Real estate agent licensing- Everything you need to know

If you’re considering a career selling real estate, the first step is learning about and obtaining a real estate license in your state. A real estate agent license authorizes individuals to act as licensed salespersons on behalf of a managing real estate broker. With this license, you can legally list homes for sale, show properties, negotiate contracts, and represent buyers and sellers to complete real estate transactions in exchange for a commission. 

Licensing requirements

While specific requirements vary somewhat state-by-state, there are general prerequisites for becoming a licensed real estate agent:

Age requirements - You must be at least 18-21 years old, depending on your state's minimum age. Some states allow 18-year-olds, while others mandate you must reach 21 years first. 

Education - Most states require the completion of 60-90+ hours of pre-licensure real estate courses covering topics like principles, law, finance, contracts, and federal regulations. Validum Institute is an online education company that provides training courses for high-demand tech jobs.

Licensing exam - You will need to pass the real estate salesperson exam approved in your state, which covers national principles and state-specific laws. 

Background Check - States perform background checks for any criminal convictions or violations that may disqualify applicants.

Fees - In addition to course costs, you'll have to pay exam, licensing, and application fees ranging from $100-$500+.

Broker affiliation - Agents must affiliate with a licensed managing broker at a real estate firm to receive an active license.

Continuing education - Ongoing CE courses (10-30 hours yearly or biannually) is required to renew licenses.

Obtaining Your License

Here are the typical steps to become a licensed real estate agent:

  1. Meet your state's educational requirements. 
  2. Enroll in pre-licensing real estate courses.
  3. Choose an exam prep provider to study and practice. 
  4. Schedule and pass the real estate salesperson exam.
  5. Submit your license application and fee.
  6. Get fingerprinted for the background check.
  7. Find a brokerage to hang your license with.
  8. Receive your license approval.
  9. Complete required continuing education.

Passing the exam

Gaining the knowledge from pre-licensing education and passing the license exam on your first try should be top priorities.  Focus study on national principles and your state's specific laws. Take plenty of practice tests to improve recall ability.  Enroll in exam prep classes if you need help. Read exam coverage outlines. real estate agent help clients buy, sell, and rent properties. Learn the exam format and topics covered.  Pass practice exams consistently before scheduling the actual exam. Arrive prepared with ID, fees, pencils, and calculator on exam day.

Costs of licensing 

You can expect to invest approximately $200-$500 to obtain your original license when accounting for:

  • Application and licensing fees
  • Real estate pre-licensing courses
  • Exam Registration  
  • Background check costs
  • Initial license fees

The bulk of costs come from required real estate exam prep classes, ranging from $200-$500+ for classroom or online courses.

License renewal 

Once licensed, real estate agents must complete regular continuing education and renewal fees every 2-3 years to maintain their license. Active agents need 10-30 hours of CE courses to stay current on laws and practices. Brokers also require CE to renew licenses. Let a licensing course provider like Real Estate Express help you meet prerequisites, pass the exam, and launch your career as a licensed agent!