Are you considering becoming a real estate agent? You will need to get your Pennsylvania real estate license before you can start working as an agent in the state.
Getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania doesn’t need to be a difficult process. It’s pretty straightforward, but you will need to put in the work to meet the specific requirements. You will also need to pay the necessary fees.
Before you start the process of getting your Pennsylvania real estate license, you should know what to expect. Let’s look at the requirements, the cost, the exam, and all other elements included within the process.
Requirements for a Pennsylvania Real Estate License
You will be working towards a license as a real estate salesperson. This type of person can be employed by a licensed real estate broker to perform the following duties:
- Comparative market analysis
- List homes for sale
- Assist buyers with buying or offering on a property
- Negotiate the purchase, sale, or exchange of real estate
- Negotiate loans on real estate
- Work with renters to rent real estate
- Collect rent for the use of real estate on behalf of a real estate broker
The basic requirements for getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania include:
- Must be at least 18 years of age
- Complete 75 hours of approved real estate education courses
- Pass a background check
- Pass the Pennsylvania Sales Person Real Estate Exam
- Become sponsored by a licensed real estate broker in Pennsylvania
- Submit licensing application, along with the necessary fees to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
Meeting these requirements can be done with two different methods: The Standard Method or the Reciprocal Method.
With the standard method, you can get your real estate license in Pennsylvania by completing and passing the two portions of the Salesperson Examination. However, if you’ve held an active real estate license in another state within the past five years, you will be able to skip the General/National portion of the exam.
Before you can sit for the PSI Exams, you will first need to complete 75 hours (5 credits) of basic real estate courses. These courses need to be offered by an approved real estate education provider or an accredited college in Pennsylvania. The 75 hours of courses need to be completed within the past five years.
Skipping the 75 hours of classes is possible if you qualify with one of the methods below:
- A bachelor’s degree with a major in Real Estate
- Received a Juris Doctor degree from a law school
- You’ve completed 75 hours of pre-licensure course in another state that meets the Pennsylvania requirements
The standard method for getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania is split into three phases. You will need to complete all three phases to receive your license after completing the required education and finishing the exams.
It will take about one or two weeks to finish phase one of the process. This phase includes submitting your application and receiving a determination from the Commission. You may receive approval and your license in this phase, or you may be notified of missing documents needed to receive your real estate license.
The second phase can also take about one or two weeks to complete. If the Commission responded in phase one needing more documents, this phase will become necessary. You may need to submit missing documents, such as a missing background check or missing education documents.
The final phase typically takes less than a week to complete. Phase three includes the Commission receiving your completed application with examination results, the necessary background checks, and the confirmation of your education. If all documents are in order, your real estate license will be issued.
The reciprocal method only applies to those holding a current, active salesperson’s license or broker license in another state. The state’s requirements must meet the requirement of Pennsylvania, however. Not all real estate licenses from other states automatically qualify in Pennsylvania.
If you want to receive a reciprocal license, you must maintain your principal business in the original state. Your license in that state needs to remain current and active. The Pennsylvania Commission offer reciprocal licenses for the following states:
- New York
As long as all your documentation is in order, getting a reciprocal license in Pennsylvania can be done quickly. However, if the Commission determines something is missing, it can take up to six weeks to complete the application process.
A Few Tips to Speed Up the Process
When you’re ready to apply for your real estate license in Pennsylvania, you can speed up the process with the following tips:
Have an Employing Broker – You won’t be granted a license without an employing broker since you need a broker for the Real Estate Sales license application. Your broker needs to hold a valid PA Real Estate Broker license.
Get all Your Documents Together – Make sure you have met all requirements and have the correct documents. Without proper documentation, the process to get your clients will move slower.
Get a State Criminal History Record Check – The CHRC is your background check. If you’re not residing in Pennsylvania, you will need to get this report completed. For those in Pennsylvania, the CHRC will be generated automatically when you submit your application and the necessary fee.
Get a CHRC for Other States – If you have lived, worked, or completed training in other states within the last 5 years, you will need a CHRC report from each state. You can also have an FBI background check done instead.
