Category Archives: Real Estate License

How to Get a Real Estate License in Florida

Getting a real estate license in Florida, which is called the Sales Associates license, is a great career option. The Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has made the requirements very simple. That means, you don’t have to worry about a bunch of government red tape and can focus on doing what you love—buying and selling real estate!

As a bonus, Florida has a lot of reciprocity agreements with many other states. That means you’ll be exempt from the education requirements in those states, giving you a shortcut to getting licensed and working there.

Short Answer

  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Meet education requirements
  3. Pass the state exam

From start to finish, the process will take about 2 months. 

Long Answer

Meet Basic Eligibility Requirements

You need to be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or GED.

Applicants must also provide a valid social security number.

Fulfill Education Requirements

This is easy. You’re just required to take a single 63 hour pre-licensing course. This is a pretty basic course that covers the ABC’s of real estate. You should be able to knock this out in no time.

If you want to get your license processed faster, I recommend submitting your application before you start the courses. However, this also means, you’ll have to pay all the fees upfront.

You have 2 years to apply for the state exam after you complete the course, otherwise the state won’t accept the certificate and you’ll have to re-take the course again.

Special Exemptions

If you’re a member of the Florida State Bar, then you are exempt from taking the 63 hour pre-licensing course. However, you will still have to take the 45 hour post-licensing course.

If you have a Bachelors or Masters degree in real estate, then you are exempt from all education requirements (both pre-license and post-license).

Reciprocity

Florida currently has reciprocity agreements with the following 7 states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, and Nebraska.

If you currently hold an active license and are in good standing in any of these states, you are exempt from taking the 63 hour pre-licensing course.

However, you will still need to pass the Florida-specific, real estate law written exam.

The exam will consist of 40 questions of 1 point in value per question. You’ll need to score 30 points or higher to pass the exam.

How Much Does It Cost?

You can find online real estate programs ranging from $59 to $300.

Choosing a School

There are a lot of real estate schools out there with very competitive programs. The main difference seems to be the packages that contain the renewal courses for post-licensing and continuing education.

One school that caught my eye is Real Estate Express. Their Competitive Edge and Advanced Pro packages both have free continuing education courses FOR LIFE! I haven’t seen any other school that offers that. (If you do see one, let me know in the comments section below) Plus, they seem to have promotions every week. Right now, as I’m writing this, they have a 30% off promotion on all their packages. 

State Exam

Once the state has finished reviewing your application, they will notify you of your approval to take the state exam by mail.

The DBPR has contracted with a testing company called Pearson Vue to conduct their state exams. They are a national company, so it’s extremely easy to schedule a time and find a location that will be convenient for you. You can simply go to their website to make an appointment.

The state exam consists of 100 multiple-choice questions. You are allotted 3.5 hours to score a 75% or better. The fee to take the exam is $36.75

If you don’t pass the exam, you’re allowed to review the questions that you missed. You must submit this request within 21 days of your test date to Pearson Vue through their website or by calling (888) 204-6289. This has a Review Fee of $35.

If you’re a military veteran, part of the Florida National Guard or a spouse of one, you may be eligible for a fee waiver or reimbursement. You can check here to find out.

If you want more detailed information on the exam, you can read their official handbook.

Choosing a Broker

After you successfully pass the state exam, you’ll receive your real estate license in the mail!

The next step is to find broker who will activate it for you, so you can actually use it for work.

Because it’s so easy to obtain a Florida real estate license, it’s important to find a broker who will be a good mentor and show you the ropes.

This position is typically commission-based; so, many brokers are actively seeking to recruit more agents. Keep this in mind, and don’t sign on with the first broker that agrees to take you on.

You can expect them to take a part of your commission, and in return, they should be helping you build a successful real estate career.  

Renewing Your License

After you get your Sales Associate license, you are required to take 45 hours of Post-License education within your second year of being licensed. This is for your first renewal.

Beginning with your second renewal and beyond, you’ll only need to complete 14 hours of continuing education, including 3 hours of Core Law, 3 hours of Business Ethics, and 9 hours of specialty education.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Georgia

Working in real estate can be a very rewarding career. You get to meet new people and help them achieve their dreams. However, with any occupation, it’s not going to be rosy all the time. The market will be down at times, or you might just encounter people who are impolite.

