How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Alabama

Alabama Real Estate License Requisites

To be able to become a real estate agent in Alabama, you’ll need to meet the following prerequisites:

  • You need to be a citizen of the United States of America, permanent resident alien or legally present in the country.
  • You must be 19 years of age at least.
  • You need to be a high school graduate (or equivalent) and hold proof to show the same.
  • You must hold and be able to show proof of bona fide residency in any of the states in the country.
  • You must not have a previously rejected real estate application or revoked license in the past 2 years, in any state.
  • You must not be/have been a convicted felon or hold any record of moral turpitude conduct.

Wyoming Real Estate License Costs

  • AL Real Estate license Education: $190 to $700 (approx.)
  • $73 to take the Alabama Salesperson Exam
  • $235 to apply for your State License
  • $200 for your post-licensing course

Helpful Tips


STEP 1: AL Pre-Licensing Education

The very first step on your journey to becoming a Licensed real estate agent is to complete a 60-hour approved pre-licensing course (approved by the Government of Alabama). You can either sign up for an online course (generally more convenient, flexible and less expensive) or at a local center offering the course (more detailed instruction, better student-teacher interaction and no space for procrastination!).

Many centers, both online and physical, offer these mandatory courses, based on the state’s requirements; this is a great way to reconfirm the state’s requirements for becoming a real estate agent.


STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application

Where to Apply?

Before you take your pre-licensing course exam, you have the option of registering for your Alabama State License with the Alabama Real Estate Commission, so that you can be scheduled in for the state license exam and subsequent issuing of your license. Though it may seem like counting your chickens before they hatch, this registration speeds up the entire process, enabling faster information exchange among the parties involved (you, the state of Alabama, your instructor and the exam provider).

You can also apply for the license after you pass your exam, but remember that you have only 90 days from the passing of your exam to do so, or your score becomes null and void. The examination centers distribute application forms along with the examination scores to those who pass, and reapplication instructions to those who fail.

Once you complete your 60 hours of pre-licensing education, you’ll have to schedule your salesperson licensing exam and pass. You can schedule the exam either online, by phone or by mailing the registration form to PSI, which conducts the exam.

The exam fee is $73 (non-refundable), payable by credit card, money order or cashier’s check payable to PSI/AMP. You’ll be taking your exam at one of the locations mentioned earlier (PSI/AMP Assessment Centers); assessment centers in other states may also be made available on request. Exams can be taken by appointment only; walk-in testing is not allowed. Exams are conducted from Monday to Friday.

The exam is divided into the state and national portions:

Other Requirements for State Licensing

Keep in mind the following for applying for your state license:

  • Applicants are required to complete a Criminal History Release Form, also available on the Commission’s website, and submit it with the application.
  • Fingerprinting should also be done and submitted with the application.
  • For your license to become permanent, you’ll need to complete a 30-hour post-license training course within a year of obtaining your license.
  • Carefully go through all the procedures for submitting your application on the Commission’s website.

You may have to pay a total of $235 (accepted electronically, as of now) for the application process, broken up as follows:

  • $150 for the License Fee
  • $30 for the Research and Education Fee (not required if your license is being obtained after October 1995)
  • $30 for the Recovery Fund Fee (not required if you’ve paid the fee while obtaining your Alabama Salesperson’s license or if you’re rendering your license ‘inactive’)
  • $25 for the Criminal Records Search Fee
  •  


STEP 3: Pass the State License Exam

After you successfully complete the pre-licensing course (including fulfilling the required 60 hours and passing the practice exam) is when you’ll be allowed to take the final exam.

The exam needs to be taken in the presence of a proctor and you’ll have to schedule an appointment in advance. To pass the exam, you need to score a minimum of 70%. The exam will take 3 1/2 hours for the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam. 

As a licensee, you’ll have a maximum of 6 months from the time you pass the final exam to pass the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam. Failing to do so means that you’ll have to retake the course and pay all the necessary fees again.

Topics Covered in the Test

Topics covered in the state portion include:

  • Purpose of License Law/Rules and Regulations and Role of Commission
  • Licensing Requirements
  • License Status
  • Broker Licenses, Company Licenses and Place of Business
  • Recovery Fund
  • Disciplinary Actions and Process
  • Estimated Closing Statement
  • Trust Funds
  • RECAD
  • Violations that may result in disciplinary action

The national portion covers:

  • Property Ownership
  • Land Use Controls and Regulations
  • Valuation and Market Analysis
  • Financing
  • General Principles of Agency
  • Property Disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and Property Management
  • Transfer of Title
  • The practice of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Calculations

Many sites and institutions also offer Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam prep courses, such as The CE Shop. There are also many sites that offer question banks and practice exams to those appearing for the exams.

Exam results will be available with your testing supervisor.

What to Carry to the Exam Venue?

