How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in the District of Columbia?

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This article covers the components of the licensing process in the District of Columbia and the costs for each step, whether you’re planning to get or upgrade your real estate license.

When you’re done reading, you’ll know which costs are fixed, which vary, and why. You will also have a clear idea of how much it takes to maintain your license throughout your career.

Ready to learn all about it? Here’s what you can expect to pay to get and keep your District of Columbia real estate license.


Obtaining a License

Pre-Licensing Courses: $250+ for Salesperson; $1,400+ for Broker

Your path to becoming a DC real estate salesperson begins with completing 60 hours of approved pre-licensing education.

Those credit hours comprise one course most commonly offered online in a self-paced format. Price points vary based on where you study and the features included in the course package.

Enrollment costs range from $250 to $420. The higher-priced option includes study tools like digital flashcards and a glossary, plus access to business and career resources.

You can also attend class virtually via Zoom. Your enrollment cost may be comparable with the self-paced delivery option or in the $500 range, depending on the school you choose.

If you’re upgrading your license, you have a substantial financial commitment to make.

For those aspiring to get a broker real estate license in DC, the cost of pre-licensing classes tops the $1,400 mark and can be as high as $2,100.

The number of required education hours is more than twice that for salespeople. The course clocks in at 135 hours of instruction.

Schools offer the course in a virtual classroom. So, you’ll benefit from real-time interaction, which makes the class more dynamic and allows for immediate answers to questions.


Exam Prep Course: $50+ for Salesperson; $75+ for Broker

If you want the extra edge exam prep can provide, include at least $50 to $125 in your budget for a salesperson course. Increase that to $75 to $150 if you’re a prospective broker.

What you’ll ultimately spend depends on several factors, including where you take the course and whether you focus on one portion of the exam or both.

The price for online exam prep varies slightly from school to school. But by and large, your cost will typically be at the low and high end of those ranges for one and both sections, respectively.

You may also pay a different price if you purchase a package deal. Schools that offer exam prep as an add-on to pre-licensing education charge about $75 for that option.

No matter which course you take, you’ll generally get a similar study experience that includes lessons by topic and practice tests that simulate the actual exam.

Read our article on how to study for the real estate exam for more valuable tips.


Licensing Exam: $69

The exam fee is a fixed cost associated with getting your real estate license in DC. It’s $69, whether you’re a salesperson or broker applicant.

Your payment covers one attempt to pass the test. Therefore, if you have to retake the national or state portion, you must schedule another test slot and pay the full fee again.

You could also end up paying twice if you forfeit the fee. Follow the rules to prevent that from happening. The following are instances where it will:

  • You cancel late (less than two days ahead).
  • You’re a no-show for your appointment.
  • You arrive after the exam has started.
  • You don’t present the required ID.

Also, to avoid shelling out more than $69, know what to expect for the test and how and what to study. For help with that, read our article on how to pass the District of Columbia real estate exam the first time.


License Application: $195 for Salesperson; $235 for Broker

Once you’ve satisfied all the requirements, your last step is completing an application for licensure. You can apply online and remit the appropriate fee.

It’s a set amount based on your license type. You pay $195 for a salesperson license and $235 to be licensed as a broker.

That total reflects the cost to apply, plus the license fee. This includes a contribution to a fund that compensates consumers who suffer financial losses due to a licensee’s actions.

Here’s how the numbers break down:

  • Application fee: $65
  • Salesperson license fee: $130
  • Broker license fee: $170
  • Guaranty and education fund: $60

You have six months from the date you pass the exam to submit your application. A missed deadline necessitates a retake and a fee of $69 for every attempt to earn a passing score.

One important task to do before you apply for your license is to be sponsored by a licensed real estate broker. You should research real estate companies near your area for a suitable choice.

Before you do, though, take a moment to review our guide on choosing the right broker to work for to get expert advice on the topic.


Staying Licensed

Continuing Education: $140+ Every Renewal Cycle

Licensure requires both initial and continuing education. So, plan for the latter upfront to be financially prepared when it’s time to renew.

In the District of Columbia, that’s every two years. The associated CE requirement for that period is 15 hours that’s configured as follows:

  • Salesperson: 12 mandatory and three elective hours
  • Broker: 15 mandatory hours, no electives

While the configuration varies slightly, the cost of CE is comparable for the two license types.

Online CE packages with the requisite 15 hours are priced starting at $140. If you want the convenience of taking the real estate courses in a live virtual classroom, the cost is about $200.

The elective salesperson course is pre-selected in those packages. However, some providers offer the option to pick your preferred topic area.

Expect to pay around $120 for a 12-hour mandatory package. Then you’ll need to enroll in an individual elective course. Those prices vary from school to school, ranging from $40 to $75.


License Renewal: $130+ for Salesperson; $170+ for Broker

District of Columbia real estate agents and brokers have to renew their licenses every odd-numbered year, albeit in different months.

August 31 is your renewal date if you’re a salesperson. If you meet that deadline, the DC real estate license renewal fee is $130.

An on-time payment for a broker is $170, and that license type expires earlier in the year, specifically on February 28.

Once the deadline has passed, the amount can go up. If you pay within 60 days, you’ll get hit with a $50 late fee. But your license is not viewed as lapsed. So, you can renew as usual.

As of day 61, your license lapses and you must apply to the Commission for reinstatement. That involves a determination of your fitness to resume practicing real estate, plus:

  • Paying a $130 reinstatement fee if you’re a salesperson
  • Remitting $210 for reinstatement as a broker

If you let more than five years go by, you’ll miss your chance for reinstatement. At that point, you need to meet the requirements for initial licensure and pay the related costs again.


How to Reduce Real Estate License Education Costs

Covering your pre-licensing and continuing education costs is no small task. Whatever you can do to make your dollars go further is likely welcomed.

Check out the following tips for saving on these expenses.

  • Clip a digital coupon. Online schools often offer a discount to attract new students and boost enrollment. These promotions can save you up to 40 percent, sometimes more.
  • Pay package pricing vs. separate course enrollment. Purchasing a CE package can reap significant savings over individual course prices.
  • Use a membership or military discount. Check with your Realtor association on member prices for CE. And ask about military and veteran discounts for pre-licensing.
  • See if a broker will support you. Sometimes, a sponsoring broker will reimburse all or part of the cost of real estate school as an incentive to sign on with their firm.
  • Compare prices. In addition to looking at the quality of the school and what’s included with the course, comparison-shop to ensure you’re not overpaying.

Check as well if you will be able to save more on online classes. They are usually less expensive than taking your courses in a traditional classroom setup.

Read our A-to-Z guide comparing real estate classes online vs. classroom courses to know the pros and cons of each method.


Now that you’re informed about licensing costs, you can create a solid budget that keeps you on track to obtain your license.

You should also plan your schedule to check if you are able to complete all the steps in the licensing process without compromising any other commitments.

Refer to our article on how long to get a real estate license in DC for the estimated timeline.

Should you have a past conviction, know if having one can affect your chances of being licensed. Our guide on getting a District of Columbia real estate license with violations on your record discusses this topic in detail.

Following that, you should continue to take advantage of the cutting-edge industry resources provided by Real Estate Bees.

Our guide and checklist for new agents looking for guidance on the next step after passing the real estate exam is an excellent place to begin.

You can also get some ideas about what it’s like to work as a realtor from our article discussing the pros and cons of being a real estate agent.

Get some pointers as well on how to join a real estate team. It is recommended that you become a part of one to get your career off to a great start.

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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