However, it’s a pretty quick process if you want to build a career in real estate, and at the end of the day, it’s really what you make of it.

Short Answer

  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Fulfill education requirements
  3. Pass the state exam

From start to finish, it takes about 2 to 3 months.

Long Answer

Meet Basic Eligibility Requirements

You need to be 18 years or older and have a high school diploma or GED.

You’re also required to provide proof that you’re a US citizen or legally admitted alien.

There will eventually be a background check. You must obtain a certified criminal history report called the Georgia Crime Information Center (CGIC) report. It cannot be more than 60 days prior to applying for license approval. GREC reserves the right to deny your application.

If you’re out of state, you can obtain a criminal background report from your own state or from the National Crime Information Center (NCIC).

Fulfill Education Requirements

GREC gives you 3 different options for fulfilling the education requirement. You only need to do one:

1.Successfully complete the required 75-hour Salesperson pre-license Course at a school approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission

2. Successfully complete a minimum of 10 quarter hours or 6 semester hours of either course work eligible for a major in real estate from a U.S. or Canadian accredited college or university or course in real property, agency, or contracts from a U.S. or Canadian accredited school of law. You must submit to AMP (not the Commission) an official transcript from the college, university, or school of law with your application for examination. Continuing education adult education, crash seminars, and special short courses are not acceptable. AMP will notify you as to whether your coursework is acceptable

3. Provide proof of completion of at least 75 hours of pre-license course work approved by the real estate regulatory agency of another state or province of Canada. You must obtain a letter from that agency that verifies that the course work is approved in that state or province.

Special Exemptions

If you’re an active member of the Georgia State Bar who’s in good standing, you’re exempt from the education requirement.

How Much Does It Cost?

Online programs typically range from $200 to $500.

Choosing a School

The state exam grades on consistency, so you definitely want to choose a school with adequate test prep. You won’t be able to just wing it and pass. (They made sure that you don’t.)

I decided to go with Real Estate Express because they have a Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, which means if you don’t pass the state exam with their program, they’ll give you all your money back.

Also, they literally have promotions running every week, so you can get a really great deal.

State Exam

Once you successfully pass your course, you’re ready to take the state exam. GREC contracts with a company called PSI/AMP to conduct the tests. They are a national company, so it’s really easy to find a convenient time and place. You can simply go to their website or call them to schedule an exam date.

The fee to take the state exam is $121.

The state exam is a total of 4 hours and consists of 152 total questions broken up into two parts. One part is the national portion, which has 100 questions. The other portion is the Georgia Salesperson Supplement portion which has 52 questions.

The questions will be mixed, so you can’t tell which portion they’re from.

There’s a pretty complicated system for grading these tests. It’s not a simple “you pass the exam if your score is 75% or better” type of deal. There’s a lot of statistics and analysis involved, so I won’t go into it.

Suffice it to say, they’re looking to see if you really know the material by measuring the consistency of your answers. 

If you passed on portion, but failed the other, you can just retake the failed portion within a 12 month period.

Almost at the Finish Line...

After you pass the exam, you’ll want to submit your final application to get your license as soon as possible.

If you apply within 3 months of taking your state exam, you only pay $170 for the license fee.

However, if you wait and apply between 3 months to 12 months after passing your state exam, the license fee doubles to $340.

If you haven’t applied after 12 months, then you’ll need to re-take the entire state exam again.

Choosing a Broker

Congrats! You’ve got your real estate license.

However, in order to use it for actual real estate business, you’ll have to select a broker to sponsor you. They will need to sign the Sponsoring Broker Statement Application to officially activate your license.

You’ll definitely want to take your time and make sure you find the broker that suits your style. Every salesperson is different and every broker is different.

Here are some things to consider when choosing a broker:

  • What is their reputation in the industry?
  • Would I get along with the people in their office?
  • What is their commission split?
  • How long have they been in business?
  • Will they provide training/support to help me get started?

