This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting a Minnesota real estate license is pretty easy compared to many other states. You must complete 90 hours of prelicensing education approved by the Minnesota Commerce Department (MCD), pass the licensing exam, find a sponsoring brokerage, and have your broker submit your application. We’re ready to guide you through the step-by-step process of how to become a real estate agent in Minnesota.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Minnesota Real Estate License
Before moving forward with the steps to get a real estate license in Minnesota, you must meet the state’s legal requirements. Minnesota requires you to be at least 18 years of age and be a lawful permanent resident of the U.S.
Did you know?
Minnesota has reciprocity agreements with several other states, so agents already licensed in those states do not have to take MCD’s prelicensing courses. Agents from Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, Oklahoma, and South Dakota are required to apply on the PULSE Portal, email a letter certifying your current license, and complete the state portion of the exam for licensure. If you’re from Wisconsin, in addition to the state exam you must complete a 13-hour Wisconsin-to-Minnesota prelicensing course.
Minnesota is also a physical location state in terms of portability. Realtors from other states can do business in Minnesota, but can’t physically enter the state to do so. Out-of-state agents may not enter the state for showings, closings, or any other reason. To learn more about Minnesota real estate license portability, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability here.
If you have a criminal record, you still may be able to become a real estate agent in Minnesota. You’ll be required to submit official documents to show the extent of the offense as well as how it was resolved.
These documents include a written statement explaining the circumstances of each incident, a copy of the charging documents, and a copy of official documents demonstrating resolution. The MCD will review the documents to see if you are eligible for your license. For more information, read page 45 of the Minnesota Real Estate License Guide.
2. Complete the Required Prelicensing Courses
If you meet the legal requirements to obtain a real estate license in Minnesota, it’s time to move forward with your prelicensing education. Minnesota requires 90 hours of courses broken into three 30-hour sections known as Course I, Course II, and Course III. You must complete Course I prior to taking your real estate license exam and you must complete Courses II and III before applying for your license.
Rather than split up the hours, many agents complete all 90 hours at once at an accredited real estate school. These can be completed in person or at an online real estate school. Prices range from $279 to $679 and cover the following topics:
- Real property characteristics, legal descriptions, and property use
- Forms of ownership, transfer, and recording of title
- Property value and appraisal
- Real estate contracts and agency
- Real estate practice
- Property disclosures and environmental issues
- Financing and settlement
- Real estate math calculations
- Real estate brokerage license law
- Contracts and disclosures
- Interest in real property
- Conveyance procedures and protection of parties
- Financial instruments: obligations, rights, remedies
To get started with the courses you need today, consider Kaplan for online real estate education in Minnesota. Kaplan lets you choose from livestream, on-demand video, and hybrid courses so your learning environment fits your needs and prepares you to pass your real estate exam. Try Kaplan’s course demos to understand which learning style is best for you.
3. Pass the Minnesota Real Estate License Exam
The Minnesota real estate licensing exam is administered on the computer and divided into the national (general) portion and state portion. You will be required to pass both portions of the exam in order to obtain your license. After the exam, you will receive a score report marked as pass or fail.
If you pass the exam, you can continue with the license application process. If you fail one or both parts of the exam, a score report will be issued that includes a diagnostic breakdown of your strengths and weaknesses so you can further prepare. Candidates are required to retake the failed portion (or portions) but must wait 24 hours to reschedule the next exam attempt.
Minnesota Real Estate Exam Details
80 nationally focused questions
50 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
All candidates must also provide one of the following:
75% to pass the Minnesota Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with (at least 60/80 on the national portion and 38/50 on the state portion)
Unfortunately, Minnesota does not provide the average pass rating for the real estate license exam
Schedule Your Exam
When you’ve completed either the first 30 hours of prelicensing education or all 90 hours, you can schedule your real estate exam. Minnesotans must register for the exam on the Pearson VUE website. You’ll need to create an account and pay the $63 examination fee during registration. Be sure to review the Minnesota real estate candidate handbook for all exam and license details.
If test-taking isn’t your forte, working with an exam preparation provider like PrepAgent will help you succeed. There are various course packages based on how much time you need to prepare as well as tools to make sure you pass on the first attempt. Choose from one week to one year of access to PrepAgent and use tools like flashcards, vocabulary, videos, audio, and more to guarantee a passing score.
4. Pick a Sponsoring Brokerage to Work For
In order to hold an active real estate license in Minnesota, 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 article explaining how to choose a real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the North Star State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022.
Chad Schwendeman Real Estate Group
EXIT Lakes Realty Premier
John Schuster Group
Coldwell Banker Realty
JP Willman Realty Twin Cities
Keller Williams Realty
(Source: Real Trends 2022)
Minnesota Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2022
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 for Minnesota realtors, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
5. Brokerage Submits Your Minnesota License Application
Once you’ve successfully passed your exam, you’re ready to become a licensed real estate agent in Minnesota. Unlike most other states, instead of submitting your own application, your sponsoring brokerage is required to submit the real estate license request on your behalf through the MCD online PULSE Portal. The application fee is $110 and can be paid via credit or debit card.
The fee includes $30 for a technology surcharge and $30 for the real estate education, research, and recovery fund. A complete application must be submitted within six months; incomplete applications will be considered withdrawn and nonrefundable after that time frame. When approved by the MCD, your broker will print out your official Minnesota real estate license so you’re ready to start a successful real estate career.
6. Start Your Real Estate Career in Minnesota
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Minnesota, it’s time to embark on your professional journey. For more information and ideas to help jump-start your career, 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.
- Jump-start 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.