How to Get Your Real Estate License in North Carolina


Looking to start a new career in real estate? North Carolina is a great place to do it! Two North Carolina cities, Raleigh and Charlotte, were recently ranked in Zillow's top 10 hottest U.S. real estate markets in 2022. Why? A combination of fast-moving inventory, plenty of buyers, high job growth, and strong forecasted home value growth. However, before you can earn a commission buying or selling, you'll need to get your North Carolina real estate license. Here's how you can do that. 

How to Get Your North Carolina Real Estate License

First things first, the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NREC) is in charge of all things real estate in your state. Being so, they make the rules. To get your license, you'll need to meet the following requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years old.

  • Have proof of citizenship or lawful presence and authorization to work in the U.S. real estate brokerage field. 

  • Complete one of the education options (more on that below).

  • File an application.

  • Pay the application fee.

  • Have a Social Security number. 

  • Possess the requisite character for licensure.

  • Pass the real estate exam. 

Now, let's take a closer look at the education options, exam, and requisite character requirements. 

Education Options

Currently, there are four routes you can take to satisfy the education requirements for an NC real estate license, including:

  • Complete NC salesperson pre-licensing education: You can qualify for licensure by completing an NREC-approved 75-hour broker prelicensing course within the three years prior to submitting your license application. 

  • Completion of salesperson prelicensing education in another state: If you've completed a comparable course in another state, you can apply for a waiver of the North Carolina course requirement. 

  • Equivalent real estate education: You can also seek a waiver if you've earned a bachelor's degree or higher in the field of real estate (or a related field) from an accredited college or university. 

  • Salesperson real estate licensure in another state: You won't need to take the course if you are licensed as a real estate salesperson or broker in another state, U.S. territory, or Canadian jurisdiction. 

Requisite Character Requirements

As part of the application, NREC includes three questions to determine if you have the character required for licensure. The questions pertain to criminal offenses, liens or unpaid judgments, and professional license disciplinary actions. 

If you check "yes" on any of the character questions, it's important that you provide an honest, detailed account of the situation. While a yes won't automatically disqualify you from licensure, it can be a reason to get denied. Any character issue is reviewed and evaluated on a case-by-case basis. 

Pass the Real Estate Exam

You'll also need to pass the real estate exam to get your license. North Carolina is a broker-only state, so there is only one license exam. It contains both National and State sections. The National section requires 57 of 80 questions to be answered correctly, while the State section requires 29 of 40 correct. 

If you don't pass, you can try again but will need to pay both the application and exam fees again (totaling $156). Also, both sections must be passed within the same 180-day period.

Get Your Real Estate License in North Carolina

Once you've met all the requirements to get your license, you will be sent a license certificate to the address shown on your application form.  You can expect to get your license within 10 days of passing your final exam. 

Ready to get started on the process? The first step is often completing your NREC-approved 75-hour broker pre-licensure course. The good news is that you can do it online with Aceable right now! You simply enroll and can start the courses from your desktop or mobile device. Learn all you need to know in a convenient way when it fits into your schedule. 

Learn more about Aceable's North Carolina online real estate course!

Want to get your Real Estate License? Begin your Pre-Licensing Course today!

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