How Long Does It Take to Get Your North Carolina Real Estate License?

Getting a North Carolina real estate license is an exciting process but how long does it take to become a North Carolina real estate agent?
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It will take at least 75 classroom hours to complete the required real estate coursework.

However, that question is really best answered by looking at each step of the real estate licensing process.

Taking the Required North Carolina Real Estate Course

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The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) has established an education requirement that must be met prior to receiving a real estate license. There is a 75-hour pre-licensing course that every prospective real estate agent must pass.

In total, it will take at least 75 classroom hours to complete the required real estate coursework. How long it actually takes to complete the course all depends on the program you choose. You can work your schedule around classes at a school of real estate or you can take our NCREC-approved online real estate course and save yourself hours of travel time. Online real estate courses also allow students to work at their own pace.

Once you’ve met this real estate education requirement, your completion will be reported directly to NCREC and you can start preparing for the licensing examination.

Applying for a North Carolina Real Estate License

It may seem counterintuitive, but you must apply for your North Carolina real estate license before taking the licensing exam. Filing and approval can take time (i.e. up to a couple of weeks), especially if you apply by mail rather than applying online.

This application process also requires a background check to be conducted, which can be requested online or through the mail. If NCREC has any issues with your character determination and defers your application, you then have 60 days in which to request a review via a formal hearing in front of the Commission and try to get your application approved.

Taking the North Carolina Real Estate Exam

A state licensing exam must be taken before you can get a North Carolina real estate license. Technically, the real estate licensing examination takes a maximum of four hours. But you have to plan ahead and schedule the real estate exam first.

Schedule your exam so that you have enough time to study, but there’s still an opportunity to take the exam again if needed.

Once your application is accepted, you will receive a Notice of Exam Eligibility within 2-3 days. After you receive this notice, you can go ahead and schedule your licensing exam online. The licensing exam is conducted by PSI, which offers multiple testing locations and time slots. The exam itself is comprised of a National section with a 150 minute time limit and a State section with a 90 minute time limit.

Once you pass the exam, your license will be issued, and you should receive it within 7-10 days of the license examination date. If you fail the exam, you must wait 10 days before you can retake it.

You have 180 days to pass the license exam after your application is accepted, which should be ample time to study. After that time, your application is invalidated, therefore you must restart the application process and pay the fees for the application and background check again.

Studying for the Real Estate License Exam

Preparation is the key to passing the North Carolina real estate license exam on your first attempt. Every time you take the licensing exam you must pay a $56 nonrefundable fee. Having to retake the exam will also delay getting a real estate license.

Real estate exam study guides and practice tests like the ones included in the Aceable pre-license package are an excellent way to prepare. As far as the time it takes, you’ll want to give yourself at least a few weeks to study. While you wait on the application to process, it’s the perfect time to start studying for the licensing exam.

Finding a Sponsoring Broker

In order to get an active real estate license you need to have a broker act as your sponsor. You can have a license without the backing of a real estate broker, but your license will be inactive.

Finding the right real estate broker can take time. It’s something you’ll want to start thinking about before you even begin taking the mandatory real estate courses. Square away enough time to interview several brokers over the course of a few weeks to make sure your goals align.

Once you’ve selected a broker, you’ll need to submit a License Activation/Affiliation form to NCREC. There’s no fee to submit the broker sponsorship form. As soon as NCREC verifies the broker sponsorship and other requirements have been met, your official real estate license will be activated and you can start your career as a real estate professional.

All said and done, in as little as 1-2 months, many of you can go from being a student to a licensed North Carolina real estate professional helping people buy and sell homes.