Candidates cannot carry any belongings at all into the exam except for a basic calculator and 2 identification cards (driver’s license, passport, or state ID); pencils and scratch papers will be provided during check in.


STEP 4: Selecting a Sponsoring Broker

After passing the licensing exam and applying/receiving your license (when you will receive it varies from person to person), it is necessary to become associated with a currently active sponsoring broker in the state. This sponsoring broker guides freshly licensed real estate agents in their career, often acting as educators and mentors while providing a glimpse into the everyday functioning of a real estate agent’s life and the firm, too.

When looking for a firm to join, consider asking the following questions:

  • What the firm you’re interested in is looking for
  • Whether the firm employs the latest technology and if their systems are up to date
  • What education and training they offer to their agents
  • What benefits they offer
  • What kind of commission structure is followed—is it capped or uncapped?
  • Are agents provided with marketing material and leads?
  • What kind of career and personal growth you can expect working with the firm
  • What the reputation of the firm is
  • Whether the firm is independent or a franchise

Where to Look for a Sponsoring Broker

You can find sponsoring brokers either through the institution you study at for your course, the local realtors’ association, online or through good old networking! Institutions you study at can recommend top brokerages in your area, whereas your local Board of Realtors or the Chamber of Commerce will also help you find top-performing brokerages.

Most conveniently, you can look online to find a firm—sites like Yelp and Glassdoor are great places to look. Networking lends a more personal touch to the job—connect with professionals on sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook, or attend conferences, seminars and webinars, especially those organized by the Alabama Association of Realtors. Apart from this, go through advertisements in the classified sections, note down numbers on ‘For Sale’ signs and keep an eye on television, radio and billboard advertisements.

Types of Brokerages in Alabama

Independent/Franchise

Independent brokerages don’t have any franchises and maintain an individual identity. Franchises, on the other hand, are independently-owned companies that tie up with franchisors who use the name, business models and brand of the parent company in return for a share in every deal closed by the franchisor.

Independent brokerages, though they manage to maintain their individuality and run operations without any interference, are generally restricted to one area as they generally have only one office. Franchises, though the ownership is slightly diluted, have a wider reach and presence in more areas.

Boutique Brokerage Firms

Such firms are generally owned and managed by an individual broker, offering a more personal, customized form of service and are generally backed by years of experience and understanding of the market. Such firms are more flexible in operations and establish many personal contacts with customers. However, like independent brokerages, their reach is restricted to one area and generally have a lack of new customers; the customers they do have are generally those who return due to personal connect/word-of-mouth/previous experience.

Online Brokerage

As with everything, brokerage has also gone online, and how! The costs of a tangible workspace are highly minimized, with more convenience and flexibility factored in. Due to the amount of savings the company makes on its operations, customers are also charged less and can save quite significantly. However, there’s no personal connection in this model—you may as well be talking to a robot on the other end! Additionally, not all folks may be comfortable with online interactions. There are also all the negatives of the internet itself to be factored in, such as scams, fraudulent sites, and other cyber threats.


STEP 5: Post-learning Requirements

If you still haven’t applied for your license, ensure you apply at the earliest and submit the required processes. If your application is accepted, you’ll be issued a temporary license number to use till your actual license comes through.

Additionally, complete your post-licensing requirementsa 30-hour course for your permanent license to be completed within 12 months of passing the exam. Remember, you have to register with the Alabama Real Estate Commission before you start your post-licensing course. Your temporary ID number, received if your state license application has been accepted, will have to be provided before starting your post-licensing course.

The post-licensing course is a self-paced course that’s comprehensive; where the pre-license course covered the concepts and basic tenets of real estate, the post-license course takes a more practical, hands-on approach, teaching folks how to practice real estate. After completing this course, you’ll have to pass another exam (last one!) with at least 70% and you’re on your way to being a real estate agent!

The CE Shop also offers a 30-hour post-license course. To enroll for this course, you need your temporary ID number, which you get on pre-registering with the Commission, prior to starting the post-license course. The course offers/covers everything you require to pass the exam and is priced at $169.

The Words

And that’s it! We’ve covered everything that you could require to become a real estate agent in Alabama, right from the prerequisites to the process to post-licensing requirements. Though it seems like a long process, it’s only because we’ve tried to be as detailed as possible—either way, the effort is completely worth it in the end, if real estate is your passion.

The field is a lucrative one that’s constantly growing; however, ensure that you have taken into account cons too before you commit to a career in the field—the lack of fixed hours could turn out to be a double-edged sword where you end up working more hours than required and though you’ll earn a lot, there’s no guarantee of earnings during slow periods.

Additionally, selling and buying can be stressful. However, as mentioned, if you love the profession, it’ll all seem worth it—so take the first step to embark on your career with our guidelines!

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RE Agents Team