Research shows that there are over 3-million active real estate licensees in the United States. This figure proves just how popular and competitive the real estate career has become. This is likely because of the range of benefits that come along with being a real estate agent. For example, making your own schedule and having no limit to potential income. However, becoming a real estate agent is hard work and the requirements on how to become an agent vary from state to state.
For those interested in how to get a real estate license in NY, here are some details you should know.
Who Can Get A Real Estate License?
One of the many great things about the profession is that there are few restrictions on who can pursue a real estate license. It’s also become common for people to pursue real estate as a side job. In communities such as New York City, this has become extremely popular among musicians, actors and college students. As we mentioned earlier, this is because of the many benefits real estate agents enjoy, such as:
- Having a flexible schedule
- Working independently
- Earning a competitive salary and potentially unlimited income
- Enjoying a satisfying social career
- Experiencing career growth due to industry demand
To qualify for a career in real estate, applicants must meet the State of New York’s licensure requirements outlined by the Department of State (DOS) Division of Services.
This means applicants must:
- Be 18 or older when they apply
- Complete a 75-hour real estate salesperson license course that is approved by the Secretary of State
- Be sponsored by a licensed State of New York real estate broker
- Pass a qualifying final exam administered by the DOS
In addition to these requirements, applicants must:
- Disclose if they are under investigation, have been convicted of a crime, or have ever entered a plea of nolo contendere / no contest or guilty.
- Disclose any aliases or A/K/As
- Disclose if they have had a previous license that has been denied, suspended, or surrendered.
Once you have your NY real estate license, a new world of job opportunities awaits!
According to Article12-A of Real Property Law, a NY real estate license gives you the chance to work on behalf of others and charge a fee to:
- Negotiate a sale, exchange, or rental of real property
- Collect rent
- Negotiate a commercial loan secured by a mortgage
Licensees are not limited to working as a leasing or sales real estate agent. Instead, they can pursue career opportunities in property management, development, and acquisitions to name just a few.
How Long Does It Take To Get a Real Estate License?
There are a few factors that will determine how long it will take you to get your New York real estate license. For example:
- How many hours of real estate coursework your state requires
- Whether you choose to take courses online or in-person
- The length of your state’s application process
If you choose to attend real estate classes in-person, it might take you slightly longer to get your real estate license. This is because online learning generally allows you to work at your own pace. Depending on the factors above, the average time to get a New York real estate license is between 3 and 6 months.
Steps To Getting A Real Estate License In New York
In the state of New York, the only educational requirement for getting a license is completing a real estate salesperson license course and passing a qualifying final exam. However, we recommend you take some additional steps to help launch your career as a New York real estate agent. Let’s take a look at what this involves.
STEP 1: Take a Real Estate Course
The first step for successfully launching your career in real estate is to take a course. The state-required real estate course involves 75 hours of study and covers all the topics a salesperson needs to know before working in the industry. These topics are broken down into 18 chapters, each requiring a specific number of study hours. Here’s a brief outline of what you can expect to learn as an agent!
License Law and Regulations (3 hours)
This module provides an overview of the purpose of licensing, the different licensure categories (broker vs. associate broker vs. salesperson), and each licensure’s responsibilities. It also outlines the basic steps for obtaining, maintaining, and renewing a real estate license. Lastly, it introduces new real estate agents to the laws and regulations they must follow, as well as the penalties for misconduct.
Law of Agency (11 hours)
The first 10 hours of Law of Agency covers a broad range of topics related to a real estate agent’s fiduciary responsibility (a legal relationship that is confidential between two parties) as well as the role of the agent and the broker. This chapter also explores the role of agencies: how they are created, agency alternatives, and dual agency.
It answers questions such as:
- What is the difference between a seller’s agent and a buyer’s agent?
- Can an agent act as both?
It also explains forms and disclosure policies, including requirements under Section 443 of the Real Property Law. The last hour of study explores the nature of the independent contractor relationship and how an agent can safely act as an independent contractor-employee in the State of New York.
Legal Issues (10 hours)
Chapter 3 is broken down into four sections which outline the legal issues agents need to pay attention to during the transaction process. Topics include:
- Estates and Interests (3 hours): Uses of real property, freehold estates, leasehold estates, forms of ownership, trusts, and how business organizations can own real estate.
