How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent in Tennessee

Tennessee Real Estate License Requirements

To obtain a real estate license in Tennessee, you must meet the following criteria:

  • You must be at least 18 years of age
  • You must complete 90 hours of pre-licensing education
  • You must pass in the examination at the end of the course
  • If you hold a license in another state, you must get a certification from those states in which you are or were licensed.
  • If you have faced disciplinary action against your license, you must submit an explanation.
  • If you have faced charges for any kind of crime, you need to supply relevant information.
  • You need to be fingerprinted
  • You must submit eligibility verification form for entitlements act attestation

TN Real Estate License Costs

  • Cost of Real Estate Agent Education in Tennessee: $200 to $500 (approx.)

Helpful Tips


STEP 1: Prep Education

To become an affiliate broker in Tennessee, you need to obtain a license from the Tennessee Real Estate License Commission.

The Commission requires you to complete a 90-hour pre-licensing course from an approved real estate education provider. This could be online or through classroom training and there are several schools such as Real Estate Express, The CE Shop and Kaplan Real Estate Education. The course fee can range from $200-$600. The course contains two parts, with 60 hours devoted to the principles of real estate and the remaining 30 hours for New Affiliates.

On completing the 60 hours of real estate education in real estate principles/fundamentals, the school where you completed your course will forward your certificate to PSI. Only after it has been sent can you register for the examination and schedule it on PSI website or over the phone.

On passing the exam, you must complete the 30-hour course for New Affiliates and apply to the Commission for the license along with the course completion certificate. Meanwhile, get yourself fingerprinted for a background check. If you have been convicted of any crime or any disciplinary action taken against you, you must inform the Commission. If you are on parole or probation, the Commission will reject your application and you cannot write the exam.

If you have a license from another state, you must submit the license history as well.

On the Commission website, you will find a pre-licensing verification form that must be submitted


STEP 2: Apply to Take The Exam

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission has a form that can be filled online and submitted along with the required proof. You can also reach it through mail or hand deliver it to their office, but it will be faster online. Apply within six months of passing the exam.

Application Fees

You must pay a fee of $91 along with your application. You have to write two portions of the exam, national and state. Whether you take one or two exams, it is $43. If you retake the exam too (if you fail one part of the exam) you must pay a fee of $43.

Proof of Pre-licensing Requirements

On completion of your pre-licensing course of 60 hours, the real estate school where you completed the education will send the certificate directly to PSI. You can schedule your exam after that.

Before you apply for the license after passing the exam, you must complete the remaining 30 hours of the pre-licensing course. You must submit both certificates and the pass scorecard to the Commission.

If you have held a license in another state(s) now or in the past, a license certification is required from each state you are or were licensed for the application to be processed. You must also provide proof of having passed a written examination administered by one of the national testing companies in case you are seeking a waiver of the general (national, uniform) section of the Tennessee examination. Also submit a completed Worksheet A, available on the Commission website.

Legal Document Requirements

When applying for your license to the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, you must provide the following legal documents:

  • A completed application with your photo
  • High school graduation certificate
  • Proof of pre-license course-completion (60 and 30 hours)
  • Proof of errors and omissions insurance policy
  • Pay fees of $91.00
  • Eligibility verification
  • Electronic fingerprinting


STEP 3: Pass the State License Test

The Tennessee Real Estate Commission requires you to pass an examination assessing your knowledge of the principles, practices, statutes and regulations relating to real estate before granting you the license as an affiliate broker. The exam is delivered by PSI Examination Services (PSI) in computer examination centers across the state.

The examinations test the candidate on local as well as national requirements. The test includes 80 questions in the national portion and 40 in the state. To pass, you must score 56 (70%) in the national and 28 (70%) in the state portions.

You will know your results immediately on completing your exam as the score will be displayed on your computer screen, letting you know if you have passed or failed. In case you do not pass, the scorecard will also give you a diagnostic report to let you know your areas of strengths and weaknesses by examination type. You will also be given a print out of your score at the examination site.

If you pass one section but fail the other, you can retake only the section you failed. Do it within six months as after that your pass score expires. You must also pass in the next two retakes as failing both times will also make your pass score invalid.

If you fail both portions in the first attempt, schedule a retake any time after the day of the first attempt. If you fail in your second attempt too, you will have to wait for 30 days before taking the exam again.

To increase your chances of passing, plan and prepare well. Use the Candidate Information Bulletin and the examination content outline as a guide for your studies. Make sure you study all the topics and take notes to memorize it better. Highlighting important ideas will be useful when reviewing your notes.

