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How to Get Your Real
Estate License In
Tennessee

Ready to jump into the Tennessee real estate market? Since you’ve found your way to this page, getting your Tennessee real estate license must be on your mind, and for good reason. You can’t beat the music, food and scenery in Tennessee. Plus, the state is very popular among younger home buyers. Tennessee is a very desirable market due to its lower cost of living and cultural diversity.

Whether it’s been your goal to become a real estate agent for a while now or you’re just now considering it as a new career option, the real estate business can offer you everything you want in a career. 

So, you want to know how to get your real estate license in Tennessee? The overall licensing process and education requirements are typically pretty similar across the U.S., although some of the specifics may change, depending on your home state. Let’s take a look at the list of basic requirements you’ll need to meet to become a licensed real estate salesperson in the state of Tennessee. 

  1. Meet the pre-qualifications.
  2. Complete pre-licensing education.
  3. Pass the course final exam.
  4. Register for and pass the TN Real Estate Affiliate Broker exam.
  5. Collect the necessary documents to apply for your license.  
  6. Complete the application.
  7. FAQs

1. Make sure you meet the pre-qualifications. 

Before you can start working on your license education, the Tennessee Real Estate Commission (TREC) requires that you meet a few qualifications. To start, all applicants must be at least 18 years of age. You’ll also need to provide proof of residency as a U.S. citizen, permanent resident, or legally present immigrant. Lastly, you’ll need to have your high school diploma or GED. 

Note:  You will be ineligible to be licensed as a real estate agent within two years of incarceration, probation, parole or conviction of a felony or misdemeanor involving theft of money, services, or property.

2. Complete pre-licensing education.  

Once you determine your eligibility as an applicant, your real first step is to begin your pre-licensing education. You’ll need to complete a 60-hour real estate education course in real estate principles/fundamentals and a 30-hour “Course for New Affiliates”. To take the pre-licensing courses, find an approved licensing school, such as a real estate school or community college. 

You may take your required coursework in person or through online classes. 

In Tennessee, your required education includes training on real estate law, finance, ownership, contracts, and the transfer and use of property.

Please note that passing these education courses does not guarantee that you’ll pass your real estate exam. Take advantage of the testing and review hours to make sure you’re fully prepared.

3. Pass the pre-licensing course final exam. 

Once you’ve finished your real estate education courses, the next step is to pass your course final. Note that this is not the same thing as your actual license exam. Think of this final as a sort of practice exam you need to pass before you’re eligible to take the official real estate licensing exam. 

Unlike your coursework, which allows you to take online courses, the final exam must be taken in person at an approved testing facility. Use the proctor locator map to find the testing center closest to you. Make sure to print out your proctor form and bring it with you on the exam date. 

You’ll complete your final on a computer provided at the testing center. The only things you can bring with you are a container of water with a lid, pencils, and a basic calculator. Scratch paper and all other needed materials will be provided by your proctor. If you don’t pass the final on your first attempt, you’ll be able to retake it two more times. 

Because the affiliate broker and broker examinations are divided into two sections, national and state, you only have to retake the section you didn’t pass. Your passing score for the other section is valid for two retakes of the section you didn’t pass, or six months, whichever comes first. Once you pass both sections of the final, you’ll receive a certificate of completion for your courses. 

4. Register for and pass the TN Real Estate Affiliate Broker exam.

Once you’re ready to take the Tennessee Real Estate Affiliate Broker Exam, you must meet all testing requirements. You must also have your pre-licensing education provider submit an application to the testing company, PSI.  You’ll receive an approval postcard or email with instructions on paying for and scheduling the exam. Practice exams are available through PSI for $23.95.

Once you receive approval, book your exam appointment online with PSI, Tennessee’s third-party exam provider, according to the instructions on the approval card. In-person and online remote proctored exam formats are available.

On your exam date, you’ll need to present two forms of valid, signature-bearing identification, at least one of which must be a photo ID. NO personal items are allowed at testing centers, with the exception of a silent, non-programmable calculator.

The exam is made up of 180 multiple-choice questions and is divided into two sections: a national portion and a state portion. The national portion of the exam covers general real estate practices and national laws, such as fair housing regulations. The state portion of the real estate license exam covers Tennessee-specific laws and practices. You’ll have a total of 300 minutes to complete the exam. 

When you’ve completed the exam, your score will be displayed on screen. You must receive a score of 70% or better in order to pass. A score report will also be emailed to you with written instructions on how to apply for your license. If you failed, the email will include a diagnostic report that shows where you can improve. 

If you don’t pass, you are allowed to retest within six months of your initial attempt. You can contact PSI after 24 hours of your unsuccessful attempt to schedule another exam. You will have to cover the $39 exam fee for each attempt. 

