How To Get a Real Estate License By State

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One of the ways to get into the real estate business is to be an agent or a broker, but for that, you need to know how to get a real estate license. The specific requirements can vary by state, but the process is similar. Know how to get into real estate investment with these steps.

How to Get a Real Estate License and Start Working as a Realtor


1. Determine Whether a Pre-Licensing Course Is Necessary

The first thing you must know to get a real estate license is that you may have to take a pre-licensing course. Most aspiring real estate agents and brokers need to take accredited pre-licensing courses before completing the exams and applying for licensure. This is not true across the board, however.

Reciprocity agreements can ease the burden in some instances. For example, licensed residents in Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, and Oregon may no longer have to take pre-licensing courses in those states. Real estate agents from Idaho, though, may still need to complete the state-specific portion of each licensure exam.

Attorneys who want to be agents or brokers can also sometimes avoid conventional pre-licensure classes. To qualify, they should be in good standing with their state bar. Most states require them to submit copies of their bar cards when applying for real estate license.

2. Choose a Pre-Licensing Course

Choose a Pre-Licensing Course | How To Get Real Estate License By State | how to get into the real estate business

It doesn’t matter which state you call home. You are likely to begin the licensure process with a pre-licensing course from an accredited institution. The topics and hours vary somewhat across states, but many require at least 100 hours.

These hours may cover the following courses:

  • Finance
  • Appraisal
  • Ethics
  • State-specific real estate laws

Check the state’s real estate commission to determine which classes and institutions are eligible. The state’s real estate commission can also provide you with the requirements to get a license.

Some real estate agents prefer to take courses online so they can work full time while completing them. Not all online courses meet requirements in all states, though. Prior to enrolling in a particular program, make sure it has an accreditation from the state.

Also, know which classes need an in-person meeting. Iowa, for example, requires potential real estate agents to complete courses on buying, listing practices, and ethics, in person.

3. Be Sure You Meet the Basic Requirements

There are basic requirements on how to get a real estate license. In many states, the minimum age is 18. Some will also accept only those who have completed high school or received their GED. You also need to be a state resident to apply.

4. Take Your Licensing Exam

You can take the license exam once you have completed the pre-licensing course. The actual content and length can differ between states. Most exams contain approximately 100 questions. On the average, you can complete them under two hours.

You also need to pay fees. Usually, real estate candidates pay over $50 to sit for the exam. The minimum score to pass also varies. In several states, the minimum score is 75%.

5. Develop Ties with a Real Estate Broker if Required in Your State

In some states, you may have to work with a broker before you can proceed on how to get a real estate license.

In Minnesota, for example, all real estate salespeople should get a license and work on behalf of a specific broker. It is not possible to work for two brokers simultaneously. The broker, not the agent, is the one who should submit the final application.

6. File a Real Estate License Application

File a Real Estate License Application | How To Get Real Estate License By State | how to get into real estate investment

After passing the exam, the next step on how to get real estate license is to file your application. There are going to be more fees at this stage. Besides the cost of the application, the state may also ask for $40 for a background check.

You may also need to disclose your criminal history. Some crimes could prevent you from obtaining a license, but dishonesty will almost assuredly destroy your chances. Some states such as Nevada also require a fingerprint test before applying.

In many states, aspiring real estate agents must possess Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance before they apply. This protects agents from lawsuits and other financial issues. It pays claims for those accused of negligence, omission, or other errors related to their professional duties.

7. Be Patient

Learning how to get into real estate sales demands patience. Applications can take weeks, and even months, to process. The criminal background check alone may take up to four weeks. Usually, the entire process spans two months.


Find out how to pass the real estate exam without reading a book with this video from Bradley de comarmond:

How hard is it to get into real estate? The answer is not as difficult as you’d like to think. The process for getting a real estate license, though, can be time-consuming and exhausting. The good news is the rewards for your efforts can be amazing. Think about the many ways to earn commissions. You can know how to get into selling real estate without a huge capital investment. Most of all, you can help hundreds of people looking for the best investment of their lives.

No one ever drifted to the success they wanted – they created a plan and set goals.  Get the step-by-step proven methodology and workbook to make 2019 your best CRE year yet.

Up Next: 8 Reasons Why Investment Brokerage Is a Great Career Choice

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