Written by Kacie Goff
As a New York resident, you’ve got options. Throughout the state, several exciting industries offer enticing career paths. But if you’re good with people, want a little flexibility in your days, and have some sales skills, a career as a real estate salesperson is definitely worth exploring.
The average established real estate sales agent in New York earns north of $95,000 each year, a comfortable living and more than agents in most other states. All told, a real estate career can look particularly enticing in the Empire State.
But real estate is unlike a lot of other industries in that you can’t jump straight in. If you want to be an agent (or what the state calls a salesperson), you need to go through a licensing process.
Fortunately, that process isn’t too complicated or time-consuming, especially compared with other states. If you’re curious about how to get your real estate salesperson license in New York, we’ll walk you through the process step-by-step.
Some of the requirements to get licensed come down to steps we’ll explore later. But at the outset, in order to even be eligible for licensure, the Department of State says you need to:
You can satisfy that last requirement with a driver’s license or non-driver ID card, provided it has a photo on it and it’s issued by the state.
If you’re 18 with a photo ID, you’ve already completed the first to-do on your list.
Next up, it’s the most time-consuming piece of this process. You need to get 75 hours of Department of State-approved pre-license education.
That doesn’t mean you need to go sit in some classroom for two weeks, though. You can take state-approved real estate pre-license training online and on-demand. That way, you can chip away at your hours as you have time. You won’t need to quit your day job or rearrange your calendar to make progress on this step.
Once you finish your hours, hang onto your certificate of completion. When you fill out your application in step five, you’ll need info about your education provider.
And we’ll share a pro tip with you: as you take your hours, take notes and pay attention. You might want to gloss over topics and skate through, but the more you learn during your pre-license training, the easier it will be to pass the state’s real estate exam.
While the pre-license education will take the most of your time, a lot of people say that this is the most daunting step in the real estate licensing process. You need to pass the New York State real estate salesperson exam.
To sign up for the exam, you’ll need to make an account in the eAccessNY portal. Save the password you create somewhere safe and easy-to-access because you’ll need to login to that portal several more times throughout the application process.
Once you get your account set up, choose “Apply to Take an Exam” from the main menu. Follow the steps to sign up for your test. You’ll need to pay a $15 fee to take the exam.
The exam itself is an hour and a half long. Count yourself lucky: some states have exams as long as four hours. It covers all of the information you learned during your pre-license education, so you can revisit your notes to study.
If you’re nervous about passing the test, consider taking a real estate exam prep course.
On the day of your exam, bring a photo ID with you to the testing site.
Most states, including New York, don’t let real estate salespeople work independently. With this first level of licensure, you need to work under the supervision of a state-sponsored broker. (You can work toward a broker license later if you want more freedom.)
That means that in order to even apply for a valid salesperson license, you need to find a broker to sponsor you. Once a broker agrees to take you on, get their broker license number from them. You’ll need it for the final step.
Now that you’ve finished your pre-license education, passed the exam, and found a broker, you’re ready to officially apply for your New York real estate salesperson license. Head back to the eAccessNY portal for this.
Once you’re logged in, find the “Apply for Initial Salesperson License” link on the main menu page. Follow the steps to complete your application. As part of that process, you’ll need to:
Next up, you need to get your broker to approve you under their license. Ask them to log in to their personal eAccessNY account. Provided you input their broker license information correctly in your application, you should show up in their account.
If they need any help, you can tell them to click on “List of Licenses” link on their own main menu page, then click on their own broker license. Under “Functions,” they should click “Authorize Initial Salesperson License” and choose “Accept” by your name. They’ll need to keep clicking through until they arrive at the “Authorize” button. If they do everything right, they’ll get an “Authorize Initial License - Summary” page.
Once your broker gives you the green light, the Department of State does a final review of all of your information. Assuming everything is in order, they’ll then mail your New York real estate salesperson license to the business address you gave them.
Getting a New York real estate license isn’t the easiest thing in the world. But if you take your pre-license education online and pay attention during it, the whole process shouldn’t be overly taxing. And once you’re finished, you’ll be ready to start building your lucrative real estate career.