- Liens and Easements (2.5 hours): Liens, subordination agreements, deed restrictions, and easements.
- Deeds (2.5 hours): All aspects of a deed, including the definition, purpose, and essential elements; forms of deeds; and conveyance after death.
- Title closing and costs (2 hours): The significance of closing, closing costs and adjustments, the closing process, and distributing funds (e.g., how the commission is paid to a broker).
The Contract of Sales and Leases (3 hours)
This chapter covers three topics that will take roughly one hour each. These topics include leases, contracts and contract preparation. Broadly speaking, this chapter provides an outline of standard lease and contract provisions, the sections required to ensure a valid contract, types of contracts, and the basics of reading and preparing a contract.
Real Estate Finance (5 hours)
Real Estate Finance covers topics related to mortgages, such as financing options for a real estate property, parties participating in said financing (e.g., the mortgagor and their duties) and the lender’s criteria for granting a loan. This chapter also dedicates 1 hour of learning to predatory lending and is intended to help reduce fraud and foreclosures.
Land Use Regulations (3 hours)
This chapter is important for those who want to learn and understand the process of new project development. It covers a wide range of topics such as the need to plan, private land use control, police power, the planning board’s role and zoning appeals.
Construction and Environmental Issues (5 hours)
Construction and Environmental Issues continues educating individuals on the permitted use of land and potential restrictions related to environmental issues. Construction requires 2 hours of learning, while Environmental Issues requires 3 hours. Students can expect to learn about the requirements for construction, energy efficiency, and major systems (i.e., air conditioning, plumbing, and electrical). This chapter also reviews today’s leading environmental issues and an agent’s role in understanding them.
Valuation Process and Pricing Properties (3 hours)
Evaluating real estate is a primary function of many agents. This chapter reviews the difference between appraisals, valuations, and evaluations. It also explores the difference between value, price, and cost. Students will also learn about the details of the agent’s role in pricing real estate and the various approaches to evaluating an asset.
Human Rights and Fair Housing (4 hours)
Human Rights and Fair Housing explores controversies relating to fair housing, such as those resulting from societal pressures. It also explores the responsibilities of the broker and salesperson, as well as federal and state laws that impact these issues. Students should pay attention to the types of discrimination described in this chapter and their role as a Fair Housing Agent.
Real Estate Mathematics (1 hour)
This chapter describes Real Estate Mathematics basics, covering topics such as percentages, area and length calculation, basic mortgages and rates. It is crucial for aspiring agents to understand the concepts of commission, interest, appreciation, depreciation and taxes, to name a few.
Municipal Agencies (2 hours)
Real estate agents work with various Municipal Agencies during their careers, most of which are described in this chapter. They include:
- The city or town council
- Planning board
- Zoning board of appeals
- Architecture review board
- Conservation advisory council/wetlands commission
- Historical preservation/landmark commission
- Building department
- Planning department
- Tax assessor
- City engineer
- County health department
Property Insurance (2 hours)
This chapter outlines the purpose of insurance, the alternatives for purchasing property insurance (independent agents vs. insurance companies vs. insurance brokers), types of policies, coverage requirements, details of policies, and common challenges faced by property owners. It also explains a real estate agent’s role in this process.
Taxes and Assessments (3 hours)
The topic of Taxes and Assessments is most relevant for property owners, but it’s important that successful real estate professionals are aware of how these work. This chapter is essentially a crash course in taxes and assessments. It reviews basic subjects such as the purpose of taxation, real estate tax calculations and tax rates. It also delves into processes related to appeals and liens.
Condominiums and Cooperatives (4 hours)
Both condominiums and cooperatives differ from traditional residential and commercial assets. The laws governing them, the associated boards, and due diligence issues create a different transactional process. This chapter outlines the concepts real estate agents should understand in order to represent clients during these transactions.
Commercial and Investment Properties (10 hours)
This chapter delves into Commercial and Investment Properties and specifically targets those interested in working in investment sales or related industries. It covers essential topics such as the characteristics of real property investment, property types, how to analyze properties, and associated terminology.