There’s no rush (unless your eager to start working) to choose a broker. You can place your license on inactive status. Although, you will still be responsible for paying all licensing fees, and fulfilling all post-license and continuing education requirements.

Renewing Your License

After you get your Salesperson license, you are required to take a 25 hour Post-License course within your first year of being licensed.

On your first renewal, GREC requires you to take 27 hours of qualifying continuing education courses, including a mandatory 3 hour Georgia Law course.

Beginning with your second renewal and beyond, GREC requires you to complete 36 hours of continuing education every 4 years, including a mandatory 3 hour Georgia Law course.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas

Go big or go home!

Unfortunately, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) took that to heart when they drafted the requirements on getting a Texas real estate license. Out of all the states, Texas requires the most amount of education, plus they’ll eventually require you to be a Texas resident as well.

The good news is that it’s one of the best real estate markets in the country. During the Great Recession, the real estate market in Texas barely dipped. It’s historically been very stable despite what’s happening to the rest of the economy.

Short Answer

  1. Meet basic eligibility requirements
  2. Complete the 6 qualifying real estate courses
  3. Pass the state exam

From start to finish, it takes about 3 to 4 months on average.

Long Answer

1. Meet Basic Eligibility Requirements

You have to be at least 18 years old, and a US citizen or lawfully admitted alien.

Texas also requires residency at the time of application. This means that if you’re out-of-state, you can begin working on the courses even if you don’t have a Texas address yet. 

There will be a background check at the end. If you’re concerned about this and want to find out before doing all the work, you can submit the form Moral Character Determination and a $50 fee to TREC.

2. Fulfill Education Requirements

You’ll need to choose an accredited school to complete the following 6 required courses (180 total hours):

30 hours – Principles of Real Estate I
30 hours – Principles of Real Estate II
30 hours – Law of Agency
30 hours – Law of Contracts
30 hours – Real Estate Finance
30 hours – Promulgated Contract Forms

Special Exemptions

Attorneys or law school graduates should contact TREC to see if your law courses will satisfy any of the core courses.

Course Duration

TREC has a waiting period of 3 days before you can take a course final exam. Luckily, they don’t require seat time, so you don’t have to study for all 180 hours if you’re a quick learner.

Proctors

TREC now requires the course final exams to be proctored. A proctor is someone who monitors you during the test to verify it’s you taking the test (and not someone else). Generally, they’re there to make sure there’s no cheating going on.

Fortunately, there are all types of proctors available. You can find proctoring services at your local college and public universities. Clergy members and military officers are also good options.

My personal favorite is the public library because they are typically free.

There are also online proctoring services. This is the most convenient option but there’s a fee of $20 to $40 per test attempt. You can take the test from home and they will watch you through a webcam. ProctorU and Examity are the biggest ones out there.

Sales Apprentice Education (SAE)

The SAE courses are really just an extension of the 6 core courses. They have the same format as those courses and require a proctored final exam. You’re required to complete this on your first renewal after you get licensed.

You have the option to complete all 270 hours (180 hour core courses plus 90 hour SAE courses) of education before you take the state exam. The advantage of doing this is that you have that extra 90 hours of knowledge under your belt. This will help you on the state exam and when you get licensed, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running. Also, most schools offer big discounts on their 270 hour packages, so you’ll save money in the long run.

Here are the acceptable courses that meet the SAE requirement:

30 hours – Real Estate Appraisal 
30 hours – Real Estate Law
30 hours – Real Estate Marketing
30 hours – Real Estate Mathematics
30 hours – Property Management
30 hours – Real Estate Investments
30 hours – Residential Inspection for Real Estate Agents

Cost

You can find online real estate programs ranging from $349 to over $1,000. Because of the large amount of education and exam requirements (and the fees you’ll have to pay if you need to re-take them), I believe choosing the right school is especially important.

Choosing a School

Luckily for us, TREC publishes the exam pass rates for online schools, so you can see which ones are the best. At the time of this writing, these are the top four online schools that have over 1,000 exam attempts along with their pass rates for the Sales Agent License.

