Michigan Real Estate License Guide

How to Get a Michigan Real Estate License

Real estate is booming, and getting your real estate license in Michigan might be the perfect path towards career success. You will enjoy impressive income potential, a flexible schedule, and you will help people achieve their dreams of owning or selling a home. Basically, the career is loaded with perks. man studying for licensing exam

Here is a quick breakdown of the requirements needed to become a Michigan real estate agent: 

  • Complete 40 hours of real estate related education (or approved education)
  • Submit a completed exam application
  • Obtain authorization to test
  • Pass the licensing exam for a Michigan salesperson
  • Obtain employment with a Michigan broker

Step 1: Do You Meet Michigan’s Real Estate Agent Requirements? 

As with any license, there are requirements to obtain your Michigan real estate license. 

  • Must be at least 18 years of age – yes, you can start to pursue a career in real estate after graduation from high school. No college degree necessary. 

Step 2: Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course

classroom setting with studentsThe State of Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) requires that you complete a 40-hour Michigan Real Estate Fundamentals Course that includes a minimum of four hours of civil rights law and equal opportunity in housing. 

When looking for a Michigan real estate education course, always take the time to read the testimonials of students who have taken the course. Reviews give you an insight into what to expect. Try to find a course that offers a high satisfaction percentage. We have a list of how the school rank below. 

Another serious thing to consider is the course’s pass rate. Some educational courses will not publicize how many students pass and go on to obtain their Michigan real estate license, but others will proudly proclaim their successes. You want to go with an educational curriculum that offers impressive success percentages. 

Whatever real estate school you decide to attend will submit a certificate showing that you completed the required hours and courses set forth by the State of Michigan. Also, be sure to file a copy of your completed educational certificates in your own records in case you need them for future reference or proof. 

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideOne thing to note about the real estate education courses is that you can take them in-person or online. Many people opt for virtual classes so they can set their own pace and avoid in-person learning.  

Also, a 40-hour course is not that lengthy. It is like working a full 40-hour workweek. If you tackle the course hard, you can finish it quickly or opt to go slow. Many people like to take a crash course to get their license quickly, but others like to take their time to absorb everything to feel confident after their course ends truly. 

When you reach your final exams, then you must pass with a minimum of 70 percent. All course completions are reported within five days following the completion date. 

Step 3:  Real Estate License Application

women studying for licensing examOnce you complete your actual estate-focused classes and education, it is time to apply for your license!   You’ll want to go to the  Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs website to apply for your license. 

Remember, your application and fee are valid for one year, so once you apply, you have a year to take the actual real estate exam, so if you feel that you need a little extra time and you need to touch upon learning a few things, then take your time. 

Another thing to note is that you will be asked to indicate your employing broker on your application, but this is not a necessity. You can wait until after you take the exam. Let us be honest, sometimes it is hard to find a broker who is willing to take you on before taking your exam, so you might need to take the exam and then secure a broker to list on your forms. 

Step 4: Obtaining Authorization to Test

You might think that you can just rush down to take your real estate test in the state of Michigan, but it is not so simple. You need to receive authorization to go forward with the test. 

Upon application approval, the State of Michigan LARA will send you authorization that allows you to register for the real estate exam. Once you receive the go-ahead, you will want to schedule your exam. 

Step 5: Taking the Michigan Salesperson Licensing Exam

real estate instructor teaching studentsAfter you receive your authorization, it is time to schedule and take the exam. You will register and pass the exam with the provider. 

  • The salesperson exam has 115 questions, and you must obtain at least a 70 percent to pass. 
  • The broker and associate broker exam consists of 120 questions, and you must answer at least 86 percent of the questions correctly to pass. 

You receive your score immediately after you complete the exam. Don’t worry though, we’re sure you’re going to ace it!

When taking the exam, you will be allowed 180 minutes for the salesperson exam and 210 minutes for the broker and associate broker exam. 

You will need to present two forms of identification that match your name and signature to take the test. 

Calculators are allowed, but they must be silent and battery-operated. They also should not contain any alphabet. 

The exam is always administered on a computer.  It is a multiple-choice exam that is broken down into the following sections: 

  • Financing
  • Property ownership
  • Contracts
  • Land use regulations
  • Market analysis along with valuation
  • Specialty areas
  • Transfer for title
  • Property conditions and disclosures
  • Basic real estate calculations
  • General principals of a real estate agency

Step 6: Broker Sponsor

sold signYou will need to be sponsored by a licensed Michigan Employing Broker. You can apply with specific sponsoring brokers. If you have an employing broker, you will need them to confirm at least 48 hours before the exam date so that you will receive your photo-released license upon passing. If you do not have a confirmed broker before taking the Michigan real estate exam, you will need to obtain one using the LARA website.

