Becoming a real estate agent is a big commitment, one that can pay off handsomely in terms of income. But it can also take time, since getting a real estate license is an involved process that involves meeting your state’s licensing requirements, including coursework, exam preparation, and other prerequisites. Fortunately, you can speed up the licensing process by starting early and by following a plan.

The first step in the real estate license process is completing pre-licensing coursework. Many states offer online real estate courses and in-person classes at real estate schools, and some even have boot camp-style options that can help you get through the coursework quickly. In general, a single course can take between two weeks and a month, depending on how much you study.

Once you complete all of your required coursework, it’s time to sit for the state real estate exam. The length of time it takes to pass the exam can vary widely from state to state, and again, it will depend on how much you study and your ability to retain the material. If you can commit to studying for 10 hours per day, you may be able to pass the exam in as little as six weeks. Read more

After you pass the exam, you’ll need to submit your test results, license application, and any other applicable fees. Depending on your state, you’ll also likely need to undergo a background check, which can take up to several weeks.

Typically, the state real estate agency will email or mail your license certificate and pocket card once your application is approved. At that point, you can begin selling real estate and collecting commissions. Before you do, however, it’s important to read your state’s real estate law, which will explain how and when you can sell, as well as your responsibilities as a licensed agent.

You’ll also want to make sure you have a broker lined up before taking the exam. Since you can’t work without a broker, finding one early on can save you some time and headaches.

Be sure to check your sponsoring broker’s website to see if they offer Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O) coverage. This is often an optional addition to your sponsoring broker’s business insurance policy, but it can help protect you in the event of a lawsuit filed against you for financial losses incurred while working as a real estate agent. If your brokerage doesn’t provide E&O insurance, you’ll need to purchase it before submitting your application for licensure. Generally, you can purchase it through your agent broker, or you can obtain it through an independent provider.


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