School NameExam CountExams PassedPass Rate
American School of Real Estate Express1,7251,21870.61%
Champions School of Real Estate19,09311,47960.12%
Allied Business Schools1,48079653.78%
The Real Estate Business School1,68085150.65%
Overall Average30,39418,19359.86%

You can easily see that American School of Real Estate Express has the best track record while Champions School of Real Estate has the most students.

After checking their prices, Champions is 2x to 3x more expensive than American School of Real Estate Express.

I don’t know about you, but that makes it an easy decision for me:

The clear winner is American School of Real Estate Express.

3. Pass the State Exam

After you complete the courses, you can apply for the state exam online or by mail.

I don’t advise mailing your application because it takes longer and there’s a $20 processing fee.

Texas has contracted with Pearson VUE  to administer the state exam. They are a national testing service so it’s really easy and convenient to find a location near you. You can search for a Test Center here.

It costs $54 to take the state exam, which consists of 110 multiple choice questions, broken up into two parts: national and state.

You have 2.5 hours to answer 80 questions on the national portion, and 1.5 hours to answer 30 questions on the state portion. You have to score a 70% or higher on both sections to pass the exam.

If you fail after 3 attempts, you will have to complete an additional 30 hours of qualifying education for each failed portion of the state exam. It costs $54 to re-take the test. 

Almost at the finish line...

After you pass the state exam, you’re ready to complete your license application.

You’re required to have your fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) through MorphoTrust. They will use this to run a background check. It’s a quick and easy process. The fingerprint fee is $37 and the background check is $28.25.

You’ll also have to pay for the license itself. The Initial Sales Agent Application fee is $205.

Finding a Sponsor

Once you pay all the fees and meet all the requirements, you’ll receive your real estate license. However, in order to actually use it, you’ll need to find a licensed Texas broker to sponsor you.

There’s a wide range of brokers out there, so make sure you find the one that gives you what you want. There’s the big name players like Keller Williams, Coldwell Banker, and RE/MAX. There’s also small boutique and mom and pop shops that are more family-focused. Every broker has their pros and cons, so it’s important to do your due diligence. I recommend visiting at least 3 to 5 brokers in your area. You’ll want to ask them about their commission split, culture, reputation, and support.

After a broker sponsors you, your license will officially be active and you can start your real estate career!

Renewing Your License

The Texas real estate license is on a 2 year cycle. To renew it, you’ll have to complete the appropriate education and pay the $116 renewal fee.

If you’re on your first renewal, you’ll have to complete 90 hours of Sales Apprentice Education (SAE) courses plus 8 hours of Legal Updates.

If you already finished them when you did your 180 hour core courses, then you’re ahead of the curve. Just pay your renewal fee online and you’re all set for the next two years!

Beginning on your second renewal, you’ll only need to do 18 hours of continuing education. There are different types of CE courses for a Sales Agent and a Broker’s license, so make sure you get the right one.

How to Get a Real Estate License in California

Getting a real estate license in California can prove to be a lucrative opportunity. It’s the 6th largest economy in the world, so there’s plenty of opportunity for growth. It’s also one of the easiest states to obtain and maintain a real estate license. Although it can be quite competitive in certain markets, that makes the journey just as rewarding.

Short Answer

  1. Complete 3 real estate courses
  2. Pass the state exam
  3. Choose a broker

From start to finish, it takes about 3 to 4 months.

Long Answer

Basic Eligibility Requirements:

  • You need to be 18 years or older at the time of applying for the state exam.
  • You must have a valid social security number or be a legally admitted alien. 

1. Fulfill Education Requirements

You’ll need to choose an accredited school to take the 3 required courses: Principles, Practices, and one elective course.

The elective courses are completely up to you. You can choose from Finance, Appraisal, Property Management, Legal Aspects, Office Administration, Escrows, Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending, Business Law, General Accounting, Common Interest Developments or Computer Applications in Real Estate.

I personally recommend the Finance course because there’s an entire section on Finance on the state exam, so it’ll help you the most later. Legal Aspects is a strong second choice.

Special Exemptions

If you’re a member of the California State Bar, you are exempt from the courses but you still need to take the State Exam.

