This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting a Texas real estate license is tough compared to other states. You need a total of 180 prelicensing hours approved by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) along with fingerprints, a background check, and a passing exam, but you don’t have to do it solo. This article will provide step-by-step instructions on how to get your real estate license in the Lone Star State.
Here we go, ya’ll.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Texas Real Estate License
The state requirements of Texas are pretty simple: You have to be at least 18 years of age and you either have to be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted alien. Unlike other states that require a high school diploma or GED, Texas does not have any education background requirements.
However, if you have any criminal offenses, unpaid judgments, performed unlicensed activity, or discipline taken against a professional or occupational license, you will need to disclose this information using a form called the Fitness Determination (FD). You’ll also need to submit a Background History Form. These forms are used by the TREC to determine if you meet their qualifications for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity and are cleared to get your real estate license. They cost $50 and can be mailed to the TREC offices.
Did you know? Texas does not offer reciprocity with any other state, and it is a physical location state in terms of portability. This means that you are allowed to conduct business in another state, but 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 Texas, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability here.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
If you’ve met the state’s legal requirements, then it’s time to embark on completing the prelicensing education requirement. Accredited online real estate education in Texas for prelicensing can range from $415 to $980 for a full package of online courses.
The courses will cover such topics as:
- Principles of Real Estate (60 hours)
- Law of Agency (30 hours)
- Law of Contracts (30 hours)
- Promulgated Contracts Forms (30 hours)
- Real Estate Finance (30 hours)
Did you know? According to the TREC rules, if you are a licensed attorney in good standing with the Texas bar, you are exempt from taking the real estate salesperson course. However, they cannot sponsor other real estate salespeople or act as a broker.
There are many options for online real estate schools, but if you’re fixin’ to take your prelicensing courses sooner rather than later, Real Estate Express can be a great option for you. That way, your 180 hours can be customized to fit your schedule.
3. Apply for Your Texas Real Estate License
Once you’ve completed your prelicensing hours, you can visit the TREC website to apply for your license or submit via mail. You will have one year from the date of your application to complete the remaining steps required to become an agent in Texas, or the application will be terminated. It’s also worth noting that the state will require payment and time to process your application as well:
- Processing time: On average, it can take up to four weeks for your application to be processed and approved.
- Texas real estate application fee: $185 (online, checks, money orders).
Once your application has been processed, the state will consider your Texas real estate license inactive until you pass the real estate exam and find a sponsoring brokerage. Only then will the state designate an applicant’s license as active. To apply for your initial license, you’ll need the following:
- Application for Inactive Sales License
- Copy of all course completion certificates
- College transcripts (if applicable)
- Receipt of application
That said, if you have already found a brokerage to sponsor you prior to passing your exam and being approved by TREC, you may use the Sales Agent Sponsorship Form instead of the Application for Inactive Sales License.
4. Get Your Fingerprint & Background Check
TREC requires that all applicants receive a background check and have fingerprint history on file. Fingerprinting is completed by a third-party company called MorphoTrust. If you’ve already submitted fingerprints, they should be on file and therefore not needed again. If you do not have fingerprints, you can make an appointment online with MorphoTrust at a location convenient for you. The cost for fingerprinting is $38.25 if you have not been previously fingerprinted for TREC, and an additional $10 for initial license applicants.
5. Take the Texas Real Estate Exam
Now that you’ve completed all the paperwork and your courses, you should be ready and rarin’ to schedule and pass your real estate exam. The passing rate for the Texas real estate license exam is about 60%, and you will have three attempts to pass the national and state portions. After each attempt, you will receive a scorecard that will inform you of the sections you excelled at and those you failed so you can determine where to focus on your studies.
You can reschedule your exam 24 hours after your failed attempt. If you fail one portion of the exam three times, you must take an additional 30 hours of education. However, if you fail both portions, you must take an additional 60 hours of education.
Texas Real Estate Exam Details
80 national-focused questions
30 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to Exam
70 to pass the Texas Real Estate Salesperson Exam (at least 56/80 on the national portion, and 21/30 on the Texas portion)
Schedule Your Exam
Exams are scheduled directly through PearsonVUE, which a global testing company, but it handles real estate testing for Texas. Upon registration, you will be provided a copy of the Candidate Handbook to help you prepare for the exam day. You can pay the $54 exam fee directly through the Pearson website via credit card, debit card, or voucher.
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.
6. Pick a Company to Work For
In order to hold an active Texas real estate license, you must find a sponsoring brokerage and complete your Sales Agent Sponsorship Form. 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 successful brokerages in Texas, but here are the top five brokerages reported for 2021*:
THE LOKEN GROUP, INC
Keller Williams Realty
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas
The Agency Texas
The Flory Team
RE/MAX Universal - The Flory Team
The Matthews Team
*Data from Real Trends 2021
Texas Cities With Highest Median Sales Price 2021
Let’s face it, higher listing prices mean higher commission checks. To get a sense of which cities offer the best opportunities for big bucks in Texas, check out this sales data from Towncharts.com below:
Median Home Value
7. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Texas, 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