How to Get a Maryland Real Estate License

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent10/23/2023
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Step 1: Take a Real Estate Course

In Maryland, you must take 60-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.

Step 2: Pass the Course Final Exam

You have to answer 110 questions and score a 70% or higher to pass.

Step 3: Choose a Sponsoring Broker

You have total freedom to choose your sponsoring broker. Here’s some things agents look at when choosing a brokerage: commission structure and fees, your niche, growth opportunities, and the company culture.

Step 4: Submit Your Online Application

You can officially apply for your Maryland real estate salesperson license with the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The application can be done online–it is very simple and you can get it done very quickly.
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4 Steps to Get Your Maryland Real Estate License

Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Licensed Real Estate Agent

The real estate business is very lucrative but before you can become a real estate agent in Maryland, it is very important that you have a real estate license.

You must be aware that getting your Maryland real estate license is not an easy task so you need to prepare your mind for what lies ahead of you but this article will walk you through all the processes involved in getting your Maryland real estate license.

But before we do that, here are a few reasons why you need a real estate license in Maryland.

  1. Exposure to networking opportunities – You will get to network with professional real estate agents and brokers in your field. And you will gain a lot by associating with them. You will learn from their mistakes and they can also introduce you to other real estate experts that can teach you how to further your career.

2. Securing real estate investment deals – If you have a Maryland real estate license, it will be very easy for you to access the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and there are a lot of benefits attached to that. The MLS gives you a lot of information about potential neighborhoods and properties–with this information, you can secure as many real estate investment deals as you want.

3. You will be in charge of your own deals – You can determine the sales and payment terms and you can also converse directly with the escrow organization, closing lawyers, inspectors, appraiser, and the lender.

Now that you know how important getting a real estate license is, let’s dive into how to get a real estate license in Maryland.

Step 1: Take Pre-Licensing Course 

School’s Back in Session

You’re required to take a “pre-licensing” education class where you’ll study the principles of real estate, contracts, and finance. Not a fan of school? Well, these classes just might change how you feel about school. You have so many options! Some of them are even entirely online which has huge advantages! Online classes means you can do them at your own pace and work them in around your own schedule even if you have a full-time job. Also, the classes are only a total of 60 hours! That may seem like a big number, but to get started in a new career, that number is just a speck in time.

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Don’t be scared off by the vocabulary you see in the beginning of these courses. This is what the classes are designed for. They’ll defang any confusing topics by breaking them down. Still scared? Trust me, you can do this. The pass rates after taking these classes are sky-high, typically over a 62% pass rate and the support these classes offer is amazing. 

Students are always surprised how affordable these classes are. Take a look at the best real estate schools in Maryland and see for yourself. If you’re still looking for a way to save some dough, AgentAdvice offers a way to get yours for free.

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Step 2: Pass the Course Final Exam

You have to answer 110 questions and score a 70% or higher to pass.

    • The National portion: You will answer 80 questions within 90 minutes.
    • The State portion: You are required to answer 30 questions within 30 minutes.
      • There are many certified online real estate schools in Maryland that can help you prepare adequately for your exam in exchange for a fee. You can take advantage of them, and most of them are affordable.

Step 3: Choose Sponsoring Broker

Now a word from our sponsor

Finally, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker. 🙋 Uhhh … should I know what a  ‘sponsoring broker’ is? Nope, we’ll tell you! So you’ve passed the exam but it doesn’t mean you’re ready just yet. When you first start out you’ll want an experienced organization to show you the ropes. Sponsoring brokers have been-there-done-that and they’re ready to show you how. Not only will they give you all the tools you need to start making sales but they’ll help you market yourself as an agent. 

You’ll get to choose a brokerage you like, that focuses on a niche you love, that has a company culture you love, and most importantly … has a good commission rate, so your paycheck is XL. Worried about finding a brokerage yourself? AgentAdvice helps with warm introductions to hiring brokerages if you sign-up for a class through us. Phew!

You have total freedom to choose your sponsoring broker. Here’s some things agents look at when choosing a brokerage:

  • Commission Rate
    • Look at each brokerage’s commission rate when you’re shopping around. If they’ve got a good rate, your commission checks will be larger than life. 💸
  • Niche
    • Maybe you want a brokerage that focuses on a niche on a location or a specific category of real estate like commercial retail, single family homes, or fixer-uppers. So if you have a specific interest you can find a broker who shares that interest.
  • Culture
    • Maybe the company’s culture is important to you. If so, get to know what they’re all about, how they work, and what’s important to them.

That’s all just to say that you have the freedom to choose a brokerage that fits you.

