If you’d like to become a real estate agent in Virginia, 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 Virginia 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: Apply for the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Step 3: Pass the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Step 4: Complete a Background Check
Step 5: Secure Sponsoring Broker
Step 6: Submit a Real Estate License Application
Before we move on to the steps to get your license, consider if becoming a Virginia real estate agent is right for you.
The Benefits of Working as a Virginia Real Estate Agent
At salary.com, the average salary for a real estate agent in Virginia is listed as $43,218 to $56,272 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 broker, and the value of the homes sold.
In Virginia, the average price of a home is $383,383. Real estate agents often make 5.2% commission on sales, which would be $19,936.
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 an Virginia real estate agent you need to
- Be at least 18-years old.
- Have a high school diploma or its equivalent.
As long as you meet these prerequisites, you can take the next steps towards obtaining your license.
1. Complete Pre-License Education
To qualify as a real estate agent in Virginia. you need to complete 60 hours of pre-license education with a board-approved course (see a list of options here). The course can be taken in a live classroom or online, and there are a number of real estate institutes available across Virginia.
For applicants who have a current license in another jurisdiction and are seeking licensure in Virginia, you can see the Virginia Real Estate Board website for specific requirements.
The pre-licensing education covers these (and other) topics:
- Licensing laws
- Real estate practice
- Forms of ownership, transfer, and recording of title
- Financing and settlement
2. Apply for the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam
The Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam is administered by PSI, an outside agency. Before registering for the exam, you need to be approved to do so. There are three ways of doing this:
- Apply for a license by examination with a letter from the board for permission to take the exam
To apply for a license with a permission letter from the board to take the exam, you have to register via mail or fax using the registration form found at the end of this bulletin. If you receive a permission letter from the Board, you have to submit a copy of it with your registration form.
Applicants with a letter from the board need to take both the state and national portions of the exam.
- Apply for a license by examination by reciprocity
If you are applying for a license by reciprocity to take the exam, you have to register via mail or fax using the registration form found at the end of this bulletin. You will also need to provide a copy of your current (unexpired) license with the registration form.
Reciprocity applicants only need to take the state portion of the exam.
- Apply for a license by examination from your education provider
If you are applying for a license by examination through your education provider, you can register via the Internet, mail, telephone, or fax. Your education provider will confirm your eligibility with PSI. If your education provider is not able to submit your information electronically, you will have to mail your original transcript or certificate of completion along with your registration form (found at the end of this bulletin) to PSI.
Once your school has submitted your file to PSI, go to www.psiexams.com or call 1-(855) 340-3910 to register for and schedule your exam.
The 120-question test is made up of 2 portions, covering both state and national requirements. You will have 150 minutes to answer the questions. For more information on applying for and taking the exam, you can see the PSI candidate bulletin here.
3. Pass the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam
The Virginia Real Estate Exam is made up of 120 questions broken up into two portions: a national and state portion. You are allowed 150 minutes to complete the exam, 105 minutes for 80 national questions and 45 minutes for 40 state questions. You can find more information about the exam here.
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
On the day of the exam, you must provide 2 forms of valid identification. 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.
If you take the exam by computer, your score will be given to you immediately upon completing the exam. If you take the paper-and-pencil exam, your score will be mailed to you from PSI Headquarters.
4. Complete a Background Check
Fingerprinting is mandatory for all Virginia real estate license applicants. You will be electronically fingerprinted at one of PSI’s Virginia sites, during regular testing hours. If you cannot be fingerprinted at a Virginia site, contact the Board.
The prints will be forwarded electronically by PSI to the appropriate review agencies.
Fingerprinting is provided on a walk-in basis (no appointment is necessary). The fee is $52, which can be paid by money order, cashier’s check, VISA or MasterCard.
This process may take 4 to 6 weeks. You have to provide your completed application within 45 days of completing the fingerprinting process – if the board does not receive your application within 45 days, you will need to have your fingerprints taken again and will have to pay an additional fee.
5. Secure a Sponsoring Broker
To become a licensed and practicing real estate agent in Virginia, 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 broker to work with:
- Their reputation as a broker or brokerage 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
At this point you will be able to print, complete, sign, and mail your Virginia Real Estate Salesperson License Application. You can access the application here.
Make sure that all the questions on the form are answered, you include all required documentation and fees, and that your background check is not older than 45 days.
If you are a Reciprocity Applicant, please note:
Licensure certification from other state(s) must be dated less than 60 days from the time the board receives your complete and accurate application.
Certifications of licensure are required from ALL states where you are or have been licensed to practice real estate.
Once you’ve completed all of these steps successfully, you will receive your Virginia Real Estate Agent License. At this point, you might want to consider if you’re interested in becoming a Realtor. Here is 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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