How to Get a Real Estate License in Montana?
This guide will help you traverse the process of becoming a real estate salesperson or broker in The Treasure State.
We walk you through the licensing requirements and help you understand what to expect along the way, from completing the pre-licensing classes to submitting your license application.
So, take the first step in learning how to get your real estate license in Montana by reading the content below.
Montana Real Estate License Requirements for Salespeople
There are two legal prerequisites you must meet to be eligible for a salesperson’s license:
- Age: Montana mandates that you be at least 18 years old to practice real estate.
- Education: You must have completed two full years of an accredited high school curriculum. In other words, you need a 10th-grade education or higher.
You are also required to clock in 70 hours of pre-licensing class time. And that course of study has to be taught at a school approved by the Montana Board of Realty Regulation.
This course will help you prepare for the exam and to work in the profession. It covers the basics of real estate, including finance and law.
Once you pass the class, you can take the exam. It’s a closed-book test composed of two portions. You must pass both.
The national part tests you on the general knowledge needed to work as an agent. The state section focuses on Montana’s real estate laws, rules, and regulations.
There are 113 questions on the exam, 80 national and 33 state. Each question is worth one point. Each section has its own passing score:
- National — 56 points
- State — 23 points
After passing the exam, you have a couple of other requirements to satisfy before applying for your license.
- You’re required to be covered by professional liability insurance.
- You must be affiliated with a broker who holds a supervising broker endorsement.
As you identify brokerages, there are essential factors you should consider. Our article on how to pick a broker to work for is an excellent resource for this task.
You can then choose one from our database of the best real estate brokerages in Montana.
Montana Real Estate License Requirements for Brokers
Montana real estate agents wanting to become brokers must be 18 or older and hold a high school diploma or GED.
Montana statutes also specify an experience requirement. That’s a minimum of two years actively working as a licensed real estate salesperson.
In addition, you must demonstrate experience based on a point system. At least 30 total points are required, and you get varying numbers of points for the following:
- Residential closings and vacant lot transactions
- Commercial, agricultural, or farm/ranch transactions
- Education (e.g., real estate or law degree, designations)
The transactions must have occurred within 36 months before applying. You must report them on the Experience Points Sheets submitted with your application.
You have to complete pre-licensing education as well to qualify for a broker’s license. It’s a single course that’s 60 classroom hours.
You must also pass the broker exam. PSI Services proctors the test. So you’ll need to register with them to reserve a test slot.
Here’s what you can expect when taking the exam:
- It has two parts: the national section and Montana real estate law portion.
- The national portion has 75 questions, and you have two hours to complete it.
- The state section consists of 40 questions, and you get 90 minutes to answer those.
The PSI Candidate Information Bulletin contains content outlines for each portion to help you effectively prepare.
To pass, you need to score 60 on the national part and 30 on the state-specific section. Those scores equate to the number of questions you must answer correctly.
Another requirement is proof of errors and omissions insurance. You can go with the Board’s group policy or purchase your own.
No matter which policy you choose to purchase, you must have coverage to apply for your license. You have 12 months from when you pass the exam to submit your application.
What Is Real Estate License Reciprocity?
When two states have substantially similar requirements, they often agree to accept each other’s licenses. That’s reciprocity.
Montana doesn’t have formal reciprocity with other jurisdictions. However, there is an out-of-state waiver process where the Board can let you skip some or all education and exam requirements.
That means you may not have to repeat pre-licensing classes or the national part of the exam.
US States Having a Reciprocal Agreement with Montana
In Montana, real estate license reciprocity isn’t currently offered through a formalized understanding with other states.
However, Montana real estate license reciprocity states may be added if agreements are made. Be sure to ask the Board of Realty Regulation before applying.
How to Study for a Real Estate License Exam in Montana
Survey of Experts
How difficult was it for you to study and pass the Montana real estate license exam?
How many attempts did it take you to pass your real estate license exam?
Pre-Licensing Classroom Courses
The most commonly offered classroom courses are delivered via an online conferencing platform such as Zoom. And that’s the case for broker and salesperson classes.
Real estate courses in Montana taught in a traditional classroom are offered in major cities like Billings and Missoula.
