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Main Content

How to Get Your Real
Estate License in
Hawaii

Do you dream of selling luxury suites and apartments in beautiful Honolulu? What about giving tours of townhomes with huge lots in Pearl City? Considering that you’ve found your way to this page, you must be considering getting your Hawaii real estate license. In that case, I have some great news for you. There has never been a better time to get involved in the real estate industry than right now, and the influx of Californians looking to buy houses in Hawaii means that it’s a great place to sell. 

Whether it’s been your dream to become a real estate agent for a while now or you’re just now considering it as a new career with higher earning potential and greater freedom, you can become an extremely successful salesperson in the real estate business. Take it from me. I wasn’t always the No. 1 real estate agent in New York City on my ninth season of Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” And I can tell you one thing, I couldn’t have possibly chosen a better career. 

You’re here because you want to know how to get your real estate license in Hawaii. For the most part, the education requirements and licensing processes tend to be similar across the United States. Just some finer details will change, depending on your home state. Let’s start with the basic requirements you’ll need to meet to get your real estate license in The Aloha State. 

  1. Meet all the pre-qualifications. 
  2. Complete your pre-licensing education course. 
  3. Register your account with eHawaii. 
  4. Pass your coursework final exam. 
  5. Pass the Hawaii real estate exam. 
  6. Submit your real estate license application. 
  7. Choose a sponsoring broker to activate your license. 

Let’s take a deeper dive into each of the following steps to become a new licensee. 

1. Make sure you meet the pre-qualifications. 

Before you’ll be eligible to start your licensing courses, the Real Estate Branch (REB) of the  Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs  (DCCA) requires you to meet a few qualifications. Firstly, you’ll need to be at least 18 years of age by the time of your license exam. You’ll also need to hold your high school diploma or GED. REB requires that all applicants be U.S. citizens, nationals, or legally present immigrants at the time of their exam date. Finally, you’ll need to have a reputation for competency, honesty, financial integrity, and fair dealing. 

Applicants who believe that misdemeanor convictions or felony convictions on their record may bar them from getting their real estate license may apply with the Hawaii Real Estate Commission (HREC) to request a preliminary decision. This will inform you of whether the commission would approve your license application before you invest the time and money pursuing your license education. The state of Hawaii reserves its right to determine what crimes may bar you from a license when they conduct your criminal history background check. 

2. Complete your required coursework. 

Once you’ve fulfilled the prerequisites, you’ll be ready to complete your real estate education. First, you’ll need to complete a 60-hour pre-licensing salesperson course through an  approved education provider, such as a real estate school or community college. These course hours will be largely devoted to principles of real estate practice, such as discrimination laws, fair housing, and contracts. At least two hours of coursework must be spent on Hawaii-specific forms and real estate laws as well. This course may be taken in person, or you may opt for online courses from an approved licensing school. 

Please note that fulfilling these initial licensing requirements does not guarantee that you’ll pass the state exam. It’s recommended that you study all mathematical concepts as much as possible as this is where most students struggle. 

3. Create an account with eHawaii. 

Once you’ve fulfilled the hours for your real estate courses, it’s a good idea to go ahead and  register for a free account with eHawaii. The state of Hawaii requires that all official transcripts and certifications are sent through this service. You’ll need to use your real name as it’s printed on your government ID in order to sign up. If there is a discrepancy between the name you use for this service and the name on your government ID, you may not be admitted on your test date. 

4. Pass your coursework final exam. 

The next step to complete your required education is to pass your pre-licensing final exam. The state of Hawaii does not require you to take your course final with a proctor. However, you will be limited to pencils, scratch paper, and a basic calculator while you take the exam. The course final is comprised of 130 multiple-choice questions, and you’ll need a minimum passing grade of 70%. 

You’ll receive your exam results immediately. If you passed the first time, your certificate of completion for the course will be filed with eHawaii. Course completions are valid for two years, meaning you’ll need to schedule and pass the state’s real estate salesperson exam within that time window.  

5. Pass the Hawaii real estate salesperson exam. 

The state of Hawaii partners with  PSI Online  to administer the state exam, and you’ll need to schedule an exam date using PSI services. When you schedule your exam, you’ll also need to cover the $61 exam fee. You can schedule the exam at the nearest PSI testing center, or you can register for a proctored online exam. When you arrive on your test date, you’ll need to show one form of signature ID with a photo. Military IDs are not accepted for online exams. You’ll have access to an online calculator, pencils, and scratch paper to take the salesperson licensing exam. 

 The real estate exam is divided into two portions: general and state. The general portion of the exam consists of 80 multiple-choice questions covering basic real estate practices. You’ll have 150 minutes to complete it. The state portion of the exam consists of 50 multiple-choice questions on Hawaii real estate laws. You’ll have 90 minutes to complete this portion. You must earn a grade of at least 70% on both portions to pass. 

