How to become a real estate agent in New York?

Typically, real estate salespersons are among highly prosperous employees almost everywhere around the world. No need to say that New York and its area is one of the best real estate markets where top dollar reigns due to the huge population, popularity of one of the world’s business capitals, and high concentration of enterprises represented in the Big Apple. Thus, if you still have some doubts about which occupation may bring you multiple benefits in New York, consider the real estate industry as your #1 career opportunity.

Yet, starting your long and successful professional way in the real estate business requires more than some practices from the applicant. You need to be a licensed specialist right before taking your first deal. So, the matter of our article is to enclose what is New York state real estate license, which exam and course you need for licensing as a real estate agent in New York City successfully, and which tips may come in handy for future top-leveled realtors who sell the most valuable property for the highest fee.

Interest fact:
– Do you know that the average salary in the real estate industry for agents is over $105,202 per 12 months? And top sellers of high-class property with a degree in real estate receive over $140,583 annually!

Before starting our easy but detailed guide related to how to take the RE exam and how to obtain a license as a real estate agent in New York, let’s consider what is this license and where you can use it in your further practice.

RE licensing is a common practice in the US to ensure that specialists who are engaged in selling and buying expensive properties are bona-fide and comply with major requirements of the business niche. Is it necessary to finish college and get a diploma to become a real estate agent in NY?

Of course, no! Yet, there are the basic rules and requirements which may meet you on your path to becoming a successful and financially independent real estate agent.

  • Your age.

You have to be no less than 18 years old. Thus, even if you still study at the high school but you are already 18, you can try your hand at learning new skills and take the exam. BTW, there are no upper limits for the age of an applicant for a real estate license.

  • Your residence.

Licensees regard only locals, typically, residents of New York City and neighborhoods to provide them with access to work as a realtor.

  • A reputable real estate broker is ready to hire you after you qualify for a license.

It’s a must to be sponsored by a legal company which already operates in the city of New York. Its support is a kind of guarantee for you that after you succeed, you won’t stay off the board.

6 Steps to become a real estate salesperson

Now it’s time for the main question to be answered in details to help you go through all the steps on your path how to obtain a real estate agent position in New York.

1. Requirements for New York real estate license

The requirements for a New York real estate license are as follows:

Being over 18 years old. Yet, there are no upper limits for the age of a real estate agent, so, even if you decide to start additional specialized education as a senior, you are welcome!
Being a resident and a citizen of New York City or NYS or staying in the US as an alien due to basic laws and visa requirements.
Launching special real estate license courses which are paid and continuing for 77 hours of important topics about real estate ethics, principles of work, and tutorials.
Taking the New York real estate state exam on eAccessNY and paying commission for its checking.
Getting results of your exam and in case you succeeded with it, to pass a criminal background check.
All the results, agreements, and papers you collect during the previous steps should be attached to your authorized application for a license in NYSDSDLS.
If everything is OK and you meet all terms and conditions, you obtain the license for 2 years allowing you to work legally as a hired real estate agent in New York.
Interest fact:
– Stewart Wade is a unique real estate champion due to his age. In 2014, this employee of the Coldwell Banker real estate broker agency turned 100 years old! In his senior years, he remained active and worked 20 hours a week! Besides, he entered the real estate business uniquely at age 54, and it was already his 4th career! You should agree that’s a brilliant example of a great strive for life.

2. Complete a 77-hour of official pre-licensing classes

So, what education program do you need to take to become a real estate agent? Of course, your previous school education and any other degrees you got in college or university will be helpful but not a decisive option. But you also have to undergo a 77-hour course of official classes which are held in three main options to choose from. Only after this prep activity and getting some special knowledge, you’ll be admitted to the exam.

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Off- or online study packages that include a practice test and course completion certificates.

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You can visit courses in-person. That’s a convenient type of education if you have no workload daily. On-premise education is always more effective as you contact your instructor, it offers you clear information and can ask about anything instantly during your lessons to prepare for your exam. Moreover, it’s a great idea to get in touch with other students who will become your colleagues soon. New contacts and new collaborations often bring profit.
Online courses are also available in New York and it’s quite a required option among busy people. That education option is designed to provide access to students any time they want to help them prepare for an exam. That’s a good deal for persons who are employed and decide to change their profession in favor of the real estate business to open a new page in their lives.
Livestream education for real estate agents is held online yet the lessons are provided by an instructor personally in real time and continued for the same 77 hours. These courses are less expensive than on-premise options, yet they require your thorough planning of your schedule so as not to miss important information during the livestream.

Of course, all three types of prelicensing courses are legal, their results are accepted by the eAccessNY exam commission for the examination of candidates, and their costs depend on the educational type. Online tutorial is currently the cheapest option and in NY, it starts from $150.00. Personal studies are expensive yet it is worth paying extra for them as your exam’s success depends on it.

