Licenses vary widely across America (see below). However, if you plan to work exclusively in California, a broker's license might cover everything else. There seems to be no consensus among the national boards regarding whether a non-California licensee ought to carry any California licenses. Some states require brokers to hold both a listing brokerage license and a salesperson/agency broker license. Some others permit only the former without requiring the latter, so check the requirements carefully.
Depending upon location, and sometimes specific local government jurisdictions, each board has different prices and requirements governing its member requirements. Check with the Board(ies) of RealtORS® for details in your area. If a license isn't needed - or if one doesn't exist yet in your jurisdiction - you must complete additional education courses for certain licenses. Most Boards also offer non-degree programs, either as stand alone programs or as addendums to degree programs, depending on the Board.
These classes often include topics related to professional ethics and standards of practice in addition to other general educational components designed especially to teach sales professionals skills necessary to successfully participate in residential transactions. Non-degree programs usually take between 1 and 2 years to complete.
Other education required - or a minimum number of hours of continuing education credits -- includes coursework on subjects such as business law, consumer rights & responsibilities, tax laws, technology issues, and real estate finance, among numerous other topics. Continuing Education Courses offered through NAR's Realtor College program qualify toward meeting some Board certification requirements.
Most States allow members to renew their licenses indefinitely. Renewal requires payment of an annual membership fee, plus renewal dues and fees. Other State boards allow membership to continue forever until revoked. Find out how long a particular license lasts in your region.
Many States recognize National Association Of Realtors® Members as "realtors" for purposes of obtaining their license, although the individual member must still meet the State Board's requirements to actually do business within his or her territory.
Before signing off it's important that you understand what being registered for life as a realtor entails. There are three main reasons you will require a REALTORS® Licensing License (REGAL) to sell residential realty services in every U.S. state and territory except New York City. First reason is to help protect consumer rights. Second, there is legislation requiring all realtors or brokers in a transaction must be REGAL'ed to ensure all transactions adhere to federal laws against fraud and deception and other legal requirements. Last, having a proper registration provides proof that you possess the requisite skill level and experience necessary to serve prospective clients competently and ethically during a real estate sale.
The initial step you will need to complete to register is obtaining official permission from the state association representing your area. Registration forms vary across the country. Some associations provide the form directly upon submitting proof of residency. Others require that members complete and submit the form along with paying a non refundable initiation fee. Most local offices of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) offer assistance locating or completing the official government mandated paperwork.
Once completed, the final step involves filing a renewal notice that updates your current address and details any changes made since last registration. Many of today's states allow an individual agent to renew their license annually whereas others require renewal every two or three years depending on whether you plan to practice law, medicine or dentistry.
The length of registration generally depends upon your age but no longer than 10 years unless otherwise stated. States that allow unlimited periods tend to favor long term practitioners rather than young professionals whose careers change often.
License Types: Licenses vary widely across different states based upon individual statutes, even though it might seem confusing at times given that some offer similar services. For example, all states recognize brokers who specialize in residential transactions. However, only half the states acknowledge nonresidential brokers specializing in commercial loans or multifamily leasing. Additionally, several states have multiple specialized categories within their own laws, meaning a newbie agent has choices depending on her desired niche. Below, I break down the options agents can pursue according to current regulations. While there are still plenty of ways to land a job as a realtor, knowing the legal landscape surrounding licenses is beneficial for avoiding costly mistakes.
a.A high school diploma or GED certificate; b.Pass a criminal background check; c.Complete 8 hours of approved CEUs
Most states require one standard only. Some, two. Most states allow you to obtain credit toward meeting the educational criteria without taking actual classes—you just complete an application and answer questions pertaining to your experience with a mentor or other relevant industry professionals, and the state sends back scores showing whether you passed and how close you came to qualifying. There’s no limit on how many credits you can accumulate this way unless otherwise stated in the law of the particular jurisdiction. (i.e., California allows five CEU points per hour.) Other states have separate tests for each category to help applicants qualify more easily.
To be licensed, agents from all 50 states (as well as Washington D.C. and Puerto Rico), and the U.S Virgin Islands, Guam, American Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands had to meet either one of four tests:
• Be at least 18 years old; • Have graduated from high school; • Hold one or more commercial driver’s license; • Possess a valid passport.
If required, agents residing overseas would typically travel to the country with a reciprocal agreement between the states involved if there were none for their area of residency.
Obtain Qualifications - Become qualified to perform duties outlined below in order to fulfill education and testing requirements. These qualifications are mandatory for anyone seeking licensure in the state(s) specified below, regardless of where you reside now or ever lived in the past.
Take Tests/Perform Examinations - After satisfying the above prerequisites you become authorized to perform certain enumerated functions within the field of commerce for the purpose described herein. If applicable, you will be required to successfully pass examinations administered by the respective boards designated hereunder. Each exam shall cover specific knowledge areas in accordance with guidelines established by the respective governing body. In addition to passing exams, some jurisdictions impose additional training mandates prior to completion of eligibility requirements. Contact your State Board website to determine if additional courses are needed before receiving authorization to act as a broker.
Keep Records & Update Status Regularly – All real estate salespersons operating and actively soliciting business within the United States must keep records regarding their activity and file annual statements, called “renewal notices,” with the appropriate agency. Failure to comply means your brokerage registration expires and you cannot legally conduct any business until reinstated. Check with your state board to verify your record keeping status.
Renew Annual Statement / File Form #19 - Every year you must submit a statement confirming compliance with continuing education and reporting obligations. See instructions below for further guidance related to Form No. 19.
Continue Education & Training Requirements - Continuing education for real estate professional is an ongoing, lifelong pursuit that keeps growing throughout our lives. Be sure to consult with your state office regularly for updated course offerings and training opportunities within your profession.
Becoming licensed isn’t always straightforward. For starters, you don’t always have to go to school to study for the test — in fact, it’s entirely possible to pass with nothing more than completing eight continuing education credits. Plus, some jurisdictions accept “credit transfer” courses (involving studying previously taken material). Many states give test takers extra chances if they run into technical issues during testing periods.
However, because all fifty states currently mandate licensure, agents must satisfy certain requirements regardless of where they live. States differ greatly regarding the minimum age requirement, number of days until final results come in and what happens if someone fails the exam. But generally speaking, getting licensed means passing two exams conducted via computerized proctoring administered by some combination of NAR/RELA (National Association of Realtors/Realty Executive Leaders). Then, upon completion of the second exam, licensed agents are finally issued temporary registrations allowing them access to exclusive listings and other benefits offered by associations throughout the nation.
When choosing a course of study, keep in mind that not all educational institutions focus solely on real estate. Even among schools offering real estate training, the degree program varies significantly; courses tend to fall into three main groupings: in-person professional development seminars that teach students essential skills, independent studies (which often incorporate business management concepts such as financial modeling, client relations and marketing techniques) and distance learning platforms (which deliver elearning modules designed for anyone regardless of location).
The National Commission for Certifying Agencies (NCCA), in cooperation with various government entities, recently developed guidelines and recommendations for those considering any form of reagent licensing to ensure uniformity. According to the NCCA report, prospective candidates are advised to research local requirements thoroughly beforehand, determine the amount of training needed, review licensing costs, select a reputable testing company, prepare properly and avoid procrastination to minimize risks associated with failure to maintain adequate professional credentials.