How to Get a Minnesota Real Estate License

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent7/14/2022
minnesota commerce department logo

Getting your Minnesota real estate license can seem intimidating, but it’s really not that hard once you know what to do.  We’ve broken down everything you need to know here including costs, timing, eligibility, and earning potential. Just follow these simple steps to get your Minnesota real estate license and start selling real estate ASAP.


Step 1: Take a Minnesota Real Estate Course

In Minnesota, you must take 90-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.

Step 2: Apply for your Minnesota Real Estate Agent License

Yes, there’s a few annoying forms and pesky fees but the process is relatively painless because it’s all online through the commerce department.

Step 3: Pass the Minnesota real estate licensing exam

To pass the exam, you need to answer 75% of questions from both portions correctly. You have 2.5 hours for the general part and 1.5 hours of the state part.

Step 4: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Ask questions about the commission structure and splits, the training and education opportunities available, and the company culture before committing to a brokerage.
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4 Steps to Get Your Minnesota Real Estate License

woman studying

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

Are you interested in becoming a real estate agent in the great state of Minnesota? Of course you are, real estate is booming here! Well, hold on tight  cause we’re gonna fire off the four steps you need to get your hands on a Minnesota real estate license.

You ready? Let’s break it down, step by step.

Step 1: Take a Pre-Licensing Education Class

man studying for licensing examSchool’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 90 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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But what’s included in those 90 hours? Take a look at the curriculum and see for yourself:

  • MN 30-Hour Salesperson Course 1 – Pre License
  • MN 30-Hour Salesperson Course 2 – Pre License
  • MN 30-Hour Salesperson Course 3 – Pre License (Appraisal)

“That sounds scary and hard!” 

Don’t be scared off by the vocabulary. 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 91% 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 Minnesota 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: Apply for your Minnesota Sales Agent License

small group of students studyingApply Yourself!

You flew through the pre-licensing class and you’re building momentum! Well, now it’s time to apply for your license. Yes, there’s a few annoying forms and pesky fees but the process is relatively painless because it’s all online through the commerce department.

You must apply for your salesperson’s license within one year of passing the examination. Otherwise, you will need to retake the examination and pass it again.

Step 3: Pass the Minnesota real estate licensing exam

Happy woman studying and smilingYou got this!

The step you’ve all been waiting for … passing the exam. Don’t freak out, you got this! Don’t know what you need to study? There’s plenty of cram courses that will help you brush up right before the exam. Rest assured that you don’t have to pass this on the first try. Remember that you have a full year from when you get your exam eligibility to pass this exam. We think you’ll pass it on your first go because we know you, you’re motivated.

Step 4: Find a Sponsoring Broker

women studying for licensing examNow 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. Only a licensed primary broker can submit a license application for you.

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.

Mission Complete

sold signThose are the steps you need to get your Minnesota 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.

Meet the Minnesota Commerce Department Criteria

Hello criteria, pleasure to meet you!

The Minnesota Commerce Department’s job is to make sure all agents in Minnesota 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:

  1. You must be at least 18 years old.
  2. You must be a U.S. citizen or a lawfully admitted alien.

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 Minnesota?

The basic costs to obtain a real estate license in Minnesota are as follows: 

  • License Application fee $100
  • The license renewal fee is $60
  • The exam fee is $63, or $39 each portion
  • As of May 1st, 2020, applicants are required to pay a $25 technology fee for maintaining and operating an electronic licensing database system (this fee cannot be greater than $40)

Besides these necessary costs, you need to take into consideration the cost of the prelicensing course, prep courses, study materials, and any other expenses that may arise while getting a license. 

In general, you can find a variety of prelicensing courses offered for a price that can range from $200 to $800, depending on the education provider you choose. The other costs depend on your choices and what you need to obtain a license. 

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How long does it take to get a real estate license in Minnesota?