Income Tax Issues in Real Estate Transaction (3 hours)
Income Tax Issues in Real Estate Transaction reviews the Taxpayer Relief Act of 1997 and educates prospective real estate agents on topics related to:
- Federal income tax treatment
- Capital gains taxes
- Deferral tax rules on acquisition of subsequent financing
- Low-income housing incentives
Mortgage Brokerage (1 hour)
This chapter examines what mortgage brokers do, their requirements and responsibilities, and their role in real estate transactions. Additionally, it defines the difference between a mortgage broker and a mortgage banker.
Property Management (2 hours)
The last chapter introduces students to Property Management. For example, what property managers do, the types of properties they manage, and licensure requirements. It reviews the requirements for an effective management agreement. Lastly, it outlines a property manager’s skills and obligations to the owner. This chapter is excellent for those looking to work in property management.
You’re Nearly There!
Once you have completed all 18 chapters, you have completed your 75-hour course! Real estate courses typically take eight weeks to complete. However, it can be completed in two weeks for those who choose to pursue their education full-time. Both online courses and in-person classes exist to accommodate the needs of every individual.
Exemptions From The Course
Those who have studied real estate or have practiced as a real estate agent in another state may be exempt from the 75-hour real estate salesperson license course. However, you must meet the strict criteria outlined by the state and submit all supplemental documentation.
If you can document an equivalent level of schooling, you can apply for an exemption. You need to provide the following:
- An official transcript from an accredited college or university indicating satisfactory completion of the course(s) to consider, or an original certificate of course completion from a recognized real estate school.
- An official description of the subject matter, usually obtained from the school catalogue.
If you have worked as an agent, you may pre-qualify to obtain a New York real estate license. Only states that hold a reciprocal agreement with New York qualify. These states include Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
STEP 2: Sign Up For A Prep Course
After you complete the intensive 75-hour course, you may be tempted to jump straight into taking the State of New York real estate exam. Unfortunately, this can be a costly decision. Research shows that only 60 percent of people pass the real estate salesperson license exam on their first attempt, with 80 percent passing on their second attempt. To help ensure you pass on the first attempt, we recommend signing up for and participating in a real estate prep course.
Prep Exams vs. Prep Courses
Before diving into the details of a prep course, let’s first clarify a common question asked by students:
What is the difference between the prep exams provided by my real estate course and a prep course?
Although the practice exams offered by many real estate courses can provide you with quick access to sample questions, they are often limited to just that! These practice tests only measure where you are with the material. Typically, these services do not extend beyond the course and provide you with limited to no insight into where you may be struggling.
Here is where the prep course steps in and becomes an invaluable resource for many students. A prep course takes students into a deeper exploration of their knowledge of the materials and provides them with study tricks, practice tests, review sessions, study guides and more. A prep course will help students fully understand what to expect on the exam and will give them the edge that they need. The practice exams will give students all the preparation and practice they need to have the best possible shot of passing the New York real estate license exam on the first try.
Selecting a Prep Course
The key to passing the exam is in the preparation. However, selecting the wrong prep course can result in the wrong preparation.
Applicants should review prospective courses and ensure that it provides them with the necessary resources on how to get a real estate license in NY and to find success in the industry. The right course can create a clearer path for studying by creating opportunities for students to practice, review and memorize the material to ensure they achieve a successful passing score on the state exam.
Here are a few elements to look for in prospective pre-licensing courses:
Consider looking into how many questions are on each practice test, how many times you can take them, and whether a review section is included for all questions.
Are the guides broken down by category so that you can focus on studying the content you have missed on the exams?
Can you access flash cards on the go? These are a great resource for learning the details of the real estate industry.
One-on-one or group tutoring sessions often help students retain the information but are less common in prep courses.
As a society on-the-go, make sure the course is accessible on your smartphone. You can use your downtime, such as a long commute, to prepare for the exam.
To ensure you select the best prep course option, we recommend limiting your search to those that offer a 100% guarantee or your money back, such as Real Estate Prep Guide. The cost of such courses varies, but a great course does not need to break the bank. Real Estate Prep Guide offers the resources outlined above and is available for only $49.99!
Once you find a course, it’s time to start studying! The more time you dedicate to studying, the better your chance of passing the exam, saving you both the time and energy of having to re-test.
STEP 3: Take The Exam
The next question is: When should you take the New York real estate license exam? The best time is after you have completed the real estate course and dedicated proper time to preparing. Confidence is key in the real estate industry, so when you feel confident and ready to take the exam, it’s time to sign up.
