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Working in real estate can be lucrative, while still giving you the flexibility to set your own schedule and run your own business. Like all states, Texas requires real estate agents to be licensed, ensuring they have the knowledge and skills necessary to guide buyers and sellers through complex transactions. Getting a Realtor license in Texas involves multiple steps that span several months. While the individual pace can vary, on average getting a real estate license in Texas takes four to six months. However, you can complete the requirements in eight weeks if you are committed to an intense study schedule.
Qualifying to Be a Real Estate Agent
Before you can begin earning a real estate license in Texas, you need to meet certain qualifications. You must be at least 18 years old, a resident of Texas, a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted immigrant, and meet the Texas Real Estate Commission’s standards for honesty, trustworthiness and integrity. All license applicants must undergo a TREC criminal background check once they file an application, but if there is anything in your background that could raise a red flag, such as criminal offenses or unpaid judgments, you should request a Moral Character Determination before beginning the process. This way, the TREC can determine whether you meet the standards to become licensed before you go to the time and expense of preparing for your license. You only need to make this request if there is anything in your background that could be an issue.
Educational Requirements for Licensing
If you meet the qualifications, getting a realtor license in Texas requires completing 180 hours of real estate education. You must complete the following courses:
- Principles of Real Estate I (30 classroom hours)
- Principles of Real Estate II (30 classroom hours)
- Law of Agency (30 classroom hours)
- Law of Contracts (30 classroom hours)
- Promulgated Contract Forms (30 classroom hours)
- Real Estate Finance (30 classroom hours).
Real estate courses are offered by most community colleges, some universities and independent course providers. Typically, if you take an in-person course, it follows a semester calendar, meaning that you could complete your requirements in a few months. You could also opt for a self-paced course, usually delivered online, which allows you to complete the classroom requirements on your own timetable, in as little as a few weeks.
License Application and Testing
Upon completing your classroom education, you must submit your application and submit to a background check. Submitting your application online is the preferred method, and it will take two to three weeks to process. If you opt for a paper application, you will have to pay an additional processing fee, and it can delay processing. Forgetting to include any required documents – including your educational certificates – can also delay your application, so be sure to include all required information.
Once your application is processed, you will receive a TREC ID number, which will authorize you to take the exam and be fingerprinted. Do this right away, so that TREC can conduct the background check while you prepare for your exam. Ideally, at this point you should also have a real estate broker sponsor – someone you plan to work with once you are licensed. When you have a broker sponsor who has submitted the appropriate paperwork to TREC, your license will become active immediately upon passing the exam. Otherwise, you will have to submit paperwork later on, which can delay your active license.
To take the exam, you’ll need to schedule an exam date and time with Pearson VUE at a testing center near you. You can take the computer-based test as soon as you are ready, and you’ll receive your scores right away. In most cases, it takes less than 24 hours for your scores to be sent to TREC, which fully activates your license. You can attempt the test three times before you have to complete an additional 30 hours of education to try again. Once you complete that education, it can take up to a week before you can reschedule your exam.
An adjunct instructor at Central Maine Community College, Kristen Hamlin is also a freelance writer and editor, specializing in careers, business, education, and lifestyle topics. The author of Graduate! Everything You Need to Succeed After College (Capital Books), which covers everything from career and financial advice to furnishing your first apartment, her work has also appeared in Young Money, Lewiston Auburn Magazine, USA Today, and a variety of online outlets. She's also been quoted as a career expert in many newspapers and magazines, including Cosmopolitan and Parade. She has a B.A. in Communication from Stonehill College, and a Master of Liberal Studies in Creative Writing from the University of Denver.