Distant,Studying,By,Video,Conference.,Focused,Young,Man,Student,GettingThe exact time it takes you to become a real estate agent in Minnesota depends on your dedication and how fast you pass the exam. In general, the 90-hour prelicensing education course can be finished in two to three months at most, depending on how many classes you take per day. If you take two classes per day, five days per week, you’d be able to finish the course within two months, which is the time you can reasonably expect to take.  

After you finish the prelicensing course, you can schedule and take the exam. Once you pass it, it’s up to your primary broker to submit your application.

How much do real estate agents make in Minnesota?

counting moneyA real estate agent in Minnesota earns $46,130 per year on average, but the top 10% real estate agents in Minnesota can earn $75,810 or higher. 

La Crosse-Onalaska is the metro area where real estate agents can earn the highest annual wage, $55,130, to be specific. In this same metro area, the annual 90th percentile wage or the top 10% of agents earn is $102,080. 

Minnesota Real Estate License FAQs

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideAlthough it may seem that becoming a real estate in Minnesota is more complicated because of the three prelicensing courses and the proctored course exam, this facilitates the process for applicants. Why? Because you will go into the final licensing exam better prepared and knowing what you can expect from it. 

The 90-hour prelicensing course is another help towards passing the final licensing exam. It’s split into three parts to help you process the material step by step and overcome it easily. 

After you find an affiliate real estate broker, they are responsible for submitting your License Application and other paperwork, so you won’t have to do it yourself. This is an additional help as the broker will guide you through the process of applying, and you won’t be confused about what you need to do and when. 

minnesota commerce department logoThe Minnesota Commerce Department is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Minnesota. They control everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and help hold real estate agents accountable.

They are in charge of setting the number of required hours for real estate school, and for continuing education. The department also creates the state portion of the licensing exam.

Non-residents that want to become a real estate agent in Minnesota can do it in three ways:

  • Through a reciprocal state 

Minnesota currently has reciprocity agreements with the following states: Colorado, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, and Oklahoma. Licensees from the reciprocal states that want to become a real estate agent in Minnesota are required to do the following: 

    • Affiliate themselves with a Minnesota-licensed primary broker that will submit a License Application
    • Email a Letter of Certification that is no more than 90 days old, documenting that they are currently licensed as a salesperson in a reciprocal state. 
  • Through an active Wisconsin real estate license.

The requirements for licensees from Wisconsin that want to practice real estate in Minnesota are as follows:

    • Reside and hold an active real estate license in Wisconsin
    • Complete the 13-hour Wisconsin to Minnesota Reciprocal Prelicense course
    • Pass the state portion of the salesperson exam.
    • Affiliate with a Minnesota-licensed primary broker that will submit a License Application
    • Email a Letter of Certification that is no more than 90 days old, documenting that you are currently licensed as a salesperson in a reciprocal state. 
  • Through a non-reciprocal state

Non-residents of Minnesota that want to obtain a real estate license in Minnesota would be required the following: 

    • Complete prelicensing education Course I, Course II, and Course III.
    • Pass the state portion of the salesperson exam.
    • Contact a Minnesota-licensed primary broker to submit an application for licensure on Only a Minnesota-licensed primary broker can apply for a non-resident salesperson’s license.
    • Email a Letter of Certification (no more than 90 days old), documenting that you are currently licensed as a salesperson in a non-reciprocal state.

