How to Get a Real Estate License in Maine: 2021 Requirements for Taking the Exam
Whether you’re already sold on the idea of getting your real estate license or you’re still deciding, this guide is a must-read.
There’s a lot to know about the Maine licensing process. We walk you through it all so that you’ll be better prepared to successfully navigate the intricacies of the requirements.
So, get a head start with this succinct yet informative read.
Maine Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Salespeople
The sales agent license in Maine is a two-year, non-renewable license. It allows you to enter the profession and gain experience for the required next step of becoming an associate broker.
There are two basic eligibility criteria for this license. One is a minimum age of 18. The other is a high school diploma or completion of an alternative secondary education program.
If you meet both, you’re ready to begin the licensing process. You may not have to start at square one if you qualify for reciprocal licensing, as described in another section of this article. If you’re getting your first real estate license, you do.
That entails starting with a course on the ins and outs of real estate. The qualifying pre-licensing education in Maine is a 55-hour Sales Agent Course. You must achieve a final grade of 75 percent or higher to successfully complete it.
Taking the Sales Agent Course prepares you to meet the next requirement, which is passing the licensing exam.
The exam is divided into two parts: general practice and Maine law. Each is scored separately and reported as a scaled score from 0-100. The passing point for each component is 75.
The general practice portion of the exam covers the nature and scope of real estate activities, and the knowledge and skills agents need to perform them. You’ll have 2.5 hours to answer 80 multiple-choice questions in the following areas:
- Property characteristics
- Ownership and title transfer
- Property valuation and appraisal
- Contracts and agent obligations
- Real estate practice
- Property disclosures
- Financing and closing
The law portion of the exam is composed of 40 questions. It tests your knowledge of the powers of the Maine Real Estate Commission and laws governing licensees, land use, agency, and property ownership. This part is also in multiple-choice format, and you’re given 1.5 hours to complete it.
Refer to the Candidate Handbook for more information about the exam. It provides content outlines for both parts and tells you the number of questions you’ll find in each topic area.
You have one year from the date you pass the exam to apply for your license. A mandatory background check is part of the application process. You’re required to pay the $21 criminal records check fee when you apply.
You’ll also need your agency affiliation information and designated broker’s authorization for your application. As a sales agent, you must be affiliated with a licensed Maine real estate agency and work under the supervision of that agency’s designated broker.
Maine Licensing Requirements for Real Estate Brokers
There are two types of licenses available to real estate agents in Maine who want to upgrade to broker status: associate broker and real estate broker.
The associate broker license is a mandatory progression for sales agents two years after initial licensure. The entry-level sales license can’t be renewed. Therefore, if you’re a sales agent planning to continue your Maine real estate career, you must be prepared to become an associate broker when your license period is up.
Here’s what you’ll need to do to qualify:
- You must have been actively practicing real estate for the full two-year licensing period.
- You must complete the Associate Broker Course approved by the Commission.
The required coursework consists of 60 hours of study. In addition to earning a final grade of at least 75 percent, you must also demonstrate specific field experience in order to satisfactorily complete the course. Your hands-on experience must be documented on a Field Experience Form, which you’ll submit to the course instructor for approval.
If you’re unable to complete the Associate Broker Course before your sales agent license expires, you can apply for an extension. You’ll have to explain the extenuating circumstances leading to your request. Keep in mind that the Commission may deny your application.
The next license level is real estate broker. Licensed real estate brokers may act as designated brokers who are responsible for the actions of a real estate agency and its associates. A broker license requires the following:
- Active associate broker experience for two of the immediately preceding five years
- Completing the 50-hour Designated Broker Course with a grade of at least 75 percent
You’ll also have to undergo a background check no matter which broker license you obtain. You’ll pay a criminal records check fee when you apply. Your license must also be affiliated with a licensed agency to actively offer real estate services. If you’re planning to open a company, you must submit an agency application in addition to your individual application.
Unlike most other states which require a licensing exam for broker candidates, there is no exam requirement for applicants upgrading their Maine real estate license from sales agent. However, the rules are different on this (and other requirements) for out-of-state licensees applying for a comparable license. If you’d like to read more about that, see Reciprocal States for details.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
Even though each state has its own licensing requirements, there are similarities across states. Therefore, some offer reciprocity to other state’s licensees. That is to say, if you have a license in one state, another may offer you full or partial credit for earning that license.