Step 4: Submit Your Online Application

After passing your licensing examination and getting a sponsoring broker for yourself, that is when you can officially apply for your Maryland real estate salesperson license with the Department of Labor, Licensing, and Regulation. The application can be done online–it is very simple and you can get it done very quickly.

Mission Complete

sold signThose are the steps you need to get your Maryland real estate license. Yes, you might have to trudge through paperwork, check boxes, file forms, burn the midnight oil, chug coffee … but after all that … you’ll have your license. We recommend printing it out on super-gloss and framing it. Leave some room next to it for your first commission check; A LOT of room!  

That’s all folks! Once you make it through these steps you’ll have a brand new career ahead of you. If there’s anything we can do to help you make it through these steps please let us know. We’ve got pre-licensing classes, cram courses, and all sorts of resources to help.

MREC Requirements to get a real estate license

Hello criteria, pleasure to meet you!

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is MREC and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, MREC is short for the Maryland Real Estate Commission and it’s their job to make sure all agents in Maryland are capable, qualified, and can lawfully work in the state. To do so, they have some basic criteria you must meet. Luckily, most of the requirements are pretty straightforward.

Let’s meet the criteria:

  • You’re at least eighteen years old
  • Must be a US citizen
  • Must have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Meet MREC’s integrity, trustworthiness, and honesty standards

The good news is that most of our visitors/users don’t need to worry about this step. The only time you’d need to be concerned is if you have any criminal offenses, unpaid judgments, disciplinary actions taken against a professional or occupational license, or have performed unlicensed real estate activity.


How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Maryland?

money and calculator imageThe fees applied by the Maryland Real Estate Commission are as follows: 

  • Broker License, Original (includes $20 Guaranty Fund payment): $190
  • Broker License, Renewal: $170
  • Associate Broker License, Original (includes $20 Guaranty Fund payment): $130
  • Associate Broker License, Renewal: $110
  • Salesperson License, Original (includes $20 Guaranty Fund payment): $90
  • Salesperson License, Renewal: $70
  • Certificate of License History (5 yr. history/full history) (Eff. 3/1/09): $25/75
  • Broker Business Address Change: $5
  • Broker Business Name Change (for each license under broker) (eff. 3/1/09): $25
  • Branch Office License: $5
  • Personal Name Change: $25
  • Reactivate Inactive License: $25
  • Reinstatement of License/Late Fee: $150
  • Transfer to Another Broker: $25
  • Time Share: $100
  • Dishonored Check: $35

How long does it take to get your Maryland real estate license?

taking notes during classThe time it takes you to complete the process of becoming a real estate agent in Maryland depends on your dedication. If you take two hours of licensing education each day, six days per week, you would be able to complete the real estate licensing course in just over a month. 

After you successfully complete the pre-licensing education course, they will provide your eligibility electronically to the PSI center. Within two weeks after that, you will receive an email with information on how you can pay and schedule the exam. 

After you register to take the exam, allow up to four business days for PSI to process your registration. Registration can be done through mail, email, telephone, or in person.  


How much do real estate agents make in Maryland?

pexels-karolina-grabowska-4968651Maryland real estate agents earn $52,800 annually on average, but a top agent in Maryland can earn almost double than that. The top 10% of real estate agents in Maryland earn $98,120 or higher per year. 

Real estate agents from the Washington-Arlington-Alexandria metro area are the agents that earn the most in Maryland or $64,230 per year on average, while the 90th percentile wage is $115,640. 

Another metro area where real estate agents earn more than the national average is the Philadelphia-Camden-Wilmington metro area, with a $60,300 annual mean wage.

Maryland Real Estate License FAQs

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideBecoming a real estate agent in Maryland requires dedication and time, the same as in other states. You are required to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing course education and pass the national and state portions of the exam. To pass the exam on the first try, you need to pay attention to the pre-licensing classes and study hard before taking the exam. You will have 120 minutes to answer 80 national real estate questions and 30 state real estate questions on the licensing exam. 

The Candidate Information Bulletin issued by the official examination implementor – PSI gives the following preparation tips: 

  • Use the examination content outline provided in this Candidate Information Bulletin as the basis of your study. The outline itself is a study tool because it can familiarize you with real estate terms.
  • Learn the major points associated with each outline topic.
  • Select study materials that cover all the topics in the content outline.
  • Take notes on what you study. Putting information in writing helps you commit it to memory. Underline or highlight key ideas that will help with a later review.
  • Read the study materials, making sure you understand each concept before going on to the next.
  • Check each topic off the outline when you feel you have an adequate understanding. Plan to take your examination when you have covered all the topics. 
  • Discuss new terms or concepts as frequently as you can with colleagues. Doing this will test your understanding and reinforce ideas.
  • Your studies will be most effective if you frequently study, for about 45 to 60 minutes. Concentration tends to wander when you study for more extended periods of time.

maryland department of labor logoThe Maryland Real Estate Commission (MREC) is in charge of all things licensing. They write the state portion of the licensing exam, making sure it helps agents understand the legal restrictions the commission has to uphold. They also set the continuing education requirements and help people obtain and maintain their license.

