While individual expenses vary, here is a rough estimate of the initial costs to start a real estate career (based on 2012 figures):
Non-Recurring Start-Up Fees:
State-Approved License Course: $300-500
Indiana Association of Realtors® Membership: $200
NE IN Association of Realtors® Orientation Fee: $25
Supra® Key for Electronic Lockboxes: $249
National Board of Realtors® Membership: $155
Indiana Association of Realtors® Membership: $180
NE IN Association of Realtors® Membership: $175
All Annual Fees for Realtor® memberships are pro-rated to the month joined, so depending upon when you join an office, the first year's dues may range from $50 to $360
Multiple Listing Service Access Fee: $50
MLS fees are billed at least one month in advance, so depending upon when you join an office, the first month's bill may range from $50 to $150.
Business Cards: $30-60 for 1,000 cards
Sign Riders: $7-8 each
Car Magnets: $100-120 per set
All told, expect to spend about $1,500 to begin a career in real estate, not including professional wardrobe, gasoline, office supplies, etc.
Finally, because real estate agents are paid on commission and not salaried and it can take anywhere from three to six weeks from the time an offer is accepted until the property closes (and commission checks are disbursed), it is a good idea to have a "safety net" of three to six months income in savings before devoting full time efforts to this career.