This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
To get your New Mexico real estate license and become an agent (or associate broker as it’s called in the Land of Enchantment), you’ll be required to complete 90 hours of New Mexico Real Estate Commission (NMREC)-approved prelicensing education. In addition, you need to get a background check, pass the state exam, pick a sponsoring brokerage, submit an application, and acquire errors and omissions insurance. Let us guide you through the step-by-step process of becoming a real estate agent in New Mexico.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements to Become a Real Estate Agent in New Mexico
To make sure you’re able to get your New Mexico real estate license, you must first meet the state’s legal requirements. You’re required to be at least 18 years of age and be a legal resident of the U.S. to be eligible for licensure.
Did you know? New Mexico has reciprocity agreements with Georgia, Louisiana, and Massachusetts. If you are licensed in one of these states, you can apply for a prelicensing education waiver and submit an application to bypass the education hours and exam to receive your New Mexico real estate license. For agents outside of these states, you can complete the education waiver and, if qualified, will only be required to complete 30 hours of Broker Basics and the state portion of the New Mexico real estate exam.
Also, New Mexico is a turf state in terms of portability. A turf state does not allow out-of-state agents or brokers to conduct any business in their state, either in-person or remotely. The only option to work with clients in a turf state is to refer them to a licensee of the turf state. To learn more about real estate license portability in New Mexico, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
If you have a criminal record, you may still be eligible to get a real estate license in New Mexico. It would be difficult to do so if you’ve been convicted of certain felonies—and especially if the offense occurred within the last three years. However, the Commission considers criminal records on a case-to-case basis. Review 16.61.3 New Mexico Administrative Code, Section 9 and 15 for specific details based on the offense.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
Once you’ve determined you qualify based on the state’s legal requirements, you should start right away on your associate broker’s prelicensing education. The courses are split into three 30-hour courses: Real Estate Law, Real Estate Principles and Practice, and Broker Basics. Aspiring licensees are required to complete all 90 hours to move forward with licensure.
Choose to take your classes either in-person or online at an accredited real estate school. Prices range from $735 to $899 and cover the following topics:
- 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
- Real estate commission
- Licensing requirements
- Real estate commission regulations
- Broker duties, disclosure, and brokerage relationships
- Additional state-required topics
Ninety hours can take up a lot of time, so consider an online real estate school in New Mexico like Kaplan to complete your hours as quickly and conveniently as possible. They offer livestream online classes as well as hybrid classes that combine on-demand video and live classes to fit your learning needs and schedule. In addition, Kaplan’s continuing education and qualifying broker course can be a one-stop shop to continue your education after you’ve completed your associate broker’s license and started your career.
3. Get Fingerprints & Complete Background
After you’ve completed your prelicensing education, make time to get your fingerprints taken and background checked. Fingerprints can take up to two weeks to process, so it’s in your best interest to get them as soon as possible to avoid any delays in your application.
Fingerprints are completed by Live Scan Gemalto Cogent, a national third-party fingerprint vendor. To get started, applicants are required to register on the Cogent website using the NMREC identifier number NM920263Z. The $44 payment can be made directly on the Cogent website using a credit or debit card or at the fingerprint site with a money order or cashier’s check.
Review the Live Scan fingerprint locations to find one nearest to you and prepare the appropriate documents to take with you. You’re required to bring a valid photo ID, like a driver’s license or passport, and the Fingerprint Certification Form to be completed by the vendor. This document needs to be saved and submitted to the NMREC in order to obtain your license.
4. Take the New Mexico Real Estate Exam
After you’ve gotten your background check underway, you’re ready to take your New Mexico real estate exam.
Your exam will consist of the national and state portion and is administered on the computer. Immediately following the exam, your exam score will be displayed on the computer screen or printed at the exam site.
If you pass, you’ll receive a successful notification and be able to continue with the real estate licensing process. If you fail one or both portions of the exam, you’ll be required to retake the portions you’ve failed. Both portions must be passed within 90 days of the first time you took the exam. Otherwise, you’ll be required to retake and pass both portions before being able to move forward with your license.
New Mexico Real Estate Exam Details
75 nationally focused questions
50 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
75% to pass the New Mexico Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with at least 60/75 on the national portion and 38/50 on the state portion
Unfortunately, New Mexico does not provide its average exam pass rating.
Schedule Your Exam
The New Mexico real estate exam is provided by the PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. Aspiring associate brokers must apply for eligibility with the PSI to qualify and sit for the exam. They should submit the completed Eligibility/Examination Registration Form, which is found on pages 11 and 12 of the New Mexico Candidate Information Bulletin.
You must submit the registration form with the exam fee of $95 fee by credit card, money order, company check, or cashier’s check payable to the PSI. By mail, this may take up to two weeks to process, or you can submit the registration form via email, which will cut the waiting time down to six business days.
After you’re approved by PSI, you’ll receive an eligibility postcard with instructions on how to schedule your exam. To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.
Want to make sure you pass your exam on the first try? Enlist the help of an exam preparation provider like PrepAgent. PrepAgent uses tools like interactive vocabulary worksheets, live online webinars, and audio lessons to help you reinforce and retain the knowledge you’ll need to pass your New Mexico real estate license exam.
5. Pick a Company to Work For
In order to hold an active license in New Mexico, you must find a sponsoring brokerage 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 Land of Enchantment, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022.
Keller Williams Realty
Coldwell Banker Legacy
David Roybal & Associates
Keller Williams Realty
Keller Williams Realty
The Buchman Group
Keller Williams Realty
(Source: Real Trends 2022)
New Mexico Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2022
Understanding the price points in your state is the first step to becoming a real estate expert. It will help you guide your clients, be knowledgeable about market trends, and create income goals for your business. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks in New Mexico, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
6. Acquire Errors & Omissions Insurance
After you’ve passed your exam and are ready to activate your New Mexico real estate license, you’re required to have errors and omissions insurance (E&O). This is used to protect real estate businesses from mistakes made during professional service.
NMREC works closely with Rice Insurance Services, LLC to provide affordable options. Otherwise, you’ll have to purchase it yourself and submit a Certificate of Equivalent Coverage Errors and Omissions Insurance from your E&O carrier.
7. Apply for Your New Mexico License
Once you’ve secured E&O insurance, you’re ready to apply for your associate broker’s license. Applicants are required to register and complete their application online through the New Mexico Regulation and Licensing Department (NMRLD) portal.
After you’re registered, follow the detailed NMRLD instructions to set up your account and begin uploading documentation to get your license. These documents include:
- Course Complete Certification (for all three 30-hour courses)
- Original passing PSI national broker exam score
- Original passing PSI New Mexico broker exam score
- Fingerprint information
- Errors and omissions insurance certificate
Along with these documents, you’ll need to submit a $270 application fee via credit or debit card directly on the website. Applicants must apply for the associate broker’s license within six months of passing both portions of the real estate exam. If you do not apply within six months, you’ll be required to retake the entire exam or provide a reasonable written explanation to the Commission as to why the deadline couldn’t be met.
8. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in New Mexico, you’re ready to start your professional 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.
- 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.