As the fourth most-populous state and home to America’s largest city, New York is a natural real estate hot spot. And sky-high real estate prices mean big commission checks for those selling it. Read on to learn how to get a real estate license in New York.
Related: Make sure you meet the pre-license qualification requirements for a New York real estate license.
How to Get a Real Estate License in New York
To get a New York real estate sales agent license you have to meet certain requirements. These include, but are not limited to the following:
- Be at least 18 or older when you apply
- Complete a state-approved education course
- Get a New York-licensed broker to sponsor you
- Take and pass the state examination
New York real estate agent licenses are regulated by the Division of Licensing Services, which is part of the Department of State. Here’s the contact information:
New York State
Department Of State
Division of Licensing Services
P.O. Box 22001
Albany, NY 12201-2001
Customer Service: (518) 474-4429
Fax: (518) 402-4559
Unlike some states, New York doesn’t require licensed real estate agents to live in the state. You do, however, need a state-issued identification card with a photograph. And you have to physically go to New York to take the state examination.
New York Real Estate Education
The biggest obstacle to getting a New York State real estate license is the required education. You have to take a 75-hour real estate education course from a state-approved school.
You may be able to get the education requirement waived if you’ve received equivalent schooling elsewhere. To do this, send the Bureau of Educational Standards at the Department of Licensing the following:
- College transcript or Certificate of Course Completion from a recognized real estate school showing you’ve completed equivalent courses
- Description of the course subject matter from the school catalogue
- Letter requesting a waiver
To locate an approved school, visit the Department of Licensing website and click the eAccssNY link. This is also where you can:
- Complete your application
- Schedule your examination at an exam site of choice
- Check exam date, time, and location
- Reschedule an exam
- View exam results
- Change your address
- Renew a license
- Request a duplicate license
At the eAccessNY site, search for a Department of State-approved real estate school. You can search by city, count, or school name. You can take your 75 hours either online or offline in a classroom.
The state does not accept correspondence, continuing education, or paralegal courses to fulfill this requirement.
After completing the coursework, you have to pass the school’s final exam. This exam resembles the state licensing exam except that you may be able to take it online.
After passing the course exam, you will get a Certificate of Course completion. You will need this to continue your license application process.
Our favorite pre-license course is Real Estate Express. It’s both affordable and flexible. In fact, you can take the courses are your own pace from the comfort of your own home. Click the button below to learn more!
Taking the New York Real State Exam
To schedule your state exam, you first have to set up an account at eAccessNY. You can choose from several locations to take the test. When you register to take the test on eAccssNY, you will receive a Summary of Submission. Print out a hard copy of this.
Bring to the test location:
- The Summary of Submission printout
- A battery- or solar-powered, non-printing calculator
- A government issued photo ID
The acceptable forms of ID include:
- Driver’s license
- Non-driver identification card
- IDNYC Card
- Military ID
- United States passport
- Employment authorization card from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services
- United States INS issued ID
- Certificate of US citizenship
- Foreign passport
- Brazilian, Mexican, Honduran, and Ecuadorian Consular ID
The exam is a written, multiple-choice test. The test material is based on the curriculum covered in the 75-hour pre-licensing course. Test-takers get an hour and a half to finish.
Applicants have to get 70 percent of the questions right to pass. However, the test results are given as pass or fail instead of a numerical score.
It costs $15 to take the state exam. You can retake the exam as many times as you need. Each time will cost another $15. You can take the test in English, Spanish, Korean, Russian and Chinese.
To take it in something besides English, tell the proctor at the exam site when you arrive. After you take the test, you will be able to get the results online at eAccessNY. You can’t get the results over the phone.
Find a Sponsoring Broker
After you pass the state exam, it’s time to line up a sponsoring broker. Do this before starting the license application. While any New York-licensed broker will do, it’s best to pick a broker who fits your needs and goals.
Below, we have included some of the best real estate brokerages and the reason that you should consider them when being recruited:
- Keller Williams: Good commission structure and continuing education assistance
- RE/Max: Best for established agents seeking commission splits
- Century21: Brand recognition
- Coldwell Banker: Technology for marketing, leads, and transactions
- Sotheby’s International: High-end luxury properties and markets
- Redfin: Good for neew agents seeking experience
When it comes to where you’ll work, the largest market is just one choice. New York City isn’t the only appealing city in the state. Here are the biggest by population with attractive features noted.
- New York City: 8,601,186
- Buffalo: 252,555
- Rochester: 206,318
- Yonkers: 202,127
- Syracuse: 141,353
- Albany: 97,640
- New Rochelle: 79,518
- Mount Vernon: 68,212
- Schenectady: 63,536
- Utica: 59,608
These smaller markets can be as dynamic as the Big Apple. In May 2019, Rochester was named the nation’s hottest real estate market based on how quickly homes sold.
Filling Out the Application
Now it’s time to fill out the state license app. Be sure to apply within two years of the date you pass the test. Before starting, make sure you have handy your notification of a passing score on the state exam. You also need to know the sponsoring broker’s license number.
You’ll submit the passed exam notification and fee with your application. The state charges $50 for a real estate sales agent license. This is good for two years.
You can pay the fee with a check or money order made out to the Department of State. You can also charge it to a MasterCard or Visa. Cash is not accepted.
Enter the broker’s license number on the application along with the name of the broker and the address of the business. The state will notify the broker and issue a license when the broker approves your application as a new hire.
Note that you will be asked whether you are current on any child support obligations on the application. If you’re more than four months behind, you may not be able to get a license.
New York doesn’t require a background check to get a real estate license. However, the application asks about criminal convictions. That includes misdemeanors as well as felonies, in New York or any other state.
If you have a conviction, submit a written explanation of the offense and sentence. Also send a copy of the criminal complaint or indictment and a document showing the case’s final disposition.
New York State has reciprocity with the following states on real estate licensing:
- West Virginia
If you have a license with one of these states, you may be able to get New York to recognize it. However, some restrictions apply. For instance, you have to be sponsored by your home-state broker. And that broker must also hold a current New York broker’s license.
How Do You Get a Real Estate License in New York?
You can get a New York State real estate license in only a few months. That includes the required course work. And with it in hand you can start doing business in one of the country’s most dynamic and varied real estate markets.