How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York

Sep 10th 2023
Becoming a real estate agent in New York City is a lucrative and rewarding career. If you are considering becoming a real estate agent in NY, here are the steps you will need to take.

hash-markTable of Contents

NY Real Estate License Requirements
How to Get a Real Estate License in New York
Time to Get a Real Estate License in New York
Cost to Get a Real Estate License in New York
NY Real Estate Exam Difficulty
Becoming a Real Estate Agent in New York Bottom Line

hash-markNY Real Estate License Requirements

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have an NYS photo driver's license or non-driver ID card
  • Complete a Department of State approved 75-hour salesperson qualifying educational course (students who completed a 45-hour qualifying salesperson course before July 1st, 2008, may complete an additional 30-hour remedial course to qualify). 
  • Submit a completed application and fee to the Department of State
  • Pass the NYS Real Estate Salesperson exam  
  • Must be sponsored by a real estate broker licensed in New York State 

hash-markHow to Get a Real Estate License in New York

  1. Complete the Pre-licensing Educational Requirements
  2. Find a Brokerage To Sponsor You
  3. Pass the Real Estate Exam
  4. Submit an Application and Pay the Required Fee 
  5. Receive Your New York Real Estate License 
  6. Keep Your License Active with the State

1. Complete the Pre-licensing Educational Requirements

The first step to getting a real estate agent is to complete the 75-hour pre-licensing educational requirement. The course can either be taken at an approved school or online learning platform and will provide you with all the information you need to pass the state exam. You can find a list of approved course providers on the New York Department of State website. 

2. Find a Brokerage To Sponsor You

The next thing you'll need to do to become a real estate agent in NY is to find a sponsoring broker. In New York State, every salesperson must be affiliated with an established brokerage. You may eventually apply to become a broker yourself and work independently. But for the first few years, you must have a sponsor.

You may choose to do this as soon as you start taking real estate classes, as it can take some time to find the right brokerage to work for. So start sending out applications and doing interviews at local agencies to find an environment that will be conducive to your success. 

3. Pass the Real Estate Exam

Next, you will want to schedule and complete the New York State Real Estate Salesperson Exam. You can schedule the exam online but make sure to bring a form of a government-issued ID and a document provided to you by the eAccessNY system when you schedule your test. The exam features 75 multiple-choice questions based on the information in the educational program. You will have 1.5 hours to complete the exam and must score at least 70% to pass. 

4. Submit an Application and Pay the Required Fee 

Once you've passed your test, you can apply for licensure. You can find the necessary forms on the NY Department of State Website and mail them in or apply online. Along with the application, you must pay a $65 application fee to the Department of State. If you're not a New York state resident, you'll also need pictures taken for your pocket card. 

Once you submit your application, it will be reviewed, and if everything checks out, your license will be approved. 

5. Receive Your New York Real Estate License

After your license is approved by the state and associated with your brokerage, the Department of State will mail your brokerage a copy of your real estate license and your pocket card. 

It can take a couple of weeks for your license and pocket card to arrive, but you can start working with clients and practicing deals from the day your license is approved. If a client asks about your license status or wishes to see a copy, you can direct them to the NY Department of State website, which will confirm that your license is active. 

6. Keep Your License Active with the State

Once you start performing brokerage services, your life might get very busy, but it's important to remember to keep your license active. You must renew your license every two years by filling out a renewal form and paying the $65 fee. You also need to take continuing education courses to renew your license, including classes on fair housing. 

If you fail to renew your license, you will be prohibited from performing any real estate-related services or collecting a commission until it's updated. 

hash-markTime to Get a Real Estate License in New York

It depends on how long it takes you to complete the pre-licensing requirements and pass the exam. For example, if you only have an hour a day to complete the 75-hour educational component, it will take much longer than if you focused on it for 10 hours per day. 

Likewise, if you fail the test multiple times, it will take longer than if you passed on the first try. Once you apply, it usually takes about two weeks to hear back from the Department of State. So, it typically takes students about 6-8 weeks from start to finish, which may vary depending on the person.

hash-markCost to Get a Real Estate License in New York

Getting a real estate license in New York can cost anywhere from $200 to $700, depending on if you take online classes or attend an in-person real estate school. There are multiple fees associated with getting your real estate license. First, you will have to pay for the educational course, usually around $100-200 for an online course and up to $500 for an in-person course. Students must also take a proctored exam after completing the course work, separate from the state exam. That may be included in your course fee, or it could cost up to $40. Finally, you must also pay $15 to take the State exam and an additional $65 to apply for your license. So, when all's said and done, obtaining your license will cost about $220 if you use an online real estate school or as much as $700 if you prefer to attend in-person classes. 

hash-markNY Real Estate Exam Difficulty

The real estate exam in New York is relatively easy to pass if you prepare for it. As long as you pay attention to the educational course and take good notes, passing the exam shouldn't be too difficult. It's nothing like the BAR exam or the MCAT, and many questions on it are math equations that most people can answer without ever taking a real estate course. It's best to make flashcards and study all the information presented because you never know what will be on the exam. But if you do the work and prepare as much as possible, it isn't harder than passing any other standardized test.

hash-markBecoming a Real Estate Agent in New York Bottom Line

Getting your real estate license in New York is relatively simple. You'll need to spend a few weeks or months taking classes and then pass the necessary exams, but once you do that you can become a New York realtor, and enjoy a rewarding and profitable career. The commission on selling one luxury condo or brownstone may be enough to pay your yearly salary if you can get the listings. But getting to that level also requires a lot of work and experience.