Applying for your Virginia real estate license is the final step in becoming a real estate agent in Virginia. But it takes hard work and dedication to reach that final step. Here’s what it takes to start Virginia real estate training to earn a license.
1. Have a High School Diploma or GED
You received your high school diploma when you graduated from high school. However, in case you didn’t graduate from high school, you’ll need a GED. Passing the GED exam shows that you have a high school level of education.
2. Be at Least 18-Years Old
At any point after your 18th birthday, you meet the age requirement to become a real estate agent in Virginia.
3. Have an Upstanding Reputation in Your Community
Character counts when trying to get a real estate license. The Virginia Real Estate Board (the Board) takes your personal and professional reputation into account when reviewing your license application.
Fingerprinting is mandatory. Before submitting your license application, the Virginia Central Criminal Records Exchange must receive a copy of your fingerprints. The fingerprints are used to perform a national and state background check.
A criminal history can get your application denied. But the Board will take a fair look at your application and consider the circumstances surrounding each incident.
When submitting your application, disclose any misdemeanor or felony convictions in your background. The Board wants to know if you’ve been convicted of crimes such as sexual assault, drug distribution, domestic abuse, child abuse, murder, or robbery.
If your application is denied, you’ll have a chance to state your case before the Board. The Board may change its decision based on your explanation. But you must prove, beyond a shadow of a doubt, why your criminal history shouldn’t affect your application.
Fingerprinting services in Virginia are offered by Fieldprint or Virginia PSI exam sites. If using Fieldprint, an appointment is necessary. No appointment is necessary for exam sites.
4. Complete 60 Hours of Pre-Licensing Education
Pre-licensing means it occurs before you receive your license. And in Virginia, you must take 60 hours of real estate courses before applying for your license. You must also pass the course final exam.
You can take your pre-licensing courses at a Virginia real estate school or other approved course provider. The Board has an extensive list of approved course providers listed on its website.
Notice that some of the providers only offer courses for real estate brokers. And some of the providers only offer courses for real estate salespeople.
In Virginia, a real estate salesperson is the same as a real estate agent. But a real estate broker isn’t the same as a salesperson. Also, note some courses are taught in the classroom, but some are online only.
Once you’ve completed the 60 hours of pre-licensing education, you must pass the course final exam. A score of at least 75 is a passing grade in Virginia.
Your course provider will submit your scores to the Virginia PSI testing center. The PSI testing center is where you take the official Virginia real estate exam.
5. Take the Virginia Real Estate Exam
You must pass both portions of the Virginia real estate exam. The state portion of the exam is 45 minutes long. And the national portion of the exam is 1 hour and 45 minutes long.
To pass the national portion of the exam, you must correctly answer at least 56 questions. But you pass the state portion of the exam by correctly answering at least 30 of the questions.
The current fee for the exam is $60. Schedule your exam at least one day in advance. If you need to reschedule or cancel your exam, do so within 2 days of the exam to receive a refund. Otherwise, you won’t receive a refund and will pay again when you take the exam.
If you fail one or both portions of the exam, you can reschedule and retake the exam. But you’ll have to pay another $60 each time you retake the exam.
6. Find a Sponsoring Broker
After (or before) you’ve passed the real estate exam, you need to find a sponsoring broker. This broker will help you get started in real estate. After receiving your license, you must spend at least a year or longer working with a licensed broker.
The Board requires you to have this broker in place before submitting your license application. If you submit your application before finding a broker, then the Board will deny the application.
The best way to find a broker is by word of mouth or online. You can ask friends and family if they can recommend anyone. Contacting local real estate agencies is an option as well. Searching online is another option that might yield good results.
Try to find a broker that matches your career goals. For example, say you’re interested in residential real estate. If residential real estate is your area of interest, then a broker specializing in commercial real estate won’t serve you well.
Other things to consider about your sponsoring broker include:
- Does the broker pay commission? You won’t make a lot in the beginning. But you should at least feel comfortable with what you can potentially make.
- Does the broker use modern communication methods, such as a cell phone, email, and social media? It’s best to have a broker who is comfortable with modern technology.
- Does the broker have a good reputation? You’re going to work with the broker for a while, so make sure it’s someone you can trust.
- Does the broker help new agents find leads? Finding potential clients isn’t easy, especially when you’re a new agent. It helps to have a broker who helps with leads.
7. Submit Application for License
After you’ve fulfilled all the requirements, submit your application to the Board for approval. Complete the application online or print a PDF copy and mail it.
It’s important to answer all questions on the application. Skipping questions can get your application denied. You must also include copies of requested documents and any applicable fees. It will take the Board 15 to 20 days to process and review your application.
It takes an additional 3 to 5 days to issue your license. If your application is approved, the license will arrive via US mail. You can also check the status using the license lookup database on the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website.
When You Have an Out-of-State License
If you already have a real estate license in another state, you’ll still need a Virginia license to work within Virginia. But you don’t have to start from the beginning. What you need is a Virginia real estate license by reciprocity.
To get your Virginia real estate license by reciprocity:
- You must have an active real estate license in another state.
- You must already have at least 60 hours of pre-license education.
- You must have proof of your license and pre-license education when submitting your application to the Board. If your existing license certification doesn’t include confirmation of your pre-license hours, you’ll have to contact your original course provider to verify your hours.
- You must pass the Virginia portion of the state exam.
The questions on the Virginia portion of the exam are specific to Virginia. The Board recommends studying for the exam by using Virginia practice exam questions and answers. Obtaining a copy of Virginia Real Estate: Practice and Law is recommended as well.
You need to get 30 out of 40 questions correct to pass the Virginia portion of the exam. And you’ll have 45 minutes to complete the test.
If you pass the test, you can submit your license application to the Board.
What to Do After Getting Your License
Virginia requires all newly licensed real estate agents to work with a broker. That’s why you had to secure a sponsoring broker. The broker will teach you, guide you, and help you start your real estate career. Take this chance to benefit from the knowledge and experience of your sponsoring broker.
Market yourself to start building your reputation. Get your name out there so people will call you when they need a real estate agent. Just because you’re working with a broker doesn’t mean you can slack off in the area of promotion. A lot of your success will depend upon your ability to market yourself.
It helps to have an online presence. Creating your own professional website is a great idea. People usually search online for a real estate agent.
Before the internet, people would use the phone book or drive around looking at houses for sale. But now, when people are in the market to buy a home, they’re likely to search online before doing anything else. Make sure your website shows up when people in your area are searching for homes.
You might want to invest in business cards, too. You never know when you’ll meet someone who is a potential client. Plus, some businesses have bulletin boards created specifically for sharing business cards.
Joining at least one professional organization can help your career as well. If there’s a local chamber of commerce in your area, consider becoming a member. Associating with business people is a great way to build a good reputation, network, and get leads.
Most states also have local and statewide organizations specifically for real estate agents. Joining these organizations can serve as a huge stepping stone in your career.
Once you’ve joined a local or statewide real estate organization, you can consider membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR). The purpose of NAR is to help its members create successful and profitable careers.
When it comes to your career in real estate, some things are beyond your control. A great deal of your success depends on the real estate market in your area.
You have no control over the market or the value of real estate in your area. How many clients you have per month is also beyond your control. You might have two clients in one month, and then in the next month, you might have 5 clients.
However, marketing yourself makes it easier to attract business. You can’t control every aspect of your career. But do what you can to get the business that you want.
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