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How to Get Your Real Estate License in MN: 2023 Requirements for Taking the Minnesota Exam

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This guide is your one-stop resource for getting a real estate license in the state of Minnesota.

You’ll learn about all the licensing requirements and find answers to your most pressing questions.

So, if you’re ready to jumpstart your real estate career, read on.

How to Get a Real Estate License in Minnesota

Requirements for Salespeople Real Estate License in Minnesota

Eligibility requirements for licensure as a salesperson include a minimum age. Specifically, you must be an adult when you apply. By law, that’s 18 or older.

If you meet this criterion, you can move ahead with pre-licensing education. For new licensees, the state requires 90 hours of instruction.

It’s divided equally across three courses:

  • Course I – fundamentals like law, financing principles, and title transfers
  • Course II – the basics of valuation, financing applications, and contracts
  • Course III – various topics that range from appraisal to closing procedures

To get credit for your courses, you must take them through an approved school.

You can find a list of these providers from our directory of the best real estate schools in Minnesota.

MN real estate license requirements also include passing an exam. You’ll be tested on the content of Course I.

So, you have to complete those 30 hours before taking the licensing test.

You can finish the remaining two courses anytime before applying for your license. Whether you take them before or after the exam is up to you.

As for the exam, first-time applicants will take a two-part, multiple-choice test:

  • The national portion covers real estate basics and has 80 questions.
  • The 50-question state section tests you on Minnesota real estate law.

You have to earn a scaled score of 75 or higher to pass the exam. And, each section stands on its own.

Therefore, you must get a passing score on each part to qualify for a license.

Reservations are required for the exam. Pearson VUE, the testing service retained by the state, handles registration.

They also publish a Candidate Handbook that tells you all about the exam.

After passing the exam and completing Courses II and III, you can file for your license. You have one year to apply.

Miss that deadline and you’ll have to retake the entire exam.

It’s also important to note that you’re required to be affiliated with a brokerage before filing for a license.

Accordingly, you’ll need to research and select a broker to work with.

Choosing a broker as a new agent is a critical step, and it can be intimidating.

You’ll have to know what to look for and what to ask when selecting potential candidates.

Once you know the qualities you’re looking for, you can choose one from our database of the top real estate companies in Minnesota.


Requirements for Broker Real Estate License in Minnesota

To apply for a broker’s license, you need to satisfy a combination of experience, education, and examination requirements.

Starting with experience, applicants generally must have worked as real estate agents in Minnesota at least three of the prior five years.

That requirement could be waived if you meet any of the following:

  • Have a college degree with a major in real estate
  • Are a licensed Minnesota attorney currently practicing real estate law
  • Are a public officer with duties involving real estate law or transactions

Waivers are not automatic. You have to submit a request. If approved, the waiver will be valid for one year.

So, you must pass the broker’s exam before that time is up.

Before you can take the exam, you’ll need to complete the necessary pre-licensing education.

That’s one 30-hour course approved by the Minnesota Commerce Commissioner.

To get credit for the course, you must also complete it no earlier than 12 months before applying for your license.

Passing the course qualifies you to sit for the broker’s exam. Make a reservation with the test administrator Pearson VUE.

Download the Candidate Handbook to help you prepare.

You’ll have 80 multiple-choice questions on real estate principles to answer on the national part of the exam.

The Minnesota law portion has 60 questions covering five content areas:

  • Brokerage license law
  • Contracts and disclosures
  • Interests in real property
  • Conveyance procedures
  • Financial investments

The time allotted for both sessions is four hours. You have 2.5 hours to take the national portion and 1.5 hours for the state-specific part.

The passing score is a minimum of 75. You’ll need to meet or exceed that scaled score on both portions of the test.

After you pass the exam, either you or your primary broker will need to file for your license, based on whether you will be going into business for yourself.


Reciprocal States

What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?

Every state has its requirements for getting a real estate license. However, some offer a fast track.

They allow those licensed elsewhere to qualify with minimal or no additional conditions.

Minnesota is among the U.S. states that offer this reciprocity.

Specifically, the Department of Commerce has agreements with specific states with similar requirements.

The Department also has two levels of recognition. One is for full reciprocity.

Those licensed by this method are exempt from education, exam, and experience requirements.

