Earning a real estate license in Colorado takes hours of hard work and dedication. You’re in the wrong place if you’re looking for an easy career. But if your heart is set on becoming a Colorado real estate agent, keep reading for the scoop on how to get started.
But first, you need to know Colorado is a single license state. That means that real estate agents and brokers all have the same type of license.
In Colorado, every person with a real estate license is known as an Associate Broker. This license covers all real estate areas and allows anyone with a license to work in various industry professions.
Legal Requirements for a Colorado Real Estate License
Before you can try for a real estate license, you must meet the following requirements set forth by the Colorado Real Estate Commission (The Commission):
- The minimum age for obtaining a real estate license is 18. If you’re not at least 18 years old, you must wait to get a license. But there is no maximum age limit. That means as long as you’re older than 18, you’re in the clear as far as age is concerned.
- Colorado requires proof of US citizenship to obtain a real estate license. If you’re a permanent resident alien – or otherwise in the country legally – you can apply for a license, as well.
- You must show proof of US citizenship. Acceptable proof for this step includes a US birth certificate, alien registration card, US passport, or certificate of citizenship or naturalization.
- You should have a conviction-free background of crimes such as rape, murder, manslaughter, child abuse, domestic abuse, and incest. A background check is required. These crimes reduce your chances of getting a license, but applications are reviewed on a case-by-case basis.
- A high school education is required. If you didn’t graduate from high school, proof of a General Educational Development Test (GED) or a High School Equivalency Test (HiSet) would suffice.
Make sure you’re clear on the above requirements. It’s now time to prepare for the Colorado Real Estate License Exam.
To apply for the Colorado Real Estate License Exam, you must successfully complete 168 hours of approved real estate courses.
These courses are available from accredited universities, accredited community colleges, or schools approved by the Colorado Department of Private and Occupational Schools.
Classes are available online or in the classroom. It depends on what’s offered by the school.
The Colorado Department of Higher Education maintains a list of regulated and approved Colorado real estate schools.
The Colorado required pre-licensing classes are as follows:
- Real Estate Law and Practice – 48 hours
- Colorado Contracts and Regulations – 48 hours
- Trust Accounts and Record-Keeping – 8 hours
- Current Legal Issues – 8 hours
- Real Estate Closings – 24 hours
After completing these classes, submit your fingerprints to the state of Colorado for a background check.
Colorado Background Check for Real Estate Agents
Real estate license applicants are required to submit a set of fingerprints. These fingerprints must come from a Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI) approved vendor.
IdentoGO is an approved vendor for fingerprints. If you want to use this vendor, you must schedule an appointment. Make appointments online or over the phone. Walk-in appointments aren’t allowed.
If IdentoGo isn’t an option, your local law enforcement agency can help. Some local sheriffs and police stations offer fingerprinting services. When choosing this option, you must use an FBI (FD-258) fingerprint card – which you can download and print from the FBI website.
In some cases, the school where you take your classes will provide a fingerprint card and instructions. Follow the instructions carefully, as you can’t move forward until you pass a background check.
The fingerprints are then given to the CBI and the Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI). Both the CBI and the FBI use the fingerprints to conduct a thorough background check.
Applying for a Real Estate License with a Criminal Record
As mentioned earlier, certain types of convictions may lower your chances of becoming a Colorado real estate agent.
The background check will reveal several things about your past. But applicants are expected to self-report their criminal past. You should self-report any convictions within the past 10 years and any pending criminal cases.
Applicants with past convictions should submit an explanation explaining the circumstances of each incident. Your explanation must include a statement that you have no past or pending convictions other than mentioned in the application.
The Commission then decides whether or not to grant the license to an applicant with a criminal background. If three out of the five members decide against the license, the application is denied.
An applicant with a history of felonies is more likely to get denied than an applicant with a minor misdemeanor. An applicant with a history of theft or fraud is also unlikely to earn a license.
Colorado does allow applicants with a criminal background to request a preliminary advisory opinion from The Commission. Based on that outcome, the applicant can decide if pursuing the license is worth the effort.