Types of lessons to choose before passing the exam Pros Cons
On-premise training Regular studying as a student in a traditional form of in-person lesson with a clear instruction base.
Networking: you can get in touch with other future realtors, and probably find your future associate.
Constant communication with your instructor.
Higher costs of studies.
Time expenses on traffic.
Lower opportunities to adjust your schedule to class curriculum.
Online lessons Remote working any time you want it. You are not tied to the classroom and you can study from any part of the US or around the world.
You select the time when it’s up to you to join your studies and can reschedule it and continue when it’s up to you.
The most affordable option.
No direct communication with your instructor (only phone/virtual communication).
Less interactive option.
You depend on technologies, namely on your Internet connection.
Livestream training Is a golden mean between on-premise and online studies.
No need to get to classes. Only connect them timely.
Real-time interaction with your instructors.
You still are limited by your schedule and have to find courses which match your free time.
No personal communication with other applicants.
You depend on your Internet connection and need to maintain it working properly.

3. New York state real estate license exam

So, the 77-hour training was completed and you are ready to show the best results of your real estate education. You have to pass an exam and prove that you are a qualified and experienced person. You can do this on the website of eAccessNY.

  1. Create an account to receive access to the test.
  2. After registration on the platform, please, pay the fee – it’s a fixed $15 commission provided by the city government.
  3. Start your exam. You have 90 minutes (1.5 hours) reserved to complete the whole task and the questions may appear one after another. You cannot do it any longer.
  4. Receive the results. You have to achieve at least 53 points as the score for success in the real estate salesperson exam is 53/75. Do not expect a numerical score to analyze it. The results will be calculated automatically and no numerical disclosure is provided. You’ll simply be answered whether you passed it or not.

How difficult is the New York real estate exam?

The exam list for real estate salespersons includes 75 multiple-choice questions in the form of a quiz. On average, the number of students succeeding with it is 70%.

How Many Questions Are on the Exam?

There are 75 of them on various topics which you can answer in any order and even skip some of them within 90 minutes since you start completing the exam.

What Score Do You Need to Pass the NY Real Estate Exam?

As we’ve said, it is enough to put efforts to answer correctly to 53 of 75 quiz tests during the exam to succeed with it for granted.

What happens if I fail the New York real estate license exam?

Simply do not worry if you failed! In NY, you can retake the real estate salesperson licensure exams for 6 months after your failure multiple times until you pass it by requesting access on the eAccessNY website again. Each request is one more attempt for you.

4. Submit Fingerprints and Pass a Criminal Background Check

As the real estate industry is tied to high rates, valuable material resources, and big money, its licensing is bound to clear verification of candidates similar to finance or insurance business niches. Thus, after the moment you finish your real estate salesperson education and apply for an exam, or when you are already happy with succeeding in the real estate exam test, it’s time to verify your person. How to do this, indeed?

For this, you should apply for fingerprinting state services and then pass a criminal background check to ensure your bona fide status. In New York, you can use the service of governmental IdentoGo which works in association with state government. Due to their partnership, you are welcome to undergo fingerprinting at an office appropriate for your location. Call to their state office in advance to book the best time for your visit. Keep in mind that electronic fingerprinting is in priority for real estate agents applying for a license in New York.

As for the criminal record check, it’s a confirmation that you lack criminal records. Yet, you should be ready for multiple checks before you start your work and receive access to your customers’ homes, which are often extra-costly in New York. This package of privacy checks includes the following procedures listed below:

  • Criminal background check;
  • Identity verification and documents identification check (namely your ID card and driver’s license, photo identification, etc);
  • Professional license verification and reference check as your skills and experience proof;
  • MVR checks.

5. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You

Probably, is it all that you have to do in advance before your application? Nope! There is one more significant thing waiting for you. To acquire your real estate agent’s license in New York, you should confirm that you are in demand on the market as an employee by a reputable broker. This means that you have to be sponsored by one of the local real estate brokers, either individuals or broker companies. If the candidate is not sponsored by a real estate broker, they won’t get a confirmation for their license to be approved. Thus, it is better to send your CV to the best local real estate broker companies and their management department to guarantee their support and consent that you are an object of interest to hire.

We’ll ease this mandatory task and here we have a list to recommend to you the best broker companies and broker teams engaged in operations with private and commercial properties in New York you can try your chance to be hired. Simply follow the listing.

