How To Get a Real Estate License

How To Get a Real Estate License

The following contribution is from another author.

You’ve decided to become a real estate agent. Congratulations! It is time to get on with the work. As of 2020, there were more than 1.46 millions realtors in the U.S. and this number is growing with the housing boom in 2021. Because of its flexibility, autonomy and pay, selling real estate is a popular career choice for many. Realtors earn $80k , which is close to the US average. There is no limit on the amount of money a realtor can make. The sky is the limit for real estate agents once they have met the state licensing requirements.

1. Find out the licensing and education requirements in your state.

First, get your bearings. Every state has its own requirements. To obtain your license, you should consult your local real estate commission.

The majority of states require:

  • A college-level course in real estate basics, including title, deeds and contracts.
  • Permanent residency in the same state as the license application
  • Minimum age 18 years old or older
  • Background check for criminal records

Online and in-person classes are both available. However, the state’s real property licensing authority must approve your school and courses. Make sure your state has recognized and accredited the school before you make a payment for it.

Real Estate License Reciprocity

You may be a licensed agent and are moving between states. Check to see if there is a reciprocity arrangement with your state. You may be able to meet pre-licensing requirements if there is a reciprocity agreement. You don’t have to get a license in your new country, but it could mean that you can skip one or two steps in the licensing process.

Idaho, Oregon, and Montana have reciprocity agreements. You don’t have to take pre-licensing courses in real estate if you hold an Idaho real estate license. However, you must take the state-specific sections of the exam in Wyoming and Oregon.

Other areas of the country also have reciprocity agreements.

You might be able to reduce your pre-licensing requirements if you have a degree or license as an attorney.

2. Completion of the education requirements.

Being a real estate agent takes time and money. Before you start, you will need to know how much you can afford.

Some schools require you to take a certain number of classes over several weeks. Others allow you to go at your own pace. You should know what your options are and which one is best for you. Pre-licensing course costs vary by state and school, but you can expect to pay $200-$1000 for your courses.

3. Register for the real estate licensing exam within your state.

After you feel confident with the information from your real estate courses, you can apply for the exam. This usually involves paying an application fee and registering through a third party like PSI Examinations.

Many states only require that you have completed some of your education requirements before applying for the real estate exams to This will speed up your time to get your license. You can also complete your credit hours while you wait for your exam application approval.

Do not confuse this step with applying to get your license. That will be done after you have passed the real estate licensing exam.

4. Pass the state licensing exam.

It sounds simple enough, right? Each state has a requirement that you have completed education in order to sit for the real-estate license exam. Your chances of passing the exam are higher if you prepare well.

It will consist of approximately 100 multiple-choice questions that cover both national and state laws and principles. Although the state’s minimum score is different, most states require at least a 70% score in order to obtain a license. It will take approximately 1.5 to 3.5 hours to pass the licensing exam. You will need to pay an exam fee of $15-$100.

To include with your real estate license application, make sure to obtain a certified transcript of real estate or certification of completion from the school. Also, be sure to get a copy your exam score.

5. Register for your real-estate license

After passing the exam you will need to submit your test results and license application. The application fee for a license will cost $50 to $250. You might also need to go through a background check, which can cost anywhere from $40 to $100.

Before you apply, check with your state’s realty commission to see if you are required to have Errors & Omissions insurance. E&O insurance protects agents against financial losses and lawsuits that may be brought against them as a result their real estate work. Sometimes your brokerage may sell you E&O insurance. You might need it before you submit your application if you are not covered by the brokerage.

To apply for a license to be a real estate agent in any state, you must have a GED or high-school diploma. You must also be allowed to work in the United States. Many states require that you are an in-state resident.

After you submit your application, it will take approximately one week to process your license.

6. Locate a real estate broker.

Congratulations! Great! However, this does not necessarily mean that you can immediately start selling houses. Many states require that you work with a broker to sponsor your first two- to three years of being an agent.

7. Join the National Association of Realtors.

So you have your license, found a sponsoring broker, and now you are a real estate agent. You’re kind of wrong. To be a REALTOR(r), you will need to join the National Association of Realtors.

You will need to be a registered agent to view other realtor’s listings.

You can legally work as a real estate agent if you’re not a member. However, your earning potential is limited if you don’t have access to the MLS.

8. Renew your license regularly.

It is hard work to get your real estate license. Don’t forget about renewing it. To find out when your license expires, check the requirements of your state. This happens usually every two to four years.

Agents in many states must complete a certain number of courses to be eligible to renew their licenses. This can range from 8 to 90 hours every few years. These courses will keep you current on changes in the national and state markets, regulations, and laws.

To ensure you don’t have to squeeze 90 hours of coursework in the four days prior to your license expires, check with your state licensing office.

Your Real Estate License Is At Your Fingertips

It is not an easy decision to become a real estate agent. This requires dedication, time and attention. The result is almost endless earning potential and the possibility to be your own boss, which are two of the things that make many real estate agents tick.


Eric is the creator of At Home in the Future and has been a passionate fan of the future since he was seven. He's a web developer by trade, and serves as the Director of Communication and Technology for a large church in Nashville, TN (where he and his family are building a high tech home in the woods).