Make sure your Documents Qualify – All record check documents have to be dated within the past 90 days.
These tips will help you submit your application and get your Pennsylvania real estate license faster. If all your documents are in order, you can skip Phase 2 of the process.
Cost of Getting Your Real Estate License in Pennsylvania
Getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania isn’t free. you will need to pay specific fees for the exam and your education courses. The cost of your real estate education courses will depend on the courses you choose. You can expect to pay $250 to $400 for the license courses from a community college or public university in Pennsylvania.
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam has a cost of $49, which includes both the national and the state sections. Along with the PSI exam fee, you will also pay the $107 standard license fee and a $10 background check. The total cost, not including education will be about $176 for your real estate license in PA.
There are several other costs you may want to consider but are optional. When you become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you will likely want to consider the following additional costs:
- Joining the Local Association of Realtors – $535 to $575
- Multiple Listing Service – $200 to $500 per year
- Lock Box – $200 per year
- Higher Auto Insurance Premium – About $300 additional per year
For most real estate agents, these costs will be important to their business. Make sure to consider each one carefully before making a decision.
You will also need to pay for continuing education, personal marketing, other business expenses, and any new technology you may need.
What does the PSA Exam Cover?
The salesperson exam in Pennsylvania consists of 110 multiple-choice questions. Two sections are a part of the exam including 80 questions for national topics and 30 state-specific questions. You must answer 60 national questions and 23 state questions correctly to pass.
The national portion of the exam will cover the following topics:
- The Practice of Real Estate
- Property Ownership
- Property Disclosures
- Land Use Controls and Regulations
- General Principles of Agency
- Valuation and Market Analysis
- Real Estate Calculations
- Transfer of Title Transfer of Title
- Leasing and Property Management
The state-specific portion of the exam will cover the following topics:
- Regulation of Conduct of Licensees
- Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission
The majority of the questions in this section will cover Regulations of Conduct of Licensees with only a few questions for the other sections.
Is the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam Difficult?
Getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania isn’t easy. The PSI Exam can be difficult for test-takers. Many will fail the first time they take the exam. Before you worry about passing the exam, it’s a good idea to know what to expect and why people fail the PSI Exam the first time.
You will be given 3 hours to finish the exam. It’s a good idea to arrive at least 30 minutes early and you will need two forms of ID to get through security. your valid driver’s license and any second ID with a signature and your preprinted legal name will work. You should also bring a non-programmable calculator for the exam.
Top 5 Reasons People Fail the PSI Exam
Of course, the main reason anybody fails at anything is procrastination, especially when it includes a test. If you don’t study and you put off preparing, expect to fail the PSI exam.
2. Not Studying
You’re not in high school anymore. If you want to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania, you need to study for the exam. It’s not an easy exam and showing up doesn’t guarantee you will pass.
3. Choosing Poor Prep Materials
Make sure you choose good prep materials for studying and good practice exams. Check the reputation and choose a program known for helping people pass the PSI exam on the first try.
4. Studying the Wrong Things
Make sure you focus your studying on all the topics and not just one specific area. It’s important to know the material and spend the majority of your study time on the portions with the most questions.
If you’re not a good test taker, you might struggle, especially the first time around. Make sure you figure out a way to enter the exam room in a good frame of mind. You cannot walk in thinking you will fail or you likely will.
Preparation will go a long way to helping you pass the PSI Exam. If you want to get your real estate license in Pennsylvania, make sure you study hard and take several practice tests. Going in with confidence will also help with test anxiety.
What Happens if You Fail the PSI Exam?
If you fail the PSI Exam, you will immediately receive a notification on the computer, along with the areas you were strong in and weak in. Make a note of this information so you know where to focus your studies for the retake exam.
You are allowed to take the exam as many times as necessary to pass. Each additional test will cost an additional $49 fee.
If you’re interested in getting your real estate license in Pennsylvania, make sure you understand the process. You will need to complete all the requirements above including passing the PA real estate license exam.
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