Massachusetts Real Estate License Guide

Quick Facts

Massachusetts Real Estate Governing Body:

Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons

PreLicensing Requirements:

40 Hours

СЕ Requirements:

30 Hours

Read more below

How to Get a Massachusetts Real Estate License

pexels-julia-m-cameron-4144923The requirements to get a Massachusetts real estate license is as follows: 

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • The applicant has filed all state tax returns and paid all state taxes required by law.
  • Provide a valid Social Security number and/or a valid Tax Identification Number 

If you meet these basic requirements, the next steps are:

  • Complete 40 hours of pre-licensure salesperson education. 
  • Obtain a completed Massachusetts Board of Real Estate Educational Certificate form to be completed by a Board-approved Real Estate School.
  • Obtain three complete candidate endorsements from individuals unrelated to the applicant. They do not need to be Massachusetts residents. Classmates known by the applicant from only the real estate course may NOT sign the candidate endorsement.

Once you’ve completed these steps, you can then fill out an Application for Examination. In this application, there are five qualifying questions you will be required to answer: 

  1. Has a licensing/certification board located in the United States or any country or foreign jurisdiction taken any disciplinary action against any licenses you hold in another jurisdiction? 
  2. Are you the subject of pending complaints that may result in disciplinary actions by a licensing/certification board located in the United States or any country or foreign jurisdiction? 
  3. Have you ever voluntarily surrendered or resigned a professional license to a licensing/certification board in the United States or any country or foreign jurisdiction? Why?
  4. Have you ever applied for and been denied a professional license in the United States or any country or foreign jurisdiction?
  5. Have you ever admitted to or been convicted of a felony or misdemeanor in the United States or any country or foreign jurisdiction? 

If you answer any of these questions with “yes,” it may affect your ability to obtain a real estate agent in Massachusetts. 

After the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons has approved your application, you can schedule to take the exam. 

Make sure you’re prepared to pay for the license on the day of the examination (upon passing the examination) as you can get your license at the examination site immediately after passing the exam for a fee of $103 to $150.

Compare Massachusetts Real Estate Schools

We’ve listed the best schools in Massachusetts based on reader’s reviews here. Looking for our editor’s picks? See the best real estate schools in Massachusetts.

SchoolReviewsEditor's ScorePricing
The CE Shop
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 41 reviews

A -
American Real Estate Academy
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 4 reviews

B -

Massachusetts Real Estate Licensing FAQs

The process of becoming a real estate agent in Massachusetts is simple as the requirements are straightforward, clear, and less complicated than other states. 

You are required to complete 40 hours of prelicensing education, less than other states where this requirement can be four times higher. Besides, in a classroom, you can also take these classes online, which facilitates the whole process of becoming a real estate agent. 

Once you receive a Real Estate Educational Certificate form to be completed by a Board-approved Real Estate School, you can take the real estate licensing exam. You can receive your license on the spot after passing the exam, which is an additional facilitating condition.

In general, if you pay attention to classes, solve the prep questions, and study hard before taking the exam, you will manage to pass on the first try.

It takes every applicant a different amount of time to finish the whole process, but in general, the time needed in Massachusetts is shorter than some other states. This is because the prelicensing education classes can be taken online, last shorter (40 hours), and the license is issued to you immediately after passing the exam. 

The prelicensing education course can be finished within a month if you take two hours per day, five days per week. 

Getting your Application for Examination checked and approved by The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons can take up to two weeks. The exam date will be scheduled, depending on the seating availability.

Massachusetts is the second highest-paying state for real estate agents in all of the U.S., falling back only behind New York. Real estate agents here earn $84,180 per year on average, but a top agent can earn even higher than that – $128,780 or more (annual 90th percentile wage). 

Real estate agents in the Massachusetts nonmetropolitan area earn $87,780 on average per year, the highest in the state of Massachusetts. However, the highest annual 90th percentile wage in Massachusetts is in the Providence-Warwick metro area, where the top 10% paying agents can earn $151,700 or more per year. 

The Board may issue a real estate salesperson license to agents licensed in other states or without requiring any education and examination requirements. This applies to states where the laws are similar to the Commonwealth governing the practice of real estate brokering of licensed Massachusetts real estate salespersons. 

The basic fees associated with obtaining a real estate license in Massachusetts are:

  • The initial examination fee is $54 
  • The processing fee is $31
  • License fees will be calculated and paid at the test center and can range between $103 and $150
  • A $12 PSI licensing fee 

All fees need to be paid by a credit card, personal checks, cashier’s checks, or money orders made directly to PSI. Cash payments are not accepted.

