6 Steps to Get Your Ohio Real Estate License

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

There is no doubt about it, real estate is thriving in Ohio. With such a hot market, it’s no wonder you’re looking at getting your Ohio real estate license.

It can get a little complex – trust us, we’ve been there. That’s why we’re here to break it down for you.

Step 1: Meet the ODRE Criteria

Real estate licensing in Ohio is overseen and regulated by the Ohio Division of Real Estate. The Division imposes several eligibility requirements for applicants looking to obtain a real estate salesperson license. These are:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen of the US, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under federal law. 
  • Have a high school diploma or an equivalent education recognized by the Ohio Department of Education 
  • Be honest, truthful, and of good reputation.
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or crime of moral turpitude.
  • Not have violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate within the last two years.

The first three are pretty cut and dry but the others, not so much. The good news is that most of our visitors/users don’t need to worry about it. 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.

If you meet these requirements, you can then start the process of becoming a real estate salesperson. 

Step 2: Take a Pre-Licensing Education Class 

classroom setting with studentsYou’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 120 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 120 hours? Take a look at the curriculum and see for yourself:

  • Real Estate Principles and Practices (40 hours)
  • Ohio Real Estate Law (40 hours)
  • Real Estate Appraisal (20 hours)
  • Real Estate Finance (20 hours)

“That sounds scary and hard!” 

Don’t be scared off, 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 Ohio 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 3: Apply to take the Ohio real estate exam

man studying for licensing examOnce the division processes a complete application, your information is sent to the testing vendor, PSI. The testing vendor will process the information and send you a candidate information bulletin with instructions on scheduling your exam.

The Ohio Division of Real Estate requires a fingerprint check, so make sure to take note of the next process.

Step 4: Submit your Fingerprints

An applicant must have fingerprints taken by the Webcheck® user (a business, government agency or private entity that provides criminal record check services) approved by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I) within 10 days after the date of filing an application.

Applicants should not have fingerprints taken before filing an application with the Division of Real Estate.

Step 5: Pass the Ohio real estate licensing exam

The real estate licensing exam in Ohio consists of 120 questions – 80 from the national and 40 from the state portion. The national portion of the exam tests your knowledge of 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

On the other hand, the state portion tests your knowledge of regulations specific to the state of Ohio, specifically, the following:

  • State governance of the real estate profession
  • Licensing requirements
  • License law and rules of the Ohio Real Estate Commission
  • Brokerage relationships

To pass the exam, you are required to answer 70% of the questions correctly within 3 hours – 2 for the national portion and 1 hour for the state portion. 

There’s are 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 6: Find a sponsoring broker 

Happy,Property,Owners,Shaking,Hands,With,Real,Estate,Broker,AfterFinally, 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.

 

How much does it cost to become a real estate agent in Ohio?


money and calculator imageIt depends on which school for prelicensing education you will choose, the books you buy, how many times you fail the exam, where you apply from (as a citizen or through reciprocity), as well as any prep courses you take. 

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You can estimate your total costs based on the following fees that apply to anyone taking the licensing exam in Ohio:

  • The real estate prelicensing course costs between $400 to $1,000 depending on the provider you choose.
  • The Salesperson Examination Application costs $81, a Broker’s Examination Application is $135. The same fees apply when you retake the licensing exam. 
  • To have a background check completed by the FBI, you will be required to pay an $18 fee
  • If you want to obtain your Ohio Real Estate License through reciprocity with another state, the application would cost you $135. 

 

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Ohio?


classroom setting with studentsEvery person is different and likes to take the classes, study, and take the test at a different pace. Some may finish the whole process within three to four months, and others will take a year or more. Both are completely normal timeframes.

You can take the prelicensing course online at your own pace, but in most cases, students complete the 120-hour course in around 3 to 4 weeks.

A background check takes a few days, ten at most, after which you can apply to take the licensing exam. Depending on the seating availability, it will be scheduled within two weeks. After this, it depends on how fast you’ll be able to pass the exam. 

 

How much do real estate agents make in Ohio?


Ohio’s mean wage for a real estate agent on an annual level is $47,420. A high-performing, successful agent can earn $83,840 or more (top 10%).

Real estate agents from the Huntington-Ashland metro area are among the highest-paid agents in Ohio, with an annual mean wage of $67,120.

Ohio Real Estate License FAQs

man studying for licensing examIf you take the courses seriously and with a dedicated mindset, you shouldn’t have any problem passing the exam on your first try. Studying every part of the prelicensing course regularly will help you stay on track and take everything in step by step, making it easier for you to prepare for the final exam without being overwhelmed and confused by the material.

A prep course can always help you get in the right mindset and focus your attention on the right aspects of the real estate examination. If you feel that you need additional preparation, a prep course may be exactly what you need to pass on the first try.

 

Perspective from a real estate pro:

katie messenger headshotKatie Messenger
Realtor in Dayton, OH
Keller Williams International

“I found that in order to have the highest success, based on my learning style, I would need to knock out my classes as quickly as possible, so I opted for a 2 week crash course. Upon completion of my classes, I took my class exam as soon as I could, then scheduled my state exam shortly after.

