How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts
Massachusetts Real Estate License Basic Requirements
- You need to be at least 18 years of age (you can still sit for the exam if you are not 18 yet, but will come of age in the same year)
- You need to have a Social Security Number
- You need to have a high school diploma or an equivalent degree
- You need to complete 40 hours of pre-licensing education
- Get candidate endorsements to submit to Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons for approval
- Clear the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Examination
Massachusetts Real Estate License Costs
- Cost of acquiring Massachusetts Real Estate license: It takes $85 to take the real estate test and the real estate license itself may cost around $150.
- Online resources or exam preparation: Real Estate Prep Guide and The CE Shop.
- State Resources:
- Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons
- Massachusetts Real Estate FAQs
- Testing Sites: Boston, Auburn, Fall River, Lawrence, West Springfield
- Massachusetts Candidate Handbook
- New Applicants
STEP 1: Pre-license Salesperson Education
As with most other states, to become a real estate agent in Massachusetts you need to complete a stipulated number of hours of pre-licensing education. While the requirement varies for different states, in Massachusetts you are required to complete 40 hours of pre-licensing education from a state-approved institute, college or university.
There are several organizations and institutes you can enroll in for this and the course can be pursued virtually. The CE Shop is a good option for this and offers a reasonable package to prepare you for the pre-licensing education and subsequent final exam.
The course will take you through the basics you need to know to be a real estate agent in Massachusetts. Some of the topics that your pre-licensing education may cover include “Interests and Estates”, “Title and Title Transfer”, “Forms of Ownership”, etc. Once you have completed 40 hours of your pre-licensing education, you will be expected to clear a final exam.
Clearing the final exam will deem you eligible to apply for a real estate agent license in Massachusetts. The exam will have 100 questions and 75% is the minimum percentage you will require to clear the exam. The exam will be taken in the presence of a proctor. If you are taking the exam online, an online proctor will be organized by the institute.
Once you have cleared the exam, you need to collect your transcripts and a certificate that declares that you have the required percentage to be eligible for the state exam. An electronic certificate is usually provided by most online programs.
STEP 2: Get Three Endorsements
Before you can take the state test, the Massachusetts state requires you to obtain three candidate endorsements. These three people must not be related to you in any way so there is no familial bias in the endorsements. These individuals do not necessarily have to be residents of Massachusetts. While other states have a more elaborate background check, the state of Massachusetts will pre-approve you based on these endorsements. These are references the state will follow up with to judge if you are of Good Moral Character (GMC).
Though you can still be a real estate agent in Massachusetts with a criminal record, the state uses its discretion to screen out applicants it deems unfit. Some of the crimes and convictions that warrant the disqualification of applications have been mentioned in this document. While GMC is largely a subjective thing and it is difficult to put a finger on what is deemed morally sound enough, you can get a general idea of the kind of application the state is looking for in this document.
STEP 3: Pass the State License Test
The next step is to take the Massachusetts Salesperson Licensing Exam. The examination is administered by PSI. This is an online test that will have 120 questions which you will need to complete within 240 minutes. Of the total time limit, 150 minutes are allotted to answer 80 general questions while 90 minutes are allotted to answer 40 state-specific questions.
You will need at least 70% to pass the exam. You will be given the score of your exam immediately after completion. If you have not cleared the exam, you will see a diagnostic report reflected on the screen which will notify you about your strengths and weaknesses. If you clear one portion of the exam but fail the other, you only need to retake the portion you have not yet cleared. You have two years from the date your Education Certificate form has been issued to clear the exam. Once the form expires, the partial pass will also be deemed void and you will need to appear for the entire exam again.
You will be given an unofficial score report at the site of the exam. You can ask for a duplicate score report later by sending an email to email@example.com or calling 800-733-9267.
Topics to Cover
- Property ownership
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuation and market analysis
- General principles of agency
- Property disclosures
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Practice of real estate
- Real estate calculations
- Licensing requirements
- Requirement governing licensees
- Consumer protection laws
- Environmental issues and hazardous materials
- Massachusetts fair housing law
- Landlord-tenant law
- Additional topics
What to Bring to the Venue
The following are things that you are required to bring to the examination venue when you arrive for the exam.
- One primary identification that is government issued. The identification should have your photograph and signature (passport, driver’s license, etc.)
- Another identification that has your signature and preprinted legal name (signed credit or debit card, social security card, etc.)
Note: Student ID and employment ID are not acceptable identifications for this examination.
STEP 4: Finding a Sponsor
Once you have cleared the exam, it is important to find a managing broker who will sponsor your license. To have a successful career in real estate, you need to be sponsored by a Massachusetts real estate broker. This is one of the most important factors that will contribute to the building of your career. Therefore, you must make an informed decision when choosing a sponsor.
The commission split is one of the most important things that one considers while choosing a brokerage to work with. However, it is certainly not the only factor that one needs to account for. Having said that, you must find a brokerage where the commission split justifies the kind of work that you will be expected to do for the firm.
The percentage of the commission split differs from company to company, but try not to settle for a percentage that is less than the market standard. Be open to negotiations even if it means going back and forth with the brokerage until you arrive at a mutually agreed-upon percentage.
The company reputation is also an important factor to consider because you do want to work for a brand that will get you more business just by virtue of its name. If the company has a good reputation, it will automatically have more customers. Being associated with a company of good repute will also increase your credibility and bodes well for your future in the industry.
You should also choose a company based on the support it offers. It is up to you to decide the kind of support you would like in order to thrive in the field. There are some people who like to be trained and guided closely through their responsibilities, while others prefer to have some autonomy and navigate the learning curve on their own. The good thing is that you can find real estate brokerages that offer both kinds of support.
STEP 5: Post-learning Requirements
Finally, you can register with the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons as a licensed real estate agent. However, even after you have acquired your license, your commitments are not over. You will be expected to be up to speed with your continuing education requirements. To retain an “active” license and practice as an agent in the state of Massachusetts, you need to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years, in some cases even annually.
Continuing education comprises a curriculum that covers a variety of areas. You can take a look at the board-approved real estate schools here. There are certain rules and regulations the state follows when it comes to continuing education so it is best to stick to the rule book and enroll at one of the schools approved by the state.
It is important to keep tabs on your continuing education requirements as your license will be renewed as “inactive” otherwise, and you cannot practice as an agent with an “inactive” license.
If you’re looking for a continuing education course, The CE Shop offers a comprehensive 12-hour course for $99. If you’re looking to study only certain sections of the course, they offer individual sections for as little as $10!
We hope that you’re all set to begin your journey as a real estate agent in Massachusetts and that you find heaps of success in the future!