How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in North Carolina

North Carolina Real Estate License Basic Requirements

To be a real estate agent in North Carolina, you need to meet the following requirements:

  • You must be 18 years or older.
  • You must be a citizen of the U.S., a qualified alien under federal law or a non-citizen national.
  • You do not have to be a resident of North Carolina.

NC Real Estate License Costs

  • Real Estate Agent Education in North Carolina: $500 to $700 (approx.)
  • Application Fee: $100
  • Exam Fee: $64
  • Background Check Fee: $30

Helpful Tips

STEP 1: Pre-license Education

You need to complete 75 hours of pre-licensing courses for a school approved by the real Estate Commission of North Carolina. In North Carolina, the pre-licensing, as well as the post-licensing education is via live classes in a traditional classroom setting only.

To become a real estate agent in North Carolina, you must satisfy any of the 4 educational requirements:

Option 1: Complete the 75 hours of the North Carolina per-licensing course.

Option 2: Complete an equivalent pre-licensing course in any other state.

Option 3: If you have any previous real estate education other than the pre-licensing courses, then apply for a waiver.

Option 4: If you have a current license qualifying you as a real estate salesperson in any other state.

STEP 2: Submit a Completed Application

Once you complete the North Carolina real estate pre-licensing course, you must take the State Licensing Exam and pass it by getting a score of a minimum of 75%.

Where to Apply

To take your real estate license exam, you must apply to the Real Estate Commission of North Carolina. Once you apply, the Commission will send you a notice of your exam eligibility. When you receive the notice, you can schedule the real estate exam with PSI. The North Carolina Licensure exam is a computerized exam, which is administered by PSI. You have 3 years to pass the licensing exam from the date of your application. For more information, you can refer to the Real Estate Licensing in North Carolina brochure.

Exam Fees

At the time of registration for the licensure exam, you need to pay an application fee of $100 and an exam fee of $64. The payment can be made by credit card or check. The application fee is non-refundable.

STEP 3: Pass the State License Test

You must pass the North Carolina Real Estate Licensure Exam. This is a computer-based exam with a multiple-choice format of questions. The exam comprises 2 sections – National and State, which comprises a total of 120 questions. The National portion of the exam is for 120 minutes and has 80 questions and the required passing score is 57. The State portion of the exam is for 90 minutes and has 40 questions of which you need to get 29 correct to pass.

Topics Covered in the Test

The exam content outline and the breakup of the number of questions in the National portion of the exam include:

  • Agency Relationships and Contracts: 28
  • Real Property Ownership or Interest: 13
  • Real Property: 14
  • Finance: 14
  • Property Management: 8
  • Marketing Regulations (Purchasing and Rental): 10
  • Real estate Calculations: 13

The exam content outline and the breakup of the number of questions in the State portion of the exam include:

  • North Carolina Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules: 24
  • General Real Estate Topics: 5
  • Other North Carolina Laws and Practices: 11

What to Bring to the Exam Venue?

For the real estate license exam, you need to carry with you 2 forms of valid ID bearing your signature.

The primary identification can be one of the following:

  • Driver’s license issued by the government
  • Country/National/State ID card
  • U.S. passport
  • U.S. learner’s permit
  • Government-issued military ID card
  • Alien Registration Card issued by the U.S. government (e.g. Permanent Resident Visa or Green Card)

Secondary Identification should consist of one of the following:

  • Debit or credit card (signed)
  • Social Security card
  • Any ID from the primary list

Retaking the Exam

If you fail both the national and state portions of the licensing exam, you must take the entire exam until you pass both sections. Each time that you write either one or both sections of the exam, you will have to pay $100 application and $64 exam fee.

If you fail any one of the sections, then you must retake the exam for the failed section before 180 days. If you pass only in 1 section before the 180-day exam eligibility period, then you will have to reapply and take the entire exam and pass both sections in order to get a North Carolina real estate broker license.

You will receive your test results at the exam center as soon as you complete your exam. Once you pass the exam successfully, you will get a provisional real estate broker license.


