How to Get Your Real Estate License in Alabama
Do you dream of selling massive mansions in Montgomery? What about stunning four-bedroom homes in Birmingham? If you’ve made it to this page, you’re likely thinking about getting your real estate license in Alabama. And if that’s the case, I have some excellent news for you. There’s never been a better time to get into real estate, and the high demand for housing in Alabama screams “seller’s market”.
Maybe it’s been your goal to become a real estate agent for a while. Or maybe you’re considering it as a new career option with a higher earning potential and more freedom. No matter the reason, I can tell you that you can build an extremely successful career from virtually nothing. I should know, after all. I wasn’t always the No. 1 real estate agent in New York City running a brokerage that sells over $1 billion in properties per year. Before I became the agent you may know from Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” I was a struggling actor just looking for a survival job. I had no real connections to the business or any idea that I could achieve the level of success that I’ve built today. But I can tell you one thing for certain. I couldn’t have possibly chosen a better career.
You’re here because you want to know how to get your real estate license in Alabama. The education requirements and overall licensing process tend to be fairly similar across the United States. However, you will find that some of the finer details change, depending on your home state. The list of basic requirements you’ll need to meet to become a licensee in Alabama is as follows.
- Meet the pre-qualifications.
- Finish your license course.
- Pass your education course final exam.
- Pass the Alabama real estate licensing exam.
- Choose a sponsoring broker.
- Submit your real estate license application.
- Complete your post-license education.
Let’s take a deeper dive into each of these requirements.
1. Ensure you meet the pre-qualifications.
Before you can schedule your required coursework, the Alabama Real Estate Commission (AREC) requires you to meet a few qualifications. Firstly, you must be a U.S. citizen, a permanent resident immigrant, or otherwise legally present in the United States. You’ll also need to be able to provide proof of residency in any U.S. state. Next, you’ll need to hold your high school diploma or GED. Alabama also requires that you be 19 years of age, compared to the usual age of 18 for most states.
As part of your license application process, you will need to submit to a background check. The Real Estate Commission stipulates that you must not have a felony conviction on your record or be convicted of any crime of moral turpitude. While misdemeanor convictions don’t necessarily bar you from getting your license, the AREC reserves the right to determine what constitutes a crime of moral turpitude. Additionally, you must not have had a real estate application rejected or an active license revoked in any state within the past two years.
2. Complete your required course hours.
Once the prerequisites are out of the way, your real first step is to complete your 60-hour pre-licensing course with an approved education provider, such as a real estate school or local community college. You can use AREC’s course search function to find an approved provider near you or online. Most students choose to take online courses out of convenience. However, it’s important to note that the state will only allow you to sit in for a maximum of six course hours per day.
The 60-hour Alabama Pre-License Fundamentals Course prepares aspiring salespeople with the general knowledge of real estate practices and Alabama law that they’ll need to pass the Alabama real estate salesperson exam. Please note that completing your pre-licensing requirements does not guarantee that you’ll pass the state exam. Students commonly struggle with math questions on the exam, so it’s highly recommended that you study all mathematical concepts as much as possible.
3. Pass the final exam for your education course.
Once you’ve finished your 60 hours of coursework, you’ll be eligible to take your course’s final exam. Note that this is not the same thing as the state exam. But you will need to pass your course exam in order to be eligible for the state exam.
Before you take the course exam, you’ll need to register with AREC to receive a potential license number. This will allow you to schedule the state exam after passing your course. It also helps expedite the issuing of your new license, once you’ve met all the requirements.
The state of Alabama requires that you take your final course exam in the presence of a credible third-party proctor to ensure the integrity of the exam. The state partners with PSI Services for online proctoring. You’ll need to make an appointment with an online proctor at least 24 hours in advance of taking your course exam. You’ll also need to cover the proctoring fee of $25 for each attempt.
On exam day, you must have a photo ID, blank paper, writing utensils, and a basic calculator. To pass, you’ll need a minimum grade of 70% within the time limit to complete your required education. Assuming you’re taking the exam online, you’ll see your exam results immediately. If you pass, you’ll receive your certificate of completion through email, and you’ll be ready for the next steps. If you don’t pass, you can retake the exam as needed.
4. Pass the Alabama real estate exam.
Unlike your course exam, you’ll need to take the state’s licensing exam in person at a PSI testing center. When scheduling your appointment, you’ll need to provide the license number you were given when you scheduled your course exam. Each attempt at the state real estate exam costs a $79 exam fee.
The Alabama state salesperson examination is divided into a national portion and a state portion. The state portion of the exam consists of 40 multiple choice questions with a 60-minute time limit. The national portion of the exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions with a 150-minute time limit. Questions are on such topics as licensing requirements, the role of AREC, property ownership, real estate practices, real estate laws, financing, disciplinary actions, and many more.