Maine offers partial credit. You may qualify for a comparable license without taking the education course or the national portion of the exam. Here’s how:
- You must meet the requirements of being 18 or older and a high school graduate.
- Your current out-of-state license must be active and in good standing.
- It’s mandatory that you take and pass the Maine Real Estate Law Exam.
- You’re required to apply for a license and pass the criminal background check.
- You must submit Verification of Licensure from each state where you’ve held a license.
You should note that a nonresident salesperson’s license is equivalent to a Maine associate broker license. And, if you’re a nonresident licensee, you must affiliate with a licensed brokerage in Maine to perform real estate services in the state.
Also note that prep courses are available for the Maine Law Exam. It’s a multiple-choice test with 50 scored questions. You must get a scaled score of 75 to pass it. You’ll find additional information about registration and exam content in the Candidate Handbook.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Maine
Maine does not offer reciprocity through written agreements with other states or licensing jurisdictions. However, they do allow you to skip some of the pre-licensing work if you qualify.
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Maine
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
Currently, there are a handful of opportunities for taking pre-licensing real estate classes in a classroom. The available options are offered as part of a blended format. You complete some of the coursework via self-study and some in person. The in-person sessions are held on varying schedules in Bangor, Augusta, and Portland.
Having the chance to participate in live sessions gives you the opportunity for some group learning. You also get questions answered in real time.
As you likely expect, course content starts with the basics and delves deeper into real estate practices based on the type of license being sought.
- Sales agent candidates are introduced to the elements of real estate brokerage.
- Associate broker students gain a deeper understanding of real estate brokerage and how to apply that knowledge to everyday activities.
- Broker applicants learn all about their obligations to licensees, clients, and the public.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
There are a variety of internet-based options available for taking the agent and broker classes in Maine. You can opt for a self-paced course if you need maximum flexibility. Or, you can take a live class via Zoom. In the latter, you’ll have a set schedule to keep you on task, but you can access it from anywhere.
You’ll have to be self-motivated to work through the self-paced course. But you’ll study the same content as in the classroom. Online courses follow the state-approved content outline.
You’ll need to find out which of these two formats suit your schedule best. You can weigh the pros and cons of each method by reading our detailed guide — Real Estate Courses Online vs. Classroom.
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Maine
You cannot take the licensing exam online. It’s an in-person, appointment-only test given at designated testing sites all around the state.
The test is administered by Pearson VUE, a third-party company that specializes in developing and delivering licensure exams. You need to contact them to make a reservation for taking the test at one of the following locations:
- South Portland
- Presque Isle
Our article on how to pass the real estate exam the first time shares helpful tips that you can use when preparing for this important test.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Maine
The Commission accepts paper applications by mail. You can also apply online. Either way, you must pay a total of $121 when you apply. This amount includes $100 for the application and license fee and $21 for the background check.
You must apply within one year of passing the exam. You also have to submit your exam score report and the completion certificate for the pre-licensing education course if applicable.
There are timing considerations as well. The Commission asks that you apply for an associate broker license no more than 30 days before your sales agent license expires. If you’re getting a broker license two years after becoming an associate broker, the earliest you can apply is also 30 days out from the expiration of your current license.
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Maine
The Maine Real Estate Commission delivers licenses via email. Active licenses are sent to the designated broker at the email address on record with the Commission. Inactive licenses are emailed directly to the licensee.
Now that you hold a professional real estate license, a world of opportunities await you. Joining a real estate team is a smart move that will allow you to learn from experienced agents. Creating an action plan on what to do after you get your real estate license should also be considered to set your real estate career in motion.
How long does it take to get a Maine real estate license when studying in the class?
Sales agent and associate broker applicants can finish the blended-format courses in a month. The in-person workshops are held weekly for four weeks, with self-study completed in between.
You’ll need to add time for the exam to your estimated schedule if you’re getting a sales agent license. Block out a day for taking the test and wait time of at least a week for an appointment. Also, reserve a week or two for choosing a broker to work for and deciding where to hang your license.
According to the Maine State Bureau of Identification, getting the search results from your background check usually takes less than a day. However, that time can stretch to two weeks if manual intervention is required to complete the records search.
As for the time it takes to receive your license after applying, the Commission processes applications in the order in which they are received. Processing time varies based on the volume of applications at that time and the type of license you’re applying for. You can check the status of your application on the Office of Professional and Occupational Regulation website.
