Alabama is ranked among the top cities in the US based on earnings in real estate. So, if you’re in Alabama, you can have a lucrative career in this field. You’ll have to get an Alabama real estate license first. Here’s a look at the steps you need to take.
Qualification Requirements for a Real Estate License in Alabama
- Any US citizen – 19-years or older – can apply for a real estate license in Alabama. A permanent resident alien or another person legally in the country can apply as well.
- Proof of US residency is required. Several documents are acceptable when proving residency. For example, a copy of your US passport is acceptable. Other acceptable ways to prove residency include showing a copy of your US-issued birth certificate, a copy of your alien registration card, or a copy of your naturalization/citizenship certificate.
- Proof of a high school diploma, a General Educational Development Test (GED), or a High School Equivalency Test (HiSet) is required.
- Must not have any convictions involving certain crimes or felonies – including murder, voluntary manslaughter, rape, domestic abuse, incest, child abuse, and kidnapping. The Commission can provide more information about which crimes prevent you from obtaining a license. Even if there are convictions on your record, The Commission can still decide to approve your application. Although certain convictions can hurt your chances, that doesn’t mean you’ll automatically get denied.
- Must not have had a real estate license or application revoked or rejected within the past two years – in Alabama or elsewhere.
Do you meet all of the requirements listed above? That’s great news. You can move on to the next steps in getting a license. The next step is to earn hours by taking classes at an Alabama real estate school or other approved location.
Alabama Real Estate Training in the Classroom
There are several things you must do before taking the real estate license exam. And your first step is to successfully complete a 60-hour pre-license course approved by the Alabama Real Estate Commission (The Commission). You’ll also have to pass a pre-license exam.
You will need to register with The Commission early, before taking your pre-license exam and registering before the pre-license exam makes it easier for your instructor, the state of Alabama, and the exam provider to communicate concerning your application.
Remember that you need to score at least a 70 on the pre-license exam to receive a passing grade. That means it’s crucial to make time in your schedule for studying.
After passing the pre-license exam, you have up to 6 months to pass the state licensing exam. If you fail to meet the 6-month deadline, you have to retake the 60-hour course all over again.
You Made It: Reaching the State Licensing Exam
After all that hard work, you’re finally ready to take the Alabama real estate licensing exam. Congratulations!
The Alabama portion of the exam consists of 40 questions. And you’re given an hour to complete the test. The National portion of the test has 100 questions, but you have 2-hours and 30 minutes to finish.
Passing the licensing exam is a huge milestone in your career. But you’re not officially a real estate agent yet. There’s more you need to do before achieving your ultimate goal.
After passing the licensing exam, you need to become sponsored by an active Alabama real estate broker. Your sponsor will act as a mentor and give you an inside look into the daily life of a real estate agent.
Consider the following when searching for a sponsor:
- Does the broker have a good reputation?
- Does the broker provide their agents with leads?
- Does the broker have access to updated technology?
- Does the broker provide training and education to their agents?
- Does the broker treat other agents fairly?
- Is the broker a person you’d enjoy working with?
- What type of real estate agents work for the broker?
The Real Estate License Application
Within 90 days of passing the licensing exam, you must submit your application and fees to The Commission. You’ll also need to submit paperwork for a fingerprint-based state and federal background check. After the application is approved, you’ll receive a temporary real estate license good in the state of Alabama.
You read that right – your first license is temporary. There are a few more things to do before earning your permanent license.
The Road to Your Permanent License
Before you can receive a permanent license, you must complete a 30-hour post-licensing course approved by The Commission.
Complete the 30 hours of training within the first six months of passing the state exam, and you’ll receive a permanent license. Failing to complete these training hours will make your temporary license inactive.
Finding a Qualified Real Estate School
The Commission is the best place to learn about legitimate Alabama real estate schools. Some schools offer training online and in the classroom. And still, others are online-only or classroom only.
It’s important to note that some universities and colleges offer qualified real estate courses. So, instead of attending a real estate school, you could also attend a university or college that offers what you need.
For example, Alabama State University offers several real estate classes that count towards the educational requirements. But you could also attend a dedicated real estate school, such as the Alabama Real Estate Institute.
Continuing Education for License Renewal
To keep your real estate license active, you must complete 15 hours of continuing education training approved by The Commission.
The Commission is strict about which continuing education classes are required. You must take:
- Three hours of a level 1 risk management class. The focus is on managing risks and learning to avoid real estate violations.
- Three hours of a level 2 risk management class. This level is split into classes for real estate agents and brokers. A real estate agent must take a class specifically for real estate agents. And a broker must take a class specifically for brokers.
The Commission may approve another class if it’s industry-specific. For example, an agent who specializes in commercial real estate might get permission to take a class that specifically focuses on risk management in commercial real estate.
- Nine hours in additional real estate courses approved by The Commission.
The state will renew your license after confirming that you’ve completed the required hours of continuing education.
Can I Work in Alabama if my License is for a Different State?
Perhaps you’ve already got a real estate license for a different state. But you’ve moved to Alabama and want to continue working. What can you do?
This situation requires applying for a reciprocal license. A reciprocal license allows a real estate professional licensed in one state to become licensed in an additional state.
To get a reciprocal license in Alabama, you must have a valid real estate license from another state. You must then complete a 6 hour Alabama real estate law course. After successfully completing the 6-hour course, you must take and pass the Alabama portion of the real estate licensing exam.
The final step is to obtain an official “Certificate of Licensure” from the state of your current license. You can request this certificate from the real estate commission in that state. You will receive a permanent license once you’ve passed the exam and presented your Certificate of Licensure.
What Else Can I Do with My Real Estate License?
You might discover that you’d like to advance further in your real estate career. Getting your license is the first step, but it opens many more doors. Being a real estate agent is a great career, but you may want to explore other real estate careers.
- Real Estate Broker. A real estate broker and a real estate agent have similar duties. But a real estate agent works for a broker. But a broker can work alone or start their own real estate firm. Becoming a broker has additional requirements, but getting your general license is the first step. If you want to become your own boss, then being a broker might appeal to you.
- Real Estate Investor. An investor buys property and land and then sells it later for a profit. There’s a lot of risks involved in this line of work. That risk management class you took earlier will certainly pay-off here. You must know a great deal about the real estate market. It’s also important to recognize a good deal when you see it.
- Real Estate Developer. A real estate developer buys land, builds on it, and then sells or rents the property. This might appeal to you if you’re also interested in architecture or construction. You can take a hands-on approach to develop the properties that you purchase.
- Real Estate Marketing Specialist. Perhaps you don’t enjoy dealing with buyers and sellers – at least not as much as you thought you would. And an active real estate agent can’t avoid buyers and sellers. However, you can move into another real estate area that doesn’t involve buying or selling. A real estate marketing specialist works with real estate brokers and agents. The marketing specialist focuses on marketing duties and leaves the buyers and sellers to someone else.
- Real Estate Consultant. After years in real estate, maybe you’re ready to take it slow. You no longer want to deal with the excitement of working with buyers and sellers. Becoming a consultant might work great for you. Consultants work with businesses and real estate investors, providing advice on which properties are worth an investment. A good consultant can predict real estate trends and help investors reach their financial goals.
Real Estate in the State of Alabama
Good luck on the road to earning your real estate license in Alabama. A job in real estate is potentially financially lucrative and personally rewarding. And best of all, you can get out of the office and meet other people. You certainly won’t get bored as a real estate agent.
With hard work and dedication, you’ll have your real estate license before you know it.