North Carolina Real Estate License Guide

Quick Facts

North Carolina Real Estate Governing Body:

North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC)

PreLicensing Requirements:

90 Hours

СЕ Requirements:

8 Hours

Read more below

How to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License

To become a real estate broker in North Carolina, you need to meet the following requirements:pexels-louis-bauer-249360

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Be a citizen of the US, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien under federal law
  • Pass a fingerprint scan
  • Provide a Criminal Record Report

If you meet these eligibility requirements, you will then be required to:

  • Complete a 75-hour state-approved prelicensing course in a live classroom or have real estate education and/or experience the NCREC finds acceptable
  • Apply to take the North Carolina Real Estate exam
  • Obtain a Notice of Eligibility from North Carolina Real Estate Commission
  • Schedule an exam with AMP, the state’s official exam provider

After you pass the exam, you will need to submit a State Licensing Application. You can find the application form on the NC Real Estate Commission website.

The licensing courses and exams are overseen and regulated by The North Carolina Real Estate Commission. The requirements to obtain a license change from time to time and are updated on the Commission’s official website.

Compare North Carolina Real Estate Schools

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

SchoolReviewsEditor's ScorePricing
Kaplan Real Estate Education
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 29 reviews

A- -
Superior School of Real Estate
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 4 reviews

B $199-$479
McKissock Learning
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star
  • full star

based on 5 reviews

B -

North Carolina Real Estate Licensing FAQs

Becoming a real estate broker in North Carolina is not that difficult. It requires time and dedication as any other state licensing requires, and if you work hard enough, you will earn a good income.

It is slightly more complicated, though. There are more requirements and approvals you need to receive, so it may take longer than it does in other states. You need to pass a background check and obtain a Notice of Eligibility, which adds a bit to the time required to become a real estate broker in North Carolina.

The annual mean wage of a real estate broker in North Carolina is $50,160, but the yearly median 90th percentile wage is $83,620.

The city with the highest mean annual wage in North Carolina is Wilmington, which brings real estate brokers $74,320 per year, with the highest 10% receiving almost $100,000 median wage ($99,330 to be exact).

Unlike many other states, North Carolina has only one type of real estate license – a broker real estate license. However, there are different levels of the license, better known as status categories. Many other states have a separate licensing process for real estate agents or real estate salespersons – but in NC, it’s all the same.

The “entry-level” license status category is a Provisional Broker. It’s the initial license a real estate broker receives right after passing the licensing exam. A provisional broker has to be supervised by a broker in charge.

The next license status category is called a Broker. A Broker is a Provisional Broker who satisfies the broker requirements but has taken an additional 90-hour prelicensing education program. A broker doesn’t need the supervision of a broker in charge and can act independently and perform brokerage activities with minimal limitations, but cannot personally supervise provisional brokers.

The final and highest broker license status is a Broker in Charge, a person who performs all broker activities in a brokerage independently and supervises provisional brokers.

Finally, if you live in a neighboring state and want to do real estate business in North Carolina, you need to obtain a Limited Nonresident Commercial Broker real estate license. There is a $30 fee required to get it, and some additional requirements may apply, depending on the exact state.

A college degree is not necessary to become a real estate broker in North Carolina. Every bit of knowledge you need is provided through the prelicensing coursework.

When the applicant has previous experience or education in the area of real estate, there is no need for the prelicensing coursework (with the permission of NCREC).

The overall cost of a real estate license in North Carolina depends on the prelicensing course you will take, as this takes up the most significant portion of the license costs. Each course is priced differently, but it generally starts at $200 and goes up depending on the school you choose.

The real estate broker licenses in North Carolina are issued at no charge, but the application fee is $30, and the exam fee is $66. If you fail the exam, the application fee increases to $100 besides the $66 for the exam fee.

All licenses in North Carolina expire on the 30th of June each year and should be renewed by then. The annual renewal fee for the real estate license is $45 and should be paid between the 15th of May and the 30th of June. A license paper pocket card can be issued to brokers upon the renewal of the license, which costs $5.

It takes every individual a different amount of time to finish the whole process of becoming a real estate broker. It mostly depends on how fast you complete the 75-hour pre-licensing coursework, apply, and pass the exam.  

The 75-hours prelicensing coursework can be completed in merely two weeks if you’re determined and dedicated.  

Taking out a Criminal Report usually takes anywhere between 2 to 4 business days if you’re a resident of North Carolina. If you reside outside of the state, it may take longer, but a maximum of 3 weeks. 

