How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in New York?

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In this article, you’ll learn licensing to-dos and the time frame for each step in the New York real estate licensing process.

You’ll also better understand the factors that can shorten or lengthen the timeline and ultimately determine your answer to the question: How long does it take to get a real estate license in NY?

Let’s go right to the details below.


Estimated Timeline to Get a Real Estate License in New York

Time frame Step
2 weeks full-time Complete qualifying education.
About 2 weeks Prep for the exam.
At least 2 weeks Register and take the real estate exam.
About 2 weeks Line up a sponsoring broker.
2 weeks minimum Apply and wait for your license.

Complete Qualifying Education: 2 Weeks Full-Time

The fastest time to finish the required 77 hours of pre-licensing coursework is within two weeks. And that’s doable through live classes or studying online.

Some schools on the NY Department of State’s approved provider list offer an accelerated in-person course schedule that runs all day on weekdays for a couple of weeks.

If one of these schools is nearby, you have that option. Otherwise, you can take the course online and complete it in that same time frame by studying full-time.

You won’t finish as quickly if other responsibilities make you a part-time student. In that case, you could attend night school in a live or virtual classroom for 4-7 weeks.

There’s also a handful of live and livestreamed options for those who can only go to class a couple of evenings a week or on weekends. These take 11-12 weeks to complete.

For part-time online studies, you get to decide on a completion date. Providers typically offer six or 12 months of access time. So, you can set a pace that’s comfortable for you.


Prep for the Exam: About 2 Weeks

You no doubt want to pass the New York real estate exam on your first try. That means you need to know the material well and can apply that knowledge. Getting in some extra study time can help ensure both.

The burning question you may have is: How long should you study for the real estate exam?

A guideline based on the volume of pre-licensing coursework is to dedicate at least a week or two to this effort.

That time frame will allow you to take a prep course that can help you study more efficiently.

These courses are organized by topic. You can use real-time dashboards and simulated exams to determine when you’re ready for the test or whether you need to study more.

What can you do to study faster and smarter? Here are a few expert tips:

  • Make sure the course content is based on the New York qualifying education syllabus.
  • Opt for a course with unlimited dynamic practice tests to help you master the material.
  • Incorporate your class notes into your review. They can be one of your best study tools.

Refer to my other article where I share more helpful pointers on how to study for the real estate exam.


Register and Take the Exam: At Least 2 Weeks

Unlike many other states that contract testing vendors to manage their licensing exam, the Department of State administers the salesperson exam for New York.

Therefore, you must set up an account through their online portal to make an exam reservation.

You can create an account and schedule the exam in the same sitting. Or, you can register ahead of time. Then all you have to do is log in when it’s time to request a test slot.

After that, you’ll spend about a couple of weeks waiting for exam day. Seats for the NY exam tend to get booked fast, and applicants typically have to schedule at least that far out.

You may also have to wait longer based on test slot availability at the most convenient location. Either way, you can use that time for exam prep and shorten your overall time frame.

As for exam day, you may only need to block off half of it. You have 90 minutes to take the test. How much travel time you’ll need depends on your proximity to the test site.


Line Up a Sponsoring Broker: About 2 Weeks

NY law requires a sponsoring broker to accept your application before the state can process it. Usually, it’s two weeks before you get exam results. So, you can find a broker while you wait.

Your choice is a big decision that can impact your immediate success and how well you do in the future. It follows that you need to make a well-informed pick.

That requires spending time performing due diligence:

You could conceivably spend up to a week identifying companies. An online search can be helpful, as well as getting recommendations from those you know in the business.

Use the remaining week (or more time, if needed) for interviewing brokers on your shortlist. Allot time for in-person visits to get a feel for the culture and the facilities.


Apply and Wait For Your License: 2 Weeks Minimum

You can apply for your New York real estate license as soon as you’ve passed the exam. If you’re not immediately ready, you’ve got up to two years to file for your license.

When you do apply, expect a minimum wait of two weeks. Understand, though, that it may be longer.

One factor that impacts processing time is how quickly your broker approves your application. To speed things up, alert them when you apply.

Also, processing could be delayed if you don’t submit all required documents or apply online and send the supporting paperwork by mail.

A holdup may also occur if questions arise about criminal and professional disciplinary history.

To know how this may affect your application, refer to our article on getting a New York real estate license with violations on your record.

The Department of State will mail your license to the brokerage once they approve your application. You’re then an active New York real estate agent.

Your license is valid for two years. You’ll get a notice of three months before it expires and need to renew prior to that date.

How long do you have to renew your real estate license if it expires? Two years. After that, you must retake the exam and re-apply.


Where to Study for a Real Estate License Exam?

As New York’s list of approved qualifying education providers includes traditional and online schools, where you study will depend on which one you pick.

The brick-and-mortar schools teach the pre-licensing course in a live classroom, through a virtual classroom, or both. There are also various educational settings, including:

You have some leeway in choosing your study space when attending class virtually. However, most schools have participation rules that include guidelines for your physical space.

Online real estate schools allow you to do your classwork wherever you like.

If you can’t decide which learning method to go for, review our article comparing real estate classes online vs. classroom courses.

But even with the freedom to do so, it’s beneficial to plan where you study. Education experts suggest looking for the following when choosing a study spot:

  • Somewhere you can sit and focus for extended periods
  • A consistently available and minimally distracting space
  • A comfortable place your brain connects with studying

You get the same flexibility for an exam prep course. These are most commonly offered online. So, you can use a library carrel, join others in a co-study space, or find a quiet spot at home.


With the information in this article, you can easily estimate how long it is to get a real estate license in New York and begin your new career.

If you need help estimating the licensing budget that you should allot, refer to our guide on the cost of a real estate license in NY.

You can then get your business off to a promising start by absorbing as much knowledge as you can about the industry. These resources offer a wealth of information:

Once you’re actively working as a salesperson in the state, your first order of business should be to get discovered, grow your reach, and increase your visibility.

To help you build and grow your real estate career quickly, we at Real Estate Bees created a directory for real estate professionals.

It’s designed to help you get more exposure for your business, including receiving leads. Create a free profile by signing up here.


If you want to contribute your expert advice on a topic of your expertise, feel free to apply to our Expert Contributor Program.


About the Author

Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.

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