What You Need To Know To Become A Real Estate Agent In Texas
A career in real estate can seem desirable, but you may not know where to start. A real estate career offers a flexible lifestyle, the ability to be your boss, and the earning potential is virtually limitless if you have the drive and the skills. But before getting started, it’s essential to understand what you’ll need to become a real estate agent in Texas. Knowing the requirements will allow you to make an educated decision before embarking on the journey. This blog will teach you about the process of earning your real estate license in Texas, including cost, time commitment, and all the necessary steps you’ll need to cross the finish line.
Prerequisites For Becoming A Real Estate Agent In Texas
Eligibility requirements to become a licensed Texas real estate agent are as follows:
- A U.S. citizen or legal alien
- A resident of the state of Texas
- 18 years of age or older
- Align with the character traits of honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity issued by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC).
- Blemishes on your civil, criminal, or professional record may be allowed. Still, first, you may wish to submit a Fitness Determination application with TREC before you take on the expense of getting your license to guarantee approval.
Educational Requirements For Becoming A Texas Real Estate Agent
There are no degree requirements for becoming a real estate agent in the state of Texas. TREC doesn’t even require you to have a high school diploma or GED.
Instead, what they do require is 180 hours of “pre-license” courses. This curriculum consists of 6 mandatory 30-hour courses:
- The Principles of Real Estate I
- The Principles of Real Estate II
- The Law of Contracts
- The Law of Agency
- Promulgated Forms
- Real Estate Finance
Choosing a real estate school is your first step. And most importantly, select a school from TREC’s list of qualifying education providers. Next, consider your learning style. You can choose from in-classroom or online courses. Decide which holds the most value for you and works best for your schedule, as well as cost.
Obtaining A Real Estate License In Texas
Once you’ve met the TREC guidelines and decided upon a course of action, you can make your way through these next steps to becoming a licensed real estate agent. We’ve included the cost for each item, but these prices are subject to change, refer to TREC’s fee schedule for current charges.
Step 1: Completion Of Pre-License Education
The first step, complete the state-required pre-license courses.
Real estate schools vary in curriculum, cost, and student support, so spend some time comparing schools to find the best choice for you. As far as cost is concerned, expect to pay at least $500 for the required courses and up to $1000 or more.
Step 2: Complete Your Inactive License Application
Next, file your “Application for an Inactive Sales Agent License.” Applying can be done online at trec.texas.gov. You can also apply by mail, but the state does charge an additional processing fee for paper applications. Include your course completion certificates for all six pre-license courses, but do NOT include the original documents, submit copies and keep the hard copies for your records.
The application fee is currently $205, and you’ll need to submit payment along with your application. After meeting the application requirements and receiving payment, TREC will send you an eligibility letter with a “TREC ID.” You will use this ID to sign up for the next two steps.
Step 3: Get Fingerprinted For A Background Check
Next, you must schedule to have your fingerprints taken to perform a background check. TREC only accepts fingerprinting through MorphoTrust submitted to the FBI through the Texas DPS. No other agency is accepted. Make an appointment for fingerprinting and pay the fee, which is currently around $35.00.
Step 4: Pass The Texas Real Estate License Exam
Once you have your TREC ID and you’ve completed fingerprinting and received clearance from TREC on your background check, you can register and schedule your state licensing exam. The exam fee is currently $54.
Texas uses a third-party testing service called PearsonVUE to administer their exam in multiple testing facilities throughout the state. You’ll need to bring two forms of legal identification with you to the testing site. You’ll be allowed to take the exam three times, but each test will require a separate exam fee. If you fail three times, additional coursework will be necessary before you’ll be allowed to retake the test.
Step 5: Obtain Sponsorship
Once TREC receives passing exam scores, they’ll issue your inactive license. Take note; you are still not authorized to practice as a licensed Realtor once you receive your license. The law states that sales agents must be sponsored by an active, licensed Texas real estate broker. Acting without a sponsoring broker is the same as practicing real estate without a license, and it can get you in hot water.
By law, agents can’t perform certain activities such as handling funds, which the broker only performs. Once entered into a partnership with a sponsoring broker, they will activate your license with TREC. Only when the active real estate license is in your broker’s possession can you begin life as a Realtor.
What Is The Timeline For Becoming A Texas Real Estate Agent?
If you have a busy life with current responsibilities, you can expect to finish anywhere from 4-6 months. If taking the courses and tests are the only thing on your plate, or you can fit it into a busy schedule and make some short-term sacrifices, you can finish in as little as 3-4 weeks, but no less.
TREC’s rules state that students can not spend more than 12 hours a day on their pre-license instruction. This means that even if your real estate courses are all you do, you can’t complete them in less than 15 days. Also, note that the final exam is proctored to ensure you aren’t cheating.
How Long Does The Texas Pre-License Application Process Take?
You have one year from filing your inactive license application to fulfill all the requirements. Many factors make it difficult to say how quickly you can receive an active license. It will depend on the time you feel you need to prepare for the exam. How many times it takes you to pass it. How many brokers you interview before finding the right place to hang your license. Realistically it can take anywhere from 2 months to 18 months to get it accomplished.
Take Your Time
The process above may seem overwhelming, but take it one step at a time, and it will feel much more doable. Take the time to learn about the career, delve into the realistic income goals you should have in the first two years, and talk with people who are already in the industry to get an inside look at being a real estate agent.
Living Houston Is Always Looking For New Agents
If you feel like Living Houston would be a good fit for your license, schedule a one-on-one meeting with our broker to find out.