How to Get a New Jersey Real Estate License

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent7/14/2022
new jersey state seal

Getting your New Jersey 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 New Jersey real estate license and start selling real estate ASAP.

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Step 1: Take a New Jersey Real Estate Course

In New Jersey, you must take 75-hours of a pre-licensing course. Don't worry though, there are lots of options, including many that are online.
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Step 2: Pass the New Jersey Licensing Exam

The real estate exam in New Jersey consists of 110 multiple-choice questions, 80 from national real estate topics, and 30 state-specific questions.
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Step 3: Background Check and Fingerprinting Process

The law in New Jersey requires that a criminal history background check must be conducted on anyone that wants to apply for a real estate license.
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Step 4: Submit Your New Jersey Real Estate Application

You are required to submit your real estate application within one year of completing your 75 hours of approved education to the Licensing Services Bureau, Real Estate.
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Step 5: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Look into the commission structure and fees required at a potential brokerage. Also look into training and educational opportunities available, and ask about the company culture and reputation.
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5 Steps to Get Your New Jersey Real Estate License

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

Are you interested in becoming a real estate agent in the Garden State? Of course you are, real estate is booming here! Well, hold on tight  cause we’re gonna fire off the five steps you need to get your hands on a New Jersey real estate license.

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

Step 1: Start your Licensing Education

Wooden,Classroom,Interior,With,Empty,Chalkboard,,Furniture,And,Daylight.,EducationSchool’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 75 hours! That may seem like a big number, but to get started in a new career, that number is just a speck in time.

See Course Options
 

But what’s included in those 75 hours? Take a look at the curriculum and see for yourself:

  • Ethics and Ethical Conduct
  • New Jersey Laws and Regulations
  • Deeds and Leases
  • Taxes, Mortgages, and Appraisals

“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 New Jersey 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.

Compare Online Courses
 

Step 2: Pass the Licensing Exam

Within one year of finishing your real estate course, you are required to pass the state licensing examination. PSI Services is the body that is in charge of administering the exam. You can enroll in any approved real estate exam preparation center in New Jersey to get yourself prepared for the test. In New Jersey, you can take it either in person or remotely with any of the PSI Services testing centers. You can schedule your in-person and remote exam online.

woman taking notes during real estate courseThe real estate exam in New Jersey consists of 110 multiple-choice questions, 80 from national real estate topics, and 30 state-specific questions. To pass the exam, you need to answer 70% of the questions correctly, or 56 from the national portion and 21 from the state-specific portion. You have 4 hours to answer all questions. 

With that in mind, the topics covered in the real estate exam are:

  • Property Ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Transfer of title
  • Real estate calculations
  • Practice of real estate
  • Specialty areas
    • Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission
    • Licensing Requirements
    • Statutes and Rules Governing Licensee Activities
    • Additional Requirements

Step 3: Background Check and Fingerprinting Process

women studying for licensing examYou cannot apply for a real estate license in New Jersey if you have not gotten your fingerprints taken. You should start that process immediately after you pass the licensing exam.

Below are the ways you’ll have to show proof you’ve had your fingerprints taken:

  1. One copy of the payment receipt that was offered by the Live Scan fingerprint vendor is called IDEMIA. It is usually given after the completion of the fingerprinting process.
  2. One copy of the candidate’s completed universal form.

The law in New Jersey requires that a criminal history background check must be conducted on anyone that wants to apply for a real estate license.

studying at coffee shopUsually, an applicant’s fingerprints are used to check criminal history records with the FBI. As an applicant, if you feel the information provided about you by the FBI is inaccurate, you can challenge it.

Some relevant questions that are frequently asked about fingerprinting:

Q: If you have been fingerprinted in the State of New Jersey for another purpose, do you still need to undergo the process again?

A: Yes, you do. In New Jersey, sharing the criminal history record of a person is illegal. Fingerprints are taken for a particular purpose, it is not disseminated to serve other purposes.

Q: What should you take to the fingerprint scanning center?

A: There are many fingerprint scanning centers in New Jersey. These are the requirements you need to go with to any of the centers before your fingerprints can be taken. List of things to bring:

  1. Your photo identification
  2. Your ID card contains your home or employer’s address, name, and date of birth.
  3. Your ID card must be either issued by a municipal entity, county, state, or federal government.

