How to Get a Real Estate License in Georgia 2021: All Requirements for Taking the Exam
If you’re interested in becoming a real estate agent or broker in the state of Georgia, read on for in-depth information on the process.
We’ve compiled information from the Georgia Real Estate Commission (GREC) – the state agency that oversees real estate licensing – and GREC-approved real estate schools.
So, let’s get started by looking at licensing requirements.
Georgia Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople
As a general rule, you must meet the following requirements to obtain a real estate salesperson license in the state of Georgia:
- Be 18 years of age or older when you activate the license.
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate such as a GED.
- Be a U.S. citizen or legally living in the U.S. according to federal immigration laws.
- Complete a background check and submit the resulting criminal history report.
- Successfully complete approved pre-licensing coursework for salespeople.
- Take the salesperson licensing exam and get a passing score.
Note that there are variations in what’s required if you are currently licensed in another state and qualify for Georgia license reciprocity. In other words, you may not have to start from scratch in terms of education and testing to obtain a salesperson license in Georgia. You can read more about reciprocity later in this guide (see the chapter on Reciprocal States).
If you are new to the profession, it’s mandatory that you satisfy Georgia’s real estate education requirements which can you accomplish through ONE of the following ways:
- Complete the 75-hour salesperson pre-licensing course at a GREC-approved school and pass the final exam; OR
- Successfully complete the specified number of coursework hours at an accredited college or university in the U.S. or Canada; OR
- Provide proof that you have completed a minimum of 75 hours of pre-licensing coursework in another state or Canada.
Once you have completed the necessary education, you can take the licensing exam. To pass, you need to get at least 75 percent on each part. The licensing exam consists of two sections:
- National section – This is the longer of the two parts and covers general topics such as finance, agency relationships and contracts, marketing regulations, and more.
- State section – This portion covers real estate laws and practices specific to Georgia.
Appointments are required to take the exam. You register through PSI, the third-party vendor that administers qualifying real estate examinations in Georgia. When scheduling, make sure you coordinate timing with completing the background check. If you pass the exam and opt to apply for your license that day, you’ll need your criminal history report.
One other thing to keep in mind is that you must have a sponsoring broker lined up when you apply for your license if you plan to work in the business right away. Read our detailed guide – How to Choose the Right Real Estate Brokerage to Work For as a New Agent – to help you find the best sponsoring broker. Once you’ve familiarized yourself with the top qualities to look for in a broker, check out our directory of the best real estate brokerage firms in Georgia. This will help you make the right decision.
Be aware as well that there are requirements for maintaining your license once you get it:
- A 25-hour post-licensing course to be completed in your first year of licensure
- Renewal every four years at a cost of $125
- Thirty-six hours of continuing education to renew to active status
Georgia Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers
A broker license is an upgrade from being a salesperson, hence the requirements are slightly different from the ones for aspiring agents. Broker applicants are eligible for reciprocity as well, and those differences are described in the Reciprocal States chapter of this guide.
In most cases, broker applicants are required to meet the following conditions:
- Be at least 21 when licensed (can take the exam at 20).
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent certificate such as a GED.
- Have held an active license for a minimum of three of the previous five years.
- Complete a background check and submit the resulting criminal history report.
- Successfully complete approved pre-licensing education for brokers.
- Take the broker licensing exam and get a passing score.
When you are moving from agent to broker, you only need to meet ONE of these education criteria:
- Take and pass a 60-hour broker pre-licensing course approved by the Commission; OR
- Successfully complete the specified number of semester or quarter hours at an accredited U.S. or Canadian college or university; OR
- Provide proof that you have completed a minimum of 60 hours of pre-licensing coursework in another state or Canada.
When you have fulfilled your education requirements, contact Georgia’s testing administrator, PSI, to register for the licensing exam. It is comprised of simulation problems that test your knowledge related to typical broker challenges. These problems cover topics such as agency relationships, fair housing and other government regulations, supervising licensees, etc.
To pass the exam, you need a score of 70 percent. Achieve that and you can apply for your license. If you are joining a firm as an associate broker, you will obtain an active license. Otherwise, you will receive an inactive license.
If you plan to start a new company, you have an extra step to complete after getting your license. You must submit an “Open a Firm” application to the Commission.
