How to get your Houston real estate license

Houston,,Texas,,Usa,Downtown,Skyline,Over,The,Highways,At,Dusk.All across America, the housing market is tipping in favor of sellers. The average housing price currently sits around $332.5k, a 5.6% increase over last year. As such, the market is extremely lucrative, and there has never been a better time to get your start as an agent.

A career in real estate has many benefits, such as flexible scheduling and unique social opportunities. But it also takes a lot of hard work and studying just to get your license, much less get your career off the ground. But lucky for you, this article will map everything you need to meet the state requirements, as well as all of the best places to meet them.

Houston Real Estate License Requirements

To get a real estate license in Houston, you must meet all the requirements set by the state board. These include:

  • You must provide proof that you are a legal citizen of the United States or a lawfully admitted alien
  • You must be 18 or older
  • You must meet TREC’s (Texas Real Estate Commission) standards for trustworthiness, integrity, and honesty.

Then you must take the following steps:Look,Up,View,Of,Houston,Downtown,Modern,Skyscrapers,At,Blue

  • Apply for your license online through the TREC website- Alternatively, you can print out the paperwork and submit it via mail. Either way, you will have to pay a small application fee.
  • Get your fingerprints and background check taken- You must pass a standard criminal background check before you can become a realtor.
  • Submit proof of relevant education- The state of Texas requires you to complete an entire 180 hours of real estate education. Once you complete the course with a passing grade, applicants will have to submit proof that they took and passed the course.
  • Take the exam- Applicants will then have to take and pass the state real estate exam.
  • Find a sponsor- After completing every step listed above, you will finally get your license! However, it is not yet active. To activate the license, you have to find a sponsor. Your sponsor can be anyone with an active Texas real estate license. If you don’t know anyone who can do that personally, sponsorship requests can be submitted through the TREC website. As soon as someone accepts your request, your license will become active.


Top Real Estate License Schools in Houston

Choosing a school is the first and arguably most important step in your path to launch a successful career in real estate. But not all schools are created equal; some schools will only provide the necessities you need to get your license, while others will provide you with numerous materials and support to prepare you for the job.

So which one should you choose? That ultimately comes down to your budget, your goals, and which school you feel most compatible with. However, these are a few of the top-rated options:

Best In-Person Classes:

Champions School of Real Estatechampions logo

West Campus: Serves Sugar Land and Katy areas
Address: 738 S Texas 6 Ste #150, Houston, TX 77079

North Campus: Serves Spring and The Woodlands
Address: 7302 N Grand Pkwy, Spring, TX 77379

Galleria Campus: Serves Greater Houston
Address: 1001 W Loop S Suite 205, Houston, TX 77027

Champions School of Real Estate is a Texas-based real estate school with 3 different locations in Houston alone. Unlike most options, they offer in-person classes in addition to online courses. The school opened only 2 years ago in this area, but their state-of-the-art campuses are quickly making them a favorite among Houston’s aspiring realtors.

The school offers four different packages, which includes two six course programs, a 9-course program, and an eleven-course program. Each one comes with their own perks and various tools to help students prepare for their career.

Best Online Real Estate Courses in Houston:

The CE Shopce-shop-logo

The CE Shop is one of the most popular sources of real estate education in the country. Their courses are exclusively online and asynchronous. When you sign up, you will be given the option to choose from a variety of packages at varying prices. The cheapest package offers basic education, while the more expensive packages include various perks and valuable advice that will help you get your career off the ground.

The school is known for providing exceptionally high pass rates. Pass rates in Texas are at 71%. They also offer downloadable resources, career resources, a real estate glossary, digital flashcards and more.


VanEd Texas Real Estate Schoolvaned logo

VanEd provides online, asynchronous real estate education classes online. What makes them stand out is their support line where you can contact a team of experienced realtors via phone, live chat, and email for advice if you get stuck in the course. The asynchronous nature of the course allows you to work at your own pace with courses that are accessible anytime on any device.

The courses incorporate multi-media formats such as video, text, and graphics to keep the courses engaging and boost your retention. They also offer PDFs of the coursework for the students to review at their own convenience.


Top Real Estate Brokerages in Houston

Congratulations! You got your license! Now, to start your career, you will need to find a brokerage to work for. While it is possible to start working on your own, it is very difficult and not advised. A brokerage will provide various resources and training to help you get a footing the Houston’s real estate market.

A good brokerage should offer a variety of perks, including:

  • Competitive Commission Split
  • A comprehensive training programs
  • Low Desk Fees
  • Quality marketing resources

While less essential, benefits and paid time off are also important factors to consider when choosing your brokerage. With that being said, here are some of Houston’s top brokerage firms who meet, if not surpass, all of the criteria listed.

Martha Turner Martha Turner Logo

Address: 50 Briar Hollow Ln #700w, Houston, TX 77027

In the spirit of innovation, an exceptional luxury real estate company bearing the Sotheby’s name was launched in 1976.  With a network of homes for sale worldwide, their website lets you search property listings globally, and includes a large inventory of luxury homes for sale, including houses, condos, townhomes, villas, and more.

The brokerage boasts not only about it’s branding and unique marketing opportunities, but also about the innovative technology. Under the Sotheby’s name, the technology gives agents a proven competitive edge for service and productivity. Some highlights include a social media campaign tool, a cloud-based marketing collateral solution, and a virtual reality home-staging app.


Gary Greenegary greene logo

Address: 5120 Woodway Dr Suite 5020, Houston, TX 77056

With 19 offices and 1,300+ agents across the greater Houston metro area, it’s no wonder that Gary Greene consistently sells more houses than any other brokerage in Houston.

