How to Pass the Iowa Real Estate Exam? (Iowa Real Estate Career Series Part 2 of 4)

(**) Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning our company, JCHQ Publishing will get a commission if you decide to make a purchase through the links, but at no additional cost to you.

Your real estate license is your ticket to a new career, and passing the salesperson exam is one of the mandatory requirements.

To pass the Iowa Real Estate Salesperson Exam, the exam writer must achieve at least 70% for both the National Portion and State Portion. Reading over the Iowa Real Estate Commission Licensing Information Bulletin and doing multiple exam preps can increase the chance of passing the exam.

In this guide, I will go over the content, sample questions, FAQ, exam preps of the Iowa real estate salesperson exam. Although the result is not guaranteed, I’m confident it can help to increase your chance of passing it significantly. So you will be one step closer to starting your real estate career in Iowa.

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.

Table Summary of the Iowa Real Estate Exam

Portion# of QuestionsPassing ScoreTime Allowed
National 8056120 minutes
State402860 minutes
Total12084180 minutes

How to register for the Iowa Real Estate Exam?

Applying for real estate exam

The Iowa Real Estate Salesperson Exam is administered by the PSI and to schedule in writing it, you can create an account at the PSI website. In there, you can choose the testing center and date. The exam fee is $95 and it can be paid through a credit card such as VISA, MasterCard, American Express, or Discover.

You may also call (855) 898-0712. Their office opens Monday through Friday between 6:30 am and 9:00 pm, and Saturday-Sunday between 8:00 am and 4:30 pm, Central Time.

However, online registration is the fastest and most convenient way. And keep in mind that you must take the exam within 90 days of registration.

How many questions are on the Iowa real estate exam?

The Iowa Real Estate Salesperson Exam has a total of 120 questions and it consists of the National Portion and State Portion. The National Portion has 80 questions and the required passing score is 56. The State Portion has 40 questions and the required passing score is 28. You have 180 minutes to write it.

Here’s the content of the National Portion:

National Portion Content OutlineWeightingTopics
Property ownership8%A. Real versus personal property; conveyances
B. Land characteristics and legal descriptions
C. Encumbrances and effects on property ownership
D. Types of ownership
Land use controls and regulations5%A. Government rights in land
B. Government controls
C. Private controls
Valuation and market analysis7%A. Appraisals
B. Estimating Value
C. Competitive/Comparative Market Analysis
Financing10%A. Basic concepts and terminology
B. Types of loans
C. Financing and lending
General principles of agency13%A. Agency and non-agency relationships
B. Agent’s duties to clients
C. Creation of agency and non-agency agreements; disclosure of conflict of interest
D. Responsibilities of agent to customers and third parties, including disclosure, honesty, integrity, accounting for money
E. Termination of agency
Property disclosures 6%A. Property condition
B. Environmental issues requiring disclosure
C. Government disclosure requirements (LEAD)
D. Material facts and defect disclosure
Contracts7%A. General knowledge of contract law
B. Contract Clauses, including amendments and addenda
C. Offers/purchase agreements
D. Counteroffers/multiple offers
Leasing and Property Management3%A. Basic concepts/duties of property management
B. Lease Agreements
C. Landlord and tenant rights and obligations
D. Property manager’s fiduciary responsibilities
E. ADA and Fair Housing compliance in property management
Transfer of Title8%A. Title Insurance
B. Deeds
C. Escrow or closing; tax aspects of transferring title to real property
D. Special processes
E. Warranties
Practice of real estate13%A. Trust/escrow accounts
B. Federal fair housing laws and the ADA
C. Advertising and technology
D. Licensee and responsibilities
E. Antitrust laws
Real estate calculations10%A. Basic math concepts
B. Calculations for transactions

Here is the exam content of the State Portion:

Topic Area# of items
Licensing Requirements2
Licensing Maintenance3
Disciplinary Actions- Suspension Revocation and Voluntary Compliance4
Real Estate Education3
Trust Accounts3
Prop Disclosure Requirements5
Iowa Civil Rights Act of 19651
Unlicensed Assistants2
Broker Responsibilities2
Property Management2

Salesperson Exam Sample Questions

A. Which of the following interests in property is held by a person who is granted a lifetime use of a property that will be transferred to a third party upon the death of the lifetime user?

1. A life estate.

2. A remainder estate.

3. An estate for years.

4. A reversionary estate.

B. Which of the following statements BEST identifies the meaning of the term, “rescission of a contract”?

1. A ratification of a contract by all parties.

2. A return of all parties to their condition before the contract was executed.

3. A transfer or assignment of a particular responsibility from one of the parties to another.

4. A review of the contract by the legal counsel of either party that may result in a cancellation without penalty or further obligation.

C. Which of the following clauses in a mortgage allows the lender to demand loan repayment if a borrower sells the property?

