How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama? [Full Career Guide]


Real Estate License Alabama

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

To become a real estate agent in Alabama, you must be at least 19 years old. You need to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses from an approved education provider and pass the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam with a minimum score of 70. You are also required to submit an application and a fee of $210 to the Alabama Real Estate Commission. 

The Alabama Real Estate Commission is responsible for issuing licenses to real estate salesperson and brokers. 

As a real estate agent, your role is to work with clients to buy or sell the right property according to their needs. You would be responsible for showing the property, bringing potential buyers to house tours, and handling the purchase and sale agreement.

Some agents may also help clients in searching for a rental property or lease out their units.

If you are interested in knowing about the real estate sales career in Alabama, this is the guide for you. You’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate agent in Alabama, income updates, career outlook and FAQ about this profession.

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.

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. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

6 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Alabama

Inforgraphic- How to become a real estate agent in Alabama?

Step 1: Meet the Eligibility Requirement

  • Citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien
  • At least 19 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security Number
  • Hold a high school diploma or higher

Step 2: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

You are required to take 60 hours of course which covers different real estate concept. It has to be completed with an approved education provider.

The Alabama Real Estate Commission has a page with all the approved course providers. It contains helpful details, such as the passing rate of each school and the number of students who took the exam.

But don’t just look at schools with a high passing rate. You also need to make sure that there had been a reasonable number of students. After all, a 100% passing rate with only one student does not tell you much about the course provider.

Alabama real estate commission school passing rate
This is a screenshot from the Alabama Real Estate Commission website.

Step 3: Pass the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam

The exam is to test your knowledge on the real estate topics that are covered in the pre-licensing education. Keep in mind that you’ll need to pass the state exam within 6 months after completing the course.

The test is administered by the PSI. To register, you need to complete their online exam registration and provide them with the required documents.

I’ll include more details about the exam in this post.

Step 4: Find a Sponsoring Real Estate Broker

Work for a real estate broker in Alabama

You are one step closer in getting the real estate license. After you pass the exam, you must work with a real estate broker who would sponsor your license.

Finding a good mentor is crucial at the initial stage of your real estate career. A thoughtful and experienced trainer could teach you a repeatable and systematic process in running your business profitably.

When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only focus on the commission split, but there are many other factors you also need to consider.

For example, what type of training will they provide? Will they equip you with the skills in finding qualify prospects and closing a sale? Is there a shared office space you could use? Will they provide you with leads to work on? Do they utilize up-to-date technology (i.e.: CRM, software subscription) to streamline the daily workflow.

Here are the top real estate brokerages in Alabama based on their sales volume

Top Real Estate BrokeragesCities2018 Sales Volume
Keller Williams Realty HooverBirmingham$1,088,515,351
RE/MAX Southern HomesBirmingham$661,060,405
ARC RealtyBirmingham$619,269,231

Source: RealTrends.com (2018)

Step 5: Register with the Alabama Real Estate Commission

Alabama real estate salesperson application

Once you pass the real estate exam, the test center will provide you with an application. The Commission must receive the application, a $210 fee, and all required documents within 90 days of the examination date. 

You’ll also need to submit a fingerprint for a background check. It is done through the approved vendor, Gemalto. The criminal record information will be sent to the Commission directly from Gemalto, but it will only be available for 30 days. Therefore, you should submit the application and go through the fingerprinting process on the same day. 

Furthermore, once the license is issued, you’ll need to complete 30 hours of post-licensing courses within the first 12 months.

Step 6 : Maintain the Real Estate Salesperson License

You need to renew your license annually. You may do so through the online portal. The renewal fee can be paid with eCheck or credit card.

During each license period, you need to obtain 15 hours of CE credits. The curriculum needs to include 

  • 6 hours of Risk Management 
  • 9 hours of approved courses

A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Alabama

EligibilityEducationExamFees
Citizen of the United States or permanent resident alien

At least 19 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number

Hold a high school diploma or higher
60 hours of pre-licensing course



15 credit hours of continuing education every year
3.5 hours

140 multiple-choice questions

Required passing score is 70
Pre-licensing courses around $200 to $370

Exam fee $73

Application fee $210

Here’s a Snippet of what Amie Lenhart thinks about being a Commercial Real Estate Agent!

Amie Lenhart, Commercial Real Estate Agent

“… I work as my clients biggest advocate and work on behalf of their best interest. My job is an agent is to research, match needs, know the market, tour, draft LOI’s and Lease Proposals and successfully negotiate for my client meeting their goals and objectives...

… I think being a real estate agent is a great career. I love the hustle and relationship building aspect of this job and working for myself...”

– Amie Lenhart ,Commercial Real Estate Agent with Donald R. Kenney and Company Realty (DRK)

Want to know whether being a real estate agent is a good career path? I connected with several real estate professionals, and they shared their thought and experience of this industry with me. You may read their valuable insight here.

Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam

Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam

How much does the Alabama real estate exam cost?

There is a $73 fee that you could pay by credit card, cheque, or money order. Keep in mind that the payment must be made at the time of the registration. The test center will not accept payment on the date of the exam.

How hard is the Alabama real estate exam?

I just did some calculations based on the figures on the Alabama Real Estate Commission website. In the past 12 months, 2953 students took the real estate exam, of which, 1862 passed it. So the passing rate is roughly 63%.

