How to Get Your Real Estate License in Virginia
Have you ever wanted to sell luxury homes in Richmond? How about the best condos available in Arlington or properties in Virginia Beach? If you’ve found your way here, you must be thinking about getting your Virginia real estate license.
Whether it’s been your goal to get your license for some time now, or you’re considering real estate as a new career, I can tell you one thing for sure. There has never been a better time to get involved in the real estate industry. Take it from me. I wasn’t always the No. 1 real estate agent in New York City who you may know from shows like Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” I first came to New York as a struggling actor just trying my best to get by.
You’re here because you want to know how to get your real estate license in Virginia. Fortunately, many of the education requirements and the overall licensing process are fairly similar across the United States. Just the finer details will change depending on your location. Let’s get started with a basic list of requirements you’ll need to meet to become a real estate agent in Virginia.
- Ensure that you meet the pre-qualifications.
- Complete your pre-licensing education course.
- Pass your pre-licensing final exam.
- Pass the Virginia state real estate salesperson exam.
- Complete your fingerprint requirement and background check.
- Choose a sponsoring broker.
- Submit your completed license application package.
Let’s have a deeper look at what you’ll need for your initial salesperson license.
1. Make sure you meet the pre-qualifications.
The state of Virginia requires that you be at least 18 years of age before you can start real estate school. The Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation Real Estate Board also requires you to hold your high school diploma or GED.
You’ll additionally need to undergo a criminal history background check before you can receive your license. Misdemeanor convictions or felony convictions don’t automatically bar you from becoming a licensee. The Virginia Real Estate Board will judge whether your convictions are relevant to your licensing area.
2. Complete your pre-licensing coursework.
Before you can be eligible for licensure, your first step is to complete 60 hours of coursework from an approved education provider, like a real estate school or local community college. The state of Virginia simply requires one education course: The Principles and Practices of Real Estate for Salespersons. This covers both general real estate practices and state-specific laws, including civil rights laws and fair housing. You’ll be able to take your required course in person or online with a virtual instructor.
3. Pass your license course final exam.
Once you’ve logged the hours of education for your course, you’ll need to pass its real estate exam. This exam will test your competency with the general practices and laws you studied during your coursework. You will need to achieve a minimum score of 75% to pass.
It’s highly recommended that students take advantage of any practice exams and other available resources to pass the exam on their first try. Final exams must always be taken in the presence of an approved proctor. If you aren’t taking your exam in person, you’ll need to schedule online proctoring with your education provider. Once you pass your final exam, you’ll receive your certificate of completion for the course.
4. Pass the Virginia licensing examination.
Before you can become a licensed Virginia salesperson, you must pass the state exam. These exams are given by Psychological Services, Inc. (PSI). You’ll need to schedule an in-person real estate license exam at one of their testing centers, or you can visit the PSI services website to schedule a PSI exam online. Whether you’re taking your exam in a classroom or online, you’ll need to bring two forms of valid photo ID, blank paper, and a basic calculator to your test. All exam appointments must be made at least 24 hours in advance.
The state license test is comprised of 120 total multiple-choice questions. These are broken down into a national portion and a state portion. You’ll have a total of 150 minutes to complete the exam. There are 80 national questions, which will cover general real estate practices. You’ll have 105 minutes for this section of the exam. The 40 state questions will be specific to real estate laws in the state of Virginia, and you’ll have 45 minutes to complete this section. For additional information on the state exam, please see the candidate information bulletin.
In order to achieve a passing grade, you’ll need a minimum score of 56 on the national questions and a minimum score of 30 on the state questions. If you take the online exam, you’ll receive your exam results immediately. In the event that you take the written examination in person, your exam results will be mailed to you from PSI headquarters. If you don’t pass your real estate exam on your first try, you can retake it as early as the next day. Just keep in mind that you’ll have to pay the exam fee for each attempt at the license exam.
