It can cost $500 to $1,200 to get a real estate license, including licensing fees, exam fees, background checks and pre-licensing education. The precise amount varies largely by state, however.
States have long regulated the real estate industry to ensure fairness, consistency and professionalism. This means to operate as a real estate agent in the U.S., you must hold a real estate license.
To get a real estate license you must complete a pre-licensing course and pass an examination. States and their education partners charge for these services, so there are some financial costs to getting a real estate license.
There are also opportunity costs (the forgone income from alternate activities), but we will not detail them here.
Financial costs vary by state, so there is no one answer to how much it costs to get a real estate license. To get an idea, we will examine three states: California, Texas and Florida.
These three states have the largest populations of Realtors, according to NAR figures. Together, they make up 36% of all Realtors in the U.S.
In California, real estate applicants must be at least 18 years old and they must disclose any criminal or disciplinary action. Applicants also are required to take 135 hours of college-level real estate prep courses, and pass the licensing exam.
The exam fee is $60 and the license fee is $245. There are several education providers that offer licensing courses in California. Applicants can choose from several packages ranging from $150 for materials only to more than $1,000 for a live course and practice exam questions.
Assuming a standard base package of $400, the total cost to get a real estate license in California would be $705.
Candidates in Texas must be 18 years old, submit to fingerprinting, and meet the Texas Real Estate Commission’s qualifications for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity. Additionally, candidates must complete 180 hours of qualifying education and pass the Texas real estate exam.
The exam fee is $54. The license fee is $205. TREC also charges $37 for fingerprinting, $27 for the background check and $10 for the recovery fee.
Assuming a base education package can be bought for $429, the total cost to get a real estate license in Texas would be $762.
To be a real estate agent in Florida, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma, and complete a 63-hour pre-licensing course. You also must pass a licensing exam, submit to fingerprinting, and complete a 45-hour post-licensing course.
The state charges $36.75 for the exam and $83.75 for the license. Assuming a market rate of $450 for the pre-licensing education, the total cost to get a real estate license in Florida would be $570.5.
Of course these costs only cover the absolute essentials to get a real estate license. Candidates may incur various other costs during the licensing process.
For example, some candidates may want to purchase materials such as books, notebooks and a computer for their pre-licensing course. Some may need to pay for gasoline to travel to and from classes.
Agents who need to repeat a licensing course or exam, also may need to pay additional fees. There are also costs to maintain your license once you have it.
The best way to know precisely how much to budget for getting your real estate license is to call your state real estate commission and speak to other agents in your community.
Now you know how much it costs to get a real estate license. Questions or feedback? Leave them in the comments. Or for more real estate content from Realtyna, check out Is Real Estate School Hard? and How Long Does It Take to Become a Real Estate Agent?