How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in North Dakota

North Dakota Real Estate License Requirements

  • You must be at least 18 years of age.
  • You must have a good reputation for competency, honesty, truthfulness and financial integrity. 
  • You must complete 45 hours of pre-licensing education and show evidence that you did.
  • You must complete the Criminal History Record Check Request form.
  • You must submit your application with $8 for a credit report.

ND Real Estate License Costs

  • The real estate pre-licensing course can cost you anywhere from $300 to $800.

Helpful Tips

  • North Dakota state exam test centers list.
  • You can book an appointment for the exam here.
  • You will find the North Dakota real estate agent license application here.
  • Here is the criminal history record check request form
  • And this is the errors and omissions insurance fact sheet.   
  • Check out the PSI candidate handbook if you have more queries.

STEP 1: Pre-licensing Education

In the state of North Dakota, you must finish 45 hours of pre-licensing education. These courses will cost you anywhere between $300 and $800 depending on where you take the course. It is easy to find places that offer the courses but here is a list of providers.

They can be done in a classroom or online. At the end of the course, you must take a test and pass it to get a certificate. This certificate must be submitted to the Real Estate Commission as proof of education. After you get the certificate you must start applying for the state exam.

STEP 2: Apply and Pass the State Test

The final state exam is a closed-book computer-based exam conducted by PSI Services. You can take the exam at any designated test center but you must schedule the exam online by taking an appointment on the PSI website.  

At the time of booking the appointment, you need to pay a fee of $131, whether you are taking the exam for the first time or retaking after failing. The payment can be made by credit card (VISA, MasterCard, American Express or Discover), cashier’s check or a money order that is payable to PSI Services Inc. You cannot pay using company checks, personal checks or cash.

You can book the appointment online from Monday to Saturday between 9 am and 1:30 pm. You can also call PSI at 800-345-6559 between 7 am and 9 pm Central Time from Monday to Thursday. On Friday you can call from 7 am to 7 pm. On Saturday, the timings are from 8:30 am to 5 pm. Keep your credit card handy to pay the exam fees.

Your application may be denied if:

  • You make a false statement.
  • You fail to show the necessary qualifications.
  • You have violated Chapter 43-23 of NDCC as amended or as in the administrative code.
  • For whatever reason, your active license was suspended or revoked in another state.
  • Your exam fee or license fee (at a later stage) was not processed for some reason. 
  • You have a history of issuing bad checks or a bad financial reputation.
  • You have a poor reputation for honesty, truthfulness and fair dealing.
  • You don’t have the required educational qualifications.

On the day of the exam, get to the center on time. If you are late by 15 minutes you will not be allowed to take the exam. Except your wallet and keys, nothing else is allowed inside the test center. You cannot take any recording devices. Silent,  non-programmable calculators are allowed to help you with the math questions. A pencil and scratch paper will be provided.

You need to have two forms of IDs. Your primary ID must be issued by the government, be valid and unexpired. It must have your legal name, photo and signature. Temporary forms of ID are not accepted.

You can present:

  1. Driver’s license with photograph
  2. State identification card with photograph
  3. Passport
  4. Military identification card with photograph

Your secondary ID must have your legal name and signature. Valid secondary IDs are:

  1. Credit card with signature
  2. Social Security card with signature
  3. Employment/student ID card with signature

If you have changed your name, you must bring proof like a marriage license, divorce decree, etc. You will also be asked to sign a roster to verify your identity.

The exam itself is in two portions—national and state. However, the questions will be intermixed. The idea is to test your ability to understand and apply the basic rules of real estate. You will have to answer questions on general information about real estate and also about specific real estate laws, principles and familiar problems. You will have 3.5 hours to finish the exam.

National Portion

The test is not divided but this is the breakdown.

Agency Relationships and Contracts 28
Real Property Ownership/Interest 13
Finance 14
Real Property 14
Marketing Regulations (purchase and rental) 10
Property Management 8
Real Estate Calculations 13

State Portion

  • Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Statutory Requirements Governing the Activities of Licensees
  • Additional Topics
  • Statutory Requirements Governing Subdivided or Out-of-State Land Sales (Registration Requirements, Disclosure Requirements)
  • Real Estate Education, Research, and Recovery Fund

Now for the result. The score is determined by the Angoff method where subject-matter experts estimate how difficult the question is for an average practitioner and score accordingly. You will get the result right away. You need to get 70 items correct in the national portion and 30 items in the state portion to pass the exam and be eligible for the license.

If you fail one portion of the exam, you need to redo only that part.

STEP 3: Apply For Your License

If you pass the exam, you must submit your original scorecard and appropriate forms to the Commission to get your license. 

