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How to Get a Real Estate License

How do I get a real estate license? Read the steps below to understand how getting your real estate license works.

1. Know the requirements - how to get a real estate license

Before you enroll in any online real estate courses, you'll want to get familiar with key concepts.

  • Every state has different requirements when it comes to getting a real estate license
  • Eligibility requirements differ by state. Age, education, and residency are part of the eligibility requirements
  • All states require pre-licensing education and a passing score on the state exam
  • Course type, passing scores, and number of course hours required differ by state
  • Fees and application also differ by state
  • Future license renewal requirements

When you're getting a real estate license, carefully go through the eligibility requirements, number of course hours required, and the application process. Knowing what your state requires will save you a great deal of time and streamline your experience.

2. Complete your pre-licensing education - how to get a real estate license

After you know exactly the state requirements for getting your real estate license, you'll need to complete your pre-license education. Make sure you choose an accredited school and one that is licensed in your state. You don't want to enroll in a non-accredited real estate licensing school. Here's what you need to know when completing your pre-licensing education.

  • Choose an accredited school, licensed in your state
  • If you have a degree in real estate, are a licensed attorney, or have a real estate license in another state, your education requirements may be different
  • Enroll in an accredited real estate license school, licensed in your state
  • Complete the exam prep course for your state
  • Obtain official real estate transcripts or a certificate of completion from the school, which will be required for your license application

3. File the application and pay the fees - how to get a real estate license

If you want to get your real estate license, you must complete your state's real estate license application and pay any applicable fees. Most states have forms and fee information located on a dedicated government real estate website.

When it comes to filing the application and paying the fees you'll need to know the following:

  • Filing date deadline
  • If you are required to obtain E&O (Errors and Omissions) insurance prior to applying

Some states require you to pass the exam, complete the background check, fingerprinting, and have a sponsoring/managing broker in place before you submit the application.

4. Find a testing center - how to get a real estate license

In most states the testing is outsourced to 3rd party testing centers. It's important to confirm the real estate testing provider for your state. Why? The testing providers are hired by the state to administer and grade the tests. States may shift their budgets and as a result the testing provider may shift.

Here's a list of the four main real estate testing providers:

AMP - Applied Measurement Professionals Corporate Headquarters
18000 W. 105th Street
Olathe, KS 66061-7543
Telephone: 913.895.4600

Pearson VUE
Bloomington-Corporate Headquarters Pearson VUE
5601 Green Valley Drive
Bloomington, MN 55437-1099

ProMetric Assessments, LLC
1501 South Clinton Street
Baltimore, MD 21224
+1-866-PROMETRIC (776-6387)

PSI - Psychological Services Incorporated
100 West Broadway, Suite 1100
Glendale, CA 91210
Licensure Phone, 1-800-733-9267
Certification Phone, 1-800-211-2754

5. Pass your exam - how to get a real estate license

When you go to take your exam, you want to go into the testing environment prepared. Here's what you need to know:

    Most states administer the real estate license exam through a 3rd party testing service company
  • If required to submit an application before testing, you will receive notification from the state that you are eligible to register for the exam
  • Register with the exam vendor and schedule a date to take the exam
  • If required by your state, sign an exam eligibility affidavit
  • Bring the required valid identification to the testing site
  • You will have to pass both the national and the state portions of the exam, which can be taken together or separately in some states

6. Taking the exam - how to get a real estate license

  • Confirm the testing provider your state uses
  • Contact the testing center and ask if they offer simulation exams for your desired licensure
  • Contact the real estate testing center to understand how the test will be delivered and scored

7. Get your background check - how to get a real estate license

To get your real estate license you'll need to get fingerprinted and successfully pass a background check. Your state's real estate commission website lists the requirements for both.

  • Due to the processing time involved, give yourself time to get fingerprinted and complete the background check
  • Expect fees to be paid for the fingerprint and background check

8. Find a sponsoring or managing broker - how to get a real estate license

States require you to work with a sponsoring or managing broker for the first 2 (or more) years of your real estate career. Although you technically work for yourself, you cannot work independently until the required amount of time has expired.

You will need to work on the behalf of a real estate broker who is licensed to sponsor or manage those working for his/her brokerage firm.

9. Acquire errors and omissions (E&O) insurance - how to get a real estate license

Most states require errors and omissions (E&O) insurance for licensed real estate agents.

10. Good to know - how to get a real estate license

  • Every state has their own particular set of real estate laws and regulations. Study for the state where you want to practice.
  • There is no such thing as a "typical" real estate license. States differ in how they define the role of a "salesperson", "broker", or an "agent." The goal here is to know what your state offers and what specific test you will take.
  • Students who take the pre-licensing exam and use the exam prep tools were more likely to pass the state license exam.
  • Most states require a combination of real estate pre-license course and a minimum number of training hours before scheduling your real estate license exam.
  • Know what will and will not be on the test.
  • Know where you'll be taking the exam. You don't want any surprises on exam day. Identify the testing center and how you will be tested. As no two testing centers are the same, you want to select a testing center that fits your needs.

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