If you’d like to become a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, it helps to understand everything involved before you start the process. Here, we’ll cover the benefits of the profession as well as everything that is required to receive your license.
There are a number of steps in the Pennsylvania real estate licensing process, so we’ve broken it down to keep things simple. To get your license, you will need to:
Step 1: Complete Pre-License Education
Step 2: Register For the Pennsylvania Real Estate Licensing Exam
Step 3: Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Exam
Step 4: Complete a Background Check
Step 5: Secure a Sponsoring agent
Step 6: Submit a Real Estate License Application
Before we move on to the steps to get your license, consider if becoming a Pennsylvania real estate agent is right for you.
The Benefits of Working as a Pennsylvania Real Estate agent
At salary.com, the average salary for a real estate agent in Pennsylvania is listed as $69,991 to $97,241 per year. This varies depending on your commission percentage, the number of homes you sell, if you have any caps, what your split is with your agent, and the value of the homes sold.
In Pennsylvania, the average price of a home is $268,984. Real estate agents often make 5.5% commission on sales, which would be $14,794.
Salary aside, becoming a real estate agent includes these other benefits:
- Flexibility in your schedule
- Unlimited income potential
- Career mobility
- Helping people
- Familiarity with your community and neighborhoods
- Varying environments and tasks
If this sounds like a good fit for you, these are the things you should consider next.
Do You Prequalify?
To prequalify as a Pennsylvania real estate agent you need to be at least 18 years old.
1. Complete Pre-License Education
To qualify as a real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you need to complete a 75-hour pre-license education course that has been approved by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. TO find a course,visit www.pals.pa.gov/verify.
The course is made up of 30 hours of real estate license fundamentals and 45 hours of real estate license practice. It covers these (and other) topics:
- Licensing laws
- Real estate practice
- Forms of ownership, transfer, and recording of title
- Financing and settlement
If you have a university degree with a major course study in real estate, have a current license in another state and would like to get a Pennsylvania license, or if you are a licensed attorney, you can see the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission’s website for education and exam requirements in those particular cases.
2. Register For the Pennsylvania Real Estate Licensing Exam
After completing the pre-licensing course, you’ll need to register for the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam. This one is administered by PSI, an outside examination agency.
To register, you will need to be approved by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. Visit www.pals.pa.gov to submit your application. You will need to pay a $40 exam fee, provide educational transcripts, and other documentation that might be necessary to determine your qualifications. Once you have been approved, you will be notified that you may register for the exam.
You can register for the exam with PSI by:
- Submitting the completed PSI Registration form (you can get this at here), as well as the $49 exam fee and;
- Submitting one of the following:
- The Certificate of Completion or transcript issued by the approved real estate school you took the pre-licensing course with. MAKE A COPY of this document to provide to the Commission when requesting licensure.
- Certificate of Completion or transcript from an approved out-of-state real estate school.
- Certificate of Completion or transcript from an accredited college or university.
- Certified transcript from an accredited law school showing you obtained your Juris Doctor degree, or a Certification of Good Standing from the Supreme Court in the state where you practice law.
- If actively licensed in another jurisdiction within the past 5 years, submit a Certificate of Licensure from that jurisdiction, which includes proof of 75 hours of education, dated within 90 days of the date you are registering. Make a copy of this document to provide to the Commission when requesting licensure.
These documents, as well as your completed registration form, can be submitted to PSI by either fax or email at email@example.com.
Once your application is approved, you will be mailed a confirmation notice containing instructions for scheduling an appointment to take the exam.
3. Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Licensing Exam
In Pennsylvania, real estate license applicants can take either remote proctored exams or in-person on site testing. You can call (855) 746-8175 for more info on this, and you can schedule your remote licensing exam here.
On the day of the exam, you will need to bring two (2) forms of ID (see here for details about accepted types of ID).
Once you’re in the exam site, you will need to place all electronic devices, bulky clothing, and other personal items in a secure location. You will then sit at a computer to take the test.
The exam has to be completed in 3 hours, and it includes 120 questions split between a National and State portion. To pass you need a score of at least 75%. Your exam score will appear on your screen when you are finished, and a score report will be emailed to you.
Some of the topics covered in the exam are:
- Real estate practice
- Property ownership
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Valuation and market analysis
- Real estate calculations
Your exam score will be valid for three years. To complete your application, the Commission must receive your score, the application fees, and all required documentation within three years of passing the exam.
4. Complete a Background Check
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires that all applicants complete a criminal record check. This criminal record check may not be older than 90 days from the date the Commission receives your application. Pennsylvania residents can apply for a record check on-line at https://epatch.state.pa.us. It takes approximately two weeks to receive this background check by mail and up to three days to receive it on-line.
If you reside in a state other than Pennsylvania, you must contact the State Police in your state of residency to obtain this information. You can check to see if the State Police in your state provides on-line services. For Pennsylvania residents, any questions concerning a background check should be directed to the State Police. The Pennsylvania State Police telephone number is 717-783-5593.
For more information about applying for your background check, you can see PSI’s candidate brochure here.
5. Secure a Sponsoring Broker
To become a licensed and practicing real estate agent in Pennsylvania, you need to be associated with a registered brokerage firm or broker. Before submitting your application, you’ll need to have secured this sponsorship. It’s important to choose the right broker, as they’ll play a key role in growing your real estate career.
Consider the following when choosing a managing agent to work with:
- Their reputation as a agent or agentage firm
- The types of agents they look for
- If they provide education and training for agents
- If they provide marketing materials and potential leads
- Which systems they use
- The benefits they offer
- What is their commission structure?
- What is the growth potential?
6. Submit a Real Estate License Application
Once you’ve completed the previous steps, you can apply for your real estate license by submitting your completed application to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. You can apply online at www.pals.pa.gov. For instructions, click on “Application Checklists” at the top of the page. To submit an application, click on ‘Register an Account’, complete the registration process, and then log in to your new account and click ‘Apply for a New License’.
You will need to submit to the Real Estate Commission:
- a fully completed application
- the application fee of $107
- the completed state police criminal record check
- copies of educational transcripts verifying completion
of the educational requirement OR a Certificate of Licensure from another licensing jurisdiction verifying you held an active real estate license within the past five years
- copies of your exam score report
Once you’ve completed all of these steps successfully, you will receive your Pennsylvania Real Estate Agent License by mail. At this point, you might want to consider if you’re interested in becoming a Realtor. Here’s what this means:
Real Estate Agent vs Realtor: What’s the difference?
For a real estate agent to become a Realtor, they need to become a member of the National Association of Realtors®. The NAR is an organization for real estate agents and other industry professionals. Members are required to subscribe to standards and a code of ethics set by the association. Membership offers access to market data and transaction management services, and other benefits.
To become a part of this community, these are the steps you need to take:
- Get your state real estate license
- Join your local REALTORS® Association – find one close to you with their “find an association” tool
- Pay the application fee – this varies by association
- Maintain membership dues – to keep your title of REALTOR®, you need to pay an annual fee of $150
Become a top Real Estate Agent!
Now that you’re a Real Estate Agent. You’ll need a website to show off your listings, attract buyers and sellers and if your ambitious get real estate coaching or digital marketing from some of the best in the field. Reach out to us at RE Digital to learn how we can help you become a top performer.
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