You’ll receive your exam results in the form of “pass” or “fail”. If you passed on your first attempt, you’ll receive your official score report card and written instructions on how to complete your real estate salesperson application. If you didn’t pass the first time, you’ll receive a diagnostic report to help you better prepare for future attempts. You’ll have unlimited attempts to retake whichever sections you failed within two years. However, you will need to cover the exam fee for each additional attempt. For more information on the state’s licensing exam, please see the  PSI Candidate Information Bulletin. 

6. Submit your salesperson license application. 

You’re nearly there! Your next step toward becoming a licensee is simply to ensure your application and applicable fees are in order. Once you pass your real estate license exam, testing personnel will provide you with the application form, score report, and other documents you’ll need to complete your application. This will need to be done within two years of passing the exam, or your score will expire. 

You’ll need to complete the paper application and either hand-deliver it to the REB or mail it to their office. The office is located at: King Kalakaua Building, 335 Merchant Street, Rm 333, Honolulu, HI 96813. Your score report will include the information for your application fee. Once you’ve completed the application process, you should receive your initial license document by mail. Congratulations on getting your initial real estate license! You’ll also be mailing your application for renewal to the REB when you approach your license expiration date. 

I do need to point out that getting your salesperson license doesn’t automatically make you a Hawaii Realtor. This is because “Realtor” is a copyrighted term owned by the  National Association of Realtors  (NAR), and they have their own requirements for entry. Each member of NAR is also bound by specific ethical standards. 

 7. Select your sponsoring broker. 

You now have your initial license, but it isn’t activated yet. To turn it into an active license, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker to work under. This is because real estate salespeople don’t have the legal authority to carry out real estate transactions on their own. A real estate broker, however, can supervise new agents in real estate activities. 

Finding a broker to work with may just seem like an obstacle at first glance, but it would actually be a great idea, even if the state didn’t require it. I didn’t join a team when I first got my real estate agent license. And looking back, I think it’s one of the biggest mistakes I ever made. 

The one thing I’d recommend when you’re looking for a broker to work under is to make sure that the brokerage fits your needs and not the other way around. Research each different brokerage you’re considering before you commit to anything. 

Start by looking into their credibility. A licensed broker should be on solid ground with a good reputation in your state. Ask about what training programs or continuing education opportunities they offer. It’s also a good idea to find out if they offer any technology or programs that could give you an edge. A multiple listing service (MLS) would be a great example. Naturally, it’s also crucial that you research their commission package and ask about desk fees as well. Choosing a broker is a big decision, and it’s not one to take lightly. Once you’ve been sponsored, your sponsoring broker will submit the paperwork to activate your salesperson license. Congratulations on earning the right to practice real estate! 

 If you decide that you want to become an associate broker or property manager in the future, then you’ll have additional education requirements to fulfill. Check with your state’s Real Estate Commission to see what additional licensing requirements you’ll need to meet. 

FAQs

Does Hawaii have license reciprocity with other states? 

No, Hawaii does not have traditional reciprocity agreements with any other state. However, if you’re a licensed attorney or have a college degree with a major study in real estate, you may apply for an education waiver that will allow you to sit for the Hawaii real estate exam. 

How much time does it take to earn your real estate license? 

The answer to this really depends on YOU and how quickly you want to complete your education. Students who treat the education requirements like a job can finish their course in a couple of weeks and move on to the next steps, but it isn’t uncommon for students to take a few months to complete the entire process. 

There are two things that I can tell you for sure: The best time to get started on your license education is right now, and you have full control over your own pace once you get started. 

Is there anything that aspiring real estate professionals can do to gain an advantage? 

There absolutely is! In fact, I’ve created the training program that I wish I had when I first started out. With the Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Accelerator course, you’re getting a full state-approved licensing education combined with the same sales system that my team and I use at my New York City brokerage. You’ll get the full 60 hours of coursework you need to become eligible for the state exam, plus tons of exam prep to help you pass on your first try.  

With this course package, you’ll have constant access to advice from state-approved expert instructors, all the ebooks you’ll need to succeed, and my own “Quick Start Guide” loaded with all the latest tips and information you’ll need to pass your real estate exam. You’ll also get 10 progress exams and five practice exams, including three for the state portion and two for the general portion of the licensing exam. In fact, we’re so confident that you’ll be able to pass your exam on your first attempt that Hawaii students get our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass the state exam on your first try, we’ll refund all your money, so there’s no real risk to you.  

Best of all, we’ll continue helping you, even after you’ve earned your license! This course package also includes a membership to additional resources from me and my team members, most notably my Sell It Like Serhant: Real Estate Core video course. 

You already have the potential to earn your real estate license and become an excellent salesperson inside you. Let us help you unlock that potential through our partnership, and launch yourself toward a successful career starting today! 

Additional content

Author

  • Ryan Serhant is one of the most successful and well-known real estate brokers in the world. After a decade leading one of New York City’s top-ranked real estate teams, he founded SERHANT., the first brokerage designed for the marketplace of tomorrow.