How To Become A Real Estate Agent In Iowa

Earning and keeping a real estate license in Iowa requires both preliminary and continuing education. Requirements are set by the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau (PLB). They also vet training providers for approval.

Sadly, we don't offer real estate courses in Kentucky at this time. You'll need to visit the PBL's website to find a list of eligible providers.

Despite our lack of Iowa courses, we understand how confusing it can be to interpret licensing requirements. To make things a little easier, we'll review the licensing process for you below: the training, exams, deadlines, and more. We'll also explain how to renew a license in Iowa and what continuing education is required.

What Are Iowa's Real Estate Pre-Licensing Education Requirements?

Iowa Real Estate Commission (IREC) requires 96 total hours of coursework from an approved provider before you earn your salesperson license.

That includes a:

  • 60-hour pre-license course (Real Estate Principles and Practices)
  • 12-hour Buying Practices course
  • 12-hour Listing Practices course
  • 12-hour Developing Professionalism and Ethical Practices course

You need to complete the 60-hour course before you take the state licensing exam, either through live instruction or distance learning. You can take the other courses anytime, but those must be taken as live instruction.

Who is Eligible to Become a Real Estate Agent in Iowa?

You need to be at least 18 and able to pass a background check to become a real estate agent in Iowa. Unlike other states, Iowa doesn't have any residency or citizenship requirements.

What Else Do I Need to Do to Earn My Iowa Real Estate License?

In addition to the 96 total hours of required education, you also need:

  • Get a background check
  • Pass the state licensing exam
  • Find a sponsoring broker
  • Acquire Errors and Omissions (E&O) Insurance

In Iowa, you can't file an application for an inactive license, so you must secure a sponsoring broker before you submit your application.

What is the Iowa Real Estate Licensing Exam Like?

The Iowa Real Estate Exam is administered by a third-party testing company named PSI in testing locations throughout the state. It consists of 80 national topic questions (with a 2-hour time limit) and 40 state-specific questions (with a 1-hour time limit).

You'll learn whether you passed or failed before you leave. 

What is the Deadline for my Iowa Real Estate License Application?

The timing of all the elements in the application process is important in Iowa. All of the pieces need to be valid when you turn in your application.

Your criminal history will take at least 4 weeks (and "quite possibly more") to process. The results will be valid for 210 calendar days.

The completion dates on all four courses need to be less than a year old when you turn in your license application.

Passing exam results are valid through the last working day of the sixth month. Both parts of the exam must be valid when you submit your application.

How Often Does an Iowa Real Estate License Have to Be Renewed?

Iowa real estate licenses need to be renewed every three years. Expiration/renewal dates universally fall on December 31st.

For renewal purposes, the remainder of the year in which your license is initially issued counts as a full year. That means your first license term will fall between two and three years.

What Are Iowa's Continuing Education Requirements for Real Estate?

Iowa requires you to complete 36 Continuing Education hours from an approved provider before each renewal, including:

  • 12 mandatory hours, including
    • An 8-hour law update
    • 4 hours of ethics
  • 24 approved elective hours

Up to 24 CE hours may be completed by distance learning.

Your required continuing education must be completed within the 3-year cycle and before you submit your renewal application.

What Kind of Jobs Can I Get with an Iowa Real Estate License?

Having a real estate license in Iowa can lead to a variety of careers, including:

  • Residential real estate agent
  • Commercial real estate agent
  • Real estate broker
  • Property manager

Each career includes a wide array of niches and specialties to choose from. Some niches are more profitable than others; often, those require further certifications or licenses.

You can get a ballpark of your potential income in Iowa based on Bureau of Labor Statistics wage data:

Job Title Average Hourly Wage Average Yearly Wage
Sales Agents $22.50 $46,790
Property Managers $25.80 $53,670

A real estate agent's income is largely based on commission, so your individual earnings will depend on how well you sell. Some real estate professionals make less. Others make a lot more. For example, the top 90th percentile of sales agents in Iowa make $94,220.

You can learn more about different career opportunities, real estate niches, and how commissions work by checking out our Resources page for more info.

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