In addition to these fees required by The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons or PSI, you should also plan for prelicensing classes. Typically, these costs can range anywhere from $200 to $700, depending on the course provider.

Currently, the Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons doesn’t require a college degree to become a real estate agent. Only a high school diploma or a GED will suffice as a requirement.

However, The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons can issue a real estate broker license to any Massachusetts-licensed attorneys holding a current law license in good standing with the Supreme Judicial Court. All applicants for an Attorney-Broker license are exempt from the Board’s examination requirements.

You can retake the real estate licensing exam as many times as needed until you pass both portions. If you fail one portion of the exam, you’re allowed to retake only the portion you’ve failed.

Keep in mind that the results you get on the exam the first time are valid for one year, so you have to pass both portions of the exam within one year.

The real estate license exam in Massachusetts consists of 120 questions in total. Applicants should pass both portions of the exam with 70% correct answers, or 56 from the national portion and 28 from the state portion. 

The national portion has 80 questions covering 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

The state portion has 40 questions covering the following areas:

  • Duties and powers of the board of registration of real estate brokers and salespersons
  • Licensing requirements
  • Requirements governing licensees
  • Contracts
  • Consumer protection laws
  • Environmental issues and hazardous materials
  • Massachusetts fair housing law
  • Landlord-tenant law
  • Additional topics

The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons doesn’t release official pass rates. Each real estate school reports its pass rates individually, which can range from 50% to as high as 95%, but the Real Estate Board doesn’t officially confirm these. 

There are two types of real estate licenses in Massachusetts: a real estate salesperson and a real estate broker. There are several differences between the two, mainly the following: 

  • A broker is someone who has been a salesperson previously, but a salesperson can never be a broker without being a salesperson first. So, a broker can do all the real estate work a salesperson can, but not vice versa. 
  • A salesperson has to be overseen by a qualifying broker and receive commission directly through them, while the broker gets their agent fee directly from the clients. 
  • Because the responsibilities of a real estate broker are greater than those for a salesperson, a real estate broker also has to pass additional tests to get their broker’s license. 
  • Every broker (not a salesperson) is required to file a surety bond of $5,000, with the Board for the benefit of any person harmed by the loss of funds held by the broker.

The real estate licensing exam is split into 80 national portion questions that should be answered within 150 minutes and 40 state portion questions that should be answered within 90 minutes. 

Each section is designed to test your knowledge from different areas. The national portion tests your knowledge of the general real estate laws and principles that apply in all of the U.S., while the state portion goes into the laws and regulations that apply in Massachusetts. 

You should display knowledge of both areas of the real estate industry to be eligible for a license in Massachusetts. Accordingly, you’re required to answer 70% of the questions correctly, or 56 from the national portion and 28 from the state portion. 

According to the Massachusetts License Law, “Whoever, without being licensed, acts as a broker or salesperson or advertises as such, shall be punished by a fine of not more than $500 by a court of law.” If the act is more severe, criminal charges may apply. 

There are, however, some real estate actions that can be done without a license, such as: 

  • People doing real estate transactions for themselves (not helping others), including the sale of multiple developments or renting in large complexes (residential or commercial).
  • Purely salaried employees of the property owner, such as apartment managers.
  • Attorneys, auctioneers, appraisers, home inspectors, mortgage brokers, insurance agents, and other licensed professionals practicing their profession in a real estate transaction.
  • Public officers or employees performing official duties, trustees, or someone acting under a court order, such as executors, administrators, or guardians.

The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons requires real estate salespersons to complete 12 hours of continuing education every two years to keep their license active.  

Candidates are required to bring two forms of valid identification to the test site.

Accepted primary forms of identification documents are: 

  • Government-issued driver’s U.S. Department of State Driver’s License
  • U.S. Learner’s Permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
  • National/State/Country Identification Card
  • US Government Issued Passport or Passport Card
  • US Government Issued Military Identification Card
  • US Government Issued Military Identification Card for spouses and dependents
  • U.S. Government Issued Alien Registration Card (Green Card, Permanent Resident Visa)

*The primary I.D. must contain the candidate’s photo, be valid, and unexpired.

Accepted secondary forms of identification are the following documents: 

  • Credit/Debit Card (must be signed)
  • Social Security Card
  • Any form of I.D. on the Primary list

*Student ID and employment I.D. are NOT acceptable forms of identification.

No record is an automatic disqualifier from getting a real estate license in Massachusetts. Each candidate that has a criminal record will be given an opportunity for a limited appearance before The Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons.