This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
The official title for those representing buyers and sellers in Colorado is real estate broker rather than a real estate agent. To get your Colorado real estate license, you’ll be required to take 168 prelicensing hours approved by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA) along with fingerprinting, a passing exam, and license application. This step-by-step article will guide you through the process of getting your broker’s license in the Centennial State.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Colorado Real Estate License
The legal requirement to qualify for a real estate license in Colorado is very simple. The only prequalification is that you must be at least 18 years old. Unlike many other states, Colorado does not require any education as a prerequisite.
Did you know?
Colorado offers full reciprocity with all the 50 states. This means agents already licensed in other states do not have to take DORA’s prelicensing courses but are only required to pass the background check and state portion of the real estate exam to earn their license.
Also, Colorado is a cooperative state in terms of portability. It allows out-of-state real estate agents or brokers to enter the state to conduct real estate business physically. 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 Colorado, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
If you meet the state’s legal requirements, you’re ready to start the real estate prelicensing courses. Courses are offered in-person as well as through accredited online real estate schools in Colorado, ranging from $295 to $850. All providers should cover the following topics:
- The Real Estate Business
- License Law and Qualifications for Licensure
- License Law and Commission Rules
- Authorized Relationships, Duties, and Disclosure
- Real Estate Brokerage Activities and Procedures
- Violations of License Law, Penalties, and Procedures
- Federal and State Laws Pertaining to Real Estate
- Property Rights: Estates and Tenancies, Condominiums, Cooperatives, and Time Sharing
- Title, Deeds, and Ownership Restrictions
- Legal Descriptions
- Real Estate Contracts
- Residential Mortgages
- Types of Mortgages and Sources of Financing
- Computations and Closing of Transactions
- The Real Estate Market and Analysis
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Real Estate Investments and Business Opportunity Brokerage
- Taxes Affecting Real Estate
- Planning, Zoning, and Environmental Hazards
Did you know?
If you are an active member of any bar association, you only have to complete 12 hours of education, pass the broker’s exam, and complete a fingerprint background check to obtain your Colorado real estate license. Also, if you hold a degree with a major course of study in real estate, you can be exempt from the prerequisite education.
There are many options for online real estate schools, but if you’d like to get started on your prelicensing courses right away, Kaplan can be a great option for you. Its online courses allow you to complete your 168 hours of education from the comfort of your home.
3. Get Your Fingerprints & Background Check
DORA requires that all candidates submit fingerprints for a background check with the Colorado Bureau of Investigation (CBI). This process can take several weeks, so it’s important to start early to make sure everything can be completed in time to receive your license. There are multiple options for fingerprint services:
- Option 1 – IdentoGO: Make an appointment by clicking on “Schedule or Manage Appointment. Costs range from $20 to $30.
- Option 2 – Colorado Fingerprinting: This option is available for individuals living in Colorado through the Colorado Applicant Background Services (CABS). Create an account to schedule your appointment and enter the real estate broker code 0800REEI when prompted. The cost for this service is $39.50.
Your fingerprints will be utilized to check both state and federal arrest records. Applicants are required to report all criminal convictions from 10 years prior and any pending cases. A written explanation and documentation of the incident are required to be submitted with your application. The Real Estate Commission will determine approval on a case-by-case basis, and aspiring agents can request review prior to beginning their real estate education by submitting a preliminary advisory opinion (PAO).
For additional information, further regulations are outlined in the Code of Colorado Requirements under section A-12.
4. Take the Colorado Real Estate Exam
Now that you’ve completed paperwork and education, you will be required to pass your licensing exam. Luckily, Colorado has a higher passing rate than most states at 77%, and you will receive your results immediately after completing the exam since the test is taken on a computer at a test center or proctored from your home.
In the event that you do not pass, you have the option of retaking the exam as many times as necessary within a year from finishing your prelicensing education. Also, if you do fail, you will be provided a diagnostic report of your strengths and weaknesses so that you can study for the appropriate portion, national or state, that you need to review and retake.
Colorado Real Estate Exam Details
Items to Bring to Exam
One valid form of ID is required and needs to match your registration name. It can be any of the following:
75% to pass the Colorado Real Estate Salesperson Exam (at least 60/80 on the national portion and 56/74 on the state portion)
Schedule Your Exam
The Colorado real estate exam is provided by PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.
You will receive a copy of the Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the exam is $44.95 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card. If you require an exam retake, the fee is $42.50.
If you need to strengthen your skills prior to test day, we recommend Real Estate Exam Scholar for a comprehensive exam prep course. It offers top-notch exam prep for an affordable price. Even better, it also offers a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass on the first try.
5. Pick a Company to Work for
To hold an active license in Colorado, you must find a sponsoring brokerage 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 Centennial State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2021.
New Era Group
Your Castle Real Estate
The Bartic Group
Keller Williams Realty
The Johnson Team
Keller Williams Realty
Griffith Home Team
Your Castle Real Estate
(Data from Real Trends 2021)
Colorado Cities with Highest Median Sales Price 2021
The median price that homes are selling for correlates directly to the amount of commission a real estate agent collects. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks in Colorado check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
6. Acquire Errors & Omissions Insurance
To have an active license, all brokers are required to have errors and omissions insurance (E&O). This is used to protect real estate businesses from mistakes made during professional service. Some brokerages may provide their brokers with E&O. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase it for yourself. DORA works closely with Rice Insurance Services, LLC to provide affordable options, or you can choose your own provider and submit the Independent Coverage Certification Form.
7. Apply for Your Colorado Real Estate License
Once you’ve guaranteed E&O coverage independently or through your affiliate brokerage, you can move forward with applying for your license. Applications are done online through eLicense via the DORA website, where you must create an account and follow the instructions to upload and complete documentation for licensure.
Your employing brokerage must agree to your application license, and you must apply for your license within one year of passing your exam. The cost for your initial licensing application is $485 and takes about 10 days to process through its system. You will receive a notification via email when your license becomes active officially.
8. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Colorado, 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