The Commission was built to provide courteous, reasonable, and professional assistance, and to impartially conduct disciplinary actions when issues come up.

Fun fact: The Commission regulates roughly 40,000 active licensees throughout Maryland.

Maryland has reciprocal agreements only with Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. The basic terms to qualify for a reciprocal license in Maryland are: 

  • You must have gained your first license in a state with a reciprocal agreement with MREC
  • You must submit a complete certified license history with the application
  • Your license must be current and active
  • A broker needs a Maryland license before any associate brokers or salespersons may apply
  • Associate brokers and salespersons must submit a letter from the sponsoring broker with the application
  • Your category of license in your state will be the category you apply for in Maryland
  • If your license expires or goes inactive in your state, a reciprocal license becomes void
  • Licensees holding a reciprocal license under the MD-PA agreement are excused from exams and continuing education
  • Licensees holding a reciprocal license under the MD-OK agreement must pass the state portion of the exam but are excused from continuing education
  • Reciprocal licensure is not automatic; the application must be made and fee paid
  • If the principal place of business moves to Maryland, reciprocal licensees who have not previously taken an exam must do so
  • The term of a reciprocal license is two years

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Currently, there are no education requirements to become a real estate agent in Maryland. 


studying at coffee shopThe exam consists of 110 questions in total: 80 in the national portion and 30 in the state portion. To pass the exam, you will be required to answer 56 questions correctly from the national portion and 21 from the state portion. 

The score will be immediately shown on the computer after finishing the exam. If you fail the exam, you can apply to retake it within 24 hours. You can retake only the portion you failed until you have passed both parts successfully. 

There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the exam. However, the pre-licensing course is valid within one year of completion, so you have to pass the exam within the time when it’s valid. If you fail to do so, you need to complete a new pre-licensing program to be eligible to take or retake the exam. 

couple buys homeThe real estate licensing examination in Maryland is split into two portions – the national portion with 80 questions and the state portion that has 30 questions. To pass the exam, you need to pass each of the portions within two hours. 

The national portion of the real estate exam tests your knowledge of the general real estate laws and principles that apply in all of the states, specifically in the following areas:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and property management
  • Transfer of Title
  • Practice of real estate
  • Real estate calculations

The state portion of the exam, on the other hand, tests your knowledge of the real estate laws and principles that apply in the state of Maryland, primarily the following areas: 

  • Duties and powers of the Real Estate Commission
  • Licensing requirements
  • Brokerage relationship
  • Supervision
  • Business conduct
  • Ethics

There are no official pas rates issued by the Maryland Real Estate Commission. However, according to unofficial student surveys, 74% of students passed the exam on their first attempt, 13% passed on their 2nd attempt, and 4% on their third attempt. 

sold signThe difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker is that an agent cannot work independently. They have to work under an affiliate broker, while a real estate broker can perform all real estate tasks unsupervised.

The educational and continuing education requirements are also different for real estate agents and brokers, as well as the exam structure and the required pass rates. 

Having a good real estate affiliate broker is critical for your real estate career. If you have a good broker that will guide you through your first years in real estate will help you prepare better and do better in the future. Some of the ways you can check if the brokerage is good are: 

  • The reputation of the brokerage
  • The reputation of real estate brokers working in the brokerage
  • How many successful agents have come out of the brokerage
  • What is their commission policy for new real estate agents

Practicing real estate in Maryland without a license is not allowed. 

Practicing real estate in Maryland without a license or an expired license can result in penalties from the Real Estate Commission, and even in criminal charges. 

When you come to the examination site, you will be asked to provide two forms of identification. One must be a VALID form of government-issued identification (Driver’s License, State ID, Passport) that has your signature and your photograph. 

The second ID must have your signature and preprinted legal name. All identification you provide must match the name on the registration form and your education certification.

entryway of homeBecoming a real estate agent in Maryland with a criminal record is not impossible. If you have a criminal record and want to apply for a real estate license in Maryland, you would have to fill out a manual application and send it over to The Maryland Real Estate Commission. 

The Maryland Real Estate Commission weighs each case separately to determine whether or not you will be allowed to apply for a real estate license. You need to submit True Test copies of the proceedings surrounding the conviction along with your application.

If you’ve been declined an application, you can submit an appeal that the Commission will go through and make a final decision based on it. 

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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: 10/23/2023