You’ll need to bring two forms of ID with you to your exam appointment. One of them must include your photo and signature. No personal items are allowed, and you’ll be provided with pencils and one piece of blank paper. You’ll receive your test results in the form of “pass” or “fail”. If you passed the state exam, you’ll receive written instructions on how to proceed with your license application. If you didn’t pass, you’ll receive diagnostic information on the sections you failed so you can better prepare for the next attempt. For additional information on the exam, please see the PSI Candidate Handbook.
5. Select your sponsoring broker.
Before you can activate your license as a real estate salesperson, you’ll need to have a sponsoring broker. It’s a good idea to find one promptly so you can begin practicing as soon as your application is approved. You need to work under a broker because a real estate salesperson is not authorized to complete real estate transactions on their own. A real estate broker, however, is able to oversee sales agents in real estate activities.
It’s actually great that the state of Alabama requires this! Even if AREC didn’t have this requirement, I would still strongly recommend that you join a brokerage. Not joining a team was one of the biggest mistakes that I made with my real estate career.
If there’s one piece of advice I could give you while you’re looking for a licensed broker it’s to do your research and make sure that the real estate brokerage is a good fit for your needs and not the other way around.
Start with the broker’s credibility. Do they seem to be on solid ground and have a good reputation in the state? Ask about the growth opportunities they provide, such as continuing real estate education or training. You’ll also want to make sure you’re comfortable with their commission structure, especially since compensation in the real estate business is probably different from anything you’re used to. See if they have any technology that can give you an edge as well.
6. Complete your real estate salesperson license application.
You’re nearly there! Now that you have your pre-licensing course requirements, state exam, and sponsoring broker taken care of, there’s nothing else you need to arrange before applying for your real estate license to become a new agent. You’ll receive a paper application after passing your exam, or you can download the required form from AREC’s website.
You’ll need to submit your license application within 90 days of passing your real estate exam, or your score will expire. A complete application includes the application form, any applicable fees, and a background check with fingerprints. AREC partners with Gemalto to process fingerprints, so you’ll need to follow the instruction on their website. Once your application has been accepted, you’ll be issued a temporary license, and you’ll be ready to start practicing. Congratulations on becoming a new licensee!
Just remember that this license does not make you an Alabama Realtor. This is because the National Association of Realtors (NAR) has copyrighted this term, and it refers to its members. NAR has its own requirements for becoming a Realtor, and each member of NAR is bound by specific ethical standards.
7. Complete your post-licensing education.
In order to maintain an active license as a salesperson, you’ll need to complete 30 hours of additional education before receiving your permanent license. You’ll need to do this within six months of receiving your temporary salesperson license. There is no exam, so you can fulfill these requirements simply by attending class. Congratulations on completing the first journey of your real estate career!
Does Alabama have license reciprocity with other states?
Yes. In fact, Alabama is one of the few states to hold reciprocity agreements with ALL other states. If you hold a current license in any other state, you can get a waiver for most of the Alabama educational requirements to get your Alabama state license. Those applying under a reciprocity agreement will need to complete a six-hour course in Alabama real estate law, pass the state portion of the Alabama real estate exam, and submit a license history form proving that they hold a current license in another state.
How much time does it take to get your real estate license?
The truth is that no one can answer that question better than you. Students who treat their license coursework like a job can complete it within a couple of weeks. It’s certainly possible to complete the entire process in a month, but it’s not uncommon for some students to take around six months. The only things that I can promise you are that the best time to get started is right now, and you have the power to control your own pace once your education begins.
Is there anything a prospective agent can do to gain an advantage?
Yes, absolutely! In fact, I’ve created the training program that I wish I had when I first started working toward my license. With the Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Accelerator, you’ll get the full 60 hours of state-approved coursework you need to prepare for your real estate exam combined with the same sales system that my team and I use at my brokerage here in New York. This partnership means that you get everything you need to both get your initial license and learn how to succeed when selling in some of the most competitive markets.
Throughout your 60 hours of coursework, you’ll have access to 10 progress exams that test how well you’re absorbing the information, and you’ll also have constant support from state-approved expert instructors who always respond within one business day. This course includes all the ebooks you’ll need to succeed, including my “Quick Start Guide” with all the latest information and tips for passing your state licensing exam on your first attempt.
Speaking of the exam, this course package lets you access five practice exams (two national and three state) to determine how well prepared you are. We’re so confident that you’ll pass your licensing exam on your first try that Alabama students even get our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass your exam on your first try, we’ll refund your money!
This course package also comes with a membership for additional resources including my Sell It Like Serhant: Real Estate Core video course that teaches you the same methods that my team and I use to generate more leads, create new real estate markets, close deals, and plenty more.
You already have what you need to get your real estate license and become a successful salesperson inside you. Let us help you unlock that potential and get started on your path to a successful real estate career today!