Becoming a real estate agent in Ohio is a little more challenging than in most other states. To earn your license you are required to complete 120 hours of education approved by the Ohio Real Estate Commission (OREC), complete a background check, find a sponsoring brokerage, and submit a license application—all before passing your licensing exam. Read through our step-by-step guide to help you navigate through the entire process of becoming a real estate agent in Ohio.
1. Meet Ohio’s Legal Requirements
To qualify for your Ohio real estate license, you must be at least 18 years old, hold a high school diploma or GED, obtain sponsorship from a broker licensed in Ohio, and be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident. You are also required to be honest, truthful, and of good reputation, which is determined through review of your criminal record.
If you hold a criminal record with a conviction of any felony or crime of moral turpitude, you are disqualified from becoming a real estate agent in Ohio. Additionally, if you’ve violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the past two years or violated any rules of the Ohio Division of Real Estate, you may also be disqualified.
It is possible to have a conviction or violation disregarded, but that determination is made only after completing your license application. You can review the Disqualified Offenses worksheet and contact the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing for more information.
Did you know? Ohio offers full reciprocity with Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming. This means agents already licensed in other states do not have to take all of OREC’s prelicensing courses, but are still required to complete a background check, a reciprocal application, a Consent to Service of Process form, and the Ohio Real Estate Law course to be approved for a reciprocal license.
Also, Ohio is a cooperative state in terms of portability, so out-of-state real estate agents or brokers are allowed to physically enter the state of Ohio 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 in Ohio. To learn more about real estate license portability in Ohio, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
If you are legally qualified to become a real estate agent in Ohio, you can proceed with your OREC-approved prelicensing courses. The courses can be taken in-person or at an accredited online real estate school in Ohio. Prices range from $1,425 to $1,599 and consist of the following topics:
- Real Estate Principles and Practices: 40 hours
- Ohio Real Estate Law, including instruction in civil rights, housing discrimination and desegregation problems: 40 hours
- Real Estate Appraisal: 20 hours
- Real Estate Finance: 20 hours
Did you know? If you are an active, licensed attorney in the state of Ohio, you can bypass the Ohio Real Estate Law hours required to get your real estate license.
Picking an accredited real estate school is the next step in the right direction for how to become a real estate agent in Ohio. The CE Shop offers initial licensing education for aspiring agents, but also can help you fulfill your licensing requirements throughout your real estate career. They offer high-quality education in a self-paced format that can easily fit into your schedule.
3. Pick a Company to Work For
To hold an active license in Ohio, 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 guide on choosing the right real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the Buckeye State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2021.
The Raines Group
Keller Williams Realty
Casey & Associates
Keller Williams Realty
Tammy Grogan & Associates
Cutler Real Estate
(Source: Real Trends 2021)
Ohio Cities With the Highest Median Sales Price in 2021
The higher the price that homes are selling for means the higher commission you have the opportunity to earn. To get a sense of which cities are bringing in the bucks for real estate agents and brokers in Ohio, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
4. Apply for Your Ohio Real Estate License
Once you have completed your prelicensing education and picked a sponsoring brokerage to work with, you must submit your Ohio real estate application. Unlike other states, you are required to submit a full application in order to sit for your examination. The Ohio salesperson application must be submitted by mail to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing along with a check or money order for $81, and a copy of the certificate of completion from your prelicensing education provider.
Once your application is processed, the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing will send the applicant’s information to the testing vendor and then you’ll be able to take the real estate exam. For more information, read the Requirements for an Ohio Real Estate Salesperson’s License.
5. Get Fingerprints & Background Check
All applicants are required to get their fingerprints taken so OREC can review your background prior to licensure. Your fingerprints will be examined by the state of Ohio and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) to determine if you have a criminal record. You are required to have your fingerprints taken within 10 days of filing an application, but not before filing your application with the Ohio Division of Real Estate.
Fingerprints are taken by WebCheck, which is a company that provides criminal record check services for businesses, government agencies, and private entities. Schedule your appointment at an Ohio location near you and make sure you bring your government-issued ID to confirm your identity. Prices range depending on your location, but are around $50 to $80. The results will be provided to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing within 30 days.
Keep in mind that you are required to have your fingerprints checked by both the FBI and the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I). Make a note that you must instruct WebCheck to use the following reason codes and to have BCI&I send the results (state and FBI criminal records check) to the Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing:
- BCI&I Reason Code: 4735 05 and/or 121 08
- FBI Reason Code: 121 08
- Address to send to: Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing 77 S High St., 20th Fl. Columbus, OH 43215-6133
For additional information about fingerprinting, refer to Ohio’s Additional Instruction for Applications Worksheet.
6. Take the Ohio Real Estate Exam
Although Ohio does not post its average pass rating for the real estate exam, in order to become an agent in Ohio, you must score at least a 70% to pass. The exam is made up of national and state portions, which must both be passed to move forward with licensure. The exam is administered on the computer so you will know immediately after completion whether you passed.
If you fail one or both portions of the exam, you can submit a retake application and fee to reschedule your exam. The retake application will be provided to you at the exam site following a failing score report. Fortunately, you have a one-year period to pass the exam after receiving your scheduling information from the testing vendor.
80 nationally-focused questions 40 state-specific questions 180 minutes
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification with signatures are required:
70% to pass the Ohio Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Unfortunately, unlike other states, Ohio does not publish its average pass rate
Schedule Your Exam
Once your application is completed and processed, you will receive the Ohio Candidate Information Bulletin with instructions on how to schedule your exam. The Ohio real estate exam is provided by PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams. In order to begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which then allows access to the scheduling portal.
The fee to take the exam is $58 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card. If you are retaking only one portion, the fee to take either the national or state exam is $39.
For extra help studying for your exam, consider trying Real Estate Exam Scholar. For the low price of $39, you will be provided with exam simulations, flashcards, vocabulary, and more, and you’ll get six months of access to their platform. Even more, they have a Pass Guarantee that guarantees your success on the first attempt or your money back.
7. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Ohio, 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.