How to Get a Tennessee Real Estate License

Chris Heller HeadshotChris Heller, Licensed Agent10/19/2022
tennessee state seal
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Step 1: Take a Tennessee Real Estate Course

In Tennessee, you must take 90-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 Tennessee Real Estate Exam

Usually, it takes four weeks for this process to be completed. The affiliate broker exam contains 80 national questions and 40 state-specific questions.
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Step 3: Finish the 30-hour Course for Fresh Affiliates

You can take this with your 60 hour course requirement, but you can also wait until after you pass your real estate exam to make sure you aren’t getting confused about what topics the exam covers.
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Step 4: Apply for Affiliate Broker License

You must attach a photo (that the testing center will give you after passing your exam) to your application and submit that to TREC online.
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4 Steps to Get Your Real Estate Affiliate Broker License in Tennessee

Step-By-Step Guide to Become a Licensed Real Estate Affiliate Broker

Are you interested in becoming a real estate broker in the great state of Tennessee? 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 Tennessee real estate affiliate broker license.

You ready? Let’s break it down. Here are the steps to get your real estate license in Tennessee

Step 1: Complete Tennessee Licensing Education

woman studying on computer

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.

See Course Options
 

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

  • 60-Hour Tennessee Basic Principles of Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course
  • 30-Hour Tennessee Course For New Affiliates

Students are always surprised how affordable these classes are. Take a look at the best real estate schools in Tennessee 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: Register and Pass the Real Estate Exam in TN

After completing the Tennessee sixty-hour real estate principles course, you are free to register for the Tennessee affiliate broker licensing exam. When registering for Tennessee state’s real estate exam, you are required to submit an application that lists your completed education requirements to TREC. Usually, it takes four weeks for this process to be completed.

The affiliate broker exam contains:

  • 80 national questions
  • 40 state-specific questions

man studying for licensing examFor you to pass the national exam, you need to answer at least 56 questions correctly, and you need to score at least 70%. For you to pass the state exam, you need to answer 28 questions correctly and score at least 70%.

You will be given two hours, forty minutes for the national portion, and one hour, twenty minutes for the state portion, which is a total of 4 hours.

Your score is sent to you immediately after you finish taking the exam. The exam is taken electronically and it is multiple-choice.

The national portion of the exam covers these topics:

  • Industrial
  • Income and commercial properties
  • Subdivisions
  • Real estate calculations
  • The practice of real estate
  • Transfer of title
  • Contracts
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • General principles of agency
  • Financing
  • Valuation
  • Market analysis
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Property ownership

While the state-specific portion of the exam has these sections:

  • Special Areas of Practice (Timeshare, Property Management, Commercial or Industrial Real Estate)
  • Agency and disclosure issues
  • Other improper activities and consumer protection
  • Handling of trust or escrow funds
  • Handling of documents and record-keeping
  • Broker or affiliate relationships, advertising and marketing, Licensing Requirements, and duties and powers of the Real Estate Commission.

woman studyingIf you pass only one portion of the exam, you are allowed to take the other portion again. The portion of the exam you pass is only valid for the next two retakes of the one you failed, or six months, whichever comes first.

Make sure you have two forms of identification (ID) when you go to take the exam.

You will also have to pay $55 for each exam attempt.

Step 3: Finish the recommended Tennessee 30-hour Course for Fresh Affiliates

Students studying in group settingBefore you can apply for your affiliate broker license, you must finish the Tennessee 30 hour course for fresh affiliates. This course is very vital because it has more hands on knowledge – so take it seriously because it will come in handy when you begin your new career. You can take this with your 60 hour course requirement, but you can also wait until after you pass your real estate exam to make sure you aren’t getting confused about what topics the exam covers. It just needs to be completed before you fill out your broker license application.

Step 4: Apply for a Real Estate License in TN

small group of students studyingAfter completing the recommended 30 hour course after your exam, you can then go ahead with the application process for your real estate broker license. You must attach a photo (that the testing center will give you after passing your exam) to your application and submit that to TREC. You can get your application form and other relevant information you need on the TREC website.

