Becoming a real estate agent can be a very financially rewarding and personally satisfying career, but it won’t happen overnight or without devotion and perseverance. Top real estate agents work very hard and are dedicated to constantly improving themselves and their business.
If you are ready to dive into the world of real estate, there are seven (kinda) basic steps that must be followed to receive your real estate license in Alabama.
Before you begin, make sure that you meet the basic requirements. To obtain a REAL ESTATE SALEPERSON’S LICENSE from the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC), an individual must:
- Be 19 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED equivalent
- Be a citizen resident or have alien resident status
- Not have a license denied in another state for the past two years
- Been found guilty of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude (like shoplifting or writing bad checks)
Step 1: Complete the required 60-hour Salesperson Pre-license course, varies between $129 to $500
Individuals wishing to become a real estate agent in Alabama must first complete the required 60-hour AREC-approved SALESPERSON PRE-LICENSURE COURSE at a licensed school. An individual must:
- Attend 90% of the class instruction time
- Pass the final exam with a minimum score of 70%. Some schools require a higher passing percentage. For example, at Martin & Fellows Real Estate School, we require a passing score of 85%. Call it “tough love.”
- By law, students are allowed a year to complete 60-hour the Sales Pre-license course.
After passing this course, the student is referred to as a “real estate candidate.”
Step 2: Pass the Alabama State Licensing Exam, $75
After passing the sales pre-license course, the school will electronically post credit for passing with the Alabama Real Estate Commission, and with a company called PSI. PSI is the testing authority that administers the state licensing exam. The candidate will schedule his or her state exam directly with PSI. For more information about PSI, visit their website at https://www.goamp.com.
The candidate has six months to pass the state licensing exam and may take the exam in any of five locations in Alabama. The cost to take the state licensing exam is currently $75. Candidates will need two forms of government-issued ID to gain admission to the testing center.
If the candidate fails the exam, then he or she may retake the exam as many times are needed to pass the exam but MUST PAY for each attempt. He or she may retake the exam the very next day if a testing time is available.
Step 3: Undergo a nationwide background check, $47
Upon passing the exam, the candidate should gather up the documentation needed for the temporary license application and then undergo the background check which includes a digital fingerprint scan. For more information, visit https://www.aps.gemalto.com/al/indexNew.htm
Step 4: Apply for a Temporary Real Estate License, $205 - $235
Upon passing the exam, the candidate is given an application for their temporary real estate license at the testing site and has exactly 90 days to apply for a TEMPORARY SALES LICENSE. At this point the candidate can follow two routes: either apply for an active temporary sales license or apply for an inactive temporary sales license. Active means the individual has selected a brokerage to work for and may begin practicing real estate. Inactive means they have a license, but cannot practice real estate. The Alabama Real Estate Commission will hold onto your temporary inactive license.
STEP 5*: Joining the REALTORS®, $1,200
If a licensee is planning to sell houses (referred to as “residential real estate”), then he or she must join the National Association of REALTORS® and the local Multiple Listing Service (MLS). The MLS is the computer database and network where all local agents list their houses to sell. If one is planning to sell houses in most metropolitan areas in Alabama (Birmingham, Huntsville, Auburn, Montgomery, Mobile) and your qualifying broker is a member of the REALTORS® and the MLS, then you must become a member of the REALTORS® and the MLS as well. There is no way around it. The initial year’s cost for membership in the National. State and Local Association of REALTORS® and Multiple Listing Service can be as much as $1,200 with the annual fees ranging from $500 to $1,000.
If your qualifying broker is NOT a member of the REALTORS®, then you don’t have to join and you can skip this step. Brokerages that specialize in commercial and industrial real estate and land typically are not member of the REALTORS®. WHEW!
Step 6: Complete the Post-License Course, varies between $99 to $199
The temporary licensee has six months to complete a required 30-hour POST-LICENSURE COURSE. Both active and inactive licensees must complete this course. The post-license course teaches the licensee the business side of real estate. There is no state test to pass the post-license course.
Step 7: Apply for an Original License, $170
Upon passing the post-license course, the licenses must apply for an ORIGINAL SALESPERSON’S LICENSE (sometimes referred to as a permanent license). If an active licensee fails to apply for the Original License, his or her license immediately will be placed in inactive status.
Whew! So, beginning a real estate career is not cheap, but IS less expensive and quicker than attending a traditional college. Think of it as an investment in a new career and in yourself… and aren’t you worth it? I know you are!
Good luck with your journey!
The Alabama Real Estate Tutor