Florida is the Sunshine State – and people continue to move there in droves to soak up all that sunshine. In fact, Florida is outpacing the national average of home sales, with prices growing 4% in 2019 alone. Read on to learn how to get a real estate license in Florida and capitalize on the opportunity.
Related: Before starting this process, make sure you understand the Florida real estate license requirements.
How To Get A Florida Real Estate License
Unlike other states, Florida does not make it terribly difficult to get a real estate license. Of course, you’ll have to apply, take a test, and maintain certain continuing education hours. But the entire process is straight-forward and easy to do, given you dedicate the proper time to learn the material.
1. Read The Requirements
Before you do anything, you need to know who’s eligible for a Florida real estate license. In some cases, you may not even need to take the test. Before you invest time and energy into studying, make sure you know the licensing requirements. In order to be eligible for a real estate license, you must:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Have a high school diploma or GED
You do not have to be a Florida resident to get a license, but if you are licensed to sell real estate in another state, then you’ll need to see if you qualify for a mutual recognition license. These states include Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Rhode Island.
You can hold this mutual recognition license that qualifies you for the equivalent license in Florida. To be eligible for this, you must not be a resident of Florida at the time you apply, and you have to be at least 18 with a high school diploma or GED.
2. Take a Real Estate Course
In Florida, it’s required that you take a 63-hour real estate course that is approved by the Florida Real Estate Commission before you can take the real estate licensing exam. The Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) is responsible for protecting the public through the regulation of real estate licensures.
That’s why it’s vital to ensure any coursework you take is FREC approved. The approved coursework is then valid for two years after its completion to apply for a real estate license.
The Division of Real Estate in the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation (DBPR) has an approved list of pre-licensed courses that can help you find the right classes for you. Every approved course will include:
- An Overview of the Real Estate Business
- Real Estate License Law
- Real Estate Qualifications for Licensure
- Authorized Relationships, Duties, and Disclosures
- Real Estate Brokerage Activity and Procedures
- Federal and State Laws Pertaining to Real Estate
- Violations of License Law, Procedures, and Penalties
- Property Rights
- Title Deeds and Ownership Restrictions
- Real Estate Contracts
- Legal Descriptions
- Residential Mortgages
- Types of Mortgages
- Mortgage Financing
- Real Estate Appraisals
- General Markets and Analysis
- Real Estate Investments
- Taxes Impacting Real Estate
- Zoning and Planning
There are both online and in-person courses available, so do a little research and find the class setup that best suits you. We love the flexibility that Real Estate Express offers, and it’s our recommended solution for online classes. Learn more by clicking the link below!
3. Take The Florida Real Estate Exam
Once you’ve completed the 63-hour course, you can submit an application for licensing. This is available online through the DBPR website where you’ll be required to also provide information about your identity (such as your social security number), professional background, and educational history.
Once the application is filled out, you pay an application fee of $89.00, then wait between three and six weeks for it be processed before you can take the test. You do not have to wait until you’re finished with your 63-hour coursework before you fill out an application. It may help you save time to apply when you enroll in the courses so you can take the test promptly after its completion.
Electronic Fingerprinting and Background Check
You must also include with your application to the DBPR an electronic fingerprint and background check from a Livescan vendor approved by the Florida Department of Law Enforcement.
The fingerprints and the background check will need to be submitted to the DBPR at least five days before you send in your application. DBPR has a list of FDLE-approved vendors on their website who you’ll need to contact directly to complete this process.
On the Day of Your Exam
Florida real estate licensing exams are administered by a company named Pearson VUE. In order to sign up, you’ll need to visit their website (home.pearsonvue.com) and search “Florida Real Estate” to find an exam date. These tests are normally offered weekly or monthly, depending on where you’re located.
Once you’ve got all your real estate exam ducks in a row and have a date for your licensing exam, make sure to bring two forms of identification with you that have your signature. One of the pieces of identification will also need to have a photo of you on it. You must also bring the certification from your 63-hour pre-licensing class. The fee to take the exam is $36.75 per exam.
Did You Pass?
In order to pass the licensing exam and become a Florida real estate associate, you need to score at least 75 percent. The exam consists of 100 multiple choice questions, so you must get 75 of them right to earn your license. Results are available immediately after you take the test.
If you don’t pass the exam on the first try, then try not to sweat it too much. You can easily retake the exam. The only caveat is that you must wait a minimum of 24 hours before you sign up for a new exam – but there is no limit to how many times you can take the test to pass it.
