New York Real Estate License Guide

Quick Facts

new york real estate board logo

New York Real Estate Governing Body:

Real Estate Board of New York

PreLicensing Requirements:

75 Hours

СЕ Requirements:

22.5 Hours

Read more below

How to Get a New York Real Estate License

Wondered how difficult it is to become a licensed real estate agent in the bustling state of New York? Of course you have, real estate is booming here! We hope this article will clear up any questions you may have about getting started.

According to New York law, a real estate salesperson cannot operate independently; they must work for a broker. A real estate salesperson is responsible for the sale, they gather lists of properties for sale and help clients find the right one. They also list and negotiates sales for clients in exchange for a commission. A New York license lasts for just two years before you have to renew it (bummer).

Step 1: Familiarize Yourself With The Prerequisites

Know The 101s

There are some requirements that all New York real estate agents must meet before being able to operate in the state (yada-yada). These requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Submit a completed application and the required fee to the Department of State
  • Have a high school diploma or hold a GED certificate
  • Complete a Department of State approved 75-hour salesperson qualifying education course
  • Be sponsored by a New York State licensed Real Estate Broker (more on this later)
  • Pass the NYS Real Estate Salesperson examination
  • Must be fingerprinted and cleared of all felony convictions 👮
  • Have a current NYS photo driver’s license or non-driver ID card and other photo ID Cards (in short bring all your ID cards )

classroom setting with studentsYou probably know this step where you have to be old enough, hold reasonable education, and ensure that your ID is up to date before submitting. So, no worries cause this is the easiest part.

If you have any criminal convictions, you must disclose them on your application. A conviction may or may not disqualify depending on the crime. However, failure to disclose a conviction, even for a minor offense, is grounds for immediate denial of your application. So just make sure to be honest and upfront, so you don’t waste your time.

Step 2: Register For The License and Complete the 75 Hours of Required Education

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideKnowledge is Light!

To obtain your license, you must complete a 75-hour pre-licensing course that is overseen by the Department of State.

The courses will teach you everything you need to know about New York real estate. The information will go over real estate laws and regulation, transaction requirements, and how to professionally conduct yourself around clients.

There are lots of options when deciding how you want to take your classes. There are in-person options, but many students prefer to take online courses so that they can study on the go or tune in when they have free time. The courses are designed for you to go at your own pace, but typically students finish them within 3-6 weeks depending on how much free time you have.

Step 3: Schedule and Take the New York Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Exam

man studying for licensing examThe name of the exam is a mouthful, but you’re smart.

To convince the New York board that you should obtain a New York Real Estate License, you must pass the New York Real Estate Exam with at least a 70 percent. Your  exams will be scheduled with the New York Department of State Occupational Licensing Management System.

The test is multiple-choice, and you have a time frame of ninety minutes to complete the exam. There are 75 total questions, and you must make score a 70% to pass. The exam is also provided in four additional languages: Spanish, Korean, Russian, and Chinese. If the test result is a passing score, it’s valid for two years. If the result is not a passing score, you can retake it.

Set aside $15 as well for the state’s exam fees.

Step 4: Apply for The New York Real Estate Salesperson License

pexels-karolina-grabowska-4475524After passing the New York Real Estate exam, you have to apply online and pay to obtain your license. This will cost you about $55, but the application and fees can all be entered online.

In this step, you will also have to submit your fingerprints and allow the state to run a background check. They are just searching to make sure all information you provided is accurate, and that you pass their standards to hold an active license.

Step 4: Find A Sponsoring Broker 🔍

pexels-rodnae-productions-8293694Pay attention, this part is really important.

To be able to practice real estate in New York, you need to work under a licensed broker. Real estate agents who also work under that broker can help you on your journey and monitor the standards set forth by the New York Government.

Some things to note about your brokerage: they can help you make important connections. They’ll often times have the tools and technology that will introduce you to your first clients and teach you the rules of the business. It is also possible to become a broker after working as an agent for two years.

BONUS: How To Get A Real Estate Sponsoring Broker in New York

signing contractIf you’re looking to become a real estate agent in New York,  having the right sponsor could make all the difference and could set you up for success on your journey. So how can you find a brokerage?

First off, ask questions and figure out what is most important to you. Do you want a digital brokerage? Or do you prefer the idea of a brick and mortar company?

You will also want to be familiar with the company’s comp plan. This usually starts with commission splits, but you’ll also want to factor in fees and the cost of marketing or business tools.

Don’t be afraid to google the brokerage and look at the reviews from both current and former agents. Check to see if there is a mass exodus of people leaving that brokerage for another one. That could be a big red flag that you want to hang your license somewhere else.

It’s also good to ask around your community to see what their reputation is. The better the company, the more likely you are to find potential clients that want to work with you.

sold signIf you’ve found a real estate broker with whom you have a good relationship and want to become an agent, then taking the next step is going to require some hard work. There’s much more to it, but it’s not rocket science; it’s just about being willing to put in the hours and doing what it takes.

So now it’s time, go break new ground in your field – literally and figuratively.

Compare New York 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 New York (includes the latest 2021 pricing, reviews, pass rates, and more).


Here’s the quick take:

SchoolReviewsEditor's ScorePricing
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 54 reviews

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

based on 56 reviews

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

based on 47 reviews

B+ $$$
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 4 reviews

B $$$
kaplan logo
Kaplan Real Estate Education
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 36 reviews

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

based on 81 reviews

B- $$

New York Real Estate Licensing FAQs

The process depends on the person, because many of the courses are self-paced. Most people manage to complete the process in around four months

There are several costs and fees you need to pay to obtain a real estate license in New York:

  • The New York state exam fee is $15 
  • The real estate license application fee is $50
  • Online courses cost anywhere between $99 and $250, depending on the provider you choose. 

So, in total, the license would cost you anywhere between $165 to $315.

There are some things on the test your courses may not have prepared you for. There may be tricky questions that you are not sure how to answer. You may become lost and stressed out which will set the tone for the entire test taking session.

The best way to prepare for the real estate exam is to take a test prep class first.

The average real estate agent in New York makes $116,800. The top 90% can earn as much as $326,267.

shaking handsNYSDOS is basically the go to branch of government for real estate licensing. Even once you earn your license, you will have to become familiar with the department.

They are in charge of setting continuing education hours, issuing licenses, and overseeing disciplinary matters.

NYSDOS also looks into real estate schools and their curriculum across the state to ensure that the learning material is up to date and covers legal matters that are relevant in New York.

Fun fact: New York is a real estate hub, so the governing board has their hands full. There are approximately 30,000 licensed real estate agents in Manhattan alone, and over 50,000 agents in the wider NYC metro area.