This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
Getting your West Virginia real estate license is a bit more complicated than in other states because it doesn’t follow the usual process and involves more paperwork. You must complete 90 hours of West Virginia Real Estate Commission (WVREC)-approved education, get fingerprints for a background check, find a sponsoring brokerage, apply to sit for the exam, pass the exam, and submit a license application. We’re here to guide you through the process step-by-step of how to become a real estate agent in West Virginia.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your West Virginia Real Estate License
West Virginia has a few legal requirements that every real estate license candidate must meet. You are required to be 18 years or older, have a high school diploma or GED, be of trustworthy, good moral character, and competent to transact business.
To determine your trustworthiness, character, and competence, the state will evaluate your background check and criminal record. Applicants who possess a criminal record will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis to determine eligibility for licensure.
Did you know?
West Virginia has reciprocity agreements with Florida, Kentucky, and Ohio. All applicants seeking a reciprocal license must submit fingerprints, complete the national criminal history check, register for the West Virginia portion of the licensing exam, and submit an online application with all supplemental documentation.
Also, West Virginia is a physical state in terms of portability. A physical location state allows agents and brokers to conduct business in another state but doesn’t allow them to enter the state to conduct real estate business. To learn more about real estate license portability in West Virginia, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
If you meet the West Virginia legal requirements, you can move forward with your prelicensing education. Courses must be taken at an accredited real estate school, but students can decide whether they’d like to complete them in-person, online, or a mix of both learning formats. Costs range from $399 to $674, and discuss the following topics to prepare you for your real estate exam:
- Activities requiring a license; exemptions from licensure
- Scope of practice, closing statement, and fees
- Advertising rules
- Trust funds
- Refusal, suspension, or revocation of a license
- Penalties for violations
- Complaints, investigation, hearings, cost of proceedings
- West Virginia Fair Housing
- Agency Relationships
- Purpose of license law and regulations and role of the Commission
- Duties of licensees; duration of existing licenses; transfers
- Renewal of license
- Continuing professional education
- 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
A successful real estate career begins with a high-quality education. Cooke Real Estate School provides students with affordable, self-paced online learning to complete their real estate education in West Virginia. There is a weekly online interactive seminar, giving additional insight and advice on the real estate industry or answering student questions. In addition, for students who prefer textbooks as a learning tool, Cooke Real Estate School has an entire library with resources to prepare you for your real estate exam and beyond.
3. Get Fingerprints & Complete Background Check
After you’ve completed your prelicensing coursework, you need to schedule your fingerprint appointment so you can complete your background check. Your application to sit for the exam cannot be processed until your background check is complete. Hence, it’s important to start this process right away.
Background checks for West Virginians are scheduled and conducted through IdentoGO, a third-party background check service. You will be instructed to enter the WVREC Service Commission code 228Q6K, which will take you to the scheduling portal to pick an appointment location and date or request a mail-in fingerprint card.
You will also need specific documents to verify your identity when you arrive at the appointment. Typically, you’ll be required to bring a valid photo ID like a passport or driver’s license, but identification can differ depending on your citizenship status. Review the documents you’ll need by inputting your information on the IdentoGO website.
The fee for the service is $45.75 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card. All criminal background checks will expire 90 days after the report issue date. In addition, if you feel that your report is inaccurate, you may challenge it with the West Virginia State Police or FBI.
4. Pick a Sponsoring Brokerage to Work For
Before applying to sit for your exam as well as have an active West Virginia real estate license, you must find and affiliate yourself with a sponsoring brokerage. 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 and individual agents, below you’ll find some of the top teams and agents in the Mountain State.
Dandridge Realty Group
Dandridge Realty Group, L.L.C.
RE/MAX Real Estate Group
CENTURY 21 Sterling Realty
Real Living Solutions Real Estate
(Source: Real Trends)
5. Submit an Application to Sit for the Exam
Once you’ve selected a sponsoring brokerage, you can apply to take your West Virginia real estate license exam. You will be required to complete and mail a print application or submit your application online to sit for the exam. Along with the application, you will be required to submit the following items:
- $25 application fee
- Certificate of Completion from your real estate school
- Recommendation of sponsoring brokerage (signed and notarized by the broker of record)
- Two recommendations from property owners
- (If applicable) Certification of Licensure from each licensing authority where you currently hold, or have held, a real estate license.
- (If applicable) Documentation of any criminal offenses
Note: The application needs to be signed and notarized by the applicant.
When your application to sit for the exam is approved, you will receive an email from the exam provider that will allow you to schedule your exam date. If you do not receive this email within 72 hours, contact the WVREC. Exam eligibility is valid for 90 days after it has been processed.
6. Take the West Virginia Real Estate Exam
The West Virginia real estate exam is divided into a national and state portion, and you must pass both to move forward with licensure. The exam is administered on the computer, so your score will be displayed on the screen immediately following the exam, and a score report will be emailed to you as well.
If you pass, you will receive a successful notification and must save the report to upload with your license application. If you fail, you will receive an email report that includes diagnostic information that outlines your strengths and weaknesses, so you can study and plan an exam retake. You are only required to retake the portion(s) that you failed.
You will have 90 days or two attempts to pass both portions, whichever comes first, or you’ll be required to resubmit the application to sit for the exam. You can reschedule your exam 24 hours after your failed attempt. If you have surpassed the 90 days or two exam attempts, resend your application to sit for the exam to email@example.com.
West Virginia Real Estate Exam Details
100 nationally focused questions
50 state-specific questions
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
70% to pass the West Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with at least 70/100 on the national portion and 35/50 on the state portion
Unfortunately, the WVREC does not provide the average exam pass rate for West Virginia.
Schedule Your Exam
Once your application to sit for the exam is approved, you will receive an email from PSI, a national provider for state licensing exams, to schedule your test date. To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the PSI website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.
You will receive a copy of the West Virginia Candidate Information Bulletin for additional testing information. The fee to take the exam is $96 and can be paid directly on the website using a credit or debit card.
PrepAgent is a valuable resource for any agent who is attempting to pass their real estate exam for the first time and start a successful career. Whether you need to take the test one week or one year from today, PrepAgent provides packages that can accommodate your needs and schedule. With audio, video, and live webinar lessons, agents can choose a learning format that works for them. The more you prepare and study, the more confident you’ll feel come test day.
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.
7. Apply for Your West Virginia License
After you pass your exam, you are ready to submit your license application and become a real estate agent in West Virginia. It’s important to apply for your license as soon as possible after passing the exam because the results will only be valid for 90 days.
You will be required to submit your application online through the WVREC Application System. In addition, you need to upload proof of passing both portions of the exam and a signed and notarized Salesperson License Letter. The original licensing fee of $75 can be paid directly through the online system using a debit or credit card.
8. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in West 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.
- 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.