If you’ve taken a college course in Accounting, Micro/Macro Economics or Business Law, this can count as your elective course.

How long do the courses take?

California has a restriction on how fast you can complete the courses. You have to wait for at least 18 days before taking the final exam, and you take one at a time. That means for 3 courses at 18 days each, the fastest you can finish would be 54 days.

How much does it cost?

I’ve seen online schools offer the program anywhere from $99 to $500. I’m a strong believer in “you get what you pay for.” I don’t recommend going for the cheapest ones. They won’t give you the right amount of preparation for the state exam, and you’ll end up paying for it later anyways if you don’t pass it on your first attempt. I also wouldn’t go for the most expensive ones (unless they’re on promotion). Usually, the best value is somewhere in the middle.

Choosing a School

There’s a dizzying list of real estate schools out there. So, it can be hard to decide which one to go with. Each school has their own pros and cons; so ultimately, it depends on what you want.

2. Pass the State Exam

After you’re done with the courses, you’ll mail the course certificates along with your application to take the state exam.

The state exam has 150 multiple-choice questions. You get up to 3 hours and 15 minutes to finish and need a score of 70% or better to pass.

It costs $60 to take the exam, and you take it at one of the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) offices.

The main offices are in Sacramento, Fresno, Oakland, San Diego and Los Angeles. However, there are satellite locations that may be closer to you. The tests are held 3-4 times per week, every week. Every time I’ve looked they’ve always had availability. You can see the exam dates and availability here.

If you’re in a hurry, the state has a fast track application option, where you pay the $60 exam fee and $245 license fee upfront. This cuts down on the paperwork going back and forth, allowing the DRE to finish processing your application faster.

If you don’t pass the state exam on the first attempt, don’t get discouraged. You can re-take it as many times as you need.

Almost home...

Congrats! You passed the state exam!

Just a few more house-keeping things to wrap up.

License Fee

If you didn’t choose the fast track option from before, this is when you’ll pay the DRE the license fee of $245.

Finger-printing

You’ll also need to verify your identity through electronic finger-printing program called Live Scan. It’s a very quick and painless process, but costs $49. You can find a location near you here.

Background check

The DRE may deny your application if you’ve been convicted of a substantially related crime. What does that mean? You can read about it under the section Criteria of Substantial Relationship

Any court-ordered child support must be current.

3. Choose a Broker

You’ve got your real estate license! Now you’re ready to make some money!
In order to use your license for any real estate transaction, you have to hang your license with a broker. 

Finding a broker is easy, choosing one is hard.

I suggest going out to visit at least 3 to 5 brokers and see what they have to offer. You’ll want to evaluate their culture, reputation, support, and commission split.

In my experience, company culture is the #1 deciding factor for determining happiness and whether you’ll want to stay there. There are a lot of indirect benefits you get when you find a great company to work with (even if they don’t have the highest payout). It’s not a coincidence that the best friends I’ve made in my own life came from the company that I had the most fun at. 

Also, I wouldn’t stress about it too much. If you pick one that you regret joining, you can always quit and find another company that’s a better fit for you.

Renewing Your License

Your real estate license is good for four years. To keep it active, you’ll have to renew it.

Luckily, it’s super easy to do: you just need to complete 45 hours of approved CE and then pay the renewal fee.

You can complete the 45 hours of CE at any time during your 4 year cycle. However, you’ll have to wait at least 90 days before your license expires to turn in the certificates.

Once you’re done with the courses, simply turn in the certificates on the DRE’s online eLicensing portal.

California will mail you a courtesy notice to remind you of your renewal date, but I definitely wouldn’t rely on it. A lot of people mistake it for junk mail and throw it away.

Some Final Thoughts

If you’re going to be in real estate, California is the best place to do it. It’s one of the strongest real estate markets in the world with huge upside potential. There’s plenty of business to go around.

Maybe a career in real estate will work out for you, maybe it won’t. It only takes a couple of hundred dollars and about three months of your time to find out. If you’ve kept reading up to this point, I think the only thing you’ll regret is if you didn’t give it a try.