You need to also attach the following documents with your photo and application.

  1. The payment covering all the necessary fees
  2. Proof of omissions and errors insurance coverage
  3. Proof of your high school diploma or GED
  4. Proof of the completion of your real estate pre-licensing education

Mission Complete

sold signThose are the steps you need to get your real estate license in TN. 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.

Tennessee Real Estate License Requirements as per TREC

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is TREC and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, TREC is short for the Tennessee Real Estate Commission and it’s their job to make sure all brokers in Tennessee 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 TN real estate license requirements are pretty straightforward.

Before you can begin the application process of becoming a licensed real estate broker in Tennessee, you must meet the following prerequisites.

  1. You are required to be a United States citizen or an alien that is lawfully admitted
  2. You must be 18 years old
  3. You must have a high school diploma or its equivalent

If you successfully meet all those prerequisites, you can then go ahead with the application process for a real estate broker license. Check out all the required steps you need to follow next.

How much does it cost to get a TN affiliate broker license?


counting moneyThe biggest portion of the costs to become a real estate broker in Tennessee is the prelicensing course. It can be as low as $200 and as high as $1,000, it depends on the course provider you choose. Keep in mind that different things like additional classes, videos, books, and materials are included in the price of the course, so make sure you’ve analyzed your options before deciding on which real estate school you will opt for. 

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Besides the prelicensing education course, you will be met with the following costs: 

  • Initial License Application – $91
  • Initial Designated Agent – $90
  • Initial Timeshare Salesperson – $91
  • Initial Timeshare Acquisition Agent – $90
  • Licensee Renewal (every 2 years) – $75
  • Late Renewal – $50 per month for the first 120 days, $100 per month after 121-365 days

In order to work and act as a real estate affiliate broker in Tennessee, you have to hold an Errors & Omissions insurance policy at all times. Not doing so may result in additional penalties or suspensions. The cost of the insurance policy depends on the holder of the policy (the real estate affiliate broker), but according to some unofficial sources, the median cost is $55 per month.   

 

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


man studying for licensing examOne of the most convenient things about applying for a real estate affiliate broker license in Tennessee is that everything can be done online. The entire Tennessee online real estate license process including registration, fingerprint scans, and all applications can be completed either through the Tennessee Real Estate Commission or the PSI website. The online process shortens the time needed to become a Tennessee real estate agent considerably. 

As the prelicensing course lasts for 60 hours and can be taken online through most providers, you can finish it for a short period of time. If you take 2 hours of classes every day from Monday to Sunday, you will complete the course within four weeks. 

The electronic fingerprint scan should be done through IdentoGo, which can last around two weeks at most. 

Scheduling and taking the exam depends on the seating capacity, PSI centers near you, and on which attempt you pass the exam. The results are valid for six months, so you should pass both portions of the exam within this time frame. 

If you’re a non-resident of Tennessee applying for a real estate affiliate broker license, the process will last 45 days extra, as this is the period required for a person to be a resident of Tennessee before being eligible for a real estate license.

How much do real estate affiliate brokers make in Tennessee?


Although Tennessee’s annual mean wage is $50,670, the top 10% of affiliate brokers can earn $81,000 or higher. In addition to this, affiliate brokers operating in Memphis earn $57,940 annually on average, with the annual 90th percentile wage being $82,940. 

Tennessee Real Estate License FAQs

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideThe requirements to become a real estate broker in Tennessee are very straightforward. Everything is explained in detail on this page, and each step is designed to help you obtain an affiliate broker license easier and as relaxing as possible.   

The 60-hour pre-license education course will prepare you for the real estate exam and give you the knowledge you need to pass the final exam. If you pay attention to the classes and prepare well for the exam, you can easily pass it on the first try. The remaining requirements take little to no effort to complete and are generally directed towards your citizenship, good character, safety in your real estate operations. 

tennessee state sealCreated in 1951, The Tennessee Real Estate Commission licenses, registers and regulates real estate brokers and affiliate brokers, real estate firms, rental location agents, time-share salespersons and developments, vacation clubs and vacation lodging services. It’s basically the one stop shop for licensing.