After completing the above steps – you made it!  You are now a Michigan real estate agent — Congratulations.  Was it easy?  There were probably challenges, and nothing is a breeze, but you can achieve your dreams with a little hard work and dedication. 

Do you have questions?  We are here to help you!  We offer pre-licensing classes, fast-paced cram courses, and we also provide many resources for your success. Our team is here to help ensure you become a Michigan real estate agent. Contact us to learn more! 

Compare Michigan Real Estate Schools

aa-trophy-smallWant to see the full, in depth editor reviews for each school? Check out our 100% free guide to the best real estate schools in Michigan (includes the latest 2021 pricing, reviews, pass rates, and more).


Here’s the quick take:

School Reviews Editor's Score Pricing
real estate u logo
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 56 reviews

A $
The CE Shop
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star
  • full star

based on 83 reviews

A+ $$
aceableagent logo
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 56 reviews

B+ $$$
Michigan Institute of Real Estate
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 8 reviews

B $$$
Real Estate Express
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star
  • full star

based on 83 reviews

A+ $$
kaplan logo
Kaplan Real Estate Education
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 39 reviews

B- $$$

Michigan Real Estate Licensing FAQs

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideMichigan is more lenient when it comes to the requirements to become a real estate agent. Only 40 hours of prelicensing education are required, unlike some other states like Texas, where the requirements are 180 hours. Doing this significantly shortens the time required to obtain a real estate license and makes it easier for those who want to start a new career, but lack time to go through a process that lasts for months, potentially a whole year.

Other than this, the dedication, time, and effort required to pass the exam are similar to most other states. You need to take the licensing exam seriously, pay attention to the classes, and study hard before taking the final exam. 

shaking handsAs the prelicensing course in Michigan lasts for only 40 hours, it can be completed within 2 or 3 weeks, which allows you to use that extra time you have to study harder or take an additional prep course. Most schools allow you to take the course online, giving you the additional flexibility and opportunity to study at your own speed. To find a list of approved real estate prelicensing courses, look no further than this page!

Once you’ve finished the prelicensing course, you need to register on the official licensing system called iCola or by sending a paper application by mail. Once you register, you will receive an email with your Exam Candidate ID number within two days of registration. After you receive your Candidate ID, you can start your application to take the exam. The exam will be scheduled depending on the seating availability in the testing center of your choice, but it shouldn’t be longer than two weeks. After this final step, it’s all up to you. How fast you will pass both portions of the exam and finalize the process depends on your 

Keep in mind that all fees and results are valid within one year of applying, and you have to pass the examination within that time frame. If you fail to do so, you will be required to reapply all over again. 

counting moneyA real estate agent in Michigan earns around $57,170 per year on average, but the top 10% of agents earn as high as $95,700 per year. 

Agents and brokers from the South Bend-Mishawaka metro area are among the highest-paying agents in Michigan with a mean annual wage of $66,610 and a sizable $131,130 annual 90th percentile wage, one of the highest among all states. Other areas where agents earn more than the national average are Bay City, with an annual mean wage of $59,400 and Detroit-Warren-Dearborn with $58,520.  

Three metro areas in Michigan have an annual 90th percentile wage higher than $90,000: Ann Arbor, Detroit-Warren-Dearborn, and South Bend-Mishawaka. This goes to show that working in real estate can bring a lucrative income for agents and brokers.

Perspective from a real estate pro:

jason-gelios-headshot-640x480Jason Gelios
Realtor and Top Producer in Detroit, MI
Community Choice Realty

“In order to succeed and become a top producer, you have to be willing to take chances, even when you don’t want to. Eventually, once you’ve got enough experience and sales under your belt, you can build a team to take care of the tasks you don’t enjoy doing. However, that doesn’t happen without a lot of hard work first. 

Something else new agents should know is that they need to focus on their brand first and foremost. I see it all the time where agents just recycle old, used marketing tips to each other, or ignore the digital side of the industry. Big mistake! Build your brand, so that you can become a pillar in the community. That’s how you make money!”

michigan licensing logoAll real estate agents in Michigan should be familiar with LARA because it will be a big part of your career well after you get your real estate license.

