How to become a realtor in Tennessee

What do you think about a career as a real estate agent in Tennessee? This state, although it is not as popular as residential and commercial property destinations like California or New York, offers the most valuable thing for a realtor. We talk about its stable realty market and constant demand in buying or selling properties. Thus, getting a license as a real estate agent in Tennessee can boost your career and bring you multiple profits like respect from your customers, high status in society, and lots of useful contacts.

It’s time to discover how people start their real estate agent career in Tennessee and what is required for a real estate TN license.

8 steps to get a license to work in real estate

The first thing to learn about the Tennessee real estate industry is that you need a license to work in it on a legal basis. Typically, Tennessee real estate agents are called RE affiliate brokers. In two years of your work in this position, you can obtain a license or a real estate broker.

The licensing process in Tennessee can be divided into 8 steps and we are going to guide you from one of them to another in this blog article to create a clear vision of how you can manage this procedure with fewer efforts and expenses and help you pass all of them. Let’s start with it then!

1. State of Tennessee real estate license requirements

The first stage which may make your real estate agent’s career start is meeting basic state prerequisites required from a future real estate professional. These are as follows:

  • You must be 18+ years old;
  • You have to be a resident of the US (a citizen or a legal foreigner);
  • Your high school graduation diploma and/or university/college degree certificates or any equivalent are a must for an application.

With all these requirements, if you meet them, you can go further to another stage.

2. Complete 90 hours of required pre-licensing education

Becoming a real estate agent in Tennessee makes you to complete a specialized educational program. Unlike some other states where it is only 60 hours of courses to complete the coursework, in Tennessee, you might pass 2 different parts of education courses.

The first one is a 60-hour course which is known as the Basic Principles course.
The second is a 30-hour course known as the New Affiliates course.

During them, you’ll master your Tennessee real estate agent’s skills and learn lots of new yet necessary features related to finance, laws, land regulations, contracts, property management, property disclosures, math, history, and state-specific questions about the real estate market in Tennessee.

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

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Your real estate education results in 90-hour courses, and after completion, you’ll get a certificate which is your key to passing the state real estate exam.

Do you know that?
– The fastest completion of pre-license real estate courses is required in New Hampshire, Michigan, and Vermont. Here to become a realtor, you have only completed 40 hours of VE.

If you are interested in how the real estate education process is organized, we have some tips and pieces of advice about which coursework to choose to create a comprehensive view of it.

In-person education

That is the most effective real estate course package as you can train in person, and sit in the classroom with other candidates who can become your partners, colleagues, and real estate associates in the future. Besides, training in person provides you with full in-depth knowledge and practice as you can instantly ask questions to your instructor if anything is not clear to you and ask to assist you. Yet, this type of course is the most expensive, and its price often reaches $700+.

Livestream classes

In case you don’t find an approved real estate school near your home, you can use the option based on instant online education systems. Livestream real estate courses are held in real time using digital technologies. You learn at your PC’s screen and you contact the instructor during your real estate class via video call. That’s cheaper than in-person education, yet, it also requires adjusting your schedule to the course plan.

Self-paced online classes

A person with a regular job who cannot learn in person or attend a live stream real estate course also has an opportunity to complete their real estate education at their own pace starting when they need to. That’s an option of online courses which are available on an educational platform provided by a certain real estate school. You select the time when studying is convenient to you and start learning using your schedule. Of course, such an option has its cons, as you acquire a little piece of practice and often the process of learning lasts too long, but for employed candidates, it’s a win-win idea.

3. Pass the real estate affiliate broker exam

The next step to take is completing your real estate exam. Like exams in Arizona, Texas, and other states, it is provided by the examination service provider, the PSI Exam. You are welcome to apply for the time reserved for your exam right on the website. Besides, PSI offers a dedicated phone line for Tennessee applicants – so you can call (855) 340-3710. The exam should be taken six months after you graduate from the real estate training center. In another case, you’ll have to complete the course once more. At the reserved time and date, you have to visit one of the examination centers (just choose the center close to your home), pay the exam fee, and pass the exam. If you succeed with it, consider the job is done, and you can move to another step on your way to the real estate license.

For your best prep, please, read the bulletin provided by the national testing service.

How hard is the Tennessee real estate exam?

The exam for real estate licensing is not too hard to pass. On average, up to 70% of students manage to take it on their first try. So, you can feel free to follow them if you cope with your exam prep well.

How many questions are on the Tennessee permit test?

The real estate license exam in Tennessee consists of 120 questions. They are divided into two groups and the score for each group is calculated separately. The first block of tasks (there are 80 of them) is related to National requirements, rights, and realty-related laws. The second considers the state’s specifics and it consists of 40 tasks.

What score do you need to pass the TN real estate exam?

The score which proves that you passed the exam is 57% for the National section and 81% for the State section.

What happens if you fail the real estate exam in Tennessee?

Your failure is not the end. You can try one more time, and there is no limit to the number of retakes. Just see that if you pass one section and fail with another during the exam, you’ll have to retake only the section you failed with.

4. Get your application photo taken at the testing center

So, let’s see what next you have to do to approach the moment of getting your license. That’s taking your photo. It is taken right after you get proof that you succeeded with the exams in the same facility where you passed them.

5. Submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check

As the real estate industry requires the highest levels of reliability and trust from its agents, the following step is what becomes your reliability proof. That’s the requirement possessed by the Tennessee real estate regulator, TREC.

You have to undergo fingerprinting and get your criminal background report from the local investigation bureau.

  • For fingerprinting, please, apply for the IdentoGo services.
  • For a criminal background check, you can get more information here.

6. Obtain errors and omissions insurance

According to Tennessee state laws, if your business is related to services you provide to customers for a fee, you need to get an E&O insurance policy to cover the issues of mistake claims, misunderstandings with clients, negligence, and other allegations.

7. Complete license application

After all the documents are ready for your successful licensing, it’s time for the application itself. The good news is you can make it remotely from your PC or laptop on this website.

Keep in mind that you need to submit the following list of papers when you apply for a real estate affiliate’s license in Tennessee.

  1. Your high school diploma or certificate.
  2. The certificate of real estate course completion.
  3. Your E&O policy copy.
  4. Your examination proof.
  5. Your ID photo.
  6. Electronic fingerprinting.
  7. Application photo.
  8. Eligibility form.

All that you submit to your application and send to TREC.

Then if you pay the fees timely, you need to expect from a few days to a few weeks. Your license will be sent via email you indicate in this step.

8. Find a brokerage firm or a sponsoring broker

Then, if you want to work as a real estate affiliate broker, it’s time to contact a broker company which is eager to sponsor you. It’s one of the mandatory conditions provided by Tennessee regulators in the field of real estate. Before you become a broker who works independently, you should operate under the sponsorship of a reliable brokerage to gain some experience. It is better to investigate the real estate market to select the best broker agency or a broker who can sponsor you.

Fortunately, you have our guide to get information about top real estate brokerage agencies in Tennessee to choose from. We developed that list using Houzeo’s rates for you.

  1. Keller Williams Realty which is perfect for commercial sales.
  2. Zillow which is one of the most sought-after agencies state-wide.
  3. Berkshire Hathaway Home Services provides deluxe home options for sale.
  4. Don Martin’s For Sale Martin Properties which have been boosting the Tennessee real estate business for three decades.
  5. Century 21 which is a world-recognized brokerage operator uniting real estate agents under its franchise.

By working in each of them, you’ll gain necessary and valuable experience and further you can upgrade your license to work as an independent broker with higher commission and salary.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Tennessee?

Of course, each candidate wants to understand how much it costs to become a licensed affiliate broker in Tennessee. We’ve gathered all the useful information about prices for each stage, and additional costs you may face on your path to your dream career.

Cost Item Prices
Courses in a state-approved RE school From $429 to $760 per 90 hours of courses
Application fee $91 ($90 is an initial fee and $1 is a contribution to the real estate education and recovery fund)
Fingerprinting fee $35
Exam commission $43
Total: From $598 to $929
Additional cost items*  
E&O insurance policy From $721 annually
License upgrade (to become a real estate broker) $91
Renewing of the license $75 annually

*Provided to licensed real estate affiliates after their licenses are approved.

Tennessee real estate license reciprocity

Alas, but there is no reciprocity with other states in Tennessee. This means, that if you move to this state from Colorado, North or South Carolina, Florida or any other state where you started your real estate agent’s career, you need to comply with the terms for legislating your license. These terms include submitting a special form, providing proof of real estate education (in common, 90 hours for RE affiliate brokers and 120 for brokers), and besides, taking a course of continuing education for new affiliates (a so-called CNA program which takes 30 hours).

TN real estate license renewal requirements

If you live in Tennessee and build your career as a real estate agent, your license may be renewed each year. Yes, it sounds not very comfy, but it’s not as daunting as it seems. You can always get your RE license renewed by taking your CE hours from one of the local providers. Do not forget to ensure that your elective courses cover at least six hours of TREC CORE, which is a mandatory course.

Besides, you’ll have to pay a fee of $75 for your license prolongation. After you cope with all these parts, your training provider will share the information about your completion of CE with the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, and you will get your license renewed.

Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance (TDCI)

Being in touch with the local authorities is always a great idea. In Tennessee, you need to deal with TDCI which has its headquarters in Nashville. In case you have any questions, doubts, or disputes concerning your real estate profession, you can contact TDCI in the following ways.

– As you can see, it’s quite easy to become a real estate agent in Tennessee. The state regulators offer several specific requirements to comply with, but it shouldn’t stop you on your way to earning and becoming an aspiring leader in the real estate niche.

Becoming a real estate agent TN: FAQs

Can I get my Tennessee real estate license online?

You can apply for your VE online, get courses remotely, and apply for a license online too. Yet, passing the exam, taking an application photo, and fingerprinting requires your presence. After you complete these terms, you can fill out the form on the governmental structures’ website and get your license via email.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Tennessee?

On average, it takes from 1 to 3 months. The timeline depends on how quickly you take the course and pass the test.

How much money can I make as a Tennessee real estate agent?

Tennessee is not a top-paid direction for real estate brokers. Yet, you can earn approximately $86,358 annually. Just consider that being a novice realtor may bring you less money than when you gain reputation, skills, and expertise.

Can a felony be a real estate agent in Tennessee?

Yes, if you are not under arrest on parole or probation. In all other cases, TREC will inspect your criminal history and possibly approve you as a real estate licensing candidate.

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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.