How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Florida
Florida Reals Estate License Requirements
To be eligible for a real estate sales associate license, the state of Florida requires you to:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Hold a high school diploma or something equivalent
- Receive approval of your state application
- Have completed and passed a state-approved 63-hour course except those who have a 4-year degree or higher in real estate and are exempt from the pre-license education requirement
- Have passed a state examination
- You do not have to be a Florida resident
Florida Real Estate License Costs
- Real Estate Agent Education in Florida: $300
to $700 (approx.)
- Exam Fee: $83.75
- Fingerprint Fee: 57.25
- You can join an online real estate school such as Real Estate Express to prepare for real estate agent education.
- Online resources or exam preparation: The CE Shop or Kaplan Real Estate Education.
- State Resources:
- You can take the real estate exams at PearsonVUE
STEP 1: Florida Pre-licensing Education
If you hold a high school diploma or something equivalent, you will need to write a state exam. You should have completed a 63-hour pre-license education for sales associates from one of the approved institutes.
The course is valid for two years from the date of completing the course, that is, you can appear for the exam anytime within two years of completing the course. After that, you will have to provide a valid completion certificate before being allowed to write the exam. At the time of submitting the application, it is not necessary that you should have completed the pre-license education.
You are not required to complete this course if you have a four-year degree or higher in real estate. You will have to submit the original certified transcript with your application for review to get the exemption.
You can do the course in live classroom sessions or online, depending on your convenience. An institute like The CE Shop offers three packages–$129, $179 and $279, depending on the type of course you choose.
STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application
Where to Apply
You can apply online or you can print the form. For this, you need to create a user ID and password. You can also send a physical form by printing it from the site, filling it up, attaching all necessary documents and proofs such as:
- The fee of $83.75, with the check payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation
- Electronic fingerprints
- Supporting legal documentation, if necessary
At the time of application, you need not have completed the pre-licensure course. However, you must present the course certificate at the exam venue to the exam vendor.
If you wish to claim the pre-licensure course exemption because you hold a four-year real estate degree, you must submit the official certified transcripts.
If you are applying for Mutual Recognition, then you must submit a certification of license history from the state you are claiming mutual recognition from
Military veterans, their spouses and Florida National Guard members can claim a fee waiver, fee reimbursement and/or fee discount. For more details, check here.
You must pay $83.75 as the examination fee at the time of submitting the form by enclosing a check payable to the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation. If you are applying online, you can make an online transfer of $36.75 to Pearson VUE and $57.25 as the fingerprinting fee.
The state exam is a multiple-choice test of 100 questions that you pass if you score 75%. If you fail the exam, you are allowed to take as many times as necessary. You have to pay $36.75 each time after you make a new appointment.
Proof of Pre-licensing Requirements
You have to submit your pre-licensure course certificate at the time of appearing for the exam. If you are claiming an exemption, you must present your four-year real estate degree official certified transcripts at the time of applying.
For those applying for Mutual Recognition, you must submit a certification of license history from the state where you are claiming mutual recognition from.
Attorneys with a good reputation at the Florida Bar are also exempt from the 63-hour
sales associate pre-licensure course. They should include their Florida Bar license number at the time of applying.
Legal Document Requirements
You are required to submit your fingerprints as per Florida Statutes for a background check. You can scan and send it electronically to the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE) and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
You are also required to submit documentation of any criminal investigations initiated against for any kind of offense anywhere in the world and prove that all sanctions have been served and satisfied. If you are unable to supply this documentation, then you must get a certified statement from the clerk of court for the relevant jurisdiction stating the status of the records.
If you are still on probation, you will have to get an official letter from your probation officer on the letterhead providing information on the status of your probation. If your license, registration or permit to practice any regulated profession or business has been revoked, annulled or suspended, you must enclose copies of the order(s) stating the disciplinary action that was taken or the status of the pending action.
Till such time any criminal investigation is underway anywhere in the United States or abroad, the department will not issue a license.
STEP 3: Pass the State License Test
The state conducts an exam with 100 multiple-choice questions. You must pass with a score of 75%.
You can take the state exam only if the state approves your application for licensure. You must have completed 63 hours of sales associate pre-licensing course at the time of appearing for the exam. You have to show your completion slip to be permitted to write the test.
In Florida, you do not need to have completed the course at the time of application. Your course completion is valid for two years after which you have to get a valid completion certificate again to be permitted in the exam.
