How To Get a Real Estate License in Hawaii

Information Last Verified: February 22, 2021 by Jordan Fabel

It takes a ton of work to earn a Hawaii real estate license. However, it’s potentially a lucrative career in one of the most beautiful parts of the world. Are you a resident of Hawaii with a love of real estate? If so, here’s some information on the Hawaii real estate training and requirements required to earn your license.

Steps to Take Before Enrolling in a Hawaii Real Estate School

The Hawaii Real Estate Commission (the Commission) sets the rules and regulations for receiving a real estate license. This includes a set of pre-qualifications that you must meet.

Pre-qualifications for earning a real estate license in Hawaii:

  1. You are at least 18 years old.
  2. Must be a United States citizen, an alien with legal permission to work in the US, or a US national.
  3. Required to have a valid social security number.
  4. Have a high school diploma or a GED.

How a Criminal Background Affects Your Real Estate License Application

When you apply for a real estate license in Hawaii, you must pass a background check. The background check comes later after you’ve completed hours of work and training. But, if the Commission has an issue with your background check, they may reject your license application.

During the license application process, the Commission determines if you meet their standards of truthfulness, competency, honesty, fairness, and financial integrity. They will determine this based on the results of your background check.

If you have a criminal history, the Commission suggests submitting an application for a non-binding decision. This process is for potential applicants who worry their criminal history will prevent them from earning their real estate license.

Questionable Background Issues

Felonies and misdemeanors hurt your chances of having your application approved. Civil, government or administrative actions against you hurt as well. Any negative action that appears on your background check is a strike against you.

In addition to criminal convictions, the following actions count heavily against you: DUIs, domestic abuse, child abuse, drug abuse, tax liens, unpaid taxes, unpaid judgments, disciplinary action either in Hawaii or elsewhere, current parole, or current probation.

The Commission recommends the non-binding decision process to save you time and money. It can prevent you from paying for Hawaii real estate school when it’s highly unlikely you’ll get your application approved.

If your background is a concern, submit a “Request for Preliminary Decision” application to the Commission. Again, this is only for people who have a criminal history or background that might hurt their chance for approval. Make sure to submit this application before taking any real estate classes.

The Commission does give you a chance to state your case. You have the option of attending one of the Commission’s monthly meetings. During that time, the Commission will ask questions about your background. You’ll also have the opportunity to provide a testimonial on your behalf.

Honesty and full disclosure is highly recommended. Failing to mention a potentially negative incident is considered as lying. You might feel it’s something that’s not worth mentioning. But if it appears on your background check, the Commission will take into account that you didn’t mention it during your testimony.

Hawaii Real Estate Commission Decision: Deciding to Pursue Your License or Not

The Commission will decide if they’re likely or unlikely to approve your real estate license application. This decision is non-binding, which means the decision can change based on further review.

If it’s decided you’re unlikely to pass the background check, you can cease your efforts to earn your license. However, you can also continue to pursue your license. Do this only if you want to take the chance of passing the official background check.

The Commission has the right to reject or accept your license application – no matter your background. They will consider the circumstances surrounding each incident noted on your background check.

There have been instances when people with questionable backgrounds were approved for their licenses. But people have also completed the real estate training process, only to have their applications denied.

Ultimately, the decision to continue pursuing your real estate license or not is up to you.

60-Hours of Real Estate Training

You must complete 60-hours of pre-licensing education as approved by the Commission.

Courses are available from real estate schools, colleges, universities, and other learning institutions approved by the Commission. And in addition to in-person classes, you may have the option of online classes.

Areas of study include:

Pass the Final Exam of the Course

After completing the entire 60-hour course, you’ll take a final exam. The exam will have at least 130 questions that test your knowledge of everything learned in the course.

A score of 70 or above is required to pass the exam. If you pass, you’ll receive a certificate verifying you successfully completed the real estate course. The certificate is valid for two years, and you must take the Hawaii licensing exam within that two year period.

If you receive a passing grade, you’ll receive information on how to register for the official licensing exam.

Passing the Hawaii Real Estate Exam for Licensing

Passing the Hawaii real estate salesperson exam is the final step in receiving your license. You can register for the exam online, by phone, by mail, or by fax.

The exam fee is currently $61. If you need to cancel or reschedule, you must do so at least two days before the exam.

Bring the following items to your exam:

The exam has 80 questions that test your general real estate knowledge. You’re given two hours and 30 minutes to complete this portion of the exam. The Hawaii-specific portion of the exam has 50 questions. You’re given one hour and 30 minutes to complete this part of the exam.

Questions on the exam cover topics such as:

A score of at least 70 or higher is a passing grade. The exam is administered by computer and scored upon completion. You receive your score as soon as you finish the exam.

If you fail one or both sections of the exam, you’ll see a screen that highlights the areas in which you need more study. You can then reschedule to retake the parts of the exam that you failed.

Finding a Broker to Sponsor Your Activities

Hawaii requires all new real estate agents to have a sponsoring broker.

You can choose an individual broker as your sponsor or an active Hawaii real estate brokerage firm. In either case, you’ll have to show proof that the person or firm employs you.

Choose your sponsor carefully. You want a pleasant work environment in which you feel safe. Some questions you can ask include:

Submit Your Licensing Application

So, you’ve passed the Hawaii licensing exam and found a sponsor. You can now submit your application for a Hawaii real estate agent license.

The test center will give you the license application, instructions for applying, and a copy of your scores. You must submit the application within 2-years of passing the exam.

If your application is approved, you’ll receive your official Hawaii real estate license. The license means you’re legally allowed to work as a real estate agent in the state of Hawaii.

Working as a Licensed Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent in Hawaii can make anywhere from $43,000 to $68,000 per year on average. Of course, that all depends on how often the agent works.

One agent might sell several properties in one year. At the same time, another agent might sell only a few. And then some agents are part-time, and only work occasionally.

When it comes to real estate and income, your actions play a big role in how much you earn. You also have to consider the local real estate market. You may experience occasional periods when fewer people are buying and selling property.

Typical Activities for a Real Estate Sales Agent

As an agent, you work on behalf of your clients. You might help them find their dream home, sell an old home, rent a building, or perform any number of real estate activities.

For example, a client selling a home would need help setting a price and preparing the home to sell. The client would need help publicizing the home and then help with showing the home to potential buyers.

You’ll also help the client collect offers, review offers, choose which offer to accept, and then assist with finalizing the sale.

On the other hand, a client looking to buy a home might need an agent to help them find the perfect place. The agent would locate properties that match the client’s budget and location preferences.

After the client finds the perfect home, you’ll help with the purchasing process. As an agent, you’ll need negotiating skills to get the buyer a good deal. You’ll also have to help with closing, escrow, and home inspection.

As you can see, the job of a real estate agent has many responsibilities. This is where your hours of hard work, classes, and training pays off.

Finding success as a real estate agent isn’t guaranteed. All you can do is prepare to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. That means you need to work hard, work smart, and remain self-motivated. But most of all, you must have a love of helping people achieve their real estate goals.

If you’re ready to start your career as a real estate agent in Hawaii, there’s no time like the present to get started.