LARA offers services and useful online tools that are easy to use for consumers, businesses, and professionals across the state of Michigan. One of the things the department is tasked with is keeping up with real estate licensees. They make sure licenses are being maintained properly, and that the real estate schools are teaching the right material. LARA also oversees the real estate licensing exam.

In addition to issuing licenses, LARA also has the power to revoke a license. If you fail to follow the laws of your profession LARA can take action by first launching an investigation.

Michigan currently has no real estate reciprocity with another state. However, if you’ve been licensed in another state and provide proof of experience and training equivalent to the one required by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs, you may be granted a Michigan real estate license. 

Every six months of work experience and training as a licensed real estate agent in another state can substitute for 100 hours of training hours in Michigan. You will be required to provide proof of your work experience and education, after which the Department will determine whether you’re qualified to receive a Michigan real estate salesperson license. 

US map

The overall cost of your Michigan real estate is mainly determined by the prelicensing course provider you will choose. The price of prelicensing courses starts at only $29 and can go as high as $900 or more depending on the school of your choice. 

Other mandatory costs that apply are:

  • An application fee of $88. 
  • An examination fee of $79
  • A license renewal fee is $78

There are currently no higher education requirements to become a real estate agent in Michigan. Only a high school diploma (or GED) and proof of completed 40-hours of prelicensing education are currently required. 

The Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs uses a platform called iCola for all applications and renewals of real estate licenses. The whole process on how to register on the website, get your student ID, file, and renew an application can be found here

If you fail the exam on the first try, you have two more attempts allowed. Every time you retake the exam, you will be required to pay the examination fee of $79.

A prep course can offer you the help you need and guide you in the right direction so you can pass the exam on your first try. If you believe you need the additional aid while you’re preparing for the final exam, don’t hesitate to take a prep course.

studying at coffee shopAll US states have their licensing exam split into two portions: the national portion and the state portion. Both cover different areas of the real estate industry, specifically the following:

National portion:

  • 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

State portion:

  • Duties and powers of the Department and the State Board of Real Estate
  • Licensing requirements
  • Statutory requirements governing the activities of licenses
  • Contractual relationships
  • Additional state topics

To pass the exam, you need to answer 80 of the 115 questions correctly within 3 hours.

Michigan’s salesperson real estate exam has 115 questions, and all scored with 1 point. To pass the exam, you need to have a passing score of 70% or answer 80 questions correctly in a 3-hour time frame.  

The Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs doesn’t release official reports of pass rates. However, according to some unofficial websites, more than half of students fail the exam on their first try. This makes it apparent how important it is to pay attention to the prelicensing education classes and study each part of it regularly. 

The Michigan real estate examination is split into two parts: the national portion and the state portion. Both cover different aspects of real estate. The national portion covers general real estate principles, calculations, and regulations designed to educate and test the knowledge of the candidate for the US real estate market, while the state portion goes more in-depth of Michigan’s real estate laws, regulations, and principles. 

Practicing real estate without a license or an expired license in Michigan, as well as acting as a broker/salesperson without a valid license issued by the Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will not only impose disciplinary actions but can also result with civil and criminal charges.

women studying for licensing examReal Estate Salesperson licenses are issued for three years. In the expiry year, Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will send a notification to the licensee 90 days before their license is due for renewal. 

Every real estate licensee in Michigan has to complete 18 hours of continuing education classes to maintain his or her license. The continuing education courses have to revolve around the topics of management, operation, and practice of real estate or any other subject that relates to the professional competence of a licensee. At least 2 of those hours of continuing education should involve law, rules, and court cases regarding real estate. The licensee should keep their proof of continuing education and submit it to Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs for four years after their initial certification. 

There are specific continuing education requirements depending on the period when you’ve been licensed.

When you come to the examination site, you will be required to provide two forms of ID. The first form of ID must meet the following requirements:

  • Be current (not expired) 
  • Be government-issued 
  • Has a photo identification 
  • Show the name on the government-issued photo
  • Have the same name you used to register for the exam
  • Have your current photo and signature

Some examples of IDs that meet these requirements are a driver’s license, a state-issued identification card, or a passport.

The second form of identification must contain your signature that matches the signature on the first ID you provide. Some examples of this include a social security card, a credit card, a bankcard, military, or school identification.

counting on a chalkboardMichigan is one of the strictest states when it comes to licensing with a criminal record, but it’s not impossible to become a real estate salesperson with a felony. First, you would have to disclose any criminal background you may have into your Application.

Michigan’s Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs will look into your case and request any documents related to the conviction. Based on the time when the felony happened, how much time has passed since then, and the severity of the felony, they will decide whether or not to accept your application.