Both the virtual and live classrooms provide a dynamic learning experience and can enhance your grasp of the material through real-time feedback and interactions with others.
You will lose flexibility, but the structure may help you stay focused. You’ll also likely pay more than for online courses. However, you’re apt to get more instructor support.
Pre-Licensing Online Courses
Online course options are your best bet if you’re looking for how to get a Montana real estate license at your own pace.
Because the course is available on demand, you can study when you have time and do it from anywhere. A caveat is that the school must be on the Board of Realty Regulation’s approved list.
You can purchase online packages with helpful add-ons like exam prep and instructor Q&A. You’ll typically still pay less than for in-person courses.
However, you will give up face-to-face interaction. You’ll also have to be disciplined in setting aside time to study.
Compare the benefits and disadvantages of both methods by referring to our article on real estate classes online vs. classroom courses.
Survey of Experts
Did you take your pre-licensing real estate course online or in person?
Do you think taking a real estate pre-licensing course online can save students time compared to in-person courses?
What is the name of the school where you completed your pre-licensing course?
Do you see any advantages of taking an online course over the in-person class?
Flexibility. A person can work full time and take the class when it is convenient for them.
What would you recommend real estate students to invest extra in to ensure passing the exam on the first try?
I think mainly it’s good to go to a good school. The school I went to, I think, was really good and was the main reason I passed the exam on the first try.
A lot of the questions, especially on the state portion of the exam, are specific to the state that you’re in and the Montana school I went to really helped with that.
Where to Take the Real Estate Exam in Montana
You’re required to take the test in person at an official PSI Test Center. They have six located in the following four cities:
- Billings (2)
- Helena (1)
- Kalispell (1)
- Missoula (2)
Before setting an appointment for the test, check out our article covering what to study for the Montana real estate exam.
Then, refer to my tips on how to study for the real estate exam to up your chances of passing the test.
How to File for Your License After the Exam in Montana
Exam results are valid for one year. So, you must file for your license before then. There are two ways to do this. You can:
- Create an account and apply via the online portal.
- Download and submit a paper application (salesperson or broker).
Either way, you must also provide any needed supporting paperwork when applying. The Board of Realty Regulation has salesperson and broker application checklists to help with this.
While waiting for your license application to be approved, you should use this time to gather as much information as you can on how it’s like working as a real estate agent.
Our article discusses this topic featuring experts answering the question, “Is being a real estate agent worth it?”
How to Receive Your Real Estate License in Montana
The Board will email you when your application is approved. You can then log into the online portal and print a copy of your license.
Once you get your license, you can then work as a certified real estate agent in the state. Make all the preparations necessary to jumpstart your career in the right direction.
Read our article on what to do after passing the real estate exam for helpful tips.
How long does it take to get a Montana real estate license when studying in the class?
Live classroom courses don’t take long to complete. Providers offer a full-time schedule of eight days for salesperson and broker students.
Besides the pre-licensing course, you’ll also need to add time for extra exam prep you choose to do. A rule of thumb is to tack on about 1-2 weeks for that.
Add another 1-3 weeks if you need to find and sign on with a broker. Scheduling for the exam depends on availability. Allow for a test slot 1-3 weeks out and a full day for the exam.
Application processing varies on a case-by-case basis. But you can expect to wait 2-4 weeks from when the Board receives all required information to get the licensing decision.
The process could take longer if you have a criminal conviction that requires review by the Board, which will be at their next regularly scheduled meeting.
How long does it take to get a Montana real estate license online?
Because you set the pace for your online course, you can complete it as quickly as you like. Put in a full-time effort, and you won’t need a full two weeks to work through the material.
Even a part-time schedule, like 15-20 hours per week, will allow you to finish in about a month.
Then, there’s time for other parts of the process. Here are some estimates:
- Exam prep: 1-2 weeks
- Scouting out a broker: 1-3 weeks
- Scheduling the exam: 1-3 weeks
- Sitting for the exam: 1 day
- Application processing: 2-4+ weeks
For more information on how much time you need to get licensed in the state, read our guide on how long to get a real estate license in Montana.
