Earning a Maryland real estate license requires hours of dedication. It may seem overwhelming, but the payoff is well worth the time and money. When all is said and done, you’ll have a license that allows you to work as a real estate agent in Maryland.
The Maryland Real Estate Commission (the Commission) has rules and regulations regarding Maryland real estate training. Here are the steps you must take before you can apply for a Maryland real estate license.
1. Prequalify for Your Maryland Real Estate License
Before enrolling in a Maryland real estate school or taking any courses, you must meet the following requirements:
– You must have United States citizenship by birth or naturalization.
– The minimum age for a real estate agent is 18-years old.
– A high school diploma or GED is required.
– You must have a good reputation and high character. A felony or misdemeanor conviction can hurt your chance of receiving a real estate license in Maryland. The Commission weighs each incident on a case by case basis. But if your application is denied, you can appeal the decision.
2. Enroll in a Maryland Pre-Licensing Courses
If you’re qualified to become a Maryland real estate agent, the next step is to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing education. The course you take must have the approval of the Commission. The Maryland Department of Labor’s website has an extensive list of approved real estate course providers.
Some of the course providers offer pre-licensing classes only. And some of the course providers offer continuing education classes only. The continuing education classes are for real estate agents who already have a license.
When choosing a provider, be sure that you are choosing an approved pre-licensing course provider. The Commission also recommends double-checking to make sure all classes in the course still have their approval.
Most approved courses are offered by universities, real estate agencies, and community colleges in Maryland. However, there are also online-only options offered by out-of-state providers.
Out-of-state providers are acceptable as long as the Commission approves them. As stated above, check with the Commission to make sure you’re taking an approved course from an approved provider.
Example Classes from a Maryland Real Estate Course
Here are some examples of real estate classes you can expect from a typical real estate course. The course used for this example is the 60-Hour MD Principles and Practices for Salespersons Course. The provider of this course is listed on the Maryland Department of Labor’s website.
Classes in this course include:
- Licensing Regulations in Maryland – This class focuses on real estate laws specific to Maryland.
- Property Ownership in Maryland – Explores the legal aspects of owning property in Maryland.
- Agency Creation, Disclosure, and Termination in Maryland – Discusses rules and regulations concerning creating a real estate agency and how to handle real estate listings.
- Valuation and Market Analysis – Learn how to value real estate and gauge the local real estate market.
- Federal Fair Housing Laws – Learn the laws and practices associated with human rights and community relations.
- Financing in Maryland – All about financing issues regarding Maryland real estate.
- Sellers and Buyers Representation – Learn about real estate contracts and agreements.
- Ethics in Maryland – Teaches the Maryland real estate Code of Ethics.
Please note that this course is used for example purposes. Other providers may or may not offer these exact classes. However, the classes listed above are the typical real estate courses for Maryland.
3. Pass the Course Final Exam
After you complete the 60 hours of pre-licensing education, you must pass the final exam. For Maryland, you must score at least a 70 on the test to pass.
You must take the final exam with a proctor present. A proctor is a person who monitors a test to make sure no one cheats. In some situations, a proctor might also explain the testing rules and pass out the test.
If you’re taking an in-person final exam, your course provider will inform you when and where to take the test. But the procedure is different when you’re taking the final exam online.
Maryland is one of 6 states that allow online proctoring. This means you can take the exam online, but a proctor must watch you at all times. This option is available only when you’ve taken an online course.
You’ll need the following for online proctoring:
- Laptop or desktop computer with screen sharing and video capabilities. Tablets, such as an iPad, aren’t allowed.
- Reliable internet connection with a minimum of 256 Kbps for uploads and 500 Kbps for downloads.
You must schedule your exam at least 24-hours in advance. And you’ll have the opportunity to check your system set up before the exam.
The proctor will ask to see the following items prior to the test:
- Photo ID. Military IDs aren’t accepted.
- A blank sheet of paper.
- Pen or pencil.
- A traditional calculator with numbers and symbols, no letters.
- Clean desk.
You must take the test in an empty room that’s well-lit. If you have family or friends in the home during the test, make sure they stay clear of the testing area. No one should enter the room while you’re testing.
The exam is automatically checked and scored when you finish. You’ll know on the spot if you passed or not. If you don’t pass the exam, you’ll have an opportunity to try again at a later date.
4. Take the Maryland Real Estate Salesperson Exam
After passing your course final exam, it’s time to take the Maryland Real Estate Salesperson exam. You must take this exam within one year of passing your course final exam.
The Maryland state exam consists of two sections. You must pass both sections. If you fail either section, you can retake that section at a later date. And if you pass the exam, you have one year to apply for your real estate license. If you don’t apply within that year, you’ll have to retake the state exam.
The national portion of the state exam has 80 questions. You have 90 minutes to complete this portion of the exam. The state portion of the exam has 30 questions. Since there are fewer questions on this portion of the exam, you’re given 30 minutes to finish this portion.
A score of 70 or higher is required on both portions of the exam. Anything less than a 70 is a failing grade.
5. Select a Broker for Sponsorship
Before applying for your real estate license, you must have a sponsoring broker. The state wants to know you’ll have a place to practice after you’re licensed. Proof of a sponsoring broker is required before the state will grant you a license.
A sponsoring broker is a licensed real estate agent who also has an employing broker’s license. This broker will help you get started as a real estate agent and serve as a mentor during your career’s early stages.
You’ll spend at least a year or longer working with your sponsoring broker. This is why it’s important to find someone who is a good match. There are basically two ways to find a sponsoring broker: ask for recommendations or search online.
If you have friends or family in real estate, you can ask them for recommendations. But if that’s not an option, your best option is to search online for local sponsoring brokers.
Here’s a list of questions to ask when trying to select a broker:
- Does the broker have a good reputation? Search online to see what others are saying about the broker.
- What type of real estate agents does the broker hire? If you’re interested in residential real estate, then a broker specializing in commercial real estate isn’t a good match.
- Does the broker take advantage of the latest technology? Do they have a website, an email address, and a social media presence?
- Does the broker provide training and education to new agents?
- What type of commission does the broker offer?
- Does the broker help real estate agents find leads and market homes for sale?
Finding a sponsoring broker is similar to conducting a job interview. Although you’ll work for the broker, you must interview the broker as if you’re doing the hiring. Remember, you’ll spend at least a year or more working with this person.
6. Submit Your Licensing Application
You can officially apply for your real estate license after you’ve passed the state exam and found a sponsoring broker.
Submit your application to the Maryland Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. You can complete the application online, but it’s also possible to request a print version.
If your application is approved, you’ll receive your Maryland real estate license. If your application isn’t approved, you can determine why it was denied and contest the decision if you feel it’s unfair. When contesting a denial, you’ll have to provide a good reason why you feel your application should’ve been approved.
Working as a Real Estate Agent in Maryland
The average salary for a Maryland real estate agent is $57,450 per year. However, a new agent will typically make around $26,340 per year. On the higher end, a well-established real estate agent can make $125,304 per year or more.
The numbers above are averages to give you an idea about possible earnings. In reality, an agent’s income depends on:
- How many transactions the agent does per year. One agent might do dozens of transactions per year, while another agent does fewer than five or ten.
- The commission paid to the agent.
- How much of the commission the agent must split with the sponsoring broker. The broker often gets 50 percent or more of the commission.
Earning money as a real estate agent takes time. You’ll spend most of your first year learning on the job. And you’ll also spend a lot of time working to build a client base. Even if your sponsoring broker provides you with leads, it’s your job to turn leads into clients.
Although it’s not easy, a career in real estate is potentially rewarding. If you have a love of real estate, then earning your real estate license is worth considering.