How to Get a Real Estate License in MA: 2021 Requirements for Taking the Massachusetts Exam
If you’re interested in being one of the realtors that get to sell everything – from the tightly packed brownstones in downtown Boston to the Cape Cod-style residences closer to the shore – this article can help you get there.
With everything you need to know about getting a real estate license in Massachusetts, you’ll find information on it all, including costs to get the license, the classes you need to take, and where to take the actual test.
Keep reading to learn what you’ll need to do to obtain a real estate license in the great state of Massachusetts.
Massachusetts Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople
To start, you can’t apply for your real estate license in Massachusetts unless you’re at least 18 years old. You won’t need to have a high school diploma, but there are other requirements necessary to complete the process such as pre-licensing education and candidate endorsements.
A total of 40 hours of real estate education is necessary before becoming eligible to take your real estate license exam. Additionally, you’ll need to take the course at one of the accredited real estate schools, and provide a completed Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Educational Certificate prior to testing.
Another requirement is to provide three complete candidate endorsements from non-relatives. These people don’t have to be state residents but cannot be classmates you just met during your pre-licensing class.
Once these requirements are met, you’re able to schedule your exam through PSI services. A leading private administrator of state licensing exams, PSI registration is easiest through their online portal, although you can also call 800-733-9267 to set up your exam.
The cost of the exam is $54. Additional fees associated with getting your real estate license in Massachusetts include the application fee of $31, and the actual licensing fee. This fee isn’t set until after you pass the exam but ranges between $103 to $150, with an additional $12 processing charge.
You won’t have to pay all the charges associated with your license until after passing the exam. This is done onsite at PSI, where you’ll also be required to complete your application.
Massachusetts Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers
In addition to the age requirement, Massachusetts real estate agents who are applying for a real estate broker license are required to have at least three years of experience, working a minimum of 25 hours per week, with a broker. Your experience should be no more than two years old from the date you take the licensing exam.
Choosing a good broker when working as a new agent is a must, so you can gain relevant knowledge and experience when starting in the industry. Your sponsoring broker will need to verify your affiliation, in writing, by updating information in the Affiliation Portal online.
Just as with the salesperson license, you’ll need to complete 40 hours of pre-licensing education at a board-approved school and have a completed Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Educational Certification. You’ll also need three complete candidate endorsements from non-family members or from people other than your fellow classmates.
One other licensing requirement for real estate brokers is a $5,000 surety broker bond. You’ll need to show proof you’ve acquired this bond by having your insurance agent submit a Real Estate Broker Bond form.
Overall, fees for a real estate broker license in Massachusetts are higher than for a salesperson license, although the $54 test fee is the same. You’ll pay a $52 application fee, and licensing fees are between $142 to $200, with a $12 processing charge.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
Reciprocity in real estate is where one state accepts the existing real estate license of another state. This happens when requirements between the two are similar.
Luckily, Massachusetts is very accommodating when it comes to reciprocity, having a complete exchange with at least 11 states. If you have a real estate license from any of these states, and move to Massachusetts, the transfer should be seamless.
Additionally, Massachusetts offers conditional reciprocity to licensees from certain other states. This means your current license will make the process easier but not absolve you from all requirements.
While the actual parameters are subject to change, most licensees from these states will have to complete an educational waiver and still take the state portion of the exam. These states include:
- New Hampshire
- New York
Regardless of the level of reciprocity Massachusetts offers, each incoming candidate will need to provide proof of their current license and three candidate endorsements. The Real Estate Board then reviews each candidate’s application and notifies them of their decision.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Massachusetts
Just as Massachusetts offers reciprocity, there are states that will honor a Massachusetts real estate license should you find yourself needing to relocate. This list is always subject to change as well, but for now, these states have some form of reciprocity with Massachusetts:
- New Hampshire
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Massachusetts
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
To qualify to take the real estate license exam in Massachusetts, applicants must complete a 40-hour pre-licensing course. This time requirement is the same regardless of which type of license you’re getting. The course must be taken at an approved school and covers all the material you need to pass the licensing exam and become a salesperson or broker.
The coursework culminates in a pre-licensing exam which you’ll need to get at least 70 percent of the questions correct to move forward. You can take this exam as many times as necessary to pass.
The course is offered in both in-person and online formats. Which method you select is often based on weighing out the pros and cons of each option. You can do so when you check out our article discussing both – Real Estate Classes Online vs. Classroom Courses.
For those who function better with a set schedule, taking the class in person can be quite beneficial. Not only will you know exactly when each session is and how long it will take to complete the course, but you’ll also get to meet and network with your future contemporaries and current instructors.
This face-to-face time can help you develop professional friendships to rely on when you’re just starting out.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
Shifting the 40-hour pre-licensing coursework online provides a huge benefit to those who are in a bit more of a hurry to complete the work. Although you will have set hours to engage virtually with an instructor, the majority of the time is completed independently. Working at your own pace, you can finish this course in as little as one week.
