This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Becoming a real estate agent in Virginia is straightforward when you know the steps. You are required to fulfill 60 hours of approved prelicensing education, pass the Virginia real estate exam, submit fingerprints for a background check, affiliate with a sponsoring brokerage, and submit your application to the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). Grab a tall glass of sweet tea and join us as we walk you through the steps of how to get your Virginia real estate license.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Virginia Real Estate License
Virginia requires you to be at least 18 years of age and hold a high school diploma or GED to qualify to become a real estate agent in The Old Dominion State.
Did you know? Virginia has full reciprocity with other states for licensed agents who have been active in the real estate business during 24 of the previous 36 months. This means if you are already licensed in another state, you do not have to take DPOR’s prelicensing courses, but you are required to pass the background check and state portion of the real estate exam to become a licensed real estate agent in Virginia. After completing these requirements, you can apply online through the DPOR website.
Also, Virginia is a physical location state in terms of portability. It allows agents and brokers from other states to do business in Virginia, but doesn’t allow them to enter the state to conduct real estate business. This means that 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 Virginia, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
Once you’ve determined you meet Virginia’s legal requirements, your next step is to complete 60 hours of required prelicensing courses. They can be fulfilled through in-person classes or at an online real estate school in Virginia, with costs ranging from $160 to $350. The 60 hours of education includes classes on 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
- Disclosure Requirements
- Agency Definitions and Relationships
- Virginia Fair Housing Law and Regulations
- Specific Acts Pertaining to Real Estate Practice
- Escrow Accounts
If you’re looking to get started right away at an accredited online real estate school, consider Kaplan for your Virginia prelicensing courses. With a positive reputation in the education field, Kaplan provides both online and on demand education options at reasonable prices. Their packages include classes you need to fulfill your initial real estate licensing and continuing education requirements throughout your real estate career.
3. Take the Virginia Real Estate Exam
Virginia’s average pass rating is 53% on the national portion and 49% on the state portion of the exam, which proves that the Virginia real estate exam is difficult, but not impossible. The exam is administered on the computer so you will learn the results immediately after completion.
A passing score moves you directly to the next stage of the licensing process, while a failing score on one or both portions of the exam results in an unsuccessful notification and a diagnostic report indicating your strengths and weaknesses on the exam. Luckily, you can retake the exam as many times as needed to pass, and you can reschedule your exam at the examination center.
Virginia Real Estate Exam Details
120 questions 80 nationally focused questions 40 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
You must provide 2 valid forms of identification:
70% to pass the national portion and 75% to pass the state portion of the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam (at least 56/80 on the national portion, and 30/40 on the state portion)
56% on national portion 57% on state portion
Schedule Your Exam
The Virginia real estate exam is provided by PSI Exams Online, a national provider for state licensing exams. To begin scheduling your exam, you create an account on the PSI website, which then provides access to the scheduling portal. You will also receive a copy of the Virginia Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the exam is $60 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card.
To make sure you pass the exam on the first attempt, you may need some extra study help. They offer different packages, so PrepAgent is a cost-effective and high-quality resource that can help prepare you for your exam. Check out their website to review the premium package, which includes flashcards, simulated exams, and more.
For extra guidance on passing your real estate exam, download our Exam Prep e-book. We include a pre-assessment to test your knowledge as well as helpful information about what’s included in the exam, the length and structure of the exam, study tips, and sample questions from PrepAgent.
4. Pick a Sponsoring Brokerage to Work For
To hold an active real estate license in Virginia, 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 Old Dominion State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022.
Tom & Cindy and Associates LLC
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
The Marquis Group
CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty
Cabell Childress Group
Long & Foster Real Estate, Inc.
CENTURY 21 New Millennium
Brad Ruckart Real Estate Group
Keller Williams Realty
(Source: Real Trends)
5. Get Fingerprinted & Complete Background Check
Once you’ve completed your education and passed the exam, it’s time to schedule your fingerprinting. Virginia requires all applicants to submit fingerprints to perform a background check. If you live in Virginia, you must have your fingerprints taken within the state; if you live outside of the state, you are still highly encouraged to have your fingerprints taken within Virginia.
DPOR offers two fingerprint vendor options for a $60 fee:
- PSI exam sites: You can have fingerprints taken directly at your exam site between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. No appointment is necessary and you can visit the website to find a location nearest you.
- Fieldprint services: You are required to schedule an appointment and fingerprints will be taken via Livescan.
Your background check is only valid for 45 days, so it is important to schedule your appointment within the same time frame that you are submitting your application. Otherwise, you will have to get your fingerprints taken again.
6. Apply for Your Virginia Real Estate License
Once you’ve passed the exam and completed the fingerprint process, you are ready to submit your application for licensure as a real estate agent in Virginia. Your application must be submitted within one year from the initial examination date that you originally took your exam to be considered valid.
The Virginia real estate application, called the Salesperson License Application, must be submitted with the following documentation:
- $170 fee, which can be submitted by check or money order to the Treasurer of Virginia or via credit card form online
- Original or certified transcript, Education Certification, Certification of Completion, License Certification, or other documentation verifying the completion of all required real estate courses
- Disciplinary Action Reporting Form and all required attachments (if applicable)
If you have already chosen your affiliate brokerage, you will be applying for an active license and must include the brokerage information on the application; otherwise, you will be issued an inactive license.
Virginia law requires that the DOPR deposit your money within 24 hours of receiving it, and the posted payment on your account is considered your confirmation receipt. From time of receipt, it takes about 15 to 20 business days to process your license. After approval, your license will be displayed on the License Lookup Page and you will receive a paper copy by mail.
Did you know? You can still get a real estate license in Virginia if you have a criminal record, although there is no guarantee. You must disclose all convictions and they will run a background check to reference any past offense. The DOPR will consider if the crime is closely related to the purpose of the license, the seriousness of the crime, and the complete criminal history of the applicant in order to decide on licensure.
7. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Virginia, 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
- Jumpstart your career with the top 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