Step 4: Submit your real estate application

You are required to submit your real estate application within one year of completing your 75 hours of approved education to the Licensing Services Bureau, Real Estate. Your application will not be accepted if you don’t provide everything. Part of what you are required to provide is the licensing fee and proof that shows you completed the fingerprinting process.

Step 5: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Businessmen,Are,Analyzing,The,Residential,Real,Estate,Investment,By,WorkingNow 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.

 

Mission Complete

sold signThose are the steps you need to get your New Jersey 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.

New Jersey REC Criteria 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 REC and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, REC is short for the New Jersey Real Estate Commission and it’s their job to make sure all agents in New Jersey 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. Must be at least 18 years of age
  2. Must be a US citizen or permanent resident alien
  3. Show proof of high school graduation or equivalent

This first step is pretty cut and dry. The good news is that most of our visitors/users don’t need to worry about this part. 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 New Jersey?


counting moneyThe initial license fee for a salesperson in New Jersey costs $160, while the renewal fee is $100. To complete the required background check and the fingerprint scan, you would need to pay a fee of $70.25.  

You’ll need to also enroll in a pre-licensing course – prices vary in New Jersey because you must take an in person course or livestream it to comply with REC guidelines. 

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


The exact time required to complete the pre-licensing course, pass the exam, and obtain a real estate license depends on each individual. Keep in mind that the course lasts for 75 hours and has to be taken at a licensed school without the option of taking it online. After passing the exam, you should find a sponsoring broker and apply for your license through them.

How much do real estate agents make in New Jersey?


money and calculator imageHow much a real estate agent earns from their job depends on their experience. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the mean income for real estate agents in New Jersey is $66,800 per year. 

A top agent in NJ can make over $133,250 (90% percentile). Unsurprisingly, the top area for earning power for NJ real estate agents is the New York, Newark, and Jersey City MSA where the annual median wage for a real estate agent can get as high as $196,910 (90% percentile). 

New Jersey Real Estate License FAQs

New Jersey’s pre-licensing course lasts for 75 hours, unlike some other states where it can last for more than 180 hours before being eligible to take the exam. If you prepare well during this pre-licensing course, the exam shouldn’t be as difficult as it may seem at first. To increase your chances of passing the exam on your first try, you can take a prep course.

Perspective from a real estate pro:

Justin Paulhamus HeadshotJustin Paulhamus
Broker in DC, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and New Jersey
4J Real Estate, LLC

“As an owner of boutique brokerage, I’m regularly asked this question by new agents. There are a few tips that I think every agent should be aware of when entering this business. Timeliness is crucial. If you’re on-time you’re late, try to show up early. Return calls and answer your phone. If you don’t answer the phone because you don’t recognize the number, this isn’t the business for you. If you get a lead, respond within 5 minutes – call, email and text. Should this seem too difficult, this probably isn’t the business for you.”

new jersey state sealEstablished in 1921, the New Jersey Real Estate Commission (REC), was created to administer and enforce New Jersey’s real estate licensing laws.

The REC issues licenses to real estate brokers and agents, oversees real estate schools, and course instructors, as well as establishes standards of practice for the real estate brokerage profession. It also regulates and registers out-of-state sales through New Jersey brokers.

Fun fact: There are more than 70,000 licensees in the state of New Jersey alone.

A college degree is not a requirement to obtain a real estate license in New Jersey. However, at a minimum, you have to have a high school diploma or GED. The fees are higher when applying for a broker’s license.

You need two valid forms of ID, one of which has to be government-issued. Acceptable forms of ID for the real estate examination in New Jersey are a driver’s license or DMV identification card, a government-issued passport (including your country of birth), or a US military-issued identification card.

studying at coffee shopIt depends on the New Jersey Real Estate Commission. Convictions of some minor offenses in the past 5 years may allow you to qualify for a real estate salesperson license. However, if the conviction is for a major crime, you may be disqualified completely, regardless of when the offense and conviction happened. 

To determine if you can qualify for a real estate license, the Commission may require you to submit a copy of the judgment of conviction, a letter from a probation officer, and other evidence of rehabilitation.

If your application is denied, you have a right to a hearing in front of the Commission where you can present your case and convince them why you should qualify for a real estate license. 