If you have an active real estate license in the last 3 years, then the North Carolina Real Estate Commission may waive the requirement of the 75 hours of pre-licensing courses and also the national section of the exam. However, you must pass the state section of the exam.

STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License

If you want to get a real estate license in North Carolina, you must submit an application for the same. You can either apply via the online application system or if you can’t access an online system, then you can file a paper application.

To apply for the license, you need to submit the following documents along with the application:

  • Pre-licensing courses completion certificates or official transcripts
  • Criminal record report
  • Applicable fee
  • Other documents

Background Check

To apply for a real estate license, you need to get a Criminal Record Check. You can select the “Apply for background check” by logging into the online application and place an order for the criminal record report required along with the prescribed fee. When the criminal record report is completed, the reporting agency will attach the background report to your online broker application and also email a copy of the same to you.

When you select the “Application” it will take you to the section where you’ll find the comprehensive application. You can make your credit card payment and finalize the application only when you have:

  • Completed the 75-hour pre-licensing course
  • The school has reported the successful completion of the course electronically
  • You have got your criminal record report
  • Once you make the payment, your application will go in for review

STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage

As a new real estate broker, finding a brokerage that aligns with your career goals is extremely important. Finding the best brokerage to work in can be a challenge, especially if you’re a rookie. Before you make the final decision to join a real estate brokerage, it’s a good idea to check out a few firms in your area and ask your prospective employer a few questions before deciding. For example:

  • What is the commission split?
  • What training does the broker provide?
  • Will they provide the skills required for you to find prospects and close sales?
  • Can the brokerage offer admin and marketing support?
  • Do they have a shared office space that you can use?
  • Does the firm have a mentoring program?
  • Do they have regular staff and sales meetings?
  • Will they provide leads for you to work on?
  • What is the technology they use to streamline the workflow?
  • What are the services offered by the brokerage?
  • Do you need to enter into a contract to work with the brokerage?
  • Is there a policy handbook?

All these aspects are extremely important, especially when you’re starting your career as a real estate agent.


How to Find a Real Estate Brokerage in North Carolina?

Online Search

You can find the list of real estate brokerages operating in the North Carolina area by doing an internet search or by using the “find a real estate agent” option on to find the real estate brokerages that are active in your area. However, before you finally make a decision about which real estate broker you want to work with, it is a good idea to check out the employee reviews and testimonies on sites such as Yelp, Glassdoor, etc.

Real Estate Ads

You can check out the real estate and classified ads in the local newspapers to see which brokerages are advertising. Check out the television, radio and billboard advertising of the various real estate companies. Try and visit a few brokerages in your area and speak to the employers and employees before you make a decision about which company you want to join.


A great way to find a real estate brokerage in North Carolina is by networking. You could get recommendations from locals, family and friends who have bought or sold properties in the area recently. Find out which brokerage has the best reputation in town and which firms are doing well. Check out which brokerages have their “for sale” boards in yards of homes in the community. Attend meetings and events that are organized by the local real estate association. Check out the websites, LinkedIn profiles and Facebook pages of the various real estate brokerages in North Carolina.

STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

Once you complete the pre-licensing course and exam and apply for a broker’s license, you will get a Provisional Broker’s License. North Carolina requires real estate agents to complete post-licensing education in order to remove the provisional status of your license.

You must complete three 90-hour courses. You have around 3 years from the licensure date to complete the post-licensing education.

A real estate broker in North Carolina must renew his/her license before the 30th June of every year. This is applicable even if you have received your license in the month of May or even in June. The license renewal fee is $45 and you can renew the license easily on the NERC website.

For subsequent renewal of your real estate license, you must complete 8 hours of CE before 10th June and the courses consist of:

  • General update course: 4 hours
  • Elective course: 4 hours

The CE Shop offers aspiring real estate agents in North Carolina just the tools to help them meet their continuing education requirements. The best part is that it starts at just $49. So, what are you waiting for? Roll up your sleeves and get started!

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RE Agents Team