A Colorado real estate license allows you to enjoy a career with a flexible schedule, control over your own business, and unlimited income potential. All without an expensive college degree!
But there are still costs associated with getting a real estate license in Colorado. Let’s break down those costs so you can budget appropriately as you get ready to launch your new career in real estate.
One quick note before we continue: in Colorado, all real estate agents are licensed as brokers. So the terms real estate license and broker’s license are interchangeable in Colorado. You will see both terms used.
Cost #1: Pre-License Real Estate Courses - $400–$600+
Before you can help buyers and sellers with one of the biggest financial transactions of their lives, you need to know what you’re doing! Your state-required pre-license real estate courses will teach you the concepts and practices of transferring real estate between parties.
All real estate brokers complete 168 hours of real estate education by a state-approved course provider. This includes six courses:
- Real Estate Law and Practice (48 Hours)
- Colorado Contracts and Regulations (48 Hours)
- Trust Accounts and Record-Keeping (8 Hours)
- Current Legal Issues (8 Hours)
- Real Estate Closings (24 Hours)
- Practical Applications (32 Hours)
When choosing your course provider, there is more to consider than just cost. Cost is certainly important, but if your courses don’t prepare you to pass your real estate exam, then they aren’t worth the cost, no matter how inexpensive.
Pay close attention to:
- Curriculum. Is it engaging enough to keep you interested and help you retain the information?
- Exam prep. Is exam prep included in the course package?
- Access. Can you study on-the-go from your phone or tablet?
- Support. Will you be able to talk to course instructors or industry experts if you have questions?
For all six pre-license courses, you will likely pay between $400 and $600. Courses offered on-campus and through colleges that offer college credit for the courses can be more expensive.
Cost #2: Testing, Application, and Processing Fees - $300–$400
After your coursework is complete, you’ll go through the process of completing your real estate exam, passing a background check, and applying for your license. This naturally comes with a few fees for all the processing.
Here are the administrative costs of getting a real estate license in Colorado:
- Broker exam fee: $44.95 for the first attempt (and $42.50 for additional attempts; many applicants need two or three tries to pass this challenging exam)
- Broker license application fee: $200
- Fingerprint and background check fee: Around $50. You have three options for your fingerprint and background check: 1) IndentoGO, 2) Colorado Fingerprinting, or 3) FBI Fingerprint Card. If you’re unable to physically visit either of the first two vendors, you can submit an FBI fingerprint card FD-258. You just need to register with one of the first two vendors before submitting your FBI fingerprint card.
As a Colorado real estate broker, you will also need to provide proof of Errors and Omissions Insurance, but the cost of this insurance will likely be paid by your employing broker.
If you’re able to pass your real estate exam on your first try, these fees will come to around $300.
The Total Cost of Your Real Estate License in Colorado - $700–$1,000+
With the real estate course costs and the administrative licensing costs, you’ll likely spend between $700 and $1,000 to get your real estate license in Colorado.
Are Those the Only Costs for Colorado Real Estate Brokers?
While those costs will get you your Colorado real estate license, you will likely incur a few additional costs to get your new real estate business up and running.
As a real estate broker, you’re essentially your own company. This means high flexibility and income potential, but it also means you need to think like an entrepreneur and start investing in your new business early.
Start-Up Business Expenses
Thanks to free marketing methods like social media, open houses, and personally contacting the people you know, it is possible to start your new business with almost no additional money. But your business will probably get off to a better start if you invest some money in two key areas:
- Membership in the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR): The cost is currently $150 for the national level, but to be a national member, you also need to be a member of your state and local chapters of NAR, and each level has its own membership dues. Depending on your local association dues, you’ll probably pay between $200 and $400 in total.
- Marketing materials: In addition to the digital marketing materials you can design for free through Canva (or buy inexpensively on Etsy), you’ll probably want to print some business cards for your open houses, along with some flyers, brochures, and maybe some mailers. You can spend as much or as little as you’d like, but $100–$500 is generally a good starting point.
Living Expenses for Two or Three Months
Unless your living expenses are covered by a partner’s income, you’ll want to make sure you have enough money set aside to cover your living expenses while you wait for your first commission check. Remember, being paid on commission means you don’t get a paycheck until your deal closes. It can take a month or two to sell your first home. And then you’ll need to wait through the 30–60 day escrow period before you get paid.
Try to have two or three months of living expenses saved. Or you could start real estate part-time around your day job and transition to full-time when you’re ready.
Is a Colorado Real Estate License Worth the Cost?
Colorado home values have skyrocketed over the last several years, which means real estate brokers in Colorado are making good money. Even back in 2019 (the year of the most recent data), the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the mean wage for Colorado real estate agents was $76,850. And those in the top 90th percentile were earning over $128,000 annually.
If we assume an average home price of $440,000 and a buyer’s commission of 3% with a 50/50 employing broker split, you would earn over $6,000 per transaction. You could pay for your Colorado real estate license with your very first sale.
So don’t wait another day to start your new career! Enroll in your Colorado real estate courses today.