Acquiring a real estate license in Florida is as simple as the checkout line at your local Publix. With 63 hours of Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC)-approved prelicensing education, a background check, and a passing exam score, you can be on your way to a career in the real estate industry. For some help, follow this step-by step guide to on how to get your real estate license in the Sunshine State.
Here we go, Gators.
1. Meet the State’s Legal Requirements
In order to prequalify for a Florida real estate license, there are pretty simple guidelines. Candidates must be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted alien.
Those with an existing criminal record may still apply for a real estate license in Florida, but license approval will depend on the specific crime, as well as the amount of time that has elapsed since the crime was committed. You can look at the Florida’s Chief Financial Officer website to get a better idea of the waiting periods for specific offenses and which offenses are deal-breakers with the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) and the FREC.
In certain circumstances, the FREC will schedule a hearing following their background check to give you the opportunity to plead your case and evaluate if you should still be able to get your real estate license. You are entitled to have legal representation throughout this process. After the hearing, the FREC will decide if your application will move forward, but keep in mind it may take upward of 90 days to go through these proceedings.
Did you know? If you plan on working in states besides Florida, you need to know the real estate license reciprocity and portability laws specific to Florida. Florida has mutual recognition agreements with seven states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Indiana, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. Florida is also a cooperative state in terms of portability.
This means Florida allows out-of-state real estate agents and brokers to physically enter the state to conduct real estate business. However, in order 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 New York, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability here.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
In order to get a real estate license in Florida, you will need to complete 63 hours of real estate prelicensing courses. You can either complete these hours in-person or at an accredited online Florida real estate education school, with costs ranging from $119 to $599, depending on your provider. The courses will cover:
- 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? Any active member of the Florida Bar who is in good standing and qualified under the real estate license law is exempt from taking the real estate sales associate prerequisite course. Also, if you hold a four-year degree in real estate, you may be exempt from taking the prelicensing education. To determine if you qualify for the exemption, you can submit your original transcript with your application to be reviewed.
After you’ve completed your courses, you must pass the school exam to obtain your official Certificate of Completion. The school exam will be administered by your education provider either in-person or proctored online and requires a 70% pass rating. Once you have fully completed these prelicensing requirements, you’re ready to continue on to the next step in the licensing process.
There are many options for online real estate schools, but if you’re ready to start today, Real Estate Express can be a great option for you. That way, your 63 hours can be customized to fit your schedule.
3. Get Fingerprints & Background Check
The FREC requires that all applicants submit fingerprints to complete a background check in conjunction with your real estate license. You can use any Live Scan service provider to get your fingerprints taken as long as it’s approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement (FDLE); take a look at this list of approved service providers to find a convenient spot for you. Keep in mind that you’ll need to have your fingerprints taken at least five days before you send your license application since the results need to be received by the Department prior to reviewing your application.
The fee for fingerprinting depends on the provider you choose, but can range from $50 to $80. You will also have to supply the following information when you get your fingerprints:
- Two forms of identification: Must bear your picture and signature, such as a driver’s license, state identification card, or passport
- Clearly identify the profession for which you are seeking licensure: You can choose either Real Estate Sales or a Broker’s license
- Your Social Security number
- Originating Agency Identification (ORI) number: Aspiring Real Estate Sales and Brokers should use FL920010Z
If you have additional questions about the fingerprint process, check out the FAQs page from the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation (DBPR).
4. Apply for Your License
Before taking your Florida licensing exam, submit your application via the DBPR online portal or by mail using the printable Florida license application. Both will require a fee of $83.75 paid online or by a personal check or money order. The DBPR will review all applications, but you will receive application approval via email from a company called Pearson VUE within 10 to 30 days.
Pearson VUE, a global testing company, will be the company administering your Florida license exam. The email will give notification that you have received “Authorization to Test” along with your nine-digit candidate ID number to signify you’re ready to schedule your real estate exam.
5. Take the Florida State Exam
Once you’ve swatted all of the paperwork out of the way like a swarm of no-see’ums, it’s time to schedule and pass your exam. The pass rate for the Florida real estate exam tends to be a bit lower than most states at 50% to 55%. You will receive your results immediately after the examination so if you do not pass, you can reschedule within 24 hours. The good news is you can take the exam as many times as you’d like until you pass as long as it’s within the two years after your prelicensing education.
100 multiple-choice questions
Items to Bring to Exam
75% to pass the Florida Real Estate Sales Associate Exam
Schedule Your Exam
The global testing company, Pearson VUE, is the official administrator of the Florida real estate exam. You can schedule directly on the Pearson VUE website and will receive a copy of the Candidate Fact Sheet for additional information. You can pay the $36.75 exam fee directly through the Pearson website using a credit card, debit card, or voucher.
Even though the passing rate is rather low, if you work hard and take the courses seriously, you should have no problem passing the exam. If you’re looking for help studying for the test, we recommend Real Estate Exam Scholar’s Exam prep course. They offer top-notch exam prep for an affordable price. Even better, they also offer a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass on the first try.
6. Pick a Company to Work For
In order to hold an active license in Florida, 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 Sunshine State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2021.
The Jills Zeder Group
Coldwell Banker Realty
Laurie Finkelstein Reader Real Estate Team
Laurie Finkelstein Reader Real Estate
Domain Realty Group
The Carroll Team
Nancy Leslie Team
RE/MAX Realtec Group
*Data from Real Trends 2021
Florida 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 Florida, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Florida, you’re ready to start your real estate journey. For more information, take a look at our Top 25 New Real Estate Agent Tips From the Pros or 14 Real Estate Agent Tips for 2021 to jump-start your career.