Unlike most states, Oregon calls its entry-level real estate sales license a broker license. It is similar to the agent license other states grant. Oregon brokers have to work under the supervision of a principal broker.
Aside from that, Oregon has similar requirements for getting a real estate license. However, there are a few other differences in the way the process is conducted.
The basic requirements for an Oregon real estate broker license are:
- Be at least 18 years old.
- Have a high school diploma, GED, or international equivalent.
- Create an account with the eLicense online licensing system.
- Complete the required pre-licensing education.
- Pass the state real estate agent examination.
- Undergo a fingerprint criminal background investigation.
- Be sponsored by a principal broker.
Oregon has reciprocal licensing agreements with the following states as well as one Canadian province:
- South Dakota
If you have a license from one of these jurisdictions, you can work as a professional real estate broker in Oregon and vice versa. Otherwise, agents and brokers licensed in other states have to meet the same education and exam requirements as anyone.
Oregon Real Estate Regulatory Agency
In Oregon, the real estate industry is overseen by the Oregon Real Estate Agency (OREA.) You can contact this state agency here:
Oregon Real Estate Agency
530 Center St NE, Suite 100
Salem, OR 97301
Telephone: (503) 378-4170
Email: [email protected]
The OREA oversees licensing and regulation of real estate brokers, principal brokers, and property managers. It is also responsible for escrow agents, real estate marketing organizations, and real estate education schools.
Finally, it investigates complaints against these people and organizations, as well as those against real property developers.
Applying for a License
Unlike most states, applying is the first step to get a real estate license in Oregon. In many other states, sending in your application is the final step after other requirements are completed.
You also have to pay Oregon the $300 application fee up-front. This fee is non-refundable, so it’s a good idea to make sure you understand all the education and other requirements before paying it.
Before applying, you have to create an eLicense account. This is free. To start, you have to provide basic information such as name and address and other contact information.
Once you’ve created your eLicense account, you can complete your application. You’ll have to pay the non-refundable application fee to continue. Next, it’s time to tackle the pre-licensing education requirements for an Oregon real estate broker’s license.
Oregon requires 150 hours of pre-license education from an approved real estate education provider. The required training consists of seven modules, with a set amount of hours devoted to each.
Here are the modules and hours required:
- Agency – 15 hours
- Real estate law – 30 hours
- Contracts – 15 hours
- Real estate brokerage – 20 hours
- Finance – 30 hours
- Property management – 10 hours
- Real estate practices – 30 hours
After completing each module, students have to pass an exam on the material covered in that module. Passing requires getting 75 percent correct answers. These tests are different from the state licensing exam, which comes later.
To find an approved school, visit the OREA website. It has a current list of authorized providers. Many of the approved education resources are community colleges. Others are private education providers.
Some courses are delivered entirely online. Others are taught in a classroom or a combination of online and classroom. Some of the approved providers offer education for property managers as well as brokers.
The prices for the required education range from about $300 to about $600. The online-only courses are generally less expensive.
Online-only self-paced courses can be completed in as little as four weeks. Community college courses combining classroom and online typically require a semester of approximately four months to complete.
After finishing the education, the school will submit the student’s record of completion to the OREA. The OREA will send the student an email explaining how to sign up for and take the licensing exam.
Oregon State Licensing Exam
The Oregon state real estate license exams are administered by PSI. You can schedule the exam in as little as a single day in advance at one of PSI’s testing centers, which costs $75. You can pay by credit card, cashier’s check, or money order.
The test has two parts. One is on national real estate topics. The other is on Oregon-specific state material. The national portion covers these topics:
- Property ownership
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuation and market analysis
- General principles of agency
- Property condition and disclosures
- Transfer of title
- Practice of real estate
- Real estate calculations
- Specialty areas
On the state portion, students are tested on these topics:
- License law and disciplinary measures
- Handling of clients’ funds
- Agency law and rules
- Regulation of broker activities
- Document handling and record-keeping
- Property management
- Oregon real estate related statutes
Candidates get 120 minutes to finish the national section. They get 75 minutes to complete the state portion. The tests are administered by computer. Students have to get at least 75 percent correct answers to pass. Scores are calculated and given following the exam.
Fingerprinting and Background check
Like many states, Oregon requires a fingerprint background check for past criminal activity. After passing the test, students can submit their fingerprints through PSI, the testing company.
PSI charges $56.25 for the fingerprinting fee. That includes $15 to PSI and the state’s $41.25 processing charge. You can pay with a credit card, company check, money order, or cashier’s check.
The fingerprints are sent to the Oregon State Police and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI). Results are returned directly to the Oregon Real Estate Agency.
The background check starts when answering questions for the application. Applicants are asked to disclose any criminal convictions, including those with guilty or no contest pleas.
Disclosures should include significant traffic violations such as driving while intoxicated, reckless driving, and driving with a suspended license.
Applicants are also asked whether they have been the subject of investigations, sanctions, or other disciplinary actions by an administrative agency.
Additionally, you are asked about bankruptcies, judgments, and other civil and financial issues relating to real estate. There is no list of specific crimes or other behaviors that will make someone ineligible for a license. The agency evaluates applications on a case by case basis.
However, failing to disclose a relevant matter could be grounds for refusing a license. And OREA checks applicants’ answers against a nationwide data bank of regulatory actions.
Picking a Broker
After an applicant’s background check clears, it’s time to select a sponsoring broker. The application is reviewed a final time when adding a client’s license to his business.
Agents are sometimes recruited by brokers during their pre-licensing education. It’s also possible to reach out to a broker and ask to be sponsored. The best sponsoring broker is likely to be one that offers support, training, leads, and overall mentoring.
Below are the biggest brokers in Portland, Oregon’s largest city. They were ranked by the Portland Business Journal for 2019 based on sold dollar volume in the Portland metro area.
Windermere Realty Trust
733 N.W. 20th Ave.
Portland, OR 97209
John L. Scott Real Estate
1205 N.E. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd.
Portland, OR 97232
RE/MAX Equity Group
9790 S.W. Nimbus Ave.
Beaverton, OR 97008
15400 Boones Ferry Rd.
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Premiere Property Group LLC
5000 Meadows Rd. #150
Lake Oswego, OR 97035
Combined, these five brokerages employ approximately 2,500 agents. The largest employer is Premiere, with 1,100 brokers and another 1,000 other employees.
Picking a well-established, supportive broker is vital for any new broker. It also helps to start in a healthy local real estate market. Here are the healthiest Oregon real estate markets for investment in 2019 as selected by Clever.com:
- Salem metropolitan area
- Douglas County
- Clatsop County
- Curry County
Portland, in particular, has been a hot market. The median home value there was $228,000 in 2012, and by 2018 had climbed to $424,000. Since then, the market has cooled but still remains dynamic.
Receiving Your License
After a sponsoring broker has added the applicant’s pending license, the state will review the application. Then the OREA will send an email alerting the new broker that his or her license has been issued.
The entire process can take six months or so, which includes:
- Several weeks to process a license application
- Up to four or more months to complete the pre-licensing education
- Up to three weeks to get results of the fingerprint background check
Candidates have one year from the time they take the test and pass the fingerprint background check to complete the process and get their licenses.
Oregon Real Estate License Summary
The Oregon real estate market has been hot for most of the last decade. Oregon is still growing, and property values are strong. That makes the state an excellent place to start a real estate career.
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