How to Get a Virginia Real Estate License

Dustin Fox, Licensed Virginia Agent8/29/2022
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Step 1: Take a Virginia Real Estate Course

In Virginia, you must take 60-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 Course Final Exam

The cost of the proctored final exam is $25. You cannot take your proctored exam with a mobile phone or a tablet, it must be taken on either a desktop computer or a laptop.
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Step 3: Pass Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam

This exam has 120 questions, and is divided into two portions–the national and state portion. You will need to finish both portions within 150 minutes. *Yes, this is a different exam than the one above.*
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Step 4: Submit your Fingerprints

After getting your fingerprints taken, you must submit a complete application to the board within 45 days. If you don’t get that done within that period, you will need to get your fingerprints taken again for an additional fee.
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Step 5: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Consider the commission split and fee structure, the company's culture, and their reputation in the community before joining a brokerage.
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5 Steps to Get Your Virginia 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 great state of Virginia? 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 Virginia real estate license.

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

Step 1: Complete Virginia Pre-Licensing Education

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 60 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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The course is designed to defang any confusing topics by breaking them down. Still scared of the 60 hours? 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 Virginia 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: Pass Course Final Exam

After finishing all your pre-licensing course material, the next thing you need to do is pass the course final exam. If you don’t pass this final course exam, your real estate license cannot be issued to you. For you to pass this exam, you need to answer at least 75% of the questions correct.

Happy woman studying and smilingAlso, you must finish this final exam under the supervision of a proctor. As a result of this, you need to ensure you schedule an appointment with a proctor before your final exam date. Because of Covid-19 restrictions, you are required to complete the final exam online with the aid of e-proctoring. It is a temporary measure because of state regulations.

The cost of the proctored final exam is $25. You cannot take your proctored exam with a mobile phone or a tablet, it must be taken on either a desktop computer or a laptop.

Step 3: Pass Virginia Salesperson Exam

*Yes, this is a different exam than the one above.*

In Virginia, it is the PSI that is in charge of administering the real estate salesperson licensing exam. This exam has 120 questions, and is divided into two portions–the national and state portion. You will need to finish both portions within 150 minutes. You will use 45 minutes to answer the 45 state-specific questions while the remaining 105 minutes can be used to answer the 80 national questions.studying at coffee shop

For you to pass the national portion of the exam – you need to answer 56 questions correctly, to pass the state portion of the exam – you need to answer 30 questions correctly.

Your score will be sent to you as soon as you finish the exam. There’s also 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: Submit your Fingerprints

Before you can become a licensed real estate agent in Virginia, you must get your fingerprints taken at any Virginia PSI testing location. After getting your fingerprints taken, you must submit a complete application to the board within 45 days. If you don’t get that done within that period, you will need to get your fingerprints taken again for an additional fee.

Step 5: Choose a Sponsoring Broker

women studying for licensing exam

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

The moment you successfully meet all the requirements, you must finish your application and send it through snail mail. You should get your license within 4-6 weeks.

VREB Criteria to get your real estate license

Let’s answer the most obvious question straight out of the gate. “What the heck is VREB and why do I need to impress them?!” Well, VREB is short for the Virginia Real Estate Board and it’s their job to make sure all agents in Virginia 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. Have earned an high school diploma or equivalent

Pretty simple, right? As long as you meet those two prerequisites, you can move on to step number two.

 

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Virginia?


money and calculator imageIt depends. The most substantial portion of the cost is taken up by the prelicensing coursework cost. It can go as low as $200 up to $1,000 or more depending on the provider you choose. 

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Other than the coursework cost, additional known costs are: 

  • A non-refundable license application fee of $150 
  • Examination fee to take the Virginia real estate exam which is $60
  • A fingerprint scan fee of $52

Besides these, you should consider any prep course costs, books, membership fees, and other costs that may arise.

 

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


man studying for licensing examThe longest part about getting your Virginia real estate license is taking the Virginia prelicensing coursework. Thankfully, that can be finished in only a week-week and a half as it’s also available online. 

Once you’re done with the course, you can register to take the final licensing exam. The period between your registration and taking the exam depends on how many people register at the same time as you do, but it’s usually around two weeks.

Although it’s one of the shorter processes to become an agent, remember that the exam results are valid for only one year after passing the exam, so you’d have to apply and receive the license within that time. 

After passing the exam, you should provide a fingerprint scan. Usually, the fingerprinting process lasts anywhere between 4 to 6 weeks, and only after you receive the results you can submit a license application, but no later than 45 days after you received the fingerprint results. 

 

How much do real estate agents make in Virginia? counting money


The annual mean wage in Virginia is $64,210, which is higher than the national average of $60,086. The 90th percentile yearly wage is $105,640, which means that the 10% highest-paid real estate agents make more than $105,000 per year.  

Because of the combination of low entry barriers and high compensation, being a real estate agent in Virginia can be a successful and profitable career choice.

Virginia Real Estate License FAQs

Brokers react as Compass gobbles up GlideVirginia is one of the easiest states you can become a real estate agent. This is due to several licensing regulations and requirements: 

  • The prelicensing coursework is short – much shorter than other states. In Virginia, you only need 60 hours of education to become a real estate agent. That’s 50%-66% less than some other states. 
  • Virginia is one of the few states that has full reciprocity with other states. This means that no matter in which state you got your real estate license, it will either be valid in Virginia or will require less effort to acquire a new Virginia real estate license.
  • You can retake the real estate licensing exam as many times as you need until you pass it.

virginia licensing logoThe Real Estate Board licenses salespersons, brokers, and firms representing others in real estate transactions. The Board also enforces Fair Housing Law in cases involving real estate licensees and their employees.