5. Collect the required documents and apply for licensing. 

Once you have successfully completed the exam, you’ll need to get certain documents together before you apply for your license. Some of these can take weeks to arrive, and you don’t want them holding up your entire process. For the state of Tennessee, these documents include:

  • Application photo
  • Fingerprints
  • E&O insurance
  • Eligibility verification
  • Proof of pre-license education 
  • Verification of passing the Tennessee Real Estate Affiliate Broker Exam
  • Proof of HS graduation
  • Licensing fees

Your full license application must be submitted within one year of passing your state exam. After one year, your exam score expires. A full application requires your Certificate of Completion for your course hours, your exam score report, and all disclosure documents previously discussed. To get your sales agent license, you’ll also need to cover an initial license fee of $90, a recovery fund fee of $1, a $35 fingerprinting fee, for a total of $126. 

Assuming your full application is in order, the TREC will send your license document in the mail. Congratulations on becoming a new licensee!

I should point out that completing these steps does not make you a Tennessee Realtor, however. This is because “Realtor” is a copyrighted term owned by the National Association of Realtors (NAR). NAR has its own list of requirements to join, and each member of NAR is bound to specific ethical standards. 

7. Select your sponsoring broker. 

Now there’s just one final step you need to take before you can legally practice real estate in Tennessee. When you first receive your license document, you’ll have an inactive license status. In order to activate your license, you’ll need to find a sponsoring real estate broker to work under, so they can submit the license activation paperwork to the TREC. In Tennessee, a new salesperson doesn’t actually have the legal authority to complete real estate transactions on their own. A broker, however, operates their own real estate company, and can oversee salespeople in real estate activities. 

Even if the state didn’t require you to work through real estate brokerage services at first, I would still strongly recommend it to any new real estate agent. When I first started, I didn’t join a team, and I look back on that as one of my biggest mistakes. If I could give you one piece of advice on how to pick the right broker to work with, it’s this:  Make sure that the broker you’re considering matches your needs, and don’t worry about the other way around. 

Before you commit to anything, I recommend researching each brokerage you’re considering. Start with their reputation. Does this broker seem to be on solid ground with a good reputation in the state? Ask them about how much room you’ll have to grow at their brokerage. What kind of training program or further education do they offer? What is their commission structure like? Do they charge desk fees to work at the brokerage? If so, do they offer any technological advantages, such as a multiple listing service (MLS)?

Once you’ve found the right broker, your license can be updated to active status. Congratulations on earning the right to practice real estate! 

FAQs 

Does Tennessee have license reciprocity with other states? 

No, Tennessee does not have license reciprocity with any other states. However, if you’re a licensed agent in another state and now live in Tennessee, you may qualify to have some of the Tennessee real estate education requirements fulfilled by your previous education. To see if this applies to you, download and fill out an Education – Examination Evaluation Form and send it to TREC at [email protected] along with a “Certified License History” from all the states where you hold or have held a real estate license. TREC will review your request and let you know your next steps. 

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

This is really a question for yourself more than it is for anyone else. How long do you want it to take? Driven students who treat their course hours like a job can complete their education within a few weeks. The longest process for them will likely be waiting on their fingerprints card. It’s also not uncommon for some students to take around six months to complete everything. 

There are only two things about this that I can tell you for sure. The best time to start working toward your initial license is right now, and you have the ability to control your own pace after you start. 

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

You bet there is! In fact, I’ve partnered with the CE Shop to make sure of it. Through our partnership, we’ve created the training program that I wish I had when I first started my journey into real estate. With the Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Accelerator, you’re getting a full state-qualifying education combined with my own sales system that my team and I use at my brokerage. 

In addition to getting all the course hours you need from our state-approved program, this package includes plenty of unique benefits. You’ll have support from state-approved expert instructors who are here to answer all of your questions within a single business day. We provide you with ebooks that you’ll need to succeed as well, including Principles of Real Estate Practice, The Real Estate Math Handbook, and my own “Quick Start Guide”. Each helps you prepare for your state exam with the latest information and tips. 

Speaking of exam prep, this course package contains 10 progress exams, five practice exams (three state and two national) and flashcards to get you ready for test day. We’re so confident you’ll pass your exam the first time that Tennessee students even get our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you don’t pass your state exam on your first attempt, we’ll refund all your money! 

The good news doesn’t stop there, either. I’ll continue to help you out even after you’ve activated your license. How? This course package also includes a membership to additional resources from SERHANT. to help you start achieving success from your first day in the business. Perhaps the most notable of these is my Sell It Like Serhant: Real Estate Core video course. This is a 42-video online course that teaches you the same techniques that I use with my team to generate leads, create markets, close deals, and much more. 

You already have the potential to get your license and build a successful real estate career inside you. Let us help you unlock that potential today! 

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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.