To keep their license, real estate agents in Georgia have to renew it every four years and pay the applicable fee. If you are an active broker when you renew, you need 36 hours of continuing education, which includes three mandatory hours on the topic of License Law.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
The simplest way to explain reciprocity is that it is a way for you to fast-track the process of getting your Georgia real estate license if you already have one in another state. For example, suppose your out-of-state license is in good standing and you took an exam to earn it, you may be eligible to skip additional education and the Georgia Supplement exam.
That all depends on whether Georgia and the other state have mutually agreed to accept each other’s licensing standards. If they have, you can complete an application for a reciprocal license and submit it with the following documents:
- A recent, certified license history from the state in which you are licensed.
- A notarized Lawful Presence Verification form.
- An official criminal history report that is no more than 60 days old.
There is one exception to skipping the supplemental exam: If you are applying as a Florida resident, you have to take the exam and pass it.
Moreover, if you are a broker looking to open your own company, you must apply to open a firm and submit any required supporting documentation.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Georgia
Georgia has reciprocal licensing agreements with all states.
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Georgia?
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
If you opt for the in-person course, you’ll complete the required number of hours in an instructor-led classroom. Your schedule will depend on the school you choose. Some schools offer day and evening classes. Others provide only one of the two.
If you are studying to be an agent, your course will cover real estate fundamentals and familiarize you with Georgia real estate practices. The broker course reviews the fundamentals and addresses brokerage management. Both courses prepare you for the applicable exam.
If you need structure to stay on track, the classroom setting can provide it. However, you’ll have to work other obligations around that set schedule.
Taking the course in a classroom will also allow you to interact face-to-face with the instructor. You can engage live with fellow students, too.
However, you will have to travel to the location where the course is held. The classroom option could also cost you more than taking the course online.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
Pre-licensing packages for agents and brokers are also available online through real estate schools and other real estate education providers. Many of the packages give you access to exam prep, and some providers even guarantee that you’ll pass the licensing exam.
One of the things you’ll need to watch out for is whether the provider is one of the approved real estate schools of the Georgia Real Estate Commission. If not, the coursework will not satisfy the state’s pre-licensing education requirement.
If you choose to go this route, the course will offer you a flexible, convenient way to study. You choose where and when you do your coursework. You can also set the pace that works for you. This allows you to manage your course completion time.
On the other hand, you will give up in-person engagement with an instructor and other students. If you struggle with procrastination, time management may also become an issue.
To know which type of curriculum suits you best, we can walk you through the benefits and drawbacks of each via our comprehensive guide – Real Estate Courses Online vs. Classroom.
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Georgia
All tests are in person at one of PSI’s test centers. PSI also provides licenses to candidates who pass the exam. The company has four centers located throughout the state:
- Atlanta NE (Duluth)
- Atlanta NW (Marietta)
Read these tips on how to pass the Georgia real estate exam.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Georgia
You can apply for your license at the PSI Test Center right after you pass the exam. If you are in the afternoon testing session, you may miss the cutoff time for applications. If so, you have to apply on a subsequent day. In either case, be prepared to pay the license fee and present the requisite paperwork:
- A valid form of photo identification.
- Your criminal history report.
- Unsigned Certificate of Accuracy Statement (COA).
- Signed Sponsoring Broker Statement.
- Signed and notarized Lawful Presence Affidavit.
A couple of notes about the paperwork: if you are not affiliating with a firm right away, you won’t need a form from a sponsoring broker. In such a case, you can only apply for an inactive license.
The COA is issued when you pass the exam. It details your application information, and Test Center staff must see you sign it. You must also answer disclosure questions about criminal convictions or disciplinary actions by licensing boards. Here, you need to be honest. Failure to disclose information can result in the denial of your license.
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Georgia
Once your documents have been approved, and the required fee paid, PSI will provide your license in the form of two wall certificates and two pocket cards. One wall certificate goes to your sponsoring broker along with one of the pocket cards.
After receiving your license, you need to be equipped with a good action plan to prepare you for a bright real estate career. Know how by reading our article – I Just Got My Real Estate License, Now What?
As you begin your career, you need to know the type of real estate team you want to be a part of. Be sure to arm yourself with the right know-how when joining a real estate team.