If you fail the real estate licensing exam in New Jersey, you can schedule another one after 24 hours have passed. If you fail one part of the exam (national or state-specific), some states allow you to retake only the one you’ve failed only, but this is not the case in New Jersey. If you fail even one portion of the exam, you would have to retake the whole exam.

woman taking notes during real estate courseThe real estate exam in New Jersey consists of 110 multiple-choice questions, 80 from national real estate topics, and 30 state-specific questions. To pass the exam, you need to answer 70% of the questions correctly, or 56 from the national portion and 21 from the state-specific portion. You have 4 hours to answer all questions. 

With that in mind, the topics covered in the real estate exam are:

  • Property Ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • General principles of agency
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Transfer of title
  • Real estate calculations
  • Practice of real estate
  • Specialty areas
    • Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission
    • Licensing Requirements
    • Statutes and Rules Governing Licensee Activities
    • Additional Requirements

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideThe exam consists of 110 questions (80 from national real estate topics, and 30 state-specific questions). You have 4 hours to complete the exam and you need to answer 77 questions right to pass it. 

Around 63% of students pass the salesperson’s real estate licensing exam on their first try. This goes to show that many underestimate the time and preparation needed to pass the exam. But don’t let this number intimidate you. Make sure that you pay attention to the pre-licensing course and prepare well before taking the exam, and passing the real estate exam on your first try will be a breeze. 

That being said, students who take a prep course have higher chances of passing than those who haven’t taken it, so consider taking one as well if you want to feel more confident going into the exam.

New Jersey doesn’t have any reciprocity with other states. This means that if you obtained a real estate license in another state, you cannot use it to practice any real estate business in New Jersey. 

US map

 

getting a real estate licenseThe New Jersey Real Estate Commission issues the real estate license for two years. You can keep it active by staying current with your continuing education, which you need to complete by June 30th in the expiry year. To renew your license, you should do the following: 

  • Provide proof of completed 12 hours of continuing education
  • Answer the qualifying questions online (has to be done personally by the applicant)
  • Pay a $200 renewal fee

If you miss the original renewal period of your real estate license, you can reinstate it within two years after the expiration date. Otherwise, you would be required to provide additional documentation and pay a higher fee of $250. 

business meetingMost brokers are “qualified” to sponsor you. The trick is finding a sponsoring broker in New Jersey that is fit for you and will guide you through your first years as a real estate agent.

That’s why you need a good broker. Someone that has worked in the industry for years and has a good reputation in training agents. 

Don’t feel intimidated by the whole process. Think of it as you doing the interview instead of the other way around. Your career depends on it, so you must find a sponsoring broker that knows New Jersey’s real estate in and out and is willing to transfer that knowledge to you.

There are portions of the exam you’ll need to take that are more broad national questions, as well as testing your state-specific knowledge of New Jersey real estate. The idea is to ensure that each real estate agent has knowledge of basic real estate principles that are valid everywhere in the US, but also knowledge of the specific state where the agent will be conducting work.

No. You have to have a real estate license in the state of New Jersey to act as either an agent or broker in the real estate industry.

real estate instructor teaching studentsBeing licensed as an employing broker in New Jersey indicates that you can choose to work independently or for a full-scale brokerage firm. Employing brokers typically don’t tend to be salaried. Instead, each successful close will result in a commission-based fee—sometimes more than thirty percent of closing costs. If you don’t have your license yet, you should be focusing on becoming a sales agent first.

classroom setting with studentsThere are three types of real estate licenses in New Jersey:

A Salesperson’s License for which you’re requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED education 
  • Complete a 75-hour pre-licensing course. 
  • Pass the real estate license exam
  • Find a sponsoring real estate broker

A Broker’s license for which the requirements are: 

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Have a high school diploma or GED education 
  • Complete e 150-hour pre-licensure education (90-hour general real estate course and two 30-hour courses on Agency/Ethics and Office Management and related topics)
  • Have been continually licensed and working as a real estate salesperson in New Jersey for at least three years

man studying for licensing examA Broker-Salesperson’s License

A broker-salesperson has the qualifications of a real estate broker, but is currently operating under and working for a licensed real estate broker. They are basically working the job of a real estate salesperson with the qualifications of a real estate broker, thus the name.  The requirements to be a broker-salesperson are the same as those for a real estate broker. 

Yes. You can’t even become a broker before working as a real estate salesperson. One of the requirements to become a broker is to have three years of experience as a real estate salesperson. Moreover, brokers are required to complete 150 hours of pre-licensing education; double the hours agents are required to complete. 

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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