How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York

A New York real estate license can be an incredibly valuable thing to have – according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, it's by far the most lucrative state. Real estate agents make more in New York State than anywhere else; $102,200 on average.

Not only does a real estate license pay well in New York, but it's also much more affordable than in many other states.

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How To Get Real Estate License In NY

The real estate licensing process in New York has four basic steps, each of which we'll describe in more detail below. You need to successfully:

  1. Complete 75 hours of NYS-approved Pre-License Coursework
  2. Pass the New York Real Estate Salesperson License Exam
  3. Choose a Sponsoring Broker
  4. Complete Your License Application

Who's Eligible to Apply for a New York Real Estate License?

Aside from the licensing process itself, there are a few basic biographical bars you'll need to clear.

You need to:

  • Be 18 or older
  • Have a current New York State (NYS) photo ID (driver's license or non-driver ID card)
  • Have no prior convictions for a felony or sex offense

The last one has a few caveats. Felony convictions automatically bar you from getting a NYS real estate license, unless you have an executive pardon, a Certificate of Relief, or a Certificate of Good Conduct.

Be aware that these aren't easy to get, and the New York State Department of State (NYSDOS), which issues real estate licenses for New York, reserves the right to deny you the license regardless. This is more likely if your conviction was job-related and/or poses a risk to people or property.

How Long Does It Take To Get Your Real Estate License In New York?

How long it takes you to get a real estate license in New York State will depend on where you take your courses and how much time and effort you dedicate to studying.

That said, it takes prospective NY real estate agents an average of three to five months to complete the process.

How Much Does It Cost To Get a New York Real Estate License?

Again, the exact cost will depend on you, but overall, New York State is one of the few places where it's possible to get a license for less than $200.

The exam fee in New York is a very reasonable $15 per attempt, and the application fee is $55 – much lower than many states. As of this article's publishing date, there are no "hidden" fees in the process, but states change rules all the time, so check with NYSDOS for the current fee schedule.

The biggest x-factor is your pre-license coursework and exam preparation. These costs will vary by program and course type. Classroom-style programs are more expensive than online courses. Additionally, you'll need to decide whether you want to only pay for the required coursework or whether you want to spring for exam preparation and practice, as well.

You can get reputable online NYSDOS-approved pre-license coursework from us for as low as $99. Some in-person programs will be $300 or more. You may also need to pay a $25 final exam proctoring fee.

Keep in mind, there are other startup costs for getting your business off the ground.

Does New York Offer Real Estate License Reciprocity?

Some states let you skip some licensing steps if you already have a real estate license. However, this is rare in New York and mostly applies to individuals that are handling transactions in New York while staying in their home state.

You can find the current reciprocity terms through NYSDOS.

New York Real Estate Pre-License Education

You need to be careful when selecting a pre-license course because not just any program will do.

Where Can I Get NY Real Estate Education?

On your license application, you'll need to attach a course certificate to prove you completed the required education. NYSDOS only accepts certificates from approved education providers.

We're one of them! Our program allows you to study online from the comfort of your own home.

How Long Will It Take To Complete My New York Pre-license Education?

New York requires you to complete 75 clock-hours of study.

If you treat it like a full-time job, that's less than two weeks!

What Will I Study?

NYSDOS requires pre-licensing coursework to cover 19 topics that will be on the licensing exam, including license law, real estate finance, sales and lease contracts, fair housing practices, and more.

How Do I Pass My Pre-License Course?

You need to score 70% or higher on your course final to get your course certificate.

Don't sweat it, though – you're allowed FIVE attempts to take the final, and we'll quiz you along the way to help you recall the material.

Can I Take the Final Exam From Home?

Unfortunately, New York State requires real estate licensing course exams to be supervised (or "proctored"), and they don't allow for remote proctoring.

Proctoring has to take place in the state of New York with an approved proctor. You'll need to schedule a time with the test center and pay them a proctoring fee.

New York Real Estate Exam

After you've completed 75 hours of learning and passed your course final, you'll need to pass the New York Real Estate Salesperson License Examination.

How Do I Pass the New York Real Estate Exam?

First of all, take a deep breath. If you fail on your first try, you have six months to retake it as many times as you want before you pass. Keep in mind, you'll need to pay the exam fee for each attempt.

The pre-licensing coursework is meant to prepare you for the exam, so you'll want to make the most out of your studying. While NYSDOS says you have to spend at least 75 hours with the material, there's nothing to say that you can't spend more. Take your time and make sure you understand the concepts.

You can also sign up for exam prep to improve your chances of passing on the first try. Our exam prep provides you with practice tests, as well as condensed study guides for the testable material.

The practice exams have the same format as the real thing and are randomly generated from a databank with thousands of possible questions. This gives you a virtually unlimited number of tries before the real thing.

After each practice test, you'll get question-by-question feedback on any mistakes. It won't just tell you the right answer, but the concept behind it. That way you won't be tripped up next time, no matter how the question is asked.

It's cheaper to buy exam prep as part of a premium pre-license package, but you can also purchase it separately if you choose the basic package and change your mind later.

How Many Questions Are On The NYS Real Estate Exam?

There are 75 multiple-choice questions on the exam. You have 1.5 hours to complete the test.

Where Do I Take the NY Real Estate Licensing Exam?

There are specific, approved testing centers and times where the licensing exam is offered. There are no exceptions that allow you to take the exam online or anywhere else.

How Will I Find Out if I Passed the NYS License Exam?

Before the exam, you'll register with eAccessNY. As soon as the test is scored, you'll see your results in that portal.

Once you pass, your results will be valid for two years.

Sponsoring Brokers in New York State

Finding your sponsoring broker might be the most nebulous part of earning your real estate license. It's also the one most likely to affect your success, once your license is issued.

Why Do I Need a Sponsoring Broker?

"Salesperson" is the beginner's real estate license in New York. All New York real estate salespersons need to "hang" their license on a more experienced professional that has a broker's license. You'll work under your sponsoring broker as an independent contractor.

NYSDOS won't issue your license without a sponsoring broker, but there's also a practical element. There are certain things, like handling escrow money, that a salesperson isn't legally allowed to do.

How Do I Pick the Right Sponsoring Broker?

The relationship between a sponsoring broker and the sales agents under them can be all over the map, so you need to go in with your eyes wide open.

Research the real estate brokerages in your area – you need to consider:

  • Whether they practice the kind of real estate you're interested in
  • What their reputation is, within the industry and with the public at large
  • How they'll handle desk fees and/or commission splits
  • The extent and quality of the support they offer
  • Whether you like the brokerage's culture
  • How much growth potential there is

Evaluating the support that new agents get is especially important, though the "right answer" will depend on your preferences. Consider benefits, mentoring programs, free training, marketing materials, access to leads, and more.

NYS Real Estate License Application

Once you've passed your exam and secured a sponsoring broker, it's time to submit your application for a New York real estate license.

How Do I Apply For My New York Real Estate License?

Most applicants can use the online application on eAccessNY. Only a few select groups need to use the paper application.

You need to apply in the two-year window after you pass your license exam to avoid a retake. You'll also need a valid pre-license course certificate issued within the last 8 years.

They'll require proof of an acceptable form of ID – for most people, this will just involve entering your 9-digit DMV ID into the form. Most people pay the application fee by credit card, but you can also pay by check or money order.

Finally, your broker will need to log into the portal and enter their information certifying themselves as your sponsor.

How Do I Know the Status of My Application?

After you submit your New York real estate license application, you'll be able to check the status in the eAccessNY portal.

Study For Your New York Real Estate License Online

Ready to get started? Register for your 75-hour online NY pre-license course today!

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