The Commission also enforces rules addressing professional conduct and standards of practice.

The mission of the Tennessee Real Estate Commission is to “protect the public through establishment and administration of minimum requirements for candidates and licensees, effective professional education of licensees and enforcement of professional conduct.”

Currently, Tennessee has no real estate reciprocity with any other state. If you’re licensed in another state and want to do real estate in Tennessee, you would have to meet the same educational criteria as licensed real estate agents in Tennessee. This means you have to be affiliated with a company that is licensed to do real estate in Tennessee and have a licensed principal broker to oversee you.

To get a real estate license as a non-resident in Tennessee, you will be required to provide the following documentation: 

  • Course completion certificates or transcripts documenting required real estate education
  • If you hold a license in another state, you must present a license certification from the licensing state
  • Proof of passing a written examination administered by a national testing company 

You should submit all required documents at trec.info@tn.gov, after which you will receive notification of your approval or rejection to take the exam.

US map

Currently, you can apply for the following licenses in Tennessee:

  • Affiliate Broker
  • Broker 
  • Timeshare Salesperson
  • Acquisition Agent

Each of these has different eligibility and qualification requirements, so make sure you find out more details about the type of license you want before applying. 

counting on a chalkboardFailing the real estate exam on your first try doesn’t disqualify you from taking it once again. You can reschedule it as soon as the following day. 

If you pass one section but fail the other, you need to retake only the section you failed. Your passing score is valid for two retakes of the failed section or for six months, whichever comes first. Affiliate broker and broker examinations candidates who fail the first attempt at the examination may retake it as soon as they want.

If you fail the exam after the second attempt, you would have to wait for at least 30 days before you can retake the exam for the third time.

The real estate examination in Tennessee tests the candidate’s knowledge of general US real estate laws and regulations as well as laws and regulations that apply in and are specific for Tennessee. These areas are in the exam and split into a national and state portion. 

The national portion covers 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 covers the following areas:

  • Duties and powers of the Department and the State Board of Real Estate
  • Licensing requirements
  • Advertising and Marketing
  • Broker/Affiliate Relationships
  • Handling of Documents and Record-Keeping
  • Handling of Trust/Escrow Funds 
  • Other Improper Activities and Consumer Protection
  • Agency and Disclosure Issues
  • Special Areas of Practice

women studying for licensing examDepending on which type of real estate license you’re applying for, you would need a different passing score. The number of questions and their passing scores are as follows: 

If you’re applying for an Affiliate Broker license, there are 80 questions in the national portion and 40 in the state portion. You need to answer 70% correctly, or 56 questions from the national and 28 questions from the state portion to pass the exam.

If you’re applying for a Broker license, there are 80 questions in the national portion and 35 in the state portion. You need to answer 75% correctly, or 60 questions from the national and 38 questions from the state portion to pass the exam.

If you’re applying for a Timeshare Salesperson license, there is only a national portion with 35 questions. You need to answer 70% correctly, or 25 questions to pass the exam.

If you’re applying for an Acquisition Agent license, there is only a national portion with 35 questions. You need to answer 70% correctly, or 25 questions to pass the exam.

woman studyingThe national portion of the exam and the state portion are designed to test your knowledge and readiness to become a Tennessee real estate agent. The national portion tests your knowledge of the general real estate laws, rules, and regulations, while the state portion tests your knowledge of laws, rules, and regulations that apply in the state of Tennessee. 

You should display knowledge of both areas to pass the exam and be eligible to receive a real estate license. 

All states require you to bring two forms of identification to the real estate exam, including Tennessee. One of the IDs you bring to the exam needs to be state-issued and contain your photo and signature, the same ones you’ve provided on the Examination Registration Form. The second form of ID has to have your signature and your name, the same name on your Examination Registration form.  

Any person that is on parole or probation will not be allowed to schedule an examination by The Tennessee Real Estate Commission unless two years have passed from the expiration date of conviction, probation, or release from incarceration, whichever one happened later.

You can find other information, laws, and regulations on the Tennessee Real Estate Commission’s official website

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: 10/19/2022

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