The board is basically the one stop shop when it comes to real estate licensing in Virginia. They control everything from how to get your license, to maintaining your license, and help hold real estate agents accountable.

You will need to be familiar with the board even after obtaining your licensing.

Virginia has full reciprocity with all other US states as long as the following conditions are met:

  • The applicant has been actively involved in real estate affairs for 24 of the past 36 months.
  • The applicant’s real estate license has to be active.
  • There have been no disciplinary measures taken against the applicant in their licensing state.
  • The applicant has taken the 60-hour Virginia prelicensing coursework.
  • The applicant has passed the state portion of the Virginia real estate exam.

US map

You’re not required to provide a college degree to become a real estate agent in Virginia. But you do need a high school degree or an equivalent education to be eligible for a real estate license.

There are two main ways to apply for a real estate license in Virginia: 

  • On your own through your education provider. Your education provider should provide your eligibility to PSI, and once they do that, you can register to take the exam online, through the mail, phone, or fax. 
  • Through reciprocity with another US state. If you’re applying through reciprocity, you would have to provide your current license number and only pass the state portion of the exam. Check with the Virginia Real Estate Board for more details.

counting on a chalkboardVirginia is one of the few states where you can retake the real estate exam as many times as you need.

If you fail only one portion of the exam, you can retake only that portion, regardless of which one it is. You need to retake it within one year of the first examination; otherwise, the passed portion of the exam will stop being valid.

The Virginia real estate exam is split into two parts – the national part that has 80 points and the state-specific part that has 40 questions. 

The national portion covers the following 11 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

The state portion covers the following areas: 

  • State legislation 
  • License law
  • Transfer taxes
  • Property taxes
  • Fair housing

You have 150 minutes to complete the exam – 105 minutes for the national portion and 45 minutes for the state portion. You should answer 70% of the questions correctly from the national portion (56 questions) and 75% of the state portion (30 questions). 

pexels-thirdman-8470836Around 70% of students pass the Virginia real estate examination, which is a high number considering the fact that in some states, the pass rate can be as low as 40%.

The exam is administered on a computer and lasts for 150 minutes, 105 for the national portion, and 45 minutes for the state portion. Once this time passes or you’re done with answering, you will receive an on-screen message with your result. If you pass, you will receive a successful notification along with your performance summary. If you fail, on the other hand, you will receive an unsuccessful message along with a report informing you of your strengths and weaknesses.

sold signYes, Virginia has a distinct difference between the two. Brokers are licensed to represent both parties in a transaction and receive a commission for their work. They can also operate independently under a brokerage and also supervise salespersons and associate brokers.

A real estate agent, on the other hand, cannot operate independently. They have to work under a broker, do real estate business on the broker’s behalf and receive all commissions strictly from their supervising broker. 

The requirements to become a real estate broker and a real estate salesperson are different as well. A broker is someone who has previously been a salesperson and has done the work a salesperson does, but a salesperson has to first work under a broker and can never do the work a broker does unsupervised. 

shaking handsFinding a good sponsoring broker is crucial for your success. You need to be led by a qualified person that has the education, knowledge, and experience they can transfer to you and prepare you for the next step in your career. 

When you look for a sponsoring broker, some of the things you should consider are: 

  • What is their reputation locally and nationally?
  • How long have they been in the industry?
  • How long have they been doing real estate affairs in Virginia? 
  • Do they own their own real estate? 
  • Are they up-to-date with the latest news, technologies, and regulations? 
  • Do they focus their attention on new agents? 
  • Can you advance your career when working under them? 

Make sure you do your research before you settle for a specific broker. As I mentioned before, the sponsoring broker can make or break your career, so analyze your options before you make that final decision. 

The Virginia real estate exam and the national exam are completely different. The national exam tests your knowledge of general real estate principles, while the state portion is meant to test your knowledge of real estate matters specific for the state of Virginia. 

Practicing real estate in Virginia without an official, VREB-issued license is prohibited. Working with an expired license, an invalid license, or no license can impose a fine and result in jail time.

woman studyingAfter initially obtaining your real estate salesperson license in Virginia, you will be required to attend continuing education classes to renew it. Licenses are issued for a 12-month period, and to renew them, you will be required to attend at least one 8-hour continuing education course provided by an accredited institution. 

Four of the eight hours in the courses should be from the subjects of fair housing law, state real estate laws and regulations, and ethics and standards of conduct. Other accepted subjects are the subjects covered in the real estate exam.

entryway of homeBecoming a real estate agent in Virginia with a criminal record is not impossible, but it’s certainly more difficult. You would have to report any misdemeanors, convictions, and previous offenses you may have in your criminal report when you submit your application. 

After you do this, the Virginia Real Estate Board will look at your application and decide whether or not they would allow you to proceed with your licensing.

About the Author

Dustin is a fifth-generation DC metro area resident with over 20 years of sales experience. He grew up in Oakton, VA and has lived in Northern Virginia since 1978. He got his Virginia real estate license in 1993 and has been selling homes ever since. Dustin has been voted the by the Northern Virginia Magazine for Best and Top Agent for the past 5 years.

Last Updated: 8/29/2022

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