5. Complete your fingerprinting requirement.
Fingerprinting is mandatory before aspiring real estate professionals can become licensees. You’ll need to have your fingerprints taken by PSI, which can be done at the testing center if you’re taking the written exam. Otherwise, you’ll have to schedule a separate appointment to get your fingerprints at a Virginia testing center. They’ll then be sent to the Virginia Central Criminal Records Exchange for both a national and state background check. Assuming you aren’t considered a candidate of moral turpitude, you’ll just have a couple more steps.
6. Select your sponsoring broker.
Before you can finalize your license application, you’ll need to find a current and active broker to sponsor you. This is primarily because salespeople don’t actually have the legal authority to complete real estate transactions on their own. A real estate broker, however, has the authority they need and can oversee salespeople and real estate activities.
Even if you weren’t required to pick a sponsoring broker, I would still absolutely recommend it. One of the biggest mistakes I made early in my real estate career was not joining a team. Be sure to choose a brokerage based on how well they fit your needs and not the other way around. There’s no shortage of real estate firm options for a new Virginia salesperson, so do your research carefully before you commit to a brokerage.
For starters, make sure your broker has a good reputation in Virginia and beyond, when applicable. Ask them about their education and training approaches. Will they assist you with continuing education for license renewal when the time comes? What is their real estate commission split like? Are you okay with it? How much room will you have to grow with this brokerage firm? Will you have access to a multiple listing service (MLS)? Get as much detailed information as you can to these questions before making a decision.
7. Finalize your Virginia salesperson application.
The final step to get your real estate salesperson license is simply to finish your application. You’ll want to do this within 45 days of completion for your background check requirement, or you’ll have to get your fingerprints taken again. There is no online real estate license application option in Virginia, so you’ll need to print the application form, fill it out, and mail it to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation. Once your application is accepted, they’ll send you your activated license. Congratulations on getting your real estate agent license!
It should be pointed out that earning your current license does not make you a Realtor in Virginia. Realtor is a copyrighted term owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they have their own requirements for real estate education and entry. Each member of the National Association of Realtors is also bound by a specific code of ethics.
About how long will it take to get my real estate license?
That’s really a question for yourself more than it is for anyone else. 60 hours of required courses can be completed in as little as two weeks if you’re treating it like a job. Some real estate license applicants will take six months or longer to finish the full license application process. Here are the two sure things I can tell you about it. Now is the best time to get started on your coursework. Only you can control how long it takes.
Does Virginia have license reciprocity agreements with other states?
Yes! If you’re a licensed attorney or have an active real estate license in another state, I have some great news. Virginia is actually one of the few states that has full reciprocity with all other states. This goes for both the salesperson license and the broker license. As long as your current license is active in another state, you can apply to waive the Virginia education requirements via a reciprocity agreement.
Are there more resources that can help aspiring sales agents gain an advantage?
Yes, there are, and I make sure of it! I’ve created the licensing course and sales training program that I wish I had when I first started out in the real estate industry. We started this online course program with the desire to help aspiring real estate agents complete their education requirements and kickstart a successful career path using my own sales system.
Aspiring Virginia licensees can take advantage of my Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Sales Accelerator, which is a combination of a state-qualifying real estate course and the sales system that my team and I use at the most-followed real estate brand in the world. This unique package will prepare you to earn your license credit and learn what you need to sell in the most competitive markets in the U.S.
With this package, you’ll get the best state-approved instructor support available, three important ebooks, and my very own “Quick-Start Guide” that includes the latest licensing information and tips you’ll need to succeed on your journey. You’ll also be getting robust exam prep materials, including 10 progress exams and five practice final exams (three for the state exam and two for the national exam). We also enroll Virginia students in our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass your exam on your first try after using our exam prep, you’ll get your money back!
As if all this wasn’t enough, enrolling in this course also gets you a membership to access my Sell It Like Serhant: Real Estate Core video course. You’ll learn how to generate more leads, draw more attention to listings, create new real estate markets, close deals, and much more.
Start on your path to real estate sales success today!