Working as a real estate broker in Washington can be a lucrative career. But before you can start selling real estate you’ve got to invest a little upfront yourself. A license costs $146.25 for brokers and $210 for managing brokers, however, that’s just one expense that has to be paid.
Here’s a quick rundown of all the essential fees and what it costs to get a Washington real estate license.
Cost of Washington Real Estate Courses: $300+
Unless you already have a current real estate license in another state and qualify for reciprocity, you’ll have to take 90 hours of approved real estate education. There are two courses that have to be taken: Real Estate Fundamentals (60 hours) and Real Estate Practices (30 hours).
The cost is going to depend on which education provider you choose. You can take the courses at Bellevue Community College, North Seattle Community College, Green River College or the University of Washington. Of course, college courses can get pricey.
Taking online courses at approved proprietary schools is generally much more affordable and convenient. Online Washington real estate courses will typically cost $300 and up.
Fees for the Background Check: $34.75
The Washington Department of Licensing requires that all applicants answer criminal history questions and go through a background check before getting a license. The department has to make sure applicants don’t have certain convictions or charges. The cost of the combined national and state background check is $34.75.
Cost of Fingerprinting in Washington: $8.05
Fingerprinting is also part of the background check for brokers and managing brokers. It’s a separate fee of $8.05 that must be paid online when you schedule the appointment on IdentoGO.com.
Washington Real Estate Broker Exam Fee: $138.25
When you schedule the broker exam with PSI Services you have to pay the test fee upfront. The payment should be made out to PSI and is payable by cashier’s check, money order or personal check. If you schedule the test online at goAMP.com you can pay by debit or credit card.
If you don’t pass the exam on your first attempt it will cost you extra. Retaking the exam will cost another $138.25.
License Application Fee: $146.25
After passing the exam you can finally apply for a license. When you apply online you can pay the license fee with a credit card or debit card (Visa, MasterCard, American Express or Discover are accepted). Applying through snail mail? The fee can be paid by cashier’s check, money order or personal check.
License Application Fee: $31.50
There are a few fees associated with getting the physical real estate license in hand. Currently the Washington State Department of Licensing charges a $5 license printing fee. There’s also a $26.50 license certification fee.
Marketing Expenses: $200
Now that you’ve got a Washington broker license it’s time to use it. Marketing expenses are another related cost that comes shortly after you get your license. Estimating how much you need to get started can be difficult given that marketing channels range from free to thousands per ad.
How much you spend on marketing depends on a number of factors, but it’s a good idea to set aside at least a few hundred dollars. You may get free marketing through your managing broker and social media, but having a small budget for flyers, business cards, Zillow ads and Facebook ads. Creating a marketing plan early on and starting a budget for marketing materials before you become an active broker will help you come up with a more accurate estimate.
Local Multiple Listing Service Membership - $50+
Most Washington real estate brokers will want to join the local multiple listing service (MLS). Doing so will give you the ability to put listings where they are visible for the public and other brokers. These listings include additional information like directions to the home and extra details about the property.
There’s usually a one-time fee of $50+ that needs to be paid when you become a member. If this cost is charged to the firm you may need to reimburse your managing broker. You may also have to pay a small fee each time to put a listing on the MLS so be prepared for that.
All said and done you’ll spend around $908 to get a Washington broker license. Not too bad for a career that has an average income of nearly $60,000 a year.