Five Steps to Becoming a Licensed REALTOR®

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Provided by REALTOR® Association of Prince William

Are you thinking about starting a career in real estate but unsure how you get started? REALTOR® Association of Prince William (PWAR) has put together five key steps you need to take to become a licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Virginia.

Meet Qualification Requirements

Before you begin the process of obtaining a Virginia real estate salesperson’s license, you will want to ensure that you meet the qualifications required. To obtain this, you must be at least 18 years of age with a high school diploma or the equivalent. You must also meet educational requirements per the Virginia Real Estate Board through a 60-hour state approved course called The Principles of Real Estate which can be taken online or in-person through various approved providers. Additionally, as the real estate industry is based on a code of ethics, salespersons must have a good reputation for honesty, truthfulness and fair dealing and have no former violations of fair housing laws of any jurisdiction. You cannot have been convicted of a felony or a misdemeanor involving moral turpitude, sexual offense, drug distribution or physical injury.

Pass Written License Examination

If you have met the qualifications and have received a passing grade in all required courses, you are eligible to sit for the licensing examination. You must first apply to take the examination either by mailing in the appropriate form or by applying online and providing payment for the application fee. Your registration may take up to two weeks to process and after receiving your notice of acceptance, you may schedule for your examination. PSI Examination Services proctors the real estate salesperson examination at eight of their testing facilities located in Virginia. Testing out-of-state is not allowed. The examination consists of state and national portions which both must be passed to apply for licensure. The salesperson examination consists of 120 questions with an allotted time of 150 minutes. At the completion of your examination, your score will appear on the computer with a successful or unsuccessful notification. If you fail one portion of the examination (state or national), you must retake that portion and pass.

Find a Brokerage

Upon passing your license examination, you will want to research brokerage firms and find one that’s right for you. During your first few years in the business, you will work under a licensed real estate broker. Brokers oversee real estate agents and office personnel and are responsible for all transactions that occur within their office. Each brokerage is unique with its offerings to employees from marketing tools and office space to trainings and resources. It is strongly recommended you interview several brokerages before selecting one that’s the right fit for you and your lifestyle.

License Application

After selecting a brokerage, you will want to apply for your real estate license in order to legally practice. Your completed application must be submitted to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR) within one year of the initial examination date when you originally took the examination. If all applications and fees are not received within one year from the original examination date, re-examination will be required. A fee is due at the time of application for your salesperson license. DPOR can take anywhere from two weeks to a month to process the application and will mail your license to you or your affiliated broker.

Join a Local REALTOR® Association

Application to a local REALTOR® association must be made within six months after the activation of your real estate license. Once the principal(s) of a brokerage decide to join a local REALTOR® association, then all agents, brokers and appraisers that are licensed or affiliated with him or her have the option of also joining that local association. Membership with local associations provide you access to the local MLS as well as lockboxes and a lockbox key. Upon joining a local association, you will also pay dues for your state and national association and upon completion of fulfilling educational requirements through mandatory new member orientation which includes the code of ethics, will you be deemed a REALTOR®. The term REALTOR® is a registered trademark that can only be used by members of the National Association of REALTORS® and by joining a local association, you will have exclusive use of the term REALTOR®.

These five steps cover a basic overview of the process to become a licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Virginia. For additional information and resources, please visit to learn more.



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