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If you have been working as a real estate salesperson in Pennsylvania for some time, and wish to bring your business to the next level, then upgrading your license to become a real estate broker could be a sensible choice.
Rather than making income solely based on your sales production, being a broker allows you to build a team of real estate agents. You’ll be recruiting, providing training and support to your underlying agents. In return, you would get a share of their commission.
To become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Be at least 21 years and have a valid SSN;
- Have at least 3 years of active real estate sales experience;
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent;
- Complete 240 hours of pre-licensing courses from an approved education provider;
- Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam;
- Provide a Criminal History Records Check (CHRC);
- Submit an application and a $169.50 fee to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission;
- Maintain the PA broker license
Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission is the regulatory body that protect consumers in matters relating to real property transactions. They are responsible for issuing the licenses and regulates the real estate industry.
In this guide, you’ll learn the steps to become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania, income updates, and FAQs on this profession.
(By the way, if you are just starting the real estate career, but haven’t obtained the sales associate license yet, you should read over this career starter guide first.)
But before we start, I want to give a brief disclaimer. This post is not intended as legal advice or state/federal real estate training. It is for general information only. Please always follow your State laws and best practices.
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- 7 Steps to Become a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
- A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
- More info on the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam
- How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania?
- How long does it take to become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania?
- Can you become a real estate broker with a felony in Pennsylvania?
- How Much do Real Estate Brokers Make in Pennsylvania?
- Is there a demand for real estate brokers in Pennsylvania?
- Whom should I contact if I have more questions about the Pennsylvania real estate license?
7 Steps to Become a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement
- At least 21 years old
- Have a valid Social Security Number
- Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
Step 2: Fulfill the work experience requirement
You are required to work for at least 3 years as a licensed sales associate.
Step 3: Complete the Pre-licensing Education
You are required to take the 240 hours of pre-licensing courses. It equips you with the essential knowledge to running a real estate broker business.
Although you have 10 years to pass the exam after you took the courses, hopefully it won’t take you that long to upgrade your real estate license.
Step 4: Pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Examination
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam is a 3 hours test with 115 questions. It is divided into the State and National portion. The required passing score is 75% or higher. The broker exam will be administered by PSI, and the exam fee is also $49.
I’ll include more info about the exam later in the post.
Step 5: Go through a background check
The PA Real Estate Commission needs to protect the public interest, so they will conduct a background check on all real estate license applicants.
To do so, you need to provide a Criminal History Records Check (CHRC). It must be dated within 90 days of the date the application is submitted.
Step 6: Submit Application to the Pennsylvania Department of State
Similar to the registration process of being a real estate agent, you’ll need to apply to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.
You could do so through the Pennsylvania Licensing System (PALS). The best would be to do so online. It saves mailing time, and less paper usage is good for the environment too.
In addition to the application, you need to provide other necessary documents, such as the transcript of pre-licensing classes completion and a fee of $169.50.
Step 7: Maintain the PA real estate broker license
All real estate license holders must renew their license once every two years. The license expires on May 31 of every even-numbered year.
You may do so at the PA Licensing System and pay the renewal fee.
To ensure that you are keeping up to date with the real estate laws and regulations, you also need to complete the 14 hours of Continuing Education for each renewal period.
A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
|Work Experience Requirement||Education||Exam||Fees|
|Have at 3 years of active real estate sales experience||Hold a high school diploma|
240 hours of pre-licensing course
14 credit hours of continuing education every two year
Required passing score is 75%
|Exam fee $49|
Application fee $169.50
More info on the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam
The salesperson and broker exams are two separate tests. However, their nature is so similar so that we’ll talk about them here all at once.
These examinations are to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics.
They are computerized exams administered by PSI. To register, you need to do the following:
- Submit PSI Registration Form
- Provide exam fee ($49) – payment can be made by credit card or cheque.
- Official transcripts or completion certificates of the pre-licensing courses
Then you could mail the completed set of documents to: PSI licensure: certification, ATTN: Examination Registration PA RE 3210 E Tropicana, Las Vegas, NV, 89121
At the day of the examination, you need to provide two pieces of ID. (i.e.: driver license, state ID, passport)
If you have any questions about the registration, you could contact the PSI at fax (702) 932-2666 or phone (800) 733-9267.
Content of the Pennsylvania Real Estate Broker Exam
Each test consists of the national and state portions. Each topic weights differently in the exam. It is important to put more emphasis on studying for the parts that count the most.
Real Estate Broker Exam Summary
|Examination Portion||# of Items||Time Allowed||Minimum Passing Score|
|Broker- National||75 (80 points)||120 minutes||60|
|Broker- State||40 (40 points)||60 minutes||30|
National Portion Exam Content Outline
|Exam Content||Weighting (Broker)|
|Land use controls and regulations||5%|
|Valuation and market analysis||7%|
|General principles of agency||11%|
|Leasing and Property Management||5%|
|Transfer of Title||7%|
|Practice of real estate||14%|
|Real estate calculations||8%|
State Portion Exam Content Outline
- Real Estate Commission – 3 items
- Licensure – 8 items
- Regulation of Conduct of Licensees – 29 items
Real Estate Broker Exam – Sample Questions
To give you a better idea about the broker exam, below are two sample questions for your reference.