Topics Covered in the Course
- The Real Estate Business
- License Law and Qualifications for Licensure
- License Law and Commission Rules
- Authorized Relationships, Duties, and Disclosure
- Real Estate Brokerage Activities and Procedures
- Violations of License Law, Penalties, and Procedures
- Federal and State Laws Pertaining to Real Estate
- Property Rights: Estates and Tenancies, Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Time Sharing
- Title, Deeds, and Ownership Restrictions
- Legal Descriptions
- Real Estate Contracts
- Residential Mortgages
- Types of Mortgages and Sources of Financing
- Computations and Closing of Transactions
- The Real Estate Market and Analysis
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Real Estate Investments and Business Opportunity Brokerage
- Taxes Affecting Real Estate
- Planning, Zoning, and Environmental Hazard
In addition to covering the syllabus, you will also be provided with supplementary course material and practice exams. This will improve your chances of passing the exam in one attempt.
Time Given to Take the Test
You will be given three hours to complete this test with 100 multiple-choice questions. You have to score 75% to pass. If you do not pass the test, you can make an additional exam attempt and take a retest after 30 days of the original exam. You must take this retest before the end of a year of taking the original exam. If you miss this deadline, you will have to complete the course again to take an exam.
What to Bring to the Exam
To be allowed to write the exam, you must show to the exam vendor:
- Your course completion certificate
- The examination admissions authorization letter
- Proof of identification
STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License
Once you apply, it will take 4-6 weeks for your application to be processed and approved by the state.
Your test result will be sent to the testing vendor who will download your grade information to DBPR’s system, which will automatically issue a license number. This process can take up to 48 hours.
The license will not be sent to you by mail. Once the license number has been issued, you must access your account online and take a print out of your license.
STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage
Once you have your license you will feel empowered and ready to take the real estate market head on. However, like in every other field, training under a master will add value to your classroom training for obtaining the license. Finding employment with an established broker is a good first step.
You need to first determine which neighborhood you want to work in and search for the potential for business there. The best is to look for properties as if you are an out-of-town buyer and speak to local real estate brokerages, get their views on different brokerage firms and to identify a reputed one that you will be comfortable to work with.
Which broker you choose will depend on factors such as:
- What stage you are at in your real estate career
- What is the kind of support you need
- The kind of training and mentoring you will get there
Good negotiation skills will help you strike a good balance between training and earning. This is important because as a fresher just out with your license hot from the printer, you will have to compete with the established players in the market. You need the initial few years to make the necessary contacts and references to be able to build a steady income from being an agent.
By working with a brokerage, you will be able to establish yourself even as you develop a network and a loyal clientele. But don’t be in a hurry to work for the first firm that recruits you.
Some of the points you will need to keep in mind are:
- How is the commission split
- How are leads generate
- Whether they have part-time or full-time expectations
The Commission Split
Real estate agents survive on commissions. You don’t earn anything if you don’t sell anything. Find out how the company splits the commission, which will depend on a number of factors such as the market, the support and resources they provide. Learn how it works and preferably go for one where you get a larger percentage for the work you do. For instance, if it is 60/40, 60% should come to you and not to the brokerage for it to be worth your while.
Salary and Benefits
Though rare, some brokerages do hire real estate agents for a salary and benefits. This assures you of a regular income but may limit your opportunity to establish yourself as a broker or independent agent later. So consider the pros and cons calmly before jumping to accept.
This may be a good way to start, where you are paid partly in salary and also given a share in commissions. This gives you a steady income and an opportunity to earn more based on your success rate.
Evaluate the Brokerage Culture
The culture of any organization you work for is important as it will have an impact on your work ethics and approach as well. You could seek out small, mom-and-pop outfits that have an intimate culture or prefer a larger, more professional firm where you will face cut-throat competition. The former will give you a more personalized approach though you may not be as professional as when you are working for a larger firm where the business you bring will matter more at the end of the day than people.
A Franchise or Independent Brokerage
You have to choose between working for a franchise of a national player or a local player depending on how much freedom and formality you can handle. Franchises tend to be a little more controlling of their agents than independent firms though they also have more resources under their command to provide you with support and training. But if you prefer your independence to being lost in a larger firm, then an independent brokerage may be the one for you.
STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements
Within 18-24 months of obtaining the initial license, you must complete a 45-hour course as part of Florida State’s requirement for continuing education and license renewal. This can cost you anywhere between $45 and $99 from an institute like The CE Shop.