The Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) doesn’t let just anyone conduct real estate business in the Lone Star State. If you want to become a licensed real estate sales agent, you need to meet certain requirements and go through a specific process. Only then will the TREC send you an active sales agent license so you can start working with your broker’s clients.
What, exactly, do those steps entail? How hard is it to get your Texas real estate license, really? We’ve got answers to these questions and more. If you’ve been wondering how to get a real estate license in Texas, here’s your step-by-step guide.
Before we talk about how to get a Texas real estate license, let’s figure out if you can get one in the first place. Again, the TREC is pretty specific about who can be a real estate agent. In order to get an active real estate sales agent license, you need to:
Be at least 18 years old
Be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted alien
Meet the TREC’s requirements for integrity, honesty, and trustworthiness
That last one feels pretty insubstantial. But the TREC actually does have a way to make sure that they only let the right people help others with what will probably be one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives.
As part of the process to get your real estate license, you’ll need to get fingerprinted. This allows the TREC to run a background check on you. During that process, they look for things like unpaid judgments and criminal offenses. A minor offense doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t become a real estate professional, but it might serve you well to check if you can meet the prerequisites before you start the application process.
Fortunately, doing this is pretty easy. The TREC offers a Fitness Determination form. Fill it out, pay the $50 fee, and send it in to find out if they consider you fit to be a licensed real estate sales agent.
Assuming you meet the prerequisites, you’re ready to start the process of securing your Texas real estate license. From the date you complete step 1 (submitting your application), you have one year to complete the rest of these steps.
When you’re ready to start the process, your first to-do is submitting the Application for Inactive Real Estate Sales Agent License (Form ID: ISL-9). The name is a bit confusing, but it just means you’re applying for your initial sales agent license.
You can mail in the paper form or send it in online. If you want to do it online, you’ll first need to register as a user within the TREC’s Online Licensing Service portal. Whether you submit your initial application online or in the mail, make sure you pay the $205 application fee.
As we mentioned before, the TREC does their due diligence before issuing a license to any individual. To make sure you’re trustworthy enough to work as a real estate professional, they perform a background check on you as part of the application process.
And, in order to do that, they require you to have fingerprints on file with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS).
The DPS uses a company called MorphoTrust to collect fingerprints. MorphoTrust runs the IdentoGO program you’ll use to get fingerprinted.
Head to the TREC’s Fingerprinting Requirements page and fill out the brief form to get the IdentoGO ID number you’ll need to make sure your fingerprints get attached to your real estate agent application.
Once you get fingerprinted, it’s time to start working on your pre-license education. The TREC requires 180 total hours of pre-license real estate education broken down as follows:
30 hours on Principles of Real Estate I
30 hours on Principles of Real Estate II
30 hours on Law of Agency
30 hours on Law of Contracts
30 hours on Promulgated Contract Forms
30 hours on Real Estate Finance
The good news? You don’t have to sit in a physical classroom for 4+ workweeks to knock your hours out. Instead, the TREC has approved education providers who offer Texas real estate pre-license education online. This way, you can take the hours you need at your pace and at your convenience.
You didn’t think all that learning would be for nothing, did you? The TREC wants you to complete pre-license education to learn the industry before you become a licensed agent. And they want to make sure you actually know your stuff.
To check that, they require you to pass a Texas real estate exam. You can prep for that exam in one of two ways. First, you can take separate exam prep classes and practice exams. Or, to streamline things, you can choose an education provider who offers exam prep as part of your pre-license education.
Now, everyone’s least favorite part of the licensing process is here. It’s time to take your Texas real estate exam.
The test takes four hours. To pass, you need to get 56 of the 85 national questions you’ll be asked correct, and you’ll need to answer 21 of the 40 state questions correctly.
PearsonVUE offers a pretty helpful candidate handbook. It includes a bunch of information about how to prepare and what to expect. It also has five pages of sample questions.
Once you pass your exam, you just have on step left. You need to find an active licensed Texas broker to sponsor you. Once you find your broker, submit your sponsorship request through the TREC’s Online Licensing Service portal.
As soon as the broker accepts your sponsorship request, the TREC will issue you an active Texas real estate sales agent license.
Now, you don’t have to wonder how to get a real estate license in Texas. You know the TREC the above steps.
Fortunately, they also offer resources to help along the way. If you’re ever curious about how your application is progressing, you can use their Application Tracker, for example.
Don’t forget that the day you submit your initial application, the clock starts ticking. You have one year from that date to complete all of the above steps. When you do, you’ll get a license from the TREC so you can start working as a licensed Texas real estate sales agent.