The best real estate broker teams* to apply for a job in NY in 2024:

Team Company Operation Area Annual Sales Rates in 2023
Alexander Team Official New York and neighborhoods including Lower Manhattan, Upper West Side, Upper East Side, Tribeca, Chelsea and Gramercy. $1.3 billion
The Hudson Advisory Team Compass NYC + South Florida, Colorado, Los Angeles, Aspen, and San Francisco. $935 million
The Carrie Chang Team Corcoran NYS $10 billion
The Harkov Lewis Team Brown Harris Stevens Manhattan and Brooklyn housings in the New York City center $400 million
Alexa Lambert broker (ex-Stribling&Associates) Compass NYS $118 million

6. Complete your Real Estate License Application

Here is the final step away from your dream to become a prospective real estate salesman. To do this, use the same eAccessNY yet do not forget to ask the broker you are sponsored by to enter the site and log in to authorize your application. When you approve your ID account and create a profile, you’ll be offered to download your real estate exam’s certificates, your identity documents, and fingerprints. Then you have to wait until NYSDSDLS reviews your application. After this review, which can take from 5 to 10 business days on average, you will be mailed by your license if you do everything properly or get a waiver in case something is wrong. Finally, it will be sent to your physical business address in paper form. Bingo!

How much does it cost to become a real estate agent in New York?

That’s not costly to become a real estate salesperson in New York. The current total costs consist in general of three items:

  • 77-hours course payment;
  • Exam fee;
  • Application fee for the real estate license.

Here is a table for your convenience to understand the total cost you will face when decide to become a real estate agent.

Pricing and fees are provided for your consideration and may vary depending on the chosen coursework type.

Line item Costs
Full course tutoria $150.00-$350.00
Fee paid for the application for a license $55.00
Fee for an exam $15.00
Total From $200.00 to $425.00

Renew New York state real estate license

Besides celebrating your success of being a licensed real estate agent, do not forget that the license is not limitless. So, you may have to check some post-licensing procedures to be done timely. You are provided with a real estate license for 2 years. Please, regularly check the expiration date that is indicated on the license itself. Three months before the expiration date, you will receive an email and a flashcard reminder at your mail address with the details of your real estate license renewal. You will find accurate and up-to-date instructions on how to make your real estate license renewed and which docs should be submitted.

Remember that you can update it 1 year prior to its expiration and 2 years after it is expired. It is better to follow these timelines because if you decide to prolong it after two years or more of its expiration, instead of renewal you should have to complete the exam and apply for an original license once more according to the requirement of state licensing regulations. Besides, you can also provide updates for your real estate agent’s info regularly on the site of governmental authority and they will appear here after being reviewed. Here we offer you a video tutorial on how to do that.

So, do not give yourself a chance to face this headache and renew your real estate license timely.

New York real estate license reciprocity states

One more frequently asked question we’ll mention in this article as we are often asked about it is real estate license reciprocity. People tend to relocate sometimes, and they are mostly interested, in whether the license they receive in New York as a real estate agent is valid in other states throughout the US. If talking about the licenses of NYS, they remain legal, regarding some specific qualifications, in the following states:

  • Arkansas
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut
  • Georgia
  • Massachusetts
  • Mississippi
  • Oklahoma
  • Pennsylvania
  • West Virginia

Just remember that your license should be valid no less than for 6 months when you move to another state or arrive in New York with another state’s license in your hand.

New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services (NYSDSDLS)

The last but no less important thing to talk about in this article is what is the regulator of real estate licensing in New York. That is NYSDSDLS – New York State Department of State Division of Licensing Services you should apply to as it is an official licensee. Here are useful contacts to ease the process of your application for certification as a licensed real estate agent.

  • Address for mailing:

99 Washington Avenue, One Commerce Plaza 6th Floor, Albany, NY 12231

  • Contact phone:

+1(518) 474-4429

  • Website:

Here are simple answers to the most tremendous questions about the realtor’s license obtaining and renewing. Consider it a kind of extract from our guide you can read in a matter of few minutes making smart decisions.

Becoming a real estate agent New York: FAQs

How Long Does it Take to Get a New York Real Estate License?

Typically, the whole process may take from 4 to 6 months including your educational time which you can adjust to make it self-paced, to take a real estate salesperson exam, and application for the license in NYSDSDLS with the queue and waiting for the license to be approved and issued.

How to Get a New York Commercial Real Estate License?

You can read a comprehensive answer to this question in the article above. Yet, saying simply, you need to be 18+ YO, you have to go through special studies to become a NY real estate salesperson, and then you need to undergo the exam, to find a real estate broker who’s eager to hire you, and after that, you can apply for NY real estate salesman license, obtain it and start your career.

How much do New York real estate agents earn?

If you consider New York as your working area in the real estate industry, you can make $105,000 annually. Yet, that’s an average rate which may have some difference depending on your skills and strive to work.

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About the author
Michael Baker is a journalist with over 5 years of experience in the real estate industry. His knowledge of licensing processes, procedures and requirements makes her an expert in the field.