Be In the Know – How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License?


A real estate agent is a professional career that requires minimal education when compared to other professional jobs. Often people decide to enter the field for this reason then discover the educational requirements are more stringent than they expected. Find out the answer to the question – how long does it take to get a real estate license and start working with clients?

Every State Differs

A real estate license is required to legally broker, sell or rent real estate to prospective buyers and tenants on behalf of a brokerage. The time it takes to earn a real estate license depends on the state where a person wants to work. The first step is to check with the state department of licensing or bureau of real estate to find out the exact process, qualifications, timeline, and cost to become an agent. Most states require applicants to complete a pre-licensing course and submit an application with fees to take the exam.

Put in the Hours

Most states require 60 to 90 hours of education to qualify to take the real estate exam. The courses are college-level and can be challenging to understand. Topics covered include contracts, deeds, leases, and property ownership. Verify the state real estate licensing authority approves the school and classes. All courses should be accredited and acknowledged. Someone already licensed as an agent in another state should find out if a reciprocity agreement exists with the state of the current license. And pre-licensing requirements may differ for particular students or professionals, such as licensed attorneys.

Taking Classes

Regardless of the number of educational hours required by the state, prospective agents can take classes at their convenience. Classes might be conducted in-person or online. Either way, the hours will be tallied for each student to ensure they complete the course. A student may attend classes for anywhere from three to six months. Online courses are completed at the student’s pace, which could be faster or slower than usual. Besides attending classes, students need to spend a few hundred dollars for the courses and application fees.

Sit for the State Licensing Exam

Each state has its own licensing exam, which can take anywhere from an hour and a half to three and a half hours to finish. The test consists of multiple-choice questions that include national and state laws on real estate transactions. Each state determines the minimum score to pass the test and get a real estate license. The transcript from the school and the real estate agent license application with fees are needed to apply for the official state license. Usually, applicants must be 18 or 19 years old, have a GED or high school diploma, and be able to work in the United States or be a state resident. It can take up to two months to process the application.

Choose a Brokerage

Passing the exam and getting a real estate license are preliminary steps. Then a new agent must be sponsored by and work for a real estate broker to start selling properties. A broker provides the agency where the agent works. Many agents shop around for a brokerage before taking the licensing exam. Agents should find out about career opportunities, mentoring, commission structure, and training provided by brokerages to choose the best position. Ask the details of the working arrangements, such as desk fees, the way leads are distributed, and how commission splits are structured. An agent should look for the maximum level of support to help jumpstart their careers. Better Homes and Garden® Real Estate affiliated agents have access to the Be Better University® to continue to learn and grow as they embark on their careers.

License Renewal

A real estate license must be renewed regularly. Usually, the term of the license is between two to four years. Every state requires agents to complete a specific number of continuing education hours to be eligible to renew the license. The laws and requirements pertaining to agents are always evolving, and agents must know the latest developments to sell properties and service their clients properly. Courses are also available for agents who want to focus on a niche, such as first-time homebuyers or luxury sellers. Separate educational and licensing requirements apply to other industry careers, such as real estate appraiser and real estate broker. How long does it take to get a real estate license? Typically, it takes three to six months to get a real estate license and start working with clients, but that varies based on the student’s schedule and learning style. With the support of a top brokerage, a real estate agent can successfully break into this challenging, rewarding, and profitable field.

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