Before applying for the license, there are a couple of things you need to do. You must complete and submit the Criminal History Record Check Request form (SFN 60688) along with the license application. You must include a fee of $158 along with the application addressed to the NDREC office. The license fee is $150 and the credit report is for $8. 

After this, a fingerprinting kit will be sent to you by the office. Do not get your fingerprints taken before submitting the license application. The kit will arrive in a tamper-proof seal along with two fingerprint cards. 

Take the kit to a fingerprinting location and get the job done following which you will need to mail the completed fingerprinting cards and a check or money order for $41.25 to the North Dakota Attorney General back to the NDREC office.

STEP 4: Find a Broker to Sponsor You

Now, in North Dakota, you are required to work under the sponsorship of a real estate broker at the time of submitting the application for a license. So you must find a licensed broker to sponsor you. How to get that done? Well, let’s start by understanding the different types of brokerages in the market.

National or Franchise Brokerage

These are huge firms with franchises in many different parts of the country. They have a large scale of operations and can do wonders for a newbie’s reputation, if all goes well. Take a look at the advantages and disadvantages of working at a national or franchise brokerage before deciding.


  • You will learn to operate on a large scale.
  • There will be a lot of guidance and mentorship.
  • Large firms usually have training sessions to keep their agents sharp.
  • You will get a lot of leads because of the amount of business they do.
  • National firms have a lot of resources for tech support.
  • They offer turnkey marketing solutions which are very useful in the first year, instead of having to design your own campaigns.
  • You can ride on their brand reputation in the market and it comes in handy if and when you relocate to a place where the brokerage has a branch. 


  • It can feel a bit impersonal because there are many other agents vying for the broker’s attention.
  • The scale of work can be a bit much.
  • There is little space for innovation because everything has already been templatized.
  • There is usually a lot of competition for leads.  

Boutique Brokerages

Boutique brokerages are smaller firms and do not have branches. They are owned by one family or a single broker. Don’t mistake them to have a small set of operations. Some of the most successful real estate firms in the US are boutique brokerages. Here are the pros and cons.


  • The broker has time and energy to spare for you. You can get individual advice for what is possibly uniquely your problem.
  • Their network of local assets is well established.
  • There are a few other salespersons vying for the same leads as you.
  • You can take time to adjust to the job. 
  • Nothing is set in stone so you can get creative with your marketing strategy.


  • They do not have a well of resources to spare. So you might have to get creative in certain aspects.
  • Tech support will not be top notch so you might have to figure out solutions on your own. So if your email is not opening for some reason, you’re going to have to figure it out yourself or ask a coworker who probably knows just as much as you do.
  • The budgets will be low and online traffic might not be impressive.

Virtual or Online Brokerage

This is the newest form of conducting business. Even in real estate, which is as physical as it gets, there are ways of getting the job done using tools available on the internet. And like any other model, it has its upside and down. Does it work for everyone? See for yourself. 


  • Since everything is online, you can build a presence and network easily and right away.
  • You will probably have really good tech support because the entire business depends on it.
  • The commission splits will be higher since the broker does not have to pay for a physical office space or accompanying utilities.
  • There will be minimal to no supervision which means you can conduct business as an independent contractor.     


  • This level of freedom is not for everyone. You are likely to need some guidance in the first year which is difficult to get immediately when you don’t share physical space.
  • You are unlikely to have a group of other salespersons to share insecurities and solutions. You will have to reinvent the wheel on your own.  

STEP 5: Get Your Errors and Omissions Insurance

While applying for your license, you are required to get an errors and omissions insurance according to the North Dakota Real Estate Commission’s rules. This is applicable to all active licensees. This can be done in two ways. You can either get it from the Commission itself through Rice Insurance Service, Inc. or another qualified carrier with equivalent coverage.

The carrier’s required qualifications are:

  1. It should be authorized by the ND insurance department to do business in the state as an insurance carrier and write E&O policies.
  2. Must have E&O insurance policies approved by the ND Insurance department.
  3. Must maintain a financial size category rating of Class VI or higher.

Once you get this done, you must submit proof to the Commission.

STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

Now, within 12 months of getting your license, you must complete 15 hours of post-licensing education and submit the proof to your broker. These courses are designed to help you understand how to function as a newbie real estate agent. You are required to continue and complete this course in order to stay sharp and updated in an industry that changes so often.

These courses are a lot cheaper than the pre-licensing education. For instance, The CE Shop offers a course for $150 while the University of North Dakota offers one for $250. This is a list of approved online courses for 2020 and this one is for classroom courses. With this the process is complete. Good luck with the exam and what comes next.

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RE Agents Team