How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Maine
Maine Real Estate License Basic Requirements
The basic requirements to get a real estate license in Maine are relatively fewer than other states; Maine requires 180 hours of pre-licensing education whereas Maine only requires 55. In Maine, you’ll need to meet the following few requirements to be eligible to become a real estate agent:
- The applicant must be 18 years of age or older at the time of applying for the license.
- The applicant must be a US citizen or an admitted alien.
- The applicant should hold a high school diploma or an equivalent degree, such as GED, to be eligible.
- Applicants need to complete 55 hours of pre-approved real estate education successfully.
- Applicants should pass the qualifying exam for real estate licensure.
- The applicant should not have a damaging criminal record. A background check is carried out on each applicant (the applicant pays the fee for the same), along with a fingerprints check, on submitting the application form and required fees to the State of Maine Real Estate Commission.
Maine Real Estate License Costs
- Cost of Real Estate Agent Education in Maine: Anywhere between $70 to $450, approximately.
- Institutes such as The Real Estate Learning Group, Real Estate Express, Center for Real Estate Studies, Maine Association of Realtors and the Arthur Gary School of Real Estate provide the required real estate agent courses, either taught online (distance education) or in person at their centers in various cities. Online real estate schools are generally a more convenient, flexible option for your real estate education.
- State Resources:
- Exam Locations: Westland and Bangor
- PearsonVUE administers the exam
STEP 1: Sign Up and Complete Prep Education
One of the best parts of becoming a real estate agent in Maine is the relatively few requirements of applicants; this is great because the field is open to a larger number of aspirants, especially those who are fresh high-school graduates or have finished their GED, giving them more time to grow and learn in the field.
Due to the few requirements, students can also do real estate on the side after obtaining their license and use the income to put themselves through a traditional college program. However, meeting the basic requirements is the easy part; the first relatively tough part is to sign up for and complete the required 55 hours of pre-approved licensing education.
Applicants are required to complete a 55-hour credit course as part of the licensing requirement and pass it with 75% or higher. This course can be either taken online or in-person at any of the institutes offering pre-approved real estate courses. Needless to say, online courses are the more popular option for the flexibility they offer, letting students fit the course into their schedules as they wish, and are more convenient too since they can be taken from your home.
All of this makes them a favorite among those trying to maintain a work-study-family-life balance and those already working full-time yet wishing to switch to real estate. Most times, online courses also work out to be less expensive than in-person classes
Remember, whichever institute you opt to complete your course from, it must be approved and accredited as per the rule, regulations and requirements of the Maine Real Estate Commission.
On passing the course, applicants are eligible for taking the final exam that will get them their real estate licenses.
Active members of the Maine Bar who hold a good reputation and are qualified in real estate license law may be exempted for taking the pre-licensing course.
STEP 2: Signing Up and Passing The Exam
The sales agent exam should be taken in person by all applicants (regardless of whether their pre-licensing education was done online or in-person) on the completion of the pre-licensing course. Exams are administered by Pearson VUE and can be taken in their testing centers across the state.
Exams are in digital form, taken on the computers in the testing center. To pass the exam, you’ll need to obtain a percentage of 75 or higher; though taking the test virtually has its perks, you’ll know immediately after the exam if you’ve passed or will need to reattempt it.
The sales agent/real estate salesperson exam consists of 125 multiple-choice questions divided into two parts—the state and national portions. The easier of the two, the state portion (a 1.5-hour long exam), consists of 45 questions, whereas the longer national portion (a 3.5-hour exam) features 80 questions. Students will need to pass the national portion by answering at least 60 correctly-answered questions to be able to attempt the state portion. Passing the state portion requires candidates to correctly answer at least 34 questions.
Results are distributed at the exam centers; candidates who pass receive the results whereas those who don’t are handing instructions for retaking the exam.
Topics Covered in the National Portion
- Real Property Characteristics, Legal Descriptions and Property Use
- Forms of Ownership, Transfer and Recording of Title
- Property Value and Appraisal
- Real Estate Contracts and Agency
- Real Estate Practice
- Property Disclosures and Environmental Issues
- Financing and Settlements
- Real Estate Math Calculations
Topics Covered in the State Portion
- Maine Real Estate Commission
- Maine Laws and Rules Governing Activities of Licensees
- Law of Agency/Brokerage
- Maine-Specific Principles and Practices
- Maine Land-Use Law
Those wishing to take the exam must pay a registration fee of $85 to take the exam to Pearson VUE at the time of reserving the exam spot; candidates can pay via electronic check, debit or credit card and vouchers only. This fee will not be accepted at the test center and is both non-refundable and non-transferable.
What to Carry to the Venue
Those taking the exam must compulsorily carry 2 identification cards (one among these a government-issued photo ID), both with valid signatures, as well as their original sales agent Course Completion Certificate to the exam venue. You may also carry a basic calculator if required.