Survey of Experts
How long did it take you to get your real estate license? From the time you signed up for school till your license was issued.
Knowing what you know now, what would you do differently to get your license faster?
I would select the best pre-licensing program based on what’s best for my learning abilities, not the cheapest because it’s the cheapest option.
Is there a background check for a Montana real estate license?
No criminal background check is required. However, you must answer a series of application questions about your personal history.
Some of them ask whether you have any past criminal convictions or pending criminal charges.
If your answer is “yes,” the Board of Realty Regulation requires a detailed explanation and official court documentation (proceedings, disposition documents, and the like).
They will evaluate this information in determining whether to grant you a license.
How much does a Montana real estate license cost?
Fixed costs include exam and application fees:
- Exam fee: $106 per attempt for broker and salesperson applicants
- Application fees: $80 and $90 for salespeople and brokers, respectively
You should anticipate paying $300 to $725 for the salesperson course. Broker candidates can expect to invest $400 to $850 in pre-licensing education.
Errors and omissions insurance is another expense. You can find group policy and enrollment information on the Board of Realty Regulation website. The current annual premium is $168.
For more information on the expenses associated with getting licensed in the state, read — How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Montana?
Survey of Experts
In your opinion, was the cost of getting your real estate license reasonable?
Approximately how much did it cost you to get your real estate license? Including school fees, study materials, and other related expenses.
What were your ‘surprise costs’ after getting your license?
Surprise costs I wasn’t aware of were the fees you have to pay to obtain your license and be an agent your first year. Ex: MLS, NAR, & yearly/quarterly required fees.
What costs could have been avoided and how?
Selecting the most affordable online pre-licensing course will cost you more time and money in the long run.
It did not set me up for success to pass the national/state exams and I had to pay for multiple tests to complete my license.
I also had to learn even more information after completing my pre-licensing course to learn the info needed to pass the exams.
How long do you have to wait to retake the real estate exam in Montana?
The Candidate Information Bulletin doesn’t specify a mandatory wait time. However, PSI typically requires candidates to wait 24 hours after a failed attempt to schedule a retake.
How many times can you retake the Montana real estate exam?
Don’t stress too much if you fail the exam. You can retake it, and there’s no limit on how many times you can retest while your education certificate is still valid (24 months).
Do you have to pay to retake the real estate exam in Montana?
You must register and pay the exam fee every time you test, whether you take one portion or both portions.
How much does it cost to retake the real estate exam in Montana?
The retake fee is $106 no matter which license you’re pursuing.
Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Montana?
There isn’t a blanket ban for applicants with felony convictions. So felons are eligible to apply for and obtain a license.
The Board will evaluate your application on its own merits, applying relevancy and rehabilitation criteria to the decision. They also consider the crime’s severity and how much time has elapsed.
In addition, you may be required to appear before the Board for a personal interview regarding your conviction(s) and rehabilitation.
Can you get a real estate license with a misdemeanor in Montana?
The answer is yes. You’ll have to pass the screening process, though, which considers the relevancy of your crime to the work and whether you now warrant the public trust.
The Board wants to ensure that clients will be personally and financially safe in your hands. Therefore, they will review your application individually using the established criteria.
Aside from the specifics of your offense, evidence of your rehabilitation factors into the decision. You should also be prepared if the Board wants to discuss your past criminal conduct with you.
Will a DUI prevent you from getting a real estate license in Montana?
The probability that you’ll get a real estate license if you have a DUI varies from case to case.
For example, a lone misdemeanor in the non-recent past may not raise disqualifying concerns. But your conviction for a felony DUI or multiple offenses could be problematic.
That’s because this offense checks the box for relatedness to the profession. The more recent or concerning the conduct that led to a conviction, the less likely you are to be licensed.
Survey of Experts
Is it more challenging to get a real estate license with violations on one’s record?
Do you know any people who got a real estate license with violations on their record?
Can I get a real estate license without a high school diploma in Montana?
You can’t become a broker without a high school diploma or equivalent. However, you can get a salesperson’s license if you have at least a 10th-grade education.
Once you’re licensed, don’t forget to consult our article on how to join a real estate team to kickstart your career or take it to the next level.
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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.