US map

There are currently no requirements for a college degree to become a real estate agent in Minnesota. The prelicensing education course will give you all the education you need to become a real estate agent in Minnesota – from real estate fundamentals to complex real estate transactions. 

studying at coffee shopThe Minnesota prelicensing course is split into three, 30-hour parts covering topics included in the final licensing examination, specifically the following:

Course I:

  • Introduction to Real Estate
  • Title closing
  • Real estate law
  • Basic Law of Contracts
  • Principles of financing 
  • Types and classifications of property
  • Environmental issues

Course II:

  • Valuation
  • Financing applications
  • Contracts
  • Fair housing

Course III (one of the following courses): 

  • Real estate appraisal
  • Closing procedures
  • Farm and ranch brokerage
  • Real estate finance
  • Real estate investments
  • Real estate law
  • Real estate management
  • Business brokerage
  • Commercial real estate
  • Residential architecture and construction

Students studying in group settingThe salesperson examination is divided into two parts: general and state law. You can take both portions together, or separately and pay only the fee for the portion of the exam you’re taking. To pass the exam, you need to answer 75% of questions from both portions correctly. You have 2.5 hours for the general part and 1.5 hours of the state part.  

If you pass one part of the examination and fail the other, you need to retake only the portion of the exam you failed. You can schedule to take the exam within 24 hours of failing it. 

Keep in mind that commissioners have to hold examinations at least once every 45 days so that you can retake the real estate licensing exam within 45 days maximum. 

The general part of the Minnesota real estate license exam covers the following areas: 

  • Real property characteristics, legal descriptions, and property use
  • Forms of ownership, transfer, and recording of the title
  • Property value and appraisal
  • Real estate contract and agency
  • Real estate practice
  • Property disclosures and environmental issues
  • Financing and settlement
  • Real estate math calculations

The state part of the Minnesota real estate license exam covers the following areas:

  • Real estate brokerage license law
  • Contracts and disclosures
  • Interests in real property
  • Conveyance procedures and protection of parties
  • Financial instruments: obligations, rights, remedies

The salesperson exam consists of 80 general questions and 40 state questions. To pass, you need to answer at least 75% of the questions correctly. You can take both portions together in one session, or separately in two or more sessions.

There are no official pass rates issued by the Minnesota Commerce Department, but according to unofficial sources, around 44% of applicants pass the exam on the first try. 


The general portion of the exam covers real estate laws and principles that apply across the US, while the state portion is designed to educate and test your knowledge of the real estate industry in Minnesota.

No person is allowed to act as a real estate broker or real estate salesperson or misrepresent themselves as such unless they hold an active Minnesota real estate license. Any person who violates this rule or order of the commissioner shall be guilty of a gross misdemeanor.

2 keys on keychain with a house | AgentAdvice.comCandidates must present two (2) forms of current signature identification – a primary and a secondary form of ID. The name on the identification documents must exactly match the name on the registration forms. 

Accepted forms of primary IDs are:

  • Government-issued Driver’s License
  • US Dept. of State Driver’s License
  • US Learner’s Permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
  • National/State/Country ID card
  • Passport
  • Passport Card
  • Military ID
  • Military ID for spouses and dependents
  • Alien Registration Card (Green Card, Permanent Resident Visa)

The primary identification must be government-issued and photo-bearing with a signature. The secondary ID must contain a valid signature. Both identifications must be in English.

Accepted forms of secondary IDs are:

  • US Social Security card
  • Debit (ATM) or Credit card
  • Any form of ID on the Primary ID list

entryway of homeAccording to the Minnesota Statutes, an applicant has to notify the commissioner about any of the following:

Civil judgment. The licensee must notify the commissioner in writing of a final adverse decision or order of a court, whether or not the decision or order is appealed, regarding any proceeding in which the licensee was named as a defendant, and which alleged fraud, misrepresentation, or the conversion of funds if the final adverse decision relates to the allegations of fraud, misrepresentation, or the conversion of funds.

Disciplinary action. The licensee must notify the commissioner in writing of the suspension or revocation of the licensee’s real estate or other occupational license issued by this state or another jurisdiction.

Criminal offense. The licensee must notify the commissioner in writing if the licensee is charged with, adjudged guilty of, or enters a plea of guilty or nolo contendere to a charge of any felony, or of any gross misdemeanor alleging fraud, misrepresentation, conversion of funds, or a similar violation of any real estate licensing law.

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: 7/14/2022

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