic devices have to be powered off and all hats and jackets must be removed (the room is very warm, though, to compensate). All your belongings are placed in a locked bag that you carry into the proctoring room.
There is are short surveys before and after the exam, but the actual exam is 135 questions: 5 are experimental and don’t count, 100 questions on national content and 30 on Washington-specific content. To pass the exam, you need a score of 70% or above for both portions. Otherwise, you can retake the portions you fail. The software was exactly the same as the practice one (tip: you can click or type the letter A/B/C/D to select an answer), but your photo persists on the right side of the page throughout the exam (a proctor takes right before you walk into the testing room).
You get a sheet of paper to take notes or do your math calculations, but I also used it to mark down questions I wanted to go back to. It took me around 2 hours to get through all the questions and another 30 minutes to review the ones I was unsure on. I went through all the state specific questions once more to make sure I was confident in enough answers to meet the 70% passing threshold.
You don’t see your score until you leave the room and wait for the proctor to print your results. Mine was handed to me face down, and when I turned it over, I scanned through the entire page until I was sure it said I passed. Once I left the center, I jumped up and down and screeched for joy. I don’t think I had been so excited to pass an exam ever before.
Signed up for 90-hour pre-licensing course with the CE Shop (use this link to get 35% off). Worked through lessons after work in the evenings and on the weekends.
Completed all final exams for the pre-licensing course. Booked a spot for the broker licensing exam, with two weeks to study.
Took and passed broker licensing exam.
Reach out to real estate firms to find a brokerage to affiliate with.