How long does it take to get a Georgia real estate license when studying in the class?
The time it will take to finish your class varies depending on the schedule of the classes. Accelerated salesperson and broker pre-licensing courses meet daily or several days a week. These courses take as little as two weeks to finish.
As evening classes are scheduled for fewer days a week, they will take longer to complete than the day classes. You can usually anticipate 6-10 weeks for the salesperson course and 5-7 weeks for the broker class.
Some schools offer non-accelerated daytime schedules as well. Completion time is about a month for the broker course. Add another week to that if you’re studying to be a salesperson.
After you complete the pre-licensing class, your next step is scheduling the exam. This part can take one to three weeks, depending on the availability of appointments at the testing site. If you pass the exam on the first try, you can pick up your license the same day.
How long does it take to get a Georgia real estate license when taking classes online?
You can finish an online course quickly if you set a brisk pace. Treat it like a workweek, and you can be done with either pre-licensing course in two weeks.
If you need a more manageable pace, like two days a week to do coursework, the salesperson course will take five weeks, and the broker course will take a month.
If you have to work your study time around other obligations, you have time to do so. Most of the online pre-licensing courses give you up to 180 days to complete them. So, you can decide on the desired end date and then calculate your hourly commitment for each week.
Just as you would if you took the class in person, factor in time to schedule and take the exam to arrive at an estimated date when you’ll obtain your license.
Is there a background check for a Georgia real estate license?
Yes. You must undergo a background check whether you are a first-time licensee or applying for reciprocity. If you are a Georgia resident, the requirement is a copy of your criminal history record from the Georgia Crime Information Center (GCIC), a Georgia Bureau of Investigation division. You can get a GCIC report at most police stations or sheriff’s offices.
If you are non-resident of Georgia and applying for a reciprocal license, you can provide an equivalent report from your state. A law enforcement agency must have issued the report no more than 60 days before your application date.
How much does a Georgia real estate license cost?
The first cost you will incur is the one associated with your pre-licensing education. The amount will vary by provider and whether you take the course online or in a classroom. On average, though, you can expect to pay $300-plus for either the sales or the broker course.
There are also several required fees which are listed below.
- Background check: $30
- Examination fee: $121
- License fee: $170
The cost listed above for the background check is for a GCIC report. You might pay a different amount if you get an equivalent report from another state. Do note that the registration fee for the exam is not refundable or transferable. If you fail to apply for your license within 90 days of passing the exam, the license fee will double to $340.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Georgia?
You can contact PSI the next day (24 hours) after failing the exam to schedule an appointment to retake it.
How many times can you retake the Georgia real estate exam?
You can take the Georgia real estate exam three times within a year. Therefore, if you fail the exam the first time you take it, you get two more attempts within that time frame.
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Georgia?
Yes, you are required to pay a fee of $121 each time you register to take the exam.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Georgia?
You pay the examination registration fee, which is $121.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Georgia?
According to GREC, felonies are among the common reasons why licenses are denied. In this situation, they recommend submitting the Background Application before taking the pre-licensing course. That way, you will know if the Commission will grant you a license before you spend time and money on the process.
There are timing considerations related to the eligibility of those with convictions as well.
- Applicants with a single felony or crime of moral turpitude must wait two years to apply.
- Those with multiple felonies or crimes of moral turpitude must wait five years.
- Broker applicants with a felony or crime of moral turpitude must wait 10 years after the later of the conviction, sentence, or release from incarceration.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Georgia?
As mentioned in the answer to the previous question, misdemeanors that will likely prevent you from getting a license in Georgia involve moral turpitude. These are crimes like theft, forgery, and embezzlement. Eligibility requirements apply as well.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Georgia?
Depending on the circumstances of your case, you may be able to get a real estate license with a DUI on your record. However, there is the possibility that the Commission will deny your application if you have multiple or severe DUI offenses.
Can you get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Georgia?
Yes, but only if you have a high school equivalency credential such as a GED.
With this guide, we hope you’ve learned everything you need to know when getting a real estate license in Georgia. Once licensed, you can now begin your journey toward getting more opportunities with our free and one of a kind platform helping real estate professionals grow their business — Real Estate Bees. Sign up here right away or find out more about us first.
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