Step 1: Make Sure You Qualify
There are some minimum requirements every applicant has to meet before they can apply for a Virginia salesperson license. You must:
Be at least 18 years old
Have a reputation for being honest, trustworthy, and competent
Have a high school degree or an equivalent certificate
Be in good standing, meaning you don't have a past real estate license (of any kind, anywhere) that has been suspended, surrendered, or revoked as a result of disciplinary action or unpaid fees
Have a clear criminal history
Applicants have to report all misdemeanor convictions involving moral turpitude, sexual offenses, drug distribution, or physical injury within five years of the date of the application, and all felony convictions during their lifetime. Any plea of nolo contendere is counted as a conviction for these purposes. If you were not in good standing with a previous license or have a criminal history, it’s up to the Board to decide if you should get a license.
Step 2: Take a 60-Hour Pre-license Course
If you meet all of the prerequisites, you can get started on your pre-licensing education. The Virginia Real Estate Board (REB) requires applicants to take 60 hours of education before taking the state exam.
The course and provider must be approved by the Board and can be done online or in a classroom.
Step 3: Apply for the State Licensing Exam (and Pay the Exam Fee)
Once you complete your pre-licensing course, you can apply to take the state exam. The test is administered by PSI, a third-party testing company.
Your pre-licensing education provider will notify PSI of your eligibility to take the state licensing exam. After that, you can register for the exam online, or by mail, over the phone, or by fax.
Once you get permission to take the test, you must pay the $60 exam fee and schedule a time to take it at any of several testing centers: Vienna, Richmond, Roanoke, Virginia Beach, or Charlottesville in Virginia; Salisbury, North Carolina; or Johnson City, Tennessee.
Step 4: Pass the Licensing Exam
On the big day, ensure you show up on time. Late applicants will not be allowed to take the test. You must also bring two forms of ID, at least one of which is government-issued and has a signature and photo.
Try not to bring anything with you other than your wallet and keys, because you won’t be allowed to have anything with you during the test.
What’s on the Test?
The test is 120 multiple-choice questions. This includes:
40 state-specific questions
80 questions on national topics
Expect to see questions about the principles, practices, regulations, and statutes of real estate.
You have 150 minutes total to complete the exam. Each portion is timed, with 45 minutes allotted for the state portion, and 105 minutes for the longer national portion. A timer is displayed on the screen to help you keep track of the time remaining.
After you finish, you’ll be issued your score right there at the testing center. A passing score on the salesperson exam is a minimum of 56 points on the national portion and 30 points on the state portion.
Step 5: Submit Fingerprints for the Background Check
Before applying for a license, you'll need to submit a set of fingerprints to the Virginia Central Criminal Records Exchange (CCRE) so that they can do a state and national fingerprint-based criminal history background check.
The fee for this fingerprinting and background check is $52, which you can pay by money order, cashier’s check, or credit card.
The background check process can take 4-6 weeks, so if you want to apply for your license the day you pass the exam, feel free to do your fingerprinting before your test day. Fingerprinting is done at the same PSI testing sites where you take the exam.
If you do have a criminal conviction on your record, you won't necessarily be disqualified from licensing. The REB may request further information about the conviction, and then they will decide whether to accept or deny your application.
Step 6: Submit Your Salesperson Application
Here’s how to submit your application:
- Print out the most up-to-date copy of the license application from the DPOR website and complete it.
Fill out the name and contact info of the firm or sole proprietorship you plan to join, including the principal broker's information. This is required if you want to receive an active license. A salesperson can only be licensed under one sponsoring broker, and that broker must be active.
Submit the license application form to the Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation, attaching any additional documentation if needed.
Include your payment for the license application fee. The fee is $150, and it's not refundable. You won't have to pay another license fee for a couple of years, so that's nice.
Be mindful of your timing. The license application must be received by the Real Estate Board within 45 calendar days of their receipt of the fingerprint results or the applicant will have to pay to be fingerprinted again before the REB will issue a license. Also, the REB must receive your license application within a year of your original exam date.
And that’s it! Once your license is approved, you’re ready to start showing homes (and cashing commission checks).