This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
If you’re hankering for schedule flexibility, unlimited earning potential, and autonomy in your career, then getting an Alabama real estate license could be right up your alley. With 60 hours of Alabama Real Estate Commission-approved (AREC) prelicensing education, a background check, application, and passing exam score, you will be on your way to gaining your temporary real estate license in Alabama. To attain your permanent license, you will need to complete 30 hours of post-licensing education. Read through our step-by-step guide to help you navigate the licensing process in the Heart of Dixie.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Alabama Real Estate License
To begin your real estate licensing journey, you must meet the legal requirements of Alabama to qualify. You will need to be at least 19 years old, be a United States citizen or lawfully admitted alien, and possess a high school diploma or GED.
If you possess a criminal record, you still may be able to get your Alabama real estate license. Although if you have committed a crime involving moral turpitude, you may not be eligible for licensure. To determine eligibility, you must first complete a preregistration form and then the Application for Determination of Licensing Eligibility. Afterward, you must submit your fingerprints for a complete background check. Some individuals will write a letter or have the option of a hearing before the AREC to decide whether they will be able to move forward.
Did you know? Alabama offers full reciprocity with all 50 states. This means those that have already become a licensed agent in other states can move forward with licensure by completing an additional 6 hours of prelicensing education, background check, and passing the state portion of the real estate exam.
Also, Alabama is a cooperative state in terms of portability. It allows out-of-state real estate agents or brokers to physically enter the state to conduct real estate business. However, for out-of-state agents to work on a real estate transaction, they must have a co-brokerage agreement with a licensee of that state. To learn more about real estate license portability in Alabama, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
Once you determine you’ve met the legal requirements to become a real estate agent in Alabama, you have to complete 60 hours of prelicensing education. They can be taken in-person or at an accredited online real estate school for between $260 to $450, depending on the provider. The courses cover topics like:
- Purpose of License Law/Rules and Regulations and Role of Commission
- Licensing Requirements
- License Status
- Broker Licenses, Company Licenses, and Place of Business
- Recovery Fund
- Disciplinary Actions and Process
- Estimated Closing Statement
- Trust Funds
- Real Estate Consumers Agency and Disclosure Act (RECAD)
- Violations That May Result in Disciplinary Actions
- Property Ownership
- Land Use Controls and Regulations
- Valuation and Market Analysis
- General Principles of Agency
- Property Disclosures
- Leasing and Property Management
- Transfer of Title
- Practice of Real Estate
- Real Estate Calculations
Did you know? If you are enrolled in a college or university that has an approved real estate curriculum with AREC, you may qualify to waive the education requirement based on course credits. Check with AREC to verify if your college or university is approved.
If you’re ready to get started on your Alabama real estate license right away, we suggest looking at Kaplan for online education. Its high-quality education includes instructional design to increase your retention. Also, with its online program, you can take courses at your own pace for a reasonable cost to prepare for the Alabama licensing exam.
3. Take the Alabama Real Estate Exam
According to AREC, about 55% of candidates pass the real estate exam on the first try. Those who do are given a passing score and the Alabama real estate license application. If you don’t pass, you will receive a diagnostic report documenting your strengths and weaknesses so that you can brush up on your information before attempting the exam again. Luckily, you may retake the exam as many times as necessary within six months of completing the prelicensing classes.
Alabama Real Estate Exam Details
140 questions: 100 national-focused questions and 40 state-specific questions
3 1/2 hours
Items to Bring to Exam
2 valid forms of identification with signatures:
70% to pass the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Schedule your Exam
The Alabama real estate exam is conducted by PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. To begin scheduling, you have to create an account on the PSI website, which then allows access to the scheduling portal. You’ll also receive a copy of the Alabama Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the exam is $77 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card, or by cashier’s check or money order payable to PSI Services Inc.
To ensure that you’re part of the 55% that pass on the first attempt, you may want to consider additional exam preparation. Real Estate Exam Scholar offers comprehensive exam prep for $39 for six months of access and guarantees it can get you ready to ace your test the first time or give your money back.
4. Pick a Company to Work for
To hold an active Alabama real estate license, you must find a sponsoring brokerage with which to affiliate your license. To make your choice a little bit easier, check out our in-depth guide on choosing the right real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the Heart of Dixie, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2021.
The Fred Smith Group
Josh Vernon Group
Keller Williams Realty
Global Homes Group, Inc
Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams Realty
*Data from Real Trends 2021
Alabama Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2021
The higher that homes are selling for means the higher commission you have the opportunity to get. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks in Alabama check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
5. Get Fingerprints & Background Check
All applicants are required to submit fingerprints as part of a background check for eligibility to get an Alabama real estate license. You must coordinate the submission of your application and your fingerprint submission so that they are processed within the same time frame. It is recommended that you submit them on the same day since the fingerprints are only valid for 30 days.
Fingerprints are done by Gelmato and results will be provided to the AREC within two weeks. You can register directly on the Gelmato website and pay the $48.25 fee via credit or debit card on the website, or by cashier’s check or money order payable to Gelmato Cogent at the fingerprint site. You must bring two forms of identification, one must be a photo ID.
To find a fingerprint location near you, take a look at the Alabama map locations.
6. Apply for Your Alabama Real Estate License
Once you’ve passed your exam and have your fingerprints taken, you must submit your application within 90 days of your exam date. You will receive an Alabama real estate license application after successfully passing your exam, but you should review the Sample Application first to find out what information and documentation you need to provide. In addition to the application, you’ll be required to submit the following documentation:
- Fingerprints (sent to the AREC by Gelmato)
- Proof of age
- Proof of high school graduation or the equivalent
- Proof of citizenship or legal presence in the US
- Proof of residency in your state of domicile
- Nonresidents of Alabama must also supply the Consent to Jurisdiction for Non-Residents form, if applicable)
- Certification of licensure issued within the last 120 days, if you hold or have held a real estate license in another state within the last three years, if applicable
If you have chosen an affiliate broker, you will be applying for an active license and paying a $210 fee; if you haven’t chosen a brokerage, you will be applying for an inactive license for $180―activation will incur an additional $30.
Tip: Don’t forget that to move your license status from temporary to permanent, you must complete 30 hours of post-licensing education within the first 12 months of receiving your temporary license. Look at the best online real estate providers in Alabama to find a program that works for you.
7. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Alabama, you’re ready to start your real estate journey. For more information, here are some of our articles with content that is perfect for new real estate agents:
- Our article with 14 Real Estate Agent Tips covers the basics that every agent should know when they are starting out, including how to write a real estate business plan
- Learn how to generate real estate buyer leads
- Get nine strategies to help with real estate seller lead generation
- Jumpstart your career with the top 25 New Real Estate Agent Tips From the Pros
- Get the tools you need to build a strong real estate business out of the gate using the best real estate software and tools