Flexibility is a great argument for completing the pre-licensing coursework online, but another advantage is privacy. In this format, you can work alone, without interruption. It may be easier to put your entire focus into the class without the distraction of other students sitting nearby.
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Massachusetts
You’ll need to schedule your exam with PSI once you’ve finished your pre-licensing coursework. To do this, you can register online or call the PSI testing center.
There are testing centers located throughout the state to pick from in:
- Fall River
- West Springfield
The exam itself is broken up into two parts: a general portion and a state portion. You’ll have 240 minutes to complete the entire exam — 150 minutes for the general section and 90 for the state.
There are a total of 120 questions on the exam — 80 in the general section and 40 in the state. The breakdown of time and the number of questions is the same whether you’re taking the salesperson or the broker exam.
Every license applicant’s goal is to pass the exam on the first try, and it’s totally possible when you come completely prepared for the test. Our tips on properly studying for the real estate exam can gear you up to ensure that you will be among the successful examinees.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Massachusetts
There’s actually no separate process to filing your license after you pass the exam. The remaining steps take place onsite at the PSI testing center. All you’ll need to do is complete your application and pay all the associated fees, which are calculated right there for you.
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Massachusetts
You’ll receive your license at the testing center immediately following a successful exam if you’ve met all the licensing requirements and paid the licensing fees. The issue date will be the exact day you pass the exam.
Your real estate license will then remain valid up to two years based on when your birthday hits within that time frame. Your birthday, in the appropriate year, is automatically set as the expiration date.
When you get your license, it is recommended that you join a real estate team to be able to learn from the experience of established real estate agents. Also read our article on what happens after you get your real estate license to know the effective steps to take to get your real estate practice up and running.
When it comes to the renewal schedule, you’ll need to complete 12 hours of continuing education first in order to be eligible.
How long does it take to get a Massachusetts real estate license when studying in the class?
The total number of hours you’ll put into taking your pre-licensing course in person is 40. The total amount of days it will take to complete these hours is based on how frequently your class meets, and for how long.
You’ll also need to factor in time to pass the pre-licensing exam, acquire the rest of the necessary documents, and schedule the exam. All together, it may take anywhere between two to three months.
How long does it take to get a Massachusetts real estate license online?
Working online can greatly speed up the process of finishing your coursework. With enough flexibility, you can get your 40 hours done in about a week. This could mean going through the entire pre-licensing process, to be ready for the exam, in less than a month.
Is there a background check for a Massachusetts real estate license?
Yes, you’ll have to get a background check to qualify for your real estate license in Massachusetts. It’s considered Good Moral Character Compliance by the Real Estate Board.
How much does a Massachusetts real estate license cost?
The total cost to get your real estate license in Massachusetts will vary based on the total price of your pre-licensing coursework. Other fees are determined based on what type of license you’re applying for.
On average, a real estate salesperson license applicant should expect to pay between $200 to $250, in addition to whatever they pay for the course. It will cost a broker license applicant between $260 to $320, on average (plus educational costs,) to get their license.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Massachusetts?
You cannot make a new exam appointment on the same day you fail one or both portions. You can call to reschedule the day after, with a test date as soon as the following day after that, if space is available.
For example, if you fail on Monday, you can call Tuesday, and schedule your retest for as soon as Wednesday within the same week.
How many times can you retake the Massachusetts real estate exam?
Should you fail the exam, you have two years from the completion date on your educational certificate form to pass both parts of the real estate license exam. If you don’t pass it within this time, you must obtain a new Education Certificate and retake both parts of the exam regardless of whether you’ve already passed one of the two sections.
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Massachusetts?
Yes, there is a retest fee.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Massachusetts?
For both the salesperson and broker real estate license exams in Massachusetts, the retake fee is $54. The price is the same whether you need to take both sections, or just one, over again.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Massachusetts?
Massachusetts doesn’t currently license applicants who are on probation or parole. There are also certain crimes that can be a cause for an automatic disqualification for 10 years from the date of conviction. You can see a full list of those here.
In all other cases, the Good Moral Character Policy requires you submit a Criminal Offender Record Information (CORI) form, so the Massachusetts Real Estate Board can determine whether or not you can get your license if you have a felony charge on your record.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Massachusetts?
The same Good Moral Character policy is in place with those who have a misdemeanor on their record. You must submit a CORI form, which the Real Estate Board will review to determine if you’re able to apply for your real estate license.
Factors taken into consideration during the review process include public protection, time since conviction, age, seriousness and number of offenses, the existence of offending charges, and efforts for rehabilitation.
If necessary, submission of false information and anything else deemed relevant to the specific circumstances will also be required for review.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Massachusetts?
You can, in fact, get a real estate license if you have a DUI in Massachusetts. Again, you’ll need to be honest and forthcoming about the charge, and submit a CORI form for review under the Good Moral Character policy.
Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Massachusetts?
Yes. You only need to be at least 18 years of age to apply for your real estate license in Massachusetts.
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