How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in West Virginia
West Virginia Real Estate License Requirements
To become a real estate agent in West Virginia and get your license, you must meet the following requirements.
- 18 years or older
- A U.S. citizen or a legal alien
- Have a high school diploma or GED
- Have completed the fingerprinting and background check
WV Real Estate License Costs
- Real Estate Agent Education in WV: $399to $649 (approx.)
- Exam Fee: $96
- Application Fee: $25
- Fingerprint Fee: $45.75
- License Fee: $75 per year
- Online Real Estate Schools: Schools like CE Shop, offer real estate education to become a real estate agent in West Virginia.
- Exam Preparation: You can prepare for your West Virginia Real Estate Salesperson exam with CE Shop.
- State Resources:
STEP 1: Sign Up for Pre-licensing Education
Before you start working as a real estate agent in West Virginia, you need to get your real estate license. For this, you must complete your 90 hours of pre-licensing education which comprises 4 classes i.e.,
- Real Estate Principles and Practice: 30 hours
- Real Estate Law: 20 hours
- Real Estate Finance: 20 hours
- Real Estate Appraisal: 20 hours
You can take the pre-license courses online or you can join a course at a local college in your state such as Bridge Valley Community and Technical College, Eastern WV Community & Technical College, etc. Here is a list of all the West Virginia state-approved schools that offer real estate pre-license courses. The cost of the real estate course can vary between $399 to $649 approximately.
However, online courses offer greater benefits compared to a regular college because you can complete the course at your own pace in the comfort of your home, office or any other place. The online course also includes study materials such as flashcards and practice exams that will help you prepare for the real estate licensing exam.
Also, most of the online courses offer a guarantee that if you complete the course, you will pass the real estate license exam on the 1st attempt. And, you can choose an online course provider that suits your requirements the best.
As it is not the state exam and is provided by the pre-license education provider, West Virginia does not need the pre-license final exam to be supervised by a proctor. This exam is proof that you have completed the pre-license exam.
You can take the pre-license exam from your home. However, before you apply to take the assessment make sure to re-confirm all the West Virginia state requirements.
STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application
You can apply for your West Virginia real estate salesperson license via an online or paper application. The application will include:
- 2 character recommendations from property owners who have known you for 2 years at least and are not related to you
- Signature of the broker you are employed with having an active West Virginia real estate license
- Notarization of all signatures
Once you have submitted your application form along with a fee of $25 to WVREC and received the notification from PSI regarding your eligibility, then you can schedule your real estate exam with PSI either online or via telephone by paying a fee of $96 for every attempt. You can pay the exam fees via credit card (Mastercard, Visa, AMEX or Discover), money order or cashier’s check.
The registration fees are not transferrable or refundable. If you fail the 1st attempt, you can take the exam again by paying a fee of $96. However, if you had 2 unsuccessful attempts or allowed your eligibility to expire, then you must reapply via the West Virginia Real Estate Commission.
However, you need a state and federal criminal background check before your license application is approved. The results of the background check are valid for 90 days. You can schedule an appointment and pay a fee of $45.75 for a background check. The criminal background verification must be received by the WVREC before the exam deadline.
You must complete your fingerprint check, which will start the background check process. If you have any judgment or criminal offense against you, then you need to submit all the documents related to your conviction. A conviction may mean that you’re not eligible for a real estate license in the state.
STEP 3: Pass WV License Exam
Before you take the West Virginia real estate exam, make sure to prepare for the test. You can do this by using the practice guides and tests supplied by your real estate school.
The real estate examination for West Virginia includes 150 questions comprising:
- Total Time: 210 minutes (4 hours)
- National Section: 100 questions
- National Section: 150 minutes (2.5 hours)
- State Section: 50 questions
- State Section: 60 minutes (1 hour)
The topics included in the WV real estate exam for salespersons include:
National Section Topics and Number of Questions
- Real Property: 14
- Real Property Ownership/Interest: 13
- Agency Relationships and Contracts: 28
- Property Management: 8
- Real Estate Calculations: 3
- Finance: 14
- Marketing Regulations (purchase and rental): 10
State-Specific Section Topics and Number of Questions:
- Purpose of License Law and Regulations and Role of the Commission: 2
- Scope of Practice, Closing Statement and Fees: 5
- Activities Requiring License; Exemptions from Licensure: 5
- Duties of Licensees: 8
- Duration of Existing Licenses; Transfers, Renewal of License: 2
- Agency Relationships: 3
- Trust Funds: 5
- Advertising Rules: 3
- Refusal, Suspension or Revocation of a License: 4
- Complaints, Investigation, Hearings, Cost of Proceedings: 4
- Penalties for Violations: 5
- WV Fair Housing: 3
- Continuing Professional Education: 1
To pass the exam, you need a score of
- 70/100 (70%) in the national section
- 38/50 (75%) in the state section
What to Bring to the Exam Venue?
You need to carry two types of identification for the West Virginia real estate examination:
Primary ID (any one):
- Driver’s license with photo
- State ID card with photo
- Military ID card with photo
Secondary ID (any one):
- Credit card with signature
- Student or employee ID card with signature
- Social security card with signature
You will get your results as soon as you complete the examination. If you pass only one of the sections, then you must retake the section you failed; however, you must pass it within the original 90-day eligibility period. If you fail two attempts either partially or completely, you will have to reapply to retake the entire test.
STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License
Once you pass the West Virginia real estate exam, you can submit the license activation form (available on Page 13 of the PSI Candidate Information Handbook) along with a license fee of $75 and the original examination report to the WVREC.
You must submit the activation form and license fee within 5 years of finishing the pre-license education and 3 months of passing both sections of your real estate exam. You need to wait for the repost of your background check. The entire process typically takes around 3 to 5 days and the West Virginia Real Estate Commission will send your salesperson license to your employing broker.
STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage
The next step to start working as a real estate salesperson in West Virginia is to find a brokerage that is prepared to sponsor you and you can work on behalf of. However, choosing the right brokerage to work with can be quite a challenge, especially with so many brokerage companies to choose from in the state.
You must evaluate the various options available and select a brokerage that is the right fit for your career goals. You should do your homework, weigh the pros and cons and plan ahead to ensure that your real estate career is off to a productive start. There are many ways by which you can find a real estate brokerage to join.
3 Ways to Find a Real Estate Brokerage in West Virginia
The simplest way to look for real estate brokerages in West Virginia is by doing a Google search and getting a complete list of real estate brokers in the state, using the tool to find a real estate agent on websites like Realtor.com that will give you a list of active brokerages in your area or checking your local yellow pages.
Make sure to speak to the employees and customers of various brokerages. Understand how they conduct their business, their work culture, dealings, etc. Check out employee and customer testimonials and reviews on sites like Yelp, Glassdoor, Twitter, Facebook, etc.
Local Realtor Association
Another good way to find a real estate brokerage is by checking out the National Association of Realtor’s website. This contains all the information about new agents and also the statistics and information on various real estate brokers across the country.
You could also check out the website of the US Department of Labor, which provides advice on choosing a real estate broker. The West Virginia Association of Realtor’s website and Facebook page are also good resources to find information about real estate brokers in your local area.
If you’re on the lookout for a brokerage to join in West Virginia, another method to do so is networking. Speak to people who live in the local area, family, friends or others who may have bought or sold properties via real estate brokerages in West Virginia.
Check out which brokerages are advertising and which ones have a flourishing business. Check out the websites and social media of the local brokerage companies. Attend events, meetings, webinars, open houses being conducted by various real estate brokerages and speak to the people attending these events.
Types of Real Estate Brokerages in West Virginia
There are different types and sizes of real estate brokerages and you need to compare the pros and cons of each type and decide which type of company will work best for you. You can decide between working in a national franchise brokerage, small boutique brokerage or a virtual or online brokerage.
National Franchise Brokerage
Typically, national brokerages are large real estate companies that allow their franchises to use their brand name, the business model for a commission payment on every deal that the realtor clinches.
These national franchise brokerages are huge brands with established reputations that are highly beneficial for real estate agents trying to get their footing in the market.
These franchises also offer several perks such as offices and staff across the country, training programs, infrastructure, etc. Working with franchise brokerages can be very beneficial for real estate agents looking for an established company with a good reputation, infrastructure, high-quality technology and experienced mentors.
However, large franchises may not be open to new and out-of-the-box ideas or give you the freedom and independence that you may be looking for. These companies are very impersonal, the competition is fierce and it may be quite difficult to reach the higher management levels quickly.
If you don’t like the idea of working in a large brokerage firm, where your creativity is stifled by motives like profit, competition and the cookie-cutter approach, then you could consider a boutique real estate brokerage. These are typically smaller, specializing in the local area.
Since the company is a lot smaller and there are fewer people, there are greater chances that you will be working with the broker directly and getting to learn more. While the leads that may be coming into the brokerage may be fewer; nevertheless, you have better chances at the leads.
Boutique brokerages tend to be more flexible and this could be a huge plus, especially if you are a creative thinker. Decision-making is usually easier and quicker; however, you may not get the brand name, brand recognition and reputation that comes with a big company, especially outside your local area.
Today, with advancements in technology and more and more businesses moving online, virtual brokerages or cloud brokerages are becoming quite a popular and viable option for real estate agents. You don’t need a brick-and-mortar office space to run your brokerage and you can do all your work and dealings from your computer.
And, since there is no need to spend money on expensive office space, real estate agents with virtual brokerages can earn a lot more in terms of commissions. There is money that can be allocated towards marketing and advertising the brokerage and you have access to better technology and tools. The biggest plus is the independence that you can get as a real estate agent and you don’t need to attend physical meetings, training sessions, etc.
However, the drawback of this model is that there is not much scope to get leads from others, attend training programs or build a network. And, working alone with just your computer for company can be rather lonely, especially if you love meeting and interacting with people.
STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements
In West Virginia, the real estate licenses must be renewed every year by the 30th of June. If you want to practice without any interruptions, then you must renew your license on time.
If you renew the license between 1st July and 30th September, then you will incur a late fee and if you renew it after 1st October, then you will need reinstatement. West Virginia requires a licensed real estate agent to complete 7 hours of continuing education courses each year from an approved real estate school by the renewal deadline in order to keep your real estate license active.
There are no specific continuing education courses in West Virginia, as long as the course has been approved by the WVREC and will count towards the renewal of the license.
You can consider an online school to complete your CE courses such as CE Shop, which offers post-licensing education packages for $49 and individual courses ranging between $29 to $35.