For non-residents from these states, what that means is a licensing process that requires only three things. They must:

  • Hold a current active license in the reciprocal state.
  • Submit official proof of licensure in that state.
  • Submit a license application and the appropriate fee.

The other level is partial recognition. It has the same process requirements as full reciprocity. Plus, non-resident applicants have to meet the following prerequisites:

  • Take a pre-licensing course focused on Minnesota law.
  • Pass the state-specific portion of the licensing exam.

In addition, applicants for a salesperson license must contact a licensed primary broker in Minnesota to submit their application.

Only a primary broker is allowed to take this action.


Minnesota Real Estate License Reciprocity with Other US States

Minnesota has full reciprocity agreements with the states listed below:

  • Colorado
  • Iowa
  • Nebraska
  • North Dakota
  • South Dakota
  • Oklahoma

The state also has a partial reciprocity agreement with Wisconsin.


How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Minnesota

Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses

Courses are offered in physical and virtual classrooms. These live settings can facilitate engagement.

Real-time feedback can help you learn, and teachers adapt delivery.

Depending on the school, you may pay slightly more for the live online format. But again, you’ll reap the benefits that come with the added element of human interaction.

The livestream classes also offer some degree of flexibility. You don’t have to travel and sit in a classroom.

However, you’ll still have to work your other obligations around a fixed schedule.

You’ll find day, evening, and weekend schedules, though. Weekdays are full-day classes.

Weekend classes require you to trade off leisure time several Saturdays and Sundays in a row.


Pre-Licensing Online Courses

You can take self-paced classes online if you prefer. Or, if the virtual or traditional classroom options don’t work for you. Studying online can reduce your costs, too.

You also won’t have mandatory class time. Instead, you get to learn on your own terms. Plus, you can use what would be commute time as study time.

Lack of group discussion is a potential downside. If feedback and collaboration enhance your focus, staying on task could be challenging.

The Commerce Department’s list of approved providers tells you which schools offer pre-licensing courses online.

So, be sure to reference that list when you’re ready to enroll.

If you’d like expert insight on which method suits you best, check out our A-to-Z video guide discussing the differences between real estate classes online and classroom-based courses.


Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Minnesota

If you take the exam in person, you’ll have to go to a designated Pearson VUE test center. You’ll find one in each of the following cities:

  • Bloomington
  • Brainerd
  • Brooklyn Park
  • Eagan
  • Hermantown
  • Marshall
  • Pine City
  • Rochester
  • St. Paul

You can use the location finder on the Pearson VUE website to get directions and information on parking and other access considerations.

You also have the option to take the exam from your home or office, if it’s more convenient.

The testing service offers online proctoring. Simply select that option when you register.

Be sure to be fully prepared before calling the test center to schedule for the test. Our tips on how to study for the real estate exam can help you with that.


How to File for Your License After the Exam in Minnesota

Application submissions are made online via PULSE, the Commerce Department’s electronic system for administering licensing programs.

Here’s an important note about that process: All applications must be submitted by the primary broker of the employing company.

That means you can’t apply yourself if you’re getting a salesperson license. You are required to join a brokerage first.

Then your broker must submit your application for you.

The same rule applies to non-primary broker applicants.

But, if you are going to be an individual proprietor or a primary broker, you can complete a Dual Application process, which includes:

  • Applying for the real estate company license.
  • Submitting your application for a new primary broker license.

How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Minnesota

The Commerce Department will notify the primary broker once an application has been approved. The broker will then be able to print out the license.

Frequently Asked Questions

How long does it take to get a Minnesota real estate license when studying in the class?

The timeframe for completing the salesperson pre-licensing courses can range from 3-6 weeks if you take them consecutively.

It’ll take more calendar time if you spread the three courses out.

Here’s a breakdown of the average time based on different schedules:

  • Weekday classes: One week per course
  • Night classes: Two weeks per course
  • Weekend classes: Two weeks per course

After that, the length of time needed depends on how long it takes you to pass the exam and find a sponsoring broker, and the Commerce Department to process your application.

You’ll need to factor in at least one day for the exam. You’ll have to make that a couple of days if you decide to take the two portions at different sessions.

How much time you spend finding a broker is your call.

But do invest sufficient time, say 2-3 weeks, to complete due diligence such as researching and interviewing brokerages.

The Commerce Department’s processing time depends on the application. It considers each one individually. Therefore, the turnaround time varies.