Sample Broker Scenario:
You are hosting an open house. Mr. and Mrs. Charles Martin come into the house. You greet them and show them the house. The Martins tell you the house is exactly what they are looking for and they are very interested in purchasing it. You then give them information showing the various types of financing available with down payment options and projected payments. Mr. Martin tells you they have been working with Mary Hempstead of XX Realty, a competing real estate company. Before leaving, you thank them for coming and give them your business card.
A. The first thing on Monday morning, Mrs. Martin calls and indicates they have tried to reach Mary and cannot. They indicate they have a written buyer’s agent agreement with Mary’s broker. They are afraid someone else is going to buy the house. Which of the following should you do? Select the best answer.
1. Seek advice from your supervising broker.
2. Tell them to come to your office.
3. Ask them to bring the buyer’s agency agreement to you for your interpretation.
4. Tell them to be patient and continue trying to reach Mary.
5. Tell them to call Mary’s supervising broker or branch manager.
6. Tell them you are really sorry, but there is nothing you can do.
B. The Martins come to your office and explain that neither
Mary nor her supervising broker are available. They insist you immediately write an offer for the house. How should you proceed? Select the best answer.
1. Write the offer after entering into a buyer’s broker agreement with them.
2. Write the offer after explaining they may owe Mary’s broker a commission.
3. Write the offer after trying to contact Mary’s broker yourself.
4. Refuse to write an offer and explain that doing so would be unethical.
5. Refuse to write and offer since it would be illegal.
6. Refuse to write the offer and tell the Martins to contact another Salesperson in Mary’s office.
Quote from Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson and Broker Candidate Information Bulletin
How much does it cost to get a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania?
It costs approximately $218.50 to get a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania. Here’s the breakdown:
- Exam fee $49
- Application fee $169.50
However, it has not included the fees for broker education, and background check.
If you were setting up a real estate brokerage, the cost of getting a broker license is only part of the expenses. There is also other office expenses such as salary of administrative staff, office lease, furniture, equipment, software subscriptions.
How long does it take to become a real estate broker in Pennsylvania?
It takes at least 3 years to get a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania. That is the required amount of real estate sales experience.
It also depends on the time it takes you to complete the pre-licensing courses, exam, background check, application. Assume everything is in good order, after the PA Department receives your application, it typically takes about 10 weeks to issue your real estate broker license.
You may speed up in getting the Pennsylvania real estate license by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-licensing education at a quicker pace.
Can you become a real estate broker with a felony in Pennsylvania?
An applicant with a felony may not obtain a real estate broker license if the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission determines that the offense is too severe. They would typically be more alarmed on incidents that impact the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity.
What is the nature of the crime? Does it have anything to do with the honesty, truthfulness, and reputation of the applicant? Is the applicant currently under probation or parole? All these are factors that may affect a real estate license application.
The Commission will evaluate each case independently. They may also require you to provide further documents and explanation about the incident.
But don’t get discouraged as everyone has a past. The most important is that you can demonstrate that you will serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner.
Here’s an article that covers how to apply for a real estate license with a felony record. In there, you’ll find practical ideas which could help your application.
How Much do Real Estate Brokers Make in Pennsylvania?
Real estate brokers in Pennsylvania earn an average yearly income of $85,896. It typically ranges between $56,935 to $97,265. Top earning real estate brokers could be making as high as $232,963/year.(+)
Your earning depends on many factors. For example, the amount of time per week you are dedicated to run the business and the number of agents in your sales team. Having the skills and vision to delegate tasks to others rather than DIY is another major determining factor.
Here’s another post you could be interested. “Do Brokers Make More than Real Estate Agents? (Facts Revealed)”
(+) Source: ZipRecruiter (Jan 26, 2021)
Is there a demand for real estate brokers in Pennsylvania?
Currently, there are only 780 real estate brokers in Pennsylvania, and 6,210 real estate sales agents. (*)
So whenever there are sales associates who need support and training to grow their business, there is always a demand for real estate brokers in Pennsylvania.
(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2019)
Whom should I contact if I have more questions about the Pennsylvania real estate license?
You could email the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission at [email protected]
If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in becoming a real estate broker. Go through practice questions indeed can help you better prepare for the exam. PrepAgent is the exam prep that I highly recommend. You may click here to check out their package options. (**)
(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our website, RealEstateCareerHQ.com, will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase after clicking on the link. Please understand that we include them based on our experience or the research on these companies or products, and we recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something through the links. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. Some of the posts on RealEstateCareerHQ.com may contain views and opinions from the interviewees. They do not reflect our view or position.
- Pennsylvania Department of State – Real Estate Commission (source)
- Pennsylvania Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
- FBI Identity History Summary Check (source)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics
- ZipRecruiter – Real Estate Broker Salary in Pennsylvania (source)