The New York state department has made enrolling for the exam a simple process through its online service eAccessNY, found at www.dos.ny.gov. Prospective test takers need to create an online account and sign up for an exam that fits their schedule. The exams are proctored and are always in-person. They are even offered in multiple languages, including English, Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Chinese.
What should you expect?
The exam itself includes 75 multiple choice questions. Applicants are given 90 minutes to complete the test. If you have participated in a rigorous prep course, you should be more than prepared to complete the questions in the permitted time.
We recommend arriving to the test early to give yourself enough time to sign in and mentally prepare. Research has found that meditation and grounding techniques can boost your test scores, so using such strategies before you arrive may increase your chance of success.
The state has set a strict policy on what is and is not permitted at the testing center. You should be respectful of this policy and always arrive prepared.
What to Bring to the Exam
- Current government-issued ID
- “Summary of Submission” — eAccessNY prompts you to print this page when you schedule an exam
- #2 pencils
- A calculator — if it is “battery or solar powered, silent, nonprinting, and [does] not contain an alphabetic keyboard.”
What NOT to Bring to the Exam
- Phones and other electronic devices
- Dictionaries, books, other reference materials; large bags, and briefcases
- Food, beverages, and cigarettes (eating, drinking, and smoking are not allowed)
- Visitors, guests, and children
The state of New York has a strict policy regarding academic dishonesty: “Any person found using notes, books, or other aids; giving or receiving help; removing examination materials or notes from the exam site; causing a disturbance; or engaging in practices contrary to the rules of proper examination conduct will be dismissed from the exam site. Any decisions regarding disciplinary measures will be made by the Exam Supervisor at the Department of State.”
Getting the Results
Once you complete the exam, you are free to leave. Results of the exam are posted via the online portal. You cannot call to obtain your results. All results are identified as pass or fail. Unfortunately, the state does not give you access to any other details. To pass, you need to score 70% or higher, meaning you need to answer at least 53 of the 75 questions correctly.
Hopefully, you can take a deep breath here following a passing grade! The hardest part is done … Now it’s time to start your journey in real estate!
Retaking the Test
Those who do not pass the test have an opportunity to retake it. Simply log into your portal, pay the $15 fee, and sign up for the test again. There is no mandatory wait time between scheduling exams, and there is no limit on how many times you can take the test. However, time is money – and this is where an effective prep course comes in handy.
STEP 4: Find Your Sponsoring Broker
To obtain your license, you must first have a sponsoring broker – the brokerage firm where you hope to hang your real estate license. The sponsoring broker is responsible for the supervision and conduct of the real estate firm, including all of its agents.
Some sponsoring brokers are willing to take on the additional role of mentor. The services provided vary depending on the broker. Here are some factors to consider when identifying a brokerage house that is right for you:
Agents are responsible for farming (cultivating leads) in their marketplace. They need to research prospective buyers and sellers, contact them, and identify potential business opportunities. You should find out whether the brokerage house will help you by giving you access to a general database or software that can expedite the process. Leads create transaction velocity and are a key element to building a successful business.
Marketing and branding benefits:
Working as a real estate agent requires you to build your business from the ground up, and you are responsible for all aspects of that growth. This means you need to create an online presence, broker opinions of value, offering memorandums, and so on. Each of these responsibilities takes time; as a result, some brokerage houses offer assistance with marketing and branding. For example, they may provide a template or software program that simplifies the process.
Each brokerage house has different requirements for prospective agents. For example, some require agents to have an education background in real estate or a bachelor’s degree, whereas other brokers are simply looking to add motivated members to their team. Some require agents to work in an office, while others allow remote working. Make sure you qualify for the broker of your choice when selecting them as your sponsoring broker.
What other resources does the broker provide? Brokers understand the importance of recruiting top talent and often provide perks to agents for joining their team. They may offer access to management, a strong team-building culture, or access to an office manager — all resources that can improve an agent’s business model. Learn about every broker you are vetting and determine whether their overall goals and resources match your desires.