The company was founded in 1963 and now boasts over 40 million customer impressions per month. The company offers an in-depth training programs and state that they are always working to incorporate new technology into their services.

eXp Realtyexp realty logo

Address: 11330 Clay Rd Suite 550, Houston, TX 77041

eXp Realty is a cloud-based brokerage with a presence in 14 countries. They were awarded the title of #1 in Independent Broker Firms for their extremely rapid annual growth. They offer agents anywhere from 80-100% of the commission from their sales.

Agents get plenty of support and training with the company offering up to 50 hours per week of live virtual training. They also give their agents access to a variety of virtual tools to aid in their career. They even offer their agents opportunities to invest in the company’s own stock.


Keller Williamskeller-williams-logo

Address: 5050 Westheimer Rd #200, Houston, TX 77056

Keller Williams has offices around the country, including one in the Houston area. They are extremely beginner friendly with options for both online and in person education, as well as an award-winning coaching program. The company was founded in 1983 and has since grown into the 2nd largest brokerage in the United States.

Agents will typically get a 70/30 commission split with the company getting 30. This is a bit higher than what most companies of their caliber offer.


Redfinredfin logo

Address: 4000 Washington Ave #303, Houston, TX 77007

If you are starting out in the real estate industry, working on a commission basis can be scary, as it can take months before you land your first sale. Redfin takes some of the pressure off for new agents by paying them a consistent salary.

They also take care of up to $14,000 in expenses, as well as providing healthcare benefits, paid time off and parental leave. Exact number figures for agents’ compensation are openly displayed on their website, so you can determine if they offer a fair deal before you ever submit your resume.


What Local Associations are Best for Houston Agents?

Once you’ve become more established in the local real estate market, you may consider joining a real estate association. These are trade groups made up of agents and brokers which often offer training, conduct market research studies, lobby the government over various property-related issues, and operate an MLS for their brokers.

To join a local association, you must earn a real estate license. Doing so will not only allow you to take advantage of the association’s perks, but it will also show your clients that you are up to higher professional standards as compared to other brokers.

Here are some of Houston’s strongest associations:

Houston Association of Realtors (HAR)har_logo_poll

Address: 3693 Southwest Freeway Houston, TX 77027

HAR is an organization is dedicated to connecting their members and clients. They advocate for informed purchases, and they run a site that allows clients to view various data points on any properties they might be interested in. This data includes exact property boundaries, school boundaries, estimated drive time to any destination (such as your work or school), nearby points of interest and more.

The benefits go both ways, as any clients interested in your listings are connected directly with you at no cost and no commission. Not only that but having your name and listings on provides a significant SEO boost and makes your listing far more visible to prospective buyers.


Houston Black Real Estate Association hbrea logo

Address: 11303 Chimney Rock Rd., Ste. 110, Houston, TX 77035

The Houston Black Real Estate Association was founded in 1949 by 11 progressive real estate brokers. The brokers, faced with the dilemma of discriminatory real estate practices, deemed it necessary to form an entity that could ensure not only democracy in the real estate industry, but also in housing opportunities.

Encouraged by the prospect of progress through organization, the association immediately launched an educational program in order to better qualify themselves and to open the door for other Negroes interested in the real estate industry. Through the cooperation of Texas Southern University, evening classes in Real Estate Principles, Salesmanship, Real Estate Brokerage and Real Estate Law were sponsored by the Association.


Houston Real Estate Networking Clubreinc logo

Address5150 Westheimer Rd, Houston, TX 77056
The Houston Real Estate Networking Club is a Real Estate Investor Association (REIA) dedicated to providing members with:
  • Wholesale Real Estate Opportunities
  • No Money No Credit Financing Opportunities
  • A Network of Local Buyers, Sellers, Service Providers, & Partners
  • Best-in-class Local Market Updates, Training, and Mentoring

The Houston RENC is also a member in good standing of the Texas Wealth Network, a network of over 15,000 Texas Real Estate Investors that have been meeting regularly since 2002, and have been growing their membership continually ever since.


National Association of RealtorsNational Association of Realtors Logo |

National Association of Realtors is one of the largest real estate associations, with over 1.5 million members spread out across the country. They offer a variety of perks and benefits, as well as access to a variety of educational courses.

Founded over 100 years ago, the association was one of the first business groups to pen a code of ethics. To this day, they proudly hold themselves and all their members up to this code of ethics, which promotes positive interactions from clients and realtors alike that are ultimately mutually beneficial. They even offer a training program centered around nothing but their code of ethics.


Texas RealtorsTexasREALTORSLogo

Texas Realtors is a state-wide group that identifies local issues that could increase the cost of buying, selling, and owning real estate. They work with government officials on the local, state, and federal level to resolve these issues in a matter that ultimately preserves consumer interest. They primarily review bills proposed by legislation and support the ones that will be beneficial to the general population while opposing those that are harmful.

When they’re not fighting for equal property legislation, they help their community in a variety of other ways, including volunteering in food drives and other local charity events. They also provide resources that promote a healthy environment for Texans to sell, buy, and own property.

Additionally, they provide continuing education opportunities to their members to ensure they are up to date on all present real estate legislation and qualified to offer the best service to their customers.


There has never been a better time to get your footing in Houston’s real estate market. But that doesn’t mean that success is going to come on a silver platter: in any market, realtors must put in hours of work and dedication. But with this helpful guide and a bit of determination, you should have all the tools you need to launch a lucrative career in real estate.

Chris Heller Headshot

About the Author

Chris Heller brings 27 years of experience in real estate. Chris serves on the AgentAdvice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

Last Updated: 12/27/2022