So you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent! Very exciting! Before you know it, you’ll be on your way to a great career. You’ll just need to jump through a few hoops first, like taking a pre-licensing course, passing the state licensing exam, and paying the required fees to get your license. And all of those things do cost money, but they will cost you very little in comparison to the amazing earning potential you’ll have as an agent!
This post will walk you through how much a Virginia real estate license costs and how much you’ll need to budget to be successful as an agent.
Let’s start crunching the numbers!
The first step in your journey to a get a real estate license in Virginia is to take the state-required 60-hour pre-license course.
You can enroll in the courses at any real estate school approved by the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation (DPOR). Real estate schools vary in terms of curriculum, student support, and cost, so spend a little time comparing schools to find the best option for you.
As you look at real estate schools, pay special attention to:
Once your coursework is complete, you can apply to take your real estate exam and get your real estate license. The current exam fee for the sales agent license is $60 per attempt. It’s a difficult test, and many people need two or even three attempts to pass it. This is why those exam pass rates are so important when you’re choosing your real estate school. You want to give yourself the best possible chances of passing on your first try. Passing on the first try will save you time and money.
The initial sales agent application fee for a real estate license is currently $170. You’ll have to have this license to practice as a real estate agent.
In addition to the application fee, you’ll pay a fingerprinting fee of $52. Anyone applying for a real estate license must be fingerprinted to check for any criminal history.
Adding all these costs together, you should expect to pay in the neighborhood of $382 to $832 to get your real estate license in Virginia, with the only variables in cost being which real estate school you choose and how many times you take the exam.
Next, let’s take a look at some of the costs associated with being an agent.
New agents must work under a broker, and some brokerages charge monthly fees to agents in exchange for office space, mentoring programs, and training.
You’ll want to join professional associations like the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and your city’s local real estate board. These organizations offer tools and resources that can help you succeed as an agent. You don’t have to belong to NAR or VAR, but if you do, the costs for both together will equal about $400 to $500 per year, plus initial application fees of about $100 to $250.
An MLS subscription is critical to your success as an agent. A subscription fee may be part of your local board of REALTORS® membership, or you may pay it separately. Prices vary, but a subscription to the local MLS is typically about $65 per month.
You can start marketing for free on social media. You will need to budget some money for your print needs like business cards, property flyers, signs, and mailers to advertise you and your properties. You’ll also likely need a website and may want to spring for paid advertising in local newspapers and magazines.
After your first year as a salesperson, you’ll need to take 30 hours of CE. After that, you have to take 16 hours of CE per two-year renewal period. Brokers have to take 24 hours of CE per two-year renewal period. CE costs will vary widely.
Real estate is different from many other career paths. Real estate agents are typically not employees; they’re independent contractors. This means you’ll probably work on commission instead of receiving a predetermined salary. You’ll probably have to pay for your own insurance and fund your own retirement.
It can take time to close your first deal. You’ll need to find your first clients and see that deal through to close before you collect a paycheck. This whole process can take two to six months. That means two to six months without an income. According to the Bureau of Economic Analysis, the average cost of living in Virginia is $3,563 per month per person, so consider what you’ll need to budget for as you’re starting out.
Adding all these costs together, you should expect to pay at least $1,710 your first year as a real estate agent in Virginia.
With all these upfront fees, and the slow start to your new income, you may be wondering: Is my real estate license worth it?
As long as you’re a hard-working self-starter, the answer is a resounding YES!
According to Indeed, the average salary of a Virginia real estate agent with one to two years of experience is $96,794, which makes getting a real estate license in Virginia absolutely worth considering.
And one of the best things about real estate is the unlimited income potential!
If you can hustle to land lots of clients, and provide top-quality service, you can potentially make six figures in commissions every year!
Say you’ve been working as a salesperson for a while, and you’re ready to take the next step and become a broker. First you need to make sure you meet the qualifications. According to the Virginia Real Estate Board, “broker applicants must have been ‘actively engaged’ in real estate full-time (averaging 40/hours week) for 36 of the 48 months prior to applying.”
If you’re eligible to get a broker’s license and pass the broker exam, you’ll be able to run transactions on your own and supervise salespersons and associate brokers, which all translates to more income for you!
You’ll just need to get some more coursework under your belt and take another exam.
Cost #1: 180-hour broker’s pre-license courses: Approximately $850 Broker applicants must pass a Real Estate Brokerage course, as well as several other broker-specific courses. It’s tricky to put a cost on the 180-hour broker courses since there are multiple ways to complete the coursework, but a good estimate for the entire 180 hours would be about $850.
Cost #2: Virginia real estate broker exam: $60
Cost #3: Fingerprinting and background check: $52
Cost #4: License application fee: $85 to $210 (The fee depends on whether you are getting your broker license by examination or upgrading from salesperson to broker.)
Total Costs to Become a Virginia Broker - Approximately $1,000 to $1,200
A career in real estate is exciting, fulfilling, and flexible. And it’s also high-paying if you’re willing to work hard and stick with it!
It all starts with your real estate license. The upfront cost and time spent studying may be an obstacle for you to overcome, but the rewards will be well worth your investment with our DPOR-approved real estate course.
Learn more about getting your Virginia real estate license and get exclusive offers