If you’re approved to take the exam, you will receive a Notice of Exam Eligibility within 2 to 3 days after applying. The two portions of the exam should be passed within a 180-day period. After you pass the exam, your license will be issued within 7 to 10 days after passing the exam. 

All in all, the minimum time to finish the whole process is around1.5 months, depending on how long you’ll wait for the licensing exam. 

The 75-hour prelicensing education has to be taken in a live classroom at a location approved by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission. Unlike most states, online real estate education is not currently allowed. During these 75 hours, the course covers topics in the areas of: 

  • Real Estate Principles 
  • Law of Agency
  • Law of Contracts
  • Real Estate Law

The courses are held in private real estate schools and community colleges throughout North Carolina. 

As in most other states, you need to bring two forms of ID – a primary and a secondary. The primary identification has to be unexpired and contain a photo of you. It can be any of the following: 

  • A Driver’s License (plastic card only with photo and signature)
  • A US Learner’s Permit (plastic card only with photo and signature)
  • National/State/Country Identification Card
  • Passport or Passport Card
  • Military Identification Card
  • Military Identification Card for spouses and dependents
  • Alien Registration Card (Green Card, Permanent Resident Visa)

The secondary identification can be: 

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

To become a real estate broker in North Carolina, you have to provide proof of good character. This includes information about previous criminal offenses, disciplinary actions, or liens and/or unpaid judgments. 

If the applicant fails to provide the required proof of good character, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission may reject the real estate license. However, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission will analyze each case individually when the applicant has a criminal record. They will consider the following factors: 

  • Level and seriousness of the crime
  • Date of the crime and age of the person at the time of the crime
  • The circumstances surrounding the crime
  • The connection between the criminal conduct and the future duties of the applicant as a real estate broker
  • The prison, jail, rehabilitation, probation, parole, and employment records of the applicant since the crime was committed.
    • The completion of, or active participation in a rehabilitative treatment
    • A Certificate of Relief granted pursuant to NCGS § 15A-173.2.
  • The subsequent commitment of a crime by the applicant
  • Any written character references of the applicant

Applicants with any type of character issue will have to wait for 45 days after passing the licensing exam for the Commission to complete the evaluation of their characters and announce the results. 

You have 3.5 hours to complete the 120-question exam.

Thankfully, if you fail either the national portion or the state-specific portion, you can retake just that portion of the exam. However, both portions of the exam have to be passed within 180 days. If you’re retaking only one part of the exam, you will have to retake it within the 180 days. 

As mentioned above, the North Carolina real estate exam is split into two portions: the national portion and the state-specific one. Each of these contains different sets of questions designed to test your knowledge of the real estate sphere in the US and North Carolina. 

The national portion has 80 questions from the following areas: 

  • Agency Relationships and Contracts 
  • Real Property Ownership / Interest 
  • Finance
  • Real Property
  • Marketing Regulations (Purchase and Rental)
  • Property Management 
  • Real Estate Calculations 

The North Carolina portion of the exam has 40 questions consisting of: 

  • NC Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules
  • Other NC Laws and Practices
  • General Real Estate Topics

To pass the exam, you need to answer 75% of the questions from each portion correctly – 57 of the national and 29 of the state portion.

There are 120 questions in total on the North Carolina real estate exam – 80 of the national section and 40 of the state section. To pass the exam, you need to answer 75% of the questions correctly – 57 of the national and 29 of the state section. 

In general, around 62% of students pass the exam, which is a good percentage considering there are states with lower pass scores than this one. It goes to show that many underestimate the prelicensing coursework and how it can help students pass easier.   

Taking a prep course may be a great path to take for any student. It will give you an additional knowledge base from people who have already taken the exam and can advise you on what to focus your attention and how to study more efficiently.

Currently, North Carolina has reciprocity with ten other states. This means you’ll get the favorable status if you’ve had a license in one of these states in the past: 

  • Arkansas
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Iowa
  • Louisiana
  • Mississippi
  • Nebraska
  • South Carolina
  • Tennessee
  • West Virginia

If you want to get a North Carolina real estate broker license through your reciprocal license, you will need to pay a $30 fee for the nonresidential license. Depending on the exact state you’re applying from, there may be some additional requirements. 

Both portions are different in terms of what they cover. Every state includes a national portion of the real estate licensing exam that includes questions designed to test the candidate’s knowledge of the general real estate principles in the US. On the other hand, the state portion tests the candidates’ knowledge of real estate matters relevant to North Carolina.