Want to get your real estate license? Here are the steps you need to follow:
The licensing and educational requirements differ from one state to the other. You can check your state’s real estate commission to find out the specifics.
Requirements may also differ if you’re a licensed lawyer or if you have a degree in real estate. However, most states require:
Some states have reciprocity agreements that allow a real estate agent to work across state lines.
For example, if you have a real estate license in New York, you’re not required to take a pre-licensing course when applying to nine other states, which include Connecticut and Massachusetts.
The educational requirements may differ from one state to the other. For example, the required course takes about 135 hours in California, 180 in Texas, and only 75 in New York.
These educational requirements teach you the basic principles and terms, real estate practices, and the legal aspects of the job.
Most states offer a variety of options. You can take the course over a set number of weeks or at your own pace. You can also take the course online if you want.
You should compare the real estate schools and choose what fits you.
You should take the licensing test right after you finish the course. Applying for the test may take some time, though.
Some states don’t require you to finish the required pre-licensing course before applying. This way, applicants can finish the course while waiting for the test application to process.
The course instructor should walk you through the process of scheduling, registering, and paying for your licensing exam. Otherwise, revisit your state’s real estate commission website for information.
It’s a computerized MCQ test. It’s divided into two sections: one on federal real estate laws and general principles, and the other on state-specific real estate laws.
You need to pass both sections. If you fail one or both, you can retake the exam. The rules of retaking the test vary according to the state.
The passing score also differs according to the state. However, most states require a minimum score of 70%.
Now that you’ve passed the test, you can apply for the license. You’ll need to submit your test results along with the required fees for the application.
Make sure whether your state requires you to get Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance before you apply. Once submitted, the license application takes from one to eight weeks to process.
Even after obtaining your license, you still can’t legally practice real estate. You need to work under the supervision of a brokerage. A broker is state-licensed to ensure that a newbie follows legal and ethical standards.
At this point, you’re mostly getting paid by commission. You need to complete a transaction to get paid. There are different types of brokerages, so make sure you choose the right one.
Joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is an optional but beneficial step.
If you’re a member of NAR, you can participate in Multiple Listing Services (MLS) that allow you to see the listings of other realtors.
Remember to renew your license every two or four years, depending on state requirements.
Note also that some states require taking courses for renewal to ensure that you’re up to date with the market changes.