I chose to take my state exam in a city outside of my hub city in case I failed (this was only due to scheduling reasons – if a local exam had been available closer, I would have done it there instead). Prior to testing, I retook all of the quizzes from the course, consulted the study guides, ordered flash cards, and wrote out, what I believed, to be important definitions. Thankfully, I passed after my first attempt!”

ohio real estate commission logoThe Ohio Division of Real Estate is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Ohio. The division controls everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and even helps to hold real estate agents accountable.

The division also sees all real estate education requirements, and works to make sure both licensed agents and buyers/sellers are treated fairly in the Ohio real estate market.

Currently, Ohio has real estate reciprocity with Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming. If you’re currently licensed in any of these eight states and want to practice real estate in Ohio, you’ll need to qualify through the following steps:

  • Submit a Reciprocity Application to the Ohio Department of Real Estate along with a $135 fee.
  • Submit a letter of good standing from your current state of licensure.
  • Submit proof of completion of a prelicensing course in an education facility approved by the Ohio Department of Real Estate
  • Complete a criminal background check
  • Pass the state portion of the Real Estate licensing exam

US map

Currently, there are no educational requirements other than a high school diploma or an equivalent to become a real estate salesperson in Ohio. Also, all applicants must complete a 120-hour prelicensing course.

If you fail one portion of the exam, either the national or the state portion, you’re able just to retake the portion failed. However, keep in mind that you must pass both portions of the exam within 12 months from passing the first portion. If this period of 12 months expires and you haven’t passed both portions of the licensing exam, you would have to restart the application process. 

The real estate licensing exam in Ohio consists of 120 questions – 80 from the national and 40 from the state portion. The national portion of the exam tests your knowledge of 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

On the other hand, the state portion tests your knowledge of regulations specific to the state of Ohio, specifically, the following:

  • State governance of the real estate profession
  • Licensing requirements
  • License law and rules of the Ohio Real Estate Commission
  • Brokerage relationships

To pass the exam, you are required to answer 70% of the questions correctly within 3 hours – 2 for the national portion and 1 hour for the state portion. 

According to a student survey, in the March 2020 exam session, 74% of applicants passed the exam on their first try, 13% on their second. It’s a high pass rate compared to some other states where pass rates can be as low as 40%.

To increase your chances of passing on the first try, make sure you study hard, take the course seriously, and prepare the day before taking the exam.

woman taking notes during real estate courseThe main difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker in Ohio is the range of their duties. A real estate agent cannot act independently; he/she has to work under a broker and receive a commission through them, while a broker may own a brokerage and do all real estate deals without being supervised by anyone. In addition to this, brokers can directly earn a commission from the clients and can supervise real estate salespeople. 

The requirements to become a real estate agent and broker in Ohio are also different, as well as the continuing education requirements. As the responsibilities to be a broker a bigger, the requirements and regulations are stricter for brokers than they are for agents in Ohio. 

getting a real estate licenseA qualified real estate brokerage in Ohio should have a proven streak of educating successful real estate agents. They should have brokers that are experienced professionals known in the real estate sphere and can guide you in your first years of real estate. 

If needed, use help from third-party sources like AgentAdvice.com to find qualified brokerages and make the right decision. Choosing the right-sponsoring broker with the ability, time, and knowledge to guide you through the real estate sphere during your first years in the industry can make or break your career.  

women studying for licensing examAs in other countries, the national and state portions of the real estate license exam are different. The state portion covers general real estate principles, laws, and regulations that every real estate agent in the US should know. In contrast, the national portion covers areas that are specific for Ohio. 

Real estate agents that want to operate in Ohio should know real estate laws and principles applicable in the state, which is why this portion of the exam is designed to test the knowledge of Ohio’s real estate. 

You have to pass both portions of the exam with a minimum score of 70% to be eligible for a real estate license in Ohio. 

No!

Operating or advertising or assuming to act as a real estate salesperson or broker in Ohio without first being licensed if prohibited in the state of Ohio. Doing any real estate business without a license in Ohio will result in a disciplinary action and a fine imposed by the Ohio Department of Real Estate & Professional Licensing. In more severe cases, it can result in criminal charges. 

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideEvery license in Ohio is issued by the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing for a period of 3 years.

To renew a license, every salesperson has to provide proof of completing 30 hours of continuing education. There are specific requirements about what these 30 hours should include on the official Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing website

As an addition, 3 of the 30 hours of continuing education of brokers have to be in the area of duties of a principal broker and other issues for operating a brokerage. 

When you come to the real estate licensing examination site, you will be required to provide 2 forms of ID. One of these IDs needs to be state-issued with your signature and photo, and have the same name you’ve written on the Real Estate Salesperson Application form. 

Becoming a real estate agent in Ohio with a criminal record is difficult, but far from impossible. Most cases will be reviewed by the Ohio Division of Real Estate & Professional Licensing, and applicants will be allowed to build their case in front of a commission.

However, certain offenses will disqualify you from receiving an Ohio real estate license. You can find a full list of these offenses on the following link.

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: 6/14/2022