Group studies with colleagues will help understand new concepts better and reinforce ideas. Take breaks after 45-60 minutes as you cannot concentrate beyond that.

Go through the tutorial before the exam at the test center patiently to understand the correct way of answering. Answer as many questions as you can so that your chances of passing are higher.

Topics Covered in the Course

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 Settlement
  • Real Estate Math Calculations

State Portion:

  • Duties and Powers of Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing Requirements
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Broker/Affiliate Relationships
  • Handling of Documents and Record Keeping
  • Handling of Trust/Escrow Funds
  • Other Improper Activities and Consumer Protection
  • Agency and Disclosure Issues
  • Special Areas of Practice

Time Given to Take the Test

The exam has two portions, national and state. You will be given 160 minutes to complete 80 questions in the national portion and 40 in the state. At the end of the scheduled time, the exam will expire. Therefore keep track of time and pace yourself so that you can attempt the maximum number of questions to improve your chances of passing.

Arrive at least 30 minutes early to the venue to have your identity verified. Once you are seated in your station, you will be given some time to run through a tutorial to familiarize yourself with the exam pattern. You will be given 5-10 practice questions.  The time given for the tutorial and the sample questions are not counted.

What to Bring to the Exam

When you are registering for the exam with PSI, make sure you use your legal first

and last name as given on your government-issued identification. In case there is a discrepancy, show proof to support it.

Take two IDs to the test center. The primary ID is one issued by the government and contains your name, photograph and signature. It can be your driver’s license, passport and the like.

The secondary ID is a signature proof and can be a credit card or a debit card where the signature is visible.

Student and employment ID will not be accepted.


STEP 4: Apply and Obtain Your License

Once you have completed your 60-hour course and received your completion certificate, write and pass in the exam delivered by PSI on behalf of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission. Complete a 30-hour course. Submit the pass scorecard as well as a letter of completing the 30-hour course.

Register on the Commission website for the application form that must be duly filled. Along with the form, submit your photo, high school graduation certificate, proof of errors and omissions insurance policy, electronic fingerprinting, eligibility verification and pay the fee of $91.

You can track the status of your license online.


STEP 5: Finding a Brokerage

You go to great lengths to get a license so that you can establish a successful career in the real estate business. While the course and the exam help you understand the laws and how the system works, it is not enough to get clients and leads. There is competition out there and to get an edge, it is good to associate yourself with a seasoned broker who can show you the ropes. While going solo may seem like a great idea, working with a real estate firm will provide you with on-the-job training that will see you a long way.

Since this is a very crucial aspect of building your career, you must find a firm with good reputation and market presence to benefit the most. You can research the various firms that are there, talk to other affiliate brokers and interview the different firms to shortlist the ones you find suitable for your needs. 

Some of the questions you must ponder on are:

  • The type of brokerage firm
  • The compensation package they offer

Type of Brokerage

There are two main kinds, national franchise and boutique firms.

  • National Franchise: This is a firm that affiliates itself with a branded, national player for a fee and has access to their technology, administrative and training capabilities. This can prove really beneficial for a beginner. The reputation of such firms also can enhance the quality of your resume as you move up the ladder. However, they are very rule bound and may not give you much independence. They may also tend to be a little impersonal, with cut-throat competition amongst the agents employed by them to prove themselves.
  • Boutique Firm: Owned by a single broker, a boutique firm has a more localized presence. But this does not mean such firms do not have a formidable reputation. Some of them can be extremely successful, giving national players a run for the money in their regions. They also tend to be less formal, more friendly and there is less competition to worry about. On the downside, they will not have the kind of technology and training capabilities as a national franchise.

Compensation

Passion is a good reason to pursue a career in real estate, but you can only sustain it if you also make a living out of it. So compensation and the way the package is structured is very important. A few firms may offer salary and benefits but most prefer to split commissions. It is important to understand how it is split and what is your share. You should ideally get a higher share, but if it is too high, look at the terms closely. You may have to pay desk fees, which can be a drain on the pocket in the early days when you are not sure of earning consistently.


STEP 6: Post-learning Requirements

Your initial license is valid for two years, during which period you must complete 16 hours of real estate education for re-issuance at the end of the period. Additionally, you must also complete a 120-hour post-licensing course before you complete three years on your license.

The CE Shop is an incredible platform to take this course up and understand the nuances of the various aspects of the  curriculum to be covered in this post-licensing course. Individual courses start at as little as $29 and the comprehensive package will cost you $875. You can also find continuing education packages offered by The CE Shop—individual courses start at $29 and the comprehensive courses start at $69. There’s no reason for you to hesitate to go all guns blazing in pursuit of your dream, go get ‘em!

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RE Agents Team