As an active real estate agent, you are most likely paid on commission. This means that you are paid only after you close a deal. However, when you work as an agent, you are not privy to 100% of the commission – you need to split your proceeds with your sponsoring broker. Most commonly, new agents can expect a 50/50 split with their brokerage house. In some cases, agents may also be required to partner with a senior agent until they have closed a specific number of deals. In this case, the agent is required to also split the fee with their senior agent, walking away with only 25% of the commission.Weigh the pros and cons of each fee structure. However, do not immediately go for the highest split. In cases where the brokerage house provides mentorship and resources, you should consider the rate at which you can close deals with experienced help. If you decide to take the best split but are given no resources, it may take you longer to close a deal, reducing your potential income.
Look at the fine print as well. Some brokerage houses charge fees – such as desk fees, transaction fees, insurance fees, etc. – in addition to the commission split. Be sure to review and understand your commitment to each broker.
STEP 5: Get Your Real Estate License
Once you have met all the prerequisites for getting your real estate license (completing your education and identifying your sponsoring broker), it is time to get your license!
The State of New York has simplified the process to expedite the timeline. Here is a breakdown of the steps for getting your real estate license after you have passed the exam:
- Log into your eAccessNy account.
- Enter the required information when prompted.
- Select your sponsoring broker by entering their unique ID number.
- Ask your sponsoring broker to approve your application as a new hire.
Once the process is complete, your real estate license will be mailed to you and you will be ready to start working as a New York real estate agent.
STEP 6: Managing And Maintaining a Real Estate License
Now that you know how to get a real estate license in NY, it’s important that you understand how to keep it up to date. Throughout your time as a New York real estate agent, eAccessNY should be the foundation for managing and maintaining your license.
Use the platform to make any changes to your real estate license, such as changing your residence addresses or sponsoring brokers.
Renewing Your License
Your real estate license is valid for two years. To maintain and renew your license, you are required to participate in continuous learning. New agents will want to commence the renewal process once it is available, which is three months prior to the expiration date.
The renewal process requires agents to complete 22.5 hours of continuing education, with requirements changing July 1, 2021.
“All licensees with a license expiring on or after July 1, 2021, will be required to successfully complete 22.5 hours of approved continuing education. The education must include at least 2.5 hours on the subject of ethical business practices, at least 1 hour on recent legal matters, at least 3 hours of instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest in real property, and at least 1 hour of instruction pertaining to the law of agency; except in the case of the initial two-year licensing term for real estate salespersons, 2 hours of agency-related instruction must be completed within the two-year period immediately preceding a renewal.”
You want to complete the renewal process prior to the expiration date to prevent a lapse in your ability to perform your duties as a real estate agent. However, if you attempt to renew past the expiration date, you can still utilize the same process above for up to two years after its expiration.
If your expired license passes this two-year mark, then you are required to retake and pass the state written examination and submit a new salesperson application and fee.
Getting A Real Estate License: Cost Breakdown
Obtaining a New York real estate license can lead to significant financial rewards for those who are committed and dedicated to building their business. The cost of getting started is worth the investment. Here is a breakdown of the cost of becoming a licensed real estate agent in the State of New York:
- Real estate salesperson course: $300; varies depending on the providing company
- Real estate prep course: $49.99 if you choose Real Estate Prep Guide. This price will vary depending on the providing company
- Initial application: $55
- Written final exam: $15
- Change of personal name and/or address: $10
- Duplicate license/registration request: $10
- Continuing education: $133; varies depending on the providing company
- Renewal: $55
Overall, you can expect to spend less than $500 from start to finish, which is a small investment to commence a new, prosperous career as a New York real estate agent!
Earnings: What to Expect
The beginning of your real estate career will be challenging. You will be required to work long hours with no immediate financial return. Many agents work the first year without closing any deals.
However, this is not a sign that you should give up. As a new agent in New York, you need to build your brand and reputation within your community. This takes time! Ongoing hard work pays off. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average salary for a real estate agent in the New York metro-area in 2019 was $103,700.
This far exceeds the average salary for all occupations in that area, which was $66,790. Remember, your earning potential is directly related to the effort you put into your real estate career. Dozens of real estate agents in New York have become millionaires. Really, the sky’s the limit for real estate agents!
Fast-track Your Real Estate Career With Prep Guide
Preparation is critical to getting your New York real estate salesperson license. At Prep Guide, we offer practice exams and study guides for every state in America. This level of preparation will give you the best possible chance of acing the written exam.
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We offer two salesperson licensing plans:
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