How long does it take to get a Minnesota real estate license online?

If you can treat your pre-licensing studies like a workweek, you can finish the salesperson courses in a little less than three weeks. The broker course will take one week.

Once your education is done, you’ll need to add time for passing the exam and finding the broker you’ll affiliate with.

The exam takes a day. You’ll have some wait time until your appointment.

You can reduce that by making a reservation based on when you anticipate completing your coursework.

A rule of thumb for selecting a broker is to allow at least 2-3 weeks to work through the process.

Do your homework, conduct interviews, and get all your questions answered before deciding.

You must also wait for the Commerce Department to process and approve your application.

Since it reviews each application on its own merits, the processing time varies.


Is there a background check for a Minnesota real estate license?

You don’t have to submit to a background check.

However, you will have to answer questions about criminal charges, convictions, or withheld or deferred judgments when applying.

If you respond affirmatively to any of them, you must submit an explanatory statement for each incident.

You must also provide official court documents related to the charges and resolution.


How much does a Minnesota real estate license cost?

If you take the salesperson courses, you’ll pay anywhere from $500 to $800 for a 3-course package.

The price will vary by school and whether it’s an online or classroom format. The cost for the 30-hour broker course runs approximately $230 to $300.

You’ll also pay several fees associated with licensing:

  • Exam registration: $39 (each portion)
  • Exam registration: $63 (combo fee)
  • Salesperson license: $130
  • Broker license: $190

For complete details on the cost implications involved in obtaining a real estate license in the state, read our guide — How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Minnesota?


How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Minnesota?

You can’t schedule a retest the day you take the exam and fail it. Instead, you have to wait 24 hours. Then you can register for an exam time slot just as you initially did.


How many times can you retake the Minnesota real estate exam?

There is no limit on the number of retakes you get if you fail the exam. However, you will pay the applicable registration fee for each attempt.

Note that you only have to retake the section you didn’t pass.

If that’s the general portion, you’ll have diagnostic information on your score report to help you study for the retest.


Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Minnesota?

Yes, the registration fee applies each time you take the exam. You’ll pay $39 for one portion and $63 for the entire exam.


How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Minnesota?

Scheduling a retake of one section will cost $39. If you need to repeat both parts of the exam and take them in the same session, the fee is $63.


Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Minnesota?

A felony history may not keep you from acquiring a real estate license in the state. However, the Commerce Commissioner can reject your application if there are grounds to do so.

For example, you could be denied a license if it’s deemed to be in the public interest.

Or, you’re shown to engage in fraudulent practices, or were found to be untrustworthy or financially irresponsible.

You must disclose any felony history when you apply, whether it’s for a conviction, charge, or withheld or deferred judgment.

You must submit relevant documents, such as the following:

  • A statement explaining the circumstances of each incident
  • A copy of the formal document charging you with a crime
  • A copy of the official sentencing order with the resolution

The burden is on you to show why you should be issued a license. You’ll have the chance to do that at a hearing.

After that, the Commissioner will issue an order on its decision.


Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Minnesota?

You can apply even if you have a misdemeanor on your record. That fact may or may not negatively impact your ability to obtain a real estate license.

It could if the Commerce Commissioner finds that denying the license would serve the public good.

Or, if your actions reflect untrustworthy, financially irresponsible, or fraudulent behavior.

The application asks questions about criminal history. You’ll have to submit an explanation of each incident.

Plus copies of charging and sentencing documents for each of the following:

  • Misdemeanor conviction
  • Misdemeanor charge
  • Withheld or deferred judgment

The Commissioner will inform you if the intent is to say no to your application. However, you’ll get an opportunity to make your case at a hearing.


Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Minnesota?

State law doesn’t say you can’t get a real estate license if you have a DUI on your record.

You may, however, want to prepare for the possibility that a felony DUI or multiple DUIs adversely affect your chances.

If a denial scenario occurs, you’ll be then ready to appear at a hearing to show cause why the Commissioner should grant you a license.


Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Minnesota?

Minnesota doesn’t have general education requirements for real estate licensing. Therefore, you can qualify without a high school diploma or GED.


When you’re fully licensed, you can now make necessary steps on what to do after getting a real estate license.

You can also join a real estate team to meet experienced agents to help you.

Having a real estate career can be overwhelming at times, so make sure to read our article on the life of a real estate agent as a career.

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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