1. Defeasance

2. Prepayment

3. Acceleration

4. Alienation

D. How much cash MUST a buyer furnish in addition to a $2,500 deposit if the lending institution grants a 90% loan on an $80,000 property?

1) $5,500.

2) $6,975.

3) $7,450.

4) None of the above.

E. Which of the following single-family residences would get the MOST accurate appraisal by applying the reproduction cost approach to value?

1) A rental property.

2) A vacant property.

3) A new property.

4) An historic property.

Answers to Sample Questions: A: 1; B: 2; C: 4; D: 1; E: 4

Quote from Iowa Real Estate Commission Licensing Information Bulletin

Tips to prepare for the Iowa Real Estate Exam

Let’s Study the Iowa Real Estate Exam “Strategically”

Many people would try to read and memorize all the study materials. Although it could work for some people, it really doesn’t work for me. 

Here are the exact steps I have been using to prepare for exams. It has worked wonderfully for me throughout high school and university, and they still work well when I wrote exams in my field of work. 

  1. Review the exam outline to see which topics will be heavily weighted
  2. Skim through a practice exam to get a sense of the questions
  3. Read over the course materials. Focus more on the sections you’ve seen in the practice exam and those that will be heavily scored. 
  4. Try writing a practice test. 
  5. For the parts that you got wrong, you should review them carefully. I usually would create a document file and take notes on those topics. 
  6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 until you can score at least 10% more of the required passing mark for at least two practice exams. (Some people would get nervous during the actual exam writing, so it’s better to have a buffer room on the score. In this case, try to aim for over 80% for the Iowa real estate exam.)

Doing practice questions indeed can help you prepare for the real estate exam. They help you understand what type of questions you’re likely going to see during the test and give you an idea of what topics might come up, making studying more efficient.

Here’s another tip: Studying for the sack of passing the real estate exam could be dreadful. Remember a specific question appears in the test because it could actually be applied in your real estate practice. When you study, just imagine it is your client who is asking the questions. 

Here are some Iowa Real Estate Exam Preps that can help You

Doing real estate exam prep

When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. The Colibri is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

PrepAgent – An Interactive Way to Prepare Your Real Estate Exam

PrepAgent is another excellent choice in helping you to pass the real estate exam. Rather than sitting in front of your desk for hours and studying from boring textbooks, Prep Agent is a much more interactive and effective way.

I like their premium package as it consists of audio lessons, online interactive flashcards, live online webinars, exam prep ebook, and many more. This package allows you to access the materials for the entire year.

Here’s a link to the PrepAgent website (**)

Where can I take my real estate exam in Iowa?

Writing real estate exam

There are 3 testing centers where you can take the Iowa real estate exam. They are:

  • Council Bluffs, 1705 McPherson, Suite 300, Council Bluffs, IA 51503
  • West Des Moines, 1001 Office Park Road, Suite 315, West Des Moines, IA 50265
  • Cedar Rapids/Iowa City Area, Erbs Business Center, 4935 Bowling Street SW, Suite C, Cedar Rapids, IA 52404

It’s better to do a search in Google Map beforehand. I usually would do a street view tour to have a better idea of the testing location. And also find out where you can park your car.

On the testing day, you should account for the time to sign in and go through the identification process. It’s better to arrive at the testing center at least 30 minutes before your exam.

What should I bring to the exam center?

You are required to bring one piece of valid ID, and this can be:

  • State issued driver’s license 
  • State issued identification card 
  • US Government Issued Passport 
  • US Government Issued Military Identification Card 
  • US Government Issued Alien Registration Card 
  • Canadian Government Issued ID 

Keep in mind that the ID must contain your signature, photo, and unexpired.

In addition, you need to bring the one of the following:

  • Proof of pre-licensing courses completion Certificate(s) or;
  • Waiver of pre-licensing education and a letter of authorization from the Commission;  

When will I know the result?

Once you finish writing the real estate exam, the score will be shown on screen. A score report will also be emailed to you. and you can view the result from your online account.

How can I retake the Iowa real estate exam?

If you fail, you will receive a diagnostic report indicating your strengths and weakness. You may submit a new registration form and fee to schedule in retaking the exam.

Here are more helpful resources about the Iowa real estate career

This article is part of the “Iowa Real Estate Career Series.” If you want to know more about being a real estate agent in Iowa, I invite you to check out the following articles: 

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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 this site may contain views and opinions from individual not related to JCHQ Publishing. They do not necessarily reflect our view or position.


  • Iowa Real Estate Commission Licensing Information Bulletin (source)


  • Jacob Coleman

    Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

Jacob Coleman

Jacob is a content writer and a real estate investor. He has experience working with different real estate professionals throughout the years. (i.e., appraisers, real estate agents, property managers, home inspectors.) In order to build a career you love, Jacob believes not only you need a thorough understanding about the profession, but you also have to find out what type of jobs could match your personality, lifestyle and expectation.

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