How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas
Apart from being lucrative, working in the real estate industry enables you to run and maintain your own business and, therefore, control your schedule. Like all the other states, Texas requires realtors to be licensed and also have a certain level of education. This ensures that they have the skills and aptitudes that help them guide sellers and buyers through complex financial transactions. Getting a realtor’s license in Texas is a multi-step process that can take you as much as six months. This post is a comprehensive guide for those who want to venture into the real estate industry.
STEP 1: Basic Requirements
Before you begin the process of applying for your real estate license, make sure you meet these requirements:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Reside in Texas and be a U.S citizen or a lawfully admitted immigrant
- If you are not a Texas resident, you need to have been licensed as a sales agent in the state within the last two years or be a licensed broker in a different state
- Meet TREC’s standards for trustworthiness, honesty, and integrity. This means that you will have to undergo a criminal background once you file your application. Should there be anything in your background that is questionable, you will need to file a Moral Character Determination application before commencing with the process.
If you meet all the above requirements, you can go on to sign up for a class to meet the industry’s educational requirements.
Step 2: Educational Requirements
Unlike other states, the real estate industry education requirements in Texas are rather strict. You will need to complete a total of 180 hours of real estate education. During this time, you will undertake the following courses:-
Course Number of Classroom Hours
Principles of Real Estate I 30
Principles of Real Estate II 30
Law of Agency 30
Law of Contracts 30
Promulgated Contract Forms 30
Real Estate Finance 30
These courses are offered in some universities, community colleges, and independent course providers. You can take the course either online or in-person. Depending on your learning style and studying method, you can complete this course in as few as two to three weeks.
If you take the course online, TREC condenses the course content to 12 hours per day, which is impractical. This is because you might not be able to retain what you learn. We advise self-paced learners to take at least 90 days to go through the course content so that they can be well prepared to undertake the licensing exam.
Apart from the basic real estate course, you need an additional 630 classroom hours in approved Continuing Education (CE) courses that are acceptable to the TREC commission. These may include:-
- Real Estate Marketing
- Real Estate Law
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Real Estate Math
- Real Estate Investments
- Property Management
- Residential Inspections for Real Estate Agents
If you already had a bachelor’s or master’s degree in any of the above courses, you could be exempted from this requirement if you had completed the course in an accredited university or college. All you need to do is submit a copy of your transcript to TREC while applying.
Step 3: License Application with TREC
You need to complete the real estate course not more than two years before you apply for your real estate broker license. You will also need to apply with TREC before registering for the real estate exam, as you need to be issued with an ID number before the test.
You can either submit your application by mail or online. The latter is the most popular and preferred method as it only takes two or three weeks for your application to be processed. Paper applications require an additional processing fee and could get delayed.
Once the application has successfully been processed, you receive a TREC number, which now authorizes you to undertake the exam and get fingerprinted. At this point, you should have a real estate broker whom you will work under before your license becomes active. This happens after you pass the exam.
Step 4: Passing the Background Check and Getting Your Fingerprints Taken
You will need to file your fingerprints with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS). Fingerprints from other agencies are not accepted. Meanwhile, TREC will be performing a background check as you prepare for the exam.
Expect delays if you receive a notification that there is an ongoing investigation on your background. Also, make sure you submit all the required documentation to avoid getting delayed.
Step 5: Taking the Exam
Once you have successfully gone through the background checking process, you can now schedule an exam with a Pearson VUE testing center near you. The Texas Real Estate License exam has a passing rate of 60%, so you should prepare appropriately. You could undertake exam prep courses at an affordable fee. You only have three attempts to take the exam. Should you fail these three times, you are required to undertake an additional 30 hours of education. You will receive a Candidate Handbook, which has instructions on your exam schedule once it is set.
The exam consists of 110 multiple-choice questions that you are required to complete in 2 ½ hours. The exam is divided into two portions: 80 national questions and 30 Texas questions.
You need to bring the following items to the exam:
- 2 valid identification forms. One must be a government-issued photo ID
- The exam confirmation number
- A scrap paper and a basic calculator (these are optional)
After the Test
On achieving the required score, it takes less than a day for your scores to be sent to TREC, who issue you with your Texas Real Estate Broker license. You can now take advantage of the vast real estate market in Texas.
To recap, you should be able to complete the real estate course content in 90 days. An additional 30 days are required to submit your application, have it approved, get your background checked, and get yourself fingerprinted. Add another one or two weeks to get your real estate exam scheduled. This adds up to at least six months.