This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting your real estate license in New York is pretty easy compared to most states. You need a total of 75 prelicensing education hours, a passing score on your school and state exam, and a sponsoring brokerage to start your real estate career in New York. This step-by-step guide will help you navigate your way through the Knickerbocker State’s prelicensing requirements to help you get your New York real estate license and start your career.
Here we go, New Yorkers.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your New York Real Estate License
In order to become a real estate agent, you must first qualify for a license in the Empire State. To do this, you must be at least 18 years old and possess a high school diploma or GED. It is worth noting that you do not have to live in the state of New York, but you must be a U.S. citizen or lawfully admitted alien and have an approved form of identification.
Native New Yorkers who possess a valid driver’s license within the state are all set, but those who don’t drive, or are commuting from another state, have the option of getting a non-driver’s identification card to meet this requirement. Getting your non-driver’s identification card requires the same process as getting your driver’s license in any state—minus the driver’s test. You can make an appointment at the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) and bring proper identification to obtain it.
Note: If you’ve been found guilty of a felony or sex offense, it will be difficult to get your New York real estate license. However, if you have only one felony on your record, you can apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities through the court to remove certain collateral consequences from your record. If you’ve had more than one felony, you can apply for the Certificate of Good Conduct to see if you can move forward with real estate licensing. Once these documents have been submitted, the New York Department of State (NYDOS) will determine if you are eligible for licensure.
Did you know? If you plan on working in states besides New York, you need to know the real estate license reciprocity and portability laws specific to New York. New York has reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia; see the NYDOS website to make sure your license qualifies.
New York is also a physical location state in terms of portability. This means that you are allowed to conduct business in another state, but it doesn’t allow you to enter the state for the purpose of conducting real estate business. An agent or broker from another state must conduct all out-of-state business remotely and may not enter the state for showings, closings, or any other reason. 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 & School Exam
Once you’ve met the state’s legal requirements, you will have to begin your accredited prelicensing courses either in-person or at an online real estate school in New York, a cost that ranges from $149 to $495. The 75-hour NYDOS approved real estate salesperson qualifying courses include:
- Basic Principles of Real Estate
- Commercial and Investment Properties
- Human Rights and Fair Housing
- Law of Agency
- Real Estate Finance, Construction
- Environmental Issues
- Condominiums and Cooperatives
Did you know? If you are an attorney currently admitted to the New York State bar, you already qualify for licensure. Also, the NYDOS may waive your 75-hour education requirement if you hold a Bachelor’s degree with a concentration in real estate or have completed similar prelicensing courses in another state. If this applies to you, mail your official transcript or original Certificate of Course Completion from a recognized real estate school along with a letter requesting waiver of the education requirements to the NYDOS.
Prelicensing courses aren’t considered complete until you pass a school exam. This is separate from the New York real estate license exam, but you will be required to take and pass it in order to continue on to the next step in the licensing process. The school exam will be administered by your education provider either in-person or proctored online and requires a 70% pass rating. Once you’ve passed your school exam, you will receive a Certificate of Completion to signify your completed 75 hours of education.
There are many options for online real estate schools, but if you’re ready to get started in a New York minute, Colibri Real Estate can be a great option for you. That way, your 75 hours can be customized to fit your schedule.
3. Take the New York Real Estate Exam
Once you’ve completed your prelicensing education and school exam, it’s time to pass your state exam. The pass rate for the New York real estate license exam is about 60% on the first attempt and 80% on the second attempt. You can take the state exam as many times as you’d like until you pass by rescheduling within 24 hours after your failed attempt.
New York Real Estate Exam Details
Items to Bring to Exam
Schedule Your Exam
In order to schedule your exam, you must first create an account using your personal email address through eAccessNY, which is a website run through the NYDOS that contains all of your real estate licensing information, including your exam scheduling, exam results, sponsoring brokerage, continuing education hours, and so on. You will continue to use this account throughout your time as a real estate agent in New York. After you’ve created your account, you will be able to apply to take the exam in the location most convenient for you. The exam costs $15 and can be paid directly on the eAccessNY website.
To view the results of your exam, log into your eAccessNY account and click on “View Exam Results,” where you will receive either a pass or fail notification typically within two to four weeks after taking the exam. You must apply for your license within two years of passing for your application to remain valid.
To strengthen your skills before exam day, we recommend Real Estate Exam Scholar’s 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.
4. Pick a Company to Work For
To have an active New York real estate license, you must find a sponsoring brokerage to work under. To make your choice a little bit easier, check out our in-depth guide on choosing the right real estate company to work for. There are many brokerages in New York that are outstanding, but here are the top five brokerages reported for 2021.
The Aguayo Team
Halstead Real Estate
The Hudson Advisory Team
The Noble Black Team
The Holly Parker Team
*Data from Real Trends 2021
New York Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2021
The market trends, in terms of pricing, determine the amount of commission you’ll be able to put in your pocket. To get a sense of which cities offer the best opportunities for big bucks in New York, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
5. Apply for Your New York License
After you’ve passed your exams and chosen a brokerage to work with, it will be time to apply for your initial real estate salesperson license. Similar to registering for your exam, the application process will go through eAccessNY or you can mail in the NY real estate salesperson application if you prefer. If you are completing your application online, there is no need to mail anything into the NYDOS.
Once you’ve entered your own details, you need to enter your sponsoring brokerage license number, known as the Unique Identification Number (UID#), which you can get directly from the brokerage you are planning to join. Complete the additional questions and submit your payment of $55 directly on the website.
Your sponsoring brokerage will be responsible for going onto eAccessNY and accepting your license. This process is immediate, but your paper license and real estate salesperson identification card will be mailed to your brokerage in about two to three weeks.
6. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to get a real estate license in New York, 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