The Commission can also deny a license to any applicant who isn’t completely honest about their criminal background. Even if the crime is minor, the Commission can take the omission as dishonesty.
Taking the Real Estate License Exam
Did you pass the background check? Did you pass the 68 hours of real estate classes? If so, you’re finally ready to take the real estate exam – almost.
You’ll need a brokerage to sponsor your real estate exam. The brokerage is a company that will let you get real-world experience as a real estate agent. Basically, Colorado wants you to spend 2-years working for a brokerage to gain experience.
After you have a sponsor, you can then take the two-part state-approved PSI exam.
Part 1 is the state portion of the test. You’ll have 110 minutes to complete this part, and there are 74 questions. Part 2 is the national part of the test. You’re given 120 minutes to complete this part, and there are 80 questions.
A score of 60 or better is required to pass the national portion of the test. And a score of 53 or better is required to pass the state portion of the test.
There are several testing centers located throughout Colorado. You have to choose the most convenient location. PSI also offers test exams if you’d like the experience before taking the official exam.
If you pass the test, you’re one step closer to applying for your real estate license in Colorado. But there’s still one more thing you must do.
A policy of Errors and Omissions Insurance
Colorado requires all active real estate license holders to obtain Errors and Omissions insurance (E&O).
E&O insurance is a form of professional liability insurance. It protects you during lawsuits stemming from claims of negligence or liability. The insurance helps pay settlements or court costs associated with any lawsuits against you.
This insurance is important because lawsuits are common. And facing a lawsuit without insurance coverage can ruin your career. If your sponsoring brokerage company has an umbrella E&O policy, you can receive coverage from them.
Applying for the Real Estate License in Colorado
It’s taken a long road to reach this point. So far, you’ve:
- Completed 168 hours of Colorado real estate training.
- Passed the background check.
- Passed the Colorado state real estate licensing exam.
- Got a sponsoring brokerage lined up.
- Enrolled in E&O insurance coverage.
With all that hard work behind you, it’s finally time actually to apply for the real estate license.
You’ll go to The Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) Colorado website. You’ll need to go there and create an account with The Commission. After your account is created, you can submit the online application for your real estate license.
Once your application is approved, you’re finally a licensed real estate agent in Colorado.
Further Requirements for a Licensed Agent
After getting your license, you have to make sure it remains active.
You must renew your real estate license every three years. Colorado requires online renewal, and you’ll need an account with DORA.
You’re also required to complete 24 hours of continuing education before you can renew your license.
Twelve of the 24 hours must consist of three different 4-hour Annual Commission Update courses. The remaining 12 hours can consist of any DORA-approved courses.
If you forget to renew your license, you have up to two years to renew it. And if your license is inactive, you can renew it without taking the 24 hours of continuing education classes.
However, before the license is officially reactivated, you will have to show proof of taking the continuing education classes.
Avoid letting your license remain inactive for more than three years. If you decide to become active, you’ll have to retake and pass the real estate exam’s state portion. Or you’ll have to take a 48-hour course in Colorado Contracts & Regulations and an additional 24 hours in Real Estate Closings.
Your Career in Real Estate
Earning a real estate license is hard work. But if you really want a career in real estate, you’ll gladly do the preparation work. However, perhaps after learning all that’s involved, you’d rather find a job in real estate that doesn’t require a license.
Most real estate jobs do require a license. But there are a few positions in the field that you can do without a license. These jobs include titles such as:
- Real Estate Courier – A real estate courier is an entry-level position assisting real estate agents with various tasks. You might spend time handling mail, taking photos of new properties, or maintaining inventory around the office.
- Real Estate Marketing Assistant – A real estate marketing assistant focuses on helping real estate agents or firms with their marketing. This can include managing social media websites, creating and updating websites, and dealing with other forms of marketing – such as email and newsletters. You might also have to plan open house events and house viewings.
These are two examples of real estate jobs that don’t require a license. So if you’re still unsure about obtaining a license, you can always consider a non-licensed position.