4. Pick A Florida Real Estate Brokerage
First of all – congratulations on passing your exam! Your hard work paid off and now you’re ready to start an exciting career as a real estate agent in sunny Florida. But, what now?
It’s time to activate your license by hitching your real estate wagon to a brokerage. Before you take your licensing exam, it’s smart to look for a broker to sponsor you and work for once you become licensed.
This is one of the keys to success as a real estate agent because if you find the right broker to work with, then you can really learn a lot. How do you find the right broker? Start with these questions:
- Do they have a good reputation locally? How about nationally?
- Are you the kind of real estate agent they’re looking for?
- Do they use up-to-date and technologically advanced systems in their work?
- How can they support you through your education and training?
- What sort of structure do they offer surrounding commissions?
- Are benefits available?
- Are agents provided with marketing material and leads?
- Is there room to grow? Do you see a future with them?
Let’s face it, there are a ton of brokerages out there to choose from, so contact a few and set up a meeting to see if you’re a good fit. It’s important to find a broker to work under and mentor you because after you successfully pass your exam, you can only begin working after you send form RE-11 to the DBPR, but it must be signed by your employer first.
The Best Florida Real Estate Companies
It’s a no-brainer that you want to hit the ground running with your real estate career and work with a broker/company that has found success in the Florida real estate market. There is a lot of variety out there when it comes to real estate.
You can easily find a top real estate company that is a large brokerage or one that is a smaller boutique or even an internationally recognized luxury brand. Here are a few real estate brokerages doing well in Florida that you may want to consider:
This is an international real estate brokerage with offices all over Florida. If you want to learn the real estate ropes in a technologically advanced way, then this may just be the brokerage for you. They offer tools that help to provide their agents with data on property listings, buyer locations, and seller leads.
Their commission split varies depending on the brokerage, so you’ll need to ask upfront about their commissions and any fees. They do offer training for new agents on how to get leads and convert them to sales. As your career progresses, they also offer workshops in marketing, technology, sales, and other topics that can help to propel your career forward.
Another national brokerage, Keller Williams separates itself from the crowd with a generous agent commission and extensive options for continuing education. They start agents with a 64 percent agent, 30 percent broker, and six percent franchise commission split until you reach your gross commission goal of $100,000 for the year.
After that, you can keep the commissions you earn for the remainder of the year. Just keep in mind that the cap may vary from office to office. They also charge desk fees that cover your errors and omissions insurance, e-marketing, CRM, document handling, websites, and apps. Depending on where your office is located, they will charge anywhere from $60.00 to $80.00 per month.
The Keyes Company
This is a Florida brokerage that was started in 1926 in the Miami area and has grown to be a real estate force to be reckoned with in southern Florida. They offer a lot of professional support to their agents such as tuition assistance, an apprenticeship program, on the job training, legal assistance, professional development, and even a company car and travel concierge. Pretty swanky!
If you’re interested in working with the Keyes Company, then you’ll need to contact them to find out more about their commission splits and if they charge desk fees.
Sotheby’s International Realty
If you’re looking to get into the luxury real estate market – of which there’s a lot of in Florida – then Sotheby’s may pique your interest. They train agents on how to specifically reflect the Sotheby’s luxury brand.
Agents are also taught how to provide concierge services to potential buyers as well as how to help set you apart from other agency by creating an experience for the buyer based on luxury.
They do not offer certifications or continuing education for their agents. You’ll also need to do your own brand building and marketing, but with access to Sotheby’s marketing materials.
Additionally, you’re welcome to create your own contacts and generate leads on your own. All in all, Sotheby’s is a successful brokerage in Florida, but one that may not be the best choice for an agent fresh off their licensing exam.
Of course, there are many more potential agencies you can work with, from RE/MAX to Century 21. Do a little research and call to speak with someone so you can find a great place to start your career. Just make sure they offer adequate training, marketing opportunities, and opportunities to grow your career.
Best Florida Real Estate Markets
As a real estate agent, you’re at the mercy of the housing market to make a living. That’s why it makes sense to sell in a place where the population is exploding and homes are in high demand. Luckily, there are many places in Florida that fit this description. Some of the fastest growing cities in Florida include:
- North Port
- Marco Island
- Winter Haven
- Fort Walton Beach
- Fort Myers
- Cape Coral
- The Villages
It’s a great idea to set up shop in one of these cities with populations that are continuing to expand with no end in sight. People just love Florida!
How to Get a Real Estate License in Florida
Earning is Florida real estate license is an achievement you can be proud of. Once you’ve got that license in your hand, then you can work for any qualified real estate broker in Florida and see how far your hard work and dedication can take you.