Here are a few other highly important things to keep in mind for the exam:
- The exam must be scheduled in advance with Pearson VUE either through their website or via phone, at least 24 hours before the desired exam date. Walk-ins are strictly not allowed.
- The exam needs to be taken and passed within one year of completing the pre-licensing course; failure to do so will mean that the pre-licensing course also has to be retaken, and only then will students be able to reapply for the exam.
- Candidates who fail the exam (whether it’s both the state and national portions or just one of these) need to retake the entire exam. The exam can be retaken as many times as possible before the Course Completion Certificate expires.
STEP 3: Apply For State Licensing
You can apply for state licensing before or after you take the exam, but since you’ll be paying $100+ as non-refundable fees, it may be a wiser idea to apply after you pass the exam.
Where to Apply
All real estate license applications come under the purview of the Maine Real Estate Commission. Applications are available on the official site and are valid for a non-renewable 2-year term. You’ll need to present your completed license application (available on the MREC site; you can also send an email application) and a fee of $121, split as $100 for application/license fee and $21 for the criminal records check fee. You can pay via checks addressed to the Maine State Treasurer.
Bear in mind that you need to apply for your license within a year of passing the sales agent examination. Additionally, fill in the application accurately and include your Course Completion Certification and your examination results.
Bear in mind that a criminal background does not mean an automatic disqualification of the candidate. If candidates have a criminal background, this should be disclosed to the MREC, since it will anyway come to light in the background checks that they conduct. Any untruthfulness may lead to a possible rejection of your application.
The state committee reviews all applications and deems whether the candidate is suitable or not. Factors such as the nature of the conviction as well as the amount of time that has elapsed since the conviction are taken into account before a candidate is issued a pass certificate. Ultimately, reviewers are also looking for how honest and trustworthy candidates are and whether this will reflect in their careers as real estate agents.
Candidates will also have to submit their fingerprints with their application. Reviewing of both the criminal record and fingerprints is done by the Division of Criminal Justice Information Systems and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. All cases are considered based on individual merit and as mentioned earlier, a fee of $21 has to be paid towards the same.
STEP 4: Finding a Brokerage
After applying for your license, working with a licensed real estate agency is not only a necessity but also great for your learning curve. Working in an actual real estate environment will let you learn the ropes of the job and be a more efficient real estate agent in the future. You’ll receive mentoring, though you may be expected to share some part of any commission that you receive for the same, with the firm.
Where to Look
Finding the right firm to work with is paramount. You can try looking in the following places to find a brokerage to work with:
- Advertisements: Look at advertisements in your local newspaper and classified sections. You can also get great leads from online advertisements. Keep an eye on television, billboard and radio advertising too, as well as the ‘For Sale’ sign outside properties.
- Online Job Sites: Going online has made life easier for everyone, real estate firms included! Look at sites such as Glassdoor and LinkedIn, and even sites such as Facebook (Facebook Marketplace). You’ll find many job advertisements here and looking for firms is also easy, thanks to the many filters that give you accurate results. If all else fails, you can also just Google ‘real estate brokerages in Maine’ and get a ton of results!
- Realtors’ Associations: Your local realtors’ association, or even big names like the Maine Association of Realtors, may be able to help you in your search. Attend webinars and conferences organized by such bodies. The local chamber of commerce is also a great bet.
- Networking and Word of Mouth: Since you’ll be interacting with many people belonging to the field in your journey to becoming a real estate agent, you can get leads from them, too, on where to look for a brokerage. You may end up being recommended by your professor from real estate school, or have a classmate who can put you in touch with a brokerage. Again, attending events organized by realtors associations will also help out here, as will social media.
Factors to Consider Before Joining a Firm
When choosing a brokerage to work with, asking the following questions can help narrow down options:
- What the commission split is and what type it is—traditional, hybrid or high split
- What expenses you’ll incur
- What kind of leads you can expect
- What kind of learning you can expect at the firm
- What technology is employed
- Online presence
- What the benefits, both monetary and otherwise, offered are
- The firm’s reputation and market share/position
- What structure the firm follows—is it a franchise, boutique or virtual brokerage?
STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements
Maine doesn’t have any post-licensing requirements. However, do note that all real estate sales agent licenses are valid for 2 years only and cannot be renewed. Therefore, there are no continuing education requirements. Instead, license holders can apply to be an associate broker. In case candidates are unable to apply for the associate broker license, they can apply for an extension of their license expiry date.
If you’re on the lookout for continuous education packages for your licensing, you can head over to The CE Shop—they offer the complete course (a 21-hour course) for $199 or individual sections for as little as $25.
Now that you have the required knowledge, all the best in becoming a successful Maine real estate agent!