How long does it take to get a Maine real estate license online?
Some students finish the self-paced Sales Agent Course in two weeks. You have up to six months to complete it. The live online format takes just under a month.
Depending on the delivery format you pick, you can complete the Associate Broker Course in four to six weeks. If you’re taking the Designated Broker Course, six to eight weeks is average.
You will also have to look at the time for activities on the other side of pre-licensing education.
If you’re researching brokerages to be affiliated with, you can do that concurrently with taking classes if time allows. Otherwise, look to get that done over a couple of weeks. And, if you are taking the exam, expect to wait seven days or more for an appointment.
The State Bureau of Identification indicates that results from routine electronic background checks are generally returned in 12 hours or less. If manual intervention is necessary, it can take up to two weeks.
Then, you’ll have to wait on the Commission once you’ve filed your application. The larger the volume of applications the Commission has, the longer the processing time. If you’d like to check the status of your application, you can do so on the licensing website.
Is there a background check for a Maine real estate license?
By law, the state of Maine has the authority to consider the criminal history record of applicants in determining eligibility for licensure. Therefore, you must undergo and pass a background check to obtain a real estate license. The State Bureau of Identification conducts the criminal history records check. The fee is $21, which you pay when filing your application.
How much does a Maine real estate license cost?
Fees associated with obtaining your real estate license are as follows:
- License/application: $100
- Background check: $21
- Exam registration: $85
Your investment in pre-licensing education will be about $395 to $450 if you’re getting a sales agent license. Look to pay $450 for associate broker classes and $425 for the broker course.
If you’re getting a license via out-of-state licensing reciprocity, you may want to take a prep class for the Maine Real Estate Law Exam. The cost ranges from $99 to $195.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Maine?
The only mandatory wait time is for making the appointment for a retake. According to the exam handbook, you must wait at least 24 hours before scheduling a reexamination. When you do, you can take the first available test slot.
How many times can you retake the Maine real estate exam?
There is no set limit on the number of times you can do a retest if you fail the exam. However, sales agent applicants must pass both portions of the exam before their course completion certificate expires. Certificates are valid for one year.
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Maine?
Yes, you’ll have to register with Pearson VUE each time you retake one or both portions of the exam and pay the test fee.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Maine?
The exam fee of $85 applies to all retakes of any portion of the licensing exam.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Maine?
The term felony is not used in Maine statutes. The state classifies crimes into five categories based on the seriousness of the offense. Those categories that would be classified as felonies by law dictionary definition are considered by the Commission when reviewing applications.
You will not be automatically barred from getting a license if your offense falls into one of these categories. However, a conviction may impact the Commission’s view of your suitability for licensure. The reviewers will take factors like the nature of the crime and how long ago it occurred into account and determine whether you’ll get a pass on your conviction.
There is a time limit for the Commission’s consideration of a prior conviction. That period is three years following the date of discharge of the sentence. Beyond that, an applicant with no additional convictions must be considered in the same manner as those with no criminal record.
There is one exception, though. There is no time limit for consideration of a conviction if your conduct would be grounds for disciplinary action if you were a licensee.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Maine?
Even though Maine doesn’t use the term misdemeanor, the Commission considers crimes categorized as such by traditional definition. Generally, they are looking at how honest and trustworthy you are. In addition, they specifically consider convictions that:
- Carry a sentence of less than one year and involve dishonesty and false statements.
- Carry a sentence of less than one year and directly relate to the real estate profession.
- Carry no imprisonment and directly relate to practicing real estate.
If the conviction is one for which a licensee would be disciplined, there is no time limitation for the Commission’s consideration of the offense in granting a license. For other convictions, the time limit for consideration is up in three years after discharge of sentencing if there are no additional convictions.
The bottom line is that you can be granted a license with a misdemeanor. However, it’s possible the Commission may say “no” if they deem you insufficiently rehabilitated to warrant public trust.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Maine?
You’re eligible to get a real estate license even if you have a DUI (called an OUI or operating under the influence charge in Maine). Do note, however, that the conviction will be a point of scrutiny for the Commission.
Factors that influence the licensing decision include the number of offenses, the related circumstances, and the amount of time since conviction. The burden is on you as an applicant to prove that you are deserving of public trust.
Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Maine?
You cannot apply for a real estate license in Maine unless you graduated from high school or have a high school equivalency certificate.
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