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Main Content

How to Get Your Real
Estate License in North
Carolina

Do you dream of selling luxury condos in Raleigh or beautiful seaside properties in Beaufort? If you’re considering getting your North Carolina real estate license, this is the perfect time to get into the business.

Maybe you want to get your real estate license immediately after finishing school. Or maybe you’re pondering the real estate industry as a new career option with unlimited opportunity. I know I’ve been there before. When I first arrived in New York City, I was a struggling actor, and I got my license so that I could have a survival job between auditions. I never dreamed that I would achieve the level of success I have now as the top real estate agent in New York City running the most-followed brokerage in the world, starring on Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York,” or creating online courses for aspiring and established sales agents, either. But here I am, running a top New York City brokerage and selling a billion dollars in properties each year! 

If you’re here, it’s because you want to know how to get a real estate license in North Carolina. I’m glad you’re following this path, and I encourage you to keep it up no matter what. If I can build a real estate brokerage from essentially nothing, then you can be successful in this business, too! Let’s start with the list of requirements from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC). 

  1.  Meet the prerequisites. 
  2. Complete the approved pre-licensing education.
  3. Apply for the real estate broker exam.
  4. Pass the NC real estate exam.
  5. Select your sponsoring broker.

Let’s take a look into each of these requirements together so you can get started earning your real estate license in North Carolina.

1. Meet the prerequisites. 

In order to become a provisional broker in North Carolina, you’ll have to meet a couple of prerequisites before beginning your education courses. Each state has its own terminology to describe real estate agents and other positions. In order to sell real estate in the state of North Carolina, everyone starts as a provisional broker, which is the basic equivalent of an associate broker or agent in other states. You’ll be working under a Broker-in-Charge at first, who will oversee all of your real estate transactions. 

The only prerequisites for NC are that you must be at least 18 years of age, and you’ll need to be a United States citizen, a non-citizen national, or a qualified alien. You don’t have to be a resident of North Carolina, nor will you be required to have your high school diploma or GED for licensure. 

2. Complete the approved pre-licensing education. 

After you meet the prerequisites, the first step is to complete your 75-hour license course. You’ll have plenty of options to choose from when it comes to North Carolina real estate schools and programs. The state now allows you to complete all 75 course hours online, so you can fulfill your education requirement at your own pace from the comfort of home. You may also purchase premium course packages to help with exam preparation or to receive other perks. 

Once you’ve completed your license course, you’ll need to pass the course final exam. You will need to be proctored by your instructor or take the exam in an approved PSI testing environment. Remember to schedule online proctoring in advance if you’re taking the exam remotely. You’ll need a minimum score of 75% on your course real estate exam to pass. Upon passing, you’ll sign an affidavit identifying yourself as the student who passed the course. Once your real estate school receives the form, you’ll get the certificate of completion for your pre-licensing course. 

3. Apply for the real estate broker exam. 

Before you can take the North Carolina Real Estate Exam, you’ll need to submit an application to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission for your broker license. You’ll also need to submit a criminal background check at this time. Having a criminal history doesn’t necessarily bar you from becoming a licensee, but the state does reserve the right to deny applicants convicted of felonies or misdemeanors. 

Assuming your application and background check are in order, you’ll receive an email with your Notice of Exam Eligibility. You’ll then have 180 days to complete your state exam. 

4. Pass the NC real estate exam. 

Once you’re approved for the exam, the next step is to schedule it with an approved PSI testing center. You may travel to your nearest location for the exam, or you may take the exam online. You’ll have a total of three and a half hours to complete the real estate broker license exam. 

The exam is divided into two sections. The first is a national portion that covers general real estate practices and course information. You’ll need to correctly answer 57 out of the 80 multiple choice questions to pass this portion. The next is a state portion that will test you on North Carolina real estate law. You’ll need to correctly answer 29 of the 40 multiple choice questions to pass the state portion.  

5. Select your sponsoring broker. 

If you took your exam in person, you can receive your license right at the testing center. If you took it online, you’ll need to travel to the nearest center for a license photo before receiving it. In order to maintain an active license status in North Carolina, you’ll need to work under a Broker-in-Charge (many states will call this a sponsoring broker). You’ll work as a provisional broker under your Broker-in-Charge until you complete an additional 90-hour post-licensing education program to remove the provisional status of your license. 

Even if you weren’t required to do this by the state, I would still say it’s a good idea. One of the biggest mistakes I made in my early career was failing to join a team. However, the most important piece of advice I can give you is to remember to select a broker who can fit your needs and not the other way around.

Before you commit, be sure to ask about the broker’s educational approach, the growth opportunities within their brokerage, and make sure they have a solid reputation in North Carolina and nationally (if applicable). Once you complete your post-licensing education requirements, you’ll receive your Official Broker license. After this, you’ll just be required to take eight hours of continuing education once a year to maintain your license. 

It’s important to point out that completing this process doesn’t make you a REALTOR. This is because the term REALTOR is copyrighted by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), and they have their own requirements and code of ethics for their members. 

FAQs

How long does it take to get licensed as a real estate professional? 

That really depends on you and the amount of time and work that you can put into it. Some people are able to complete everything within a couple of months, while others might take half a year or longer. Getting your real estate license and removing your provisional status can’t happen overnight, but with a lot of hard work, you can start selling faster than you might think. 

If you’re at all familiar with my books, then you’ll know that I credit initiative for my success. In fact, “initiative” is my favorite word! The best time to start working on your broker’s license is right now, and you have the power to start whenever you want. If you feel trapped by your current career or feel desperate to find a job with a higher earning potential during a thought time, then good! Use that feeling to motivate yourself toward success. 

Are there ways for new or aspiring brokers to get a leg up? 

Definitely! In fact, I’ve create da training program for North Carolina students that I wish I had when I first started my journey in real estate. The Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Accelerator course combines all of the approved pre-licensing materials you’ll need to qualify for the state exam with the same sales system that my team and I use at my New York City brokerage. 

This course package gives you access to expert instructor support for all questions, all the textbooks you’ll need, and with my “Quick Start Guide” to succeed in sales. We provide you with multiple exam practice tests and other preparation materials as well, so you can pass the state licensing exam on your first attempt. We’re actually so confident in this system that we offer NC students our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass the state exam on your first try, then we’ll give you your money back! 

 I’m not done helping you once you get your license, either. This course package also includes a membership to additional resources from me and my team members and access to my Real Estate Core online course. Within the course, you’ll find 42 videos that break down the sales system my team and I use at my brokerage in New York City. It’ll teach you what you need to know to sell in the most competitive markets! 

It takes a lot of work for people to become successful real estate professionals. I would know after building my career from basically nothing. The best thing you can do to get on the road toward success today is to go ahead and schedule your pre-licensing education. Remember, initiative is the key, so get started on your new career right now! 

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.