Doing multiple sets of practice questions is an excellent way to prepare for the exam and also boost your confidence.

PrepAgent is an exam prep that I highly recommend. Many students were able to pass the real estate exam after doing their practice questions. Over 97% of users provided a 5 out of 5 stars rating to them on Facebook. Click here to check out their package options. (**)

How many questions are on the Alabama real estate exam?

The Alabama real estate salesperson exam has 140 multiple-choice questions. It is divided into two parts, the National Portion (100 questions), and the State Portion (40 questions). However, the questions will be intermixed so they won’t appear as separate sections. You’ll have 3.5 hours to write it.

The required passing score is 70, and you’ll get the result from the testing supervisor immediately after writing it.

Here’s the content of the State Portion

Exam Content# of Questions
Purpose of License Law/Rules and
Regulations and Role of Commission
1
Licensing Requirements7
License Status 2
Broker Licenses, Company Licenses and
Place of Business
5
Recovery Fund 2
Disciplinary Actions and Process2
Estimated Closing Statement 1
Trust Funds 2
RECAD3
Violations which may result in disciplinary
actions
15

Here’s the content of the National Portion

Exam Topic# of Questions
Property Ownership 8
Land Use Controls and Regulations 5
Valuation and Market Analysis 7
Financing 10
General Principles of Agency13
Property Disclosures 6
Contracts 17
Leasing and Property Management3
Transfer of Title8
Practice of Real Estate13
Real Estate Calculations 10

Here are some sample questions for your reference:

SALESPERSON SAMPLE QUESTIONS

1. Baird bought two rectangular lots, each of which measures 244′ x 250′. Approximately how many total acres will be in the two lots combined?

A. 2.8

B. 3.2

C. 5.6

D. 7.0

2. A person has been using a property for a long time. That person’s rights have been determined to supersede those of the fee simple owner. This is called which of the following?

A. escheat

B. homestead

C. eminent domain

D. adverse possession

Quote from Alabama Real Estate Examination Program Candidate Handbook

How much does it cost to become a real estate agent in Alabama?

How much does it cost to become a real estate agent in Alabama?

It costs approximately $480 to $650 to get the real estate license in Alabama. Here is the breakdown:

  • 60 hours of pre-licensing courses typically range from $200 to $370
  • Exam fee $73
  • Application fee $210

Also, you may want to invest into exam prep. It can increase your chance of passing the exam on the first try so that you don’t need to waste time and money in retaking it. 

You may find the online school and the exam prep I like on our education resource page.

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Alabama?

How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Alabama?

It takes approximately two to four months to get a real estate license in Alabama. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the 60 hours pre-licensing course, exam, background check, application, and get sponsorship by an actively licensed Alabama real estate broker.

What states have real estate license reciprocity with Alabama?

I looked through the AREC website. There isn’t a specific list of states because Alabama reciprocates with virtually all states. However, you’ll need to fulfill the following three conditions:

  1. Complete six hours of coursework in Alabama real estate, which is approved by the Commission.
  2. Within six months of course completion, you must pass the state portion of the salesperson or broker examination 
  3. Hold a current license in another state. 

Are attorneys or CPAs exempt from taking the salesperson education requirement?

No, attorneys and CPAs are NOT exempt from the pre-license courses and exam.

Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Alabama?

Can you get a real estate license with a felony in Alabama?

The Alabama Real Estate Commission will put into consideration the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity. Whether a felon can get a real estate license is subjected to how the Real Estate Commission evaluates the case. 

However, Alabama has one of the most stringent rules when it comes to issuing real estate licenses to applicants with a felony record. According to the info stated on their website, they require an applicant to:

  • Not have been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude;
  • Not have had a real estate application or license rejected or revoked in any state within the past two years.

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 tips which could help your application.

How much do real estate agent make in Alabama?

How much do real estate agent make in Alabama?

Real estate agents in Alabama earn an average annual income of $53,300 typically range between $35,700 and $62,780. Top earning sales agent make $85,280 per year. (*)

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because you have not built up the client base and established trust with the prospects.

But as you continue to gain experience and sharpen your business skills, you should be able to notice a significant improvement to your earning.

Your earning potential as a real estate agent would depend on the price range of the properties that you work with, the number of transactions you could complete, the commission splitting schedule with the real estate brokerage and other factors.

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2019

Want to know how to become a six-figures income earner? Check out my “Real Estate Agent Salary Guide“. In there, you’ll find what are the important factors which could significantly influence your income.

Is there a demand for real estate agents in Alabama?

Is there a demand for real estate agents in Alabama?

Alabama has a population nearly 4.9 million with Birmingham as its largest city having over 200,000 people residing in it. Whenever there are transactions in buying, selling or renting property, there is always a demand for real estate agents in Alabama.

Currently, there are 1810 real estate agents in Alabama, which works out to be 0.916 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2019

When you are deciding the regions to conduct your real estate business, you should target areas that have a high population. After all, transactions can only occur when there are people.

Also, consider working on properties that have decent value, as this is one of the major factors when calculating your commission. According to Zillow Home Value Index, the median home value in Alabama is $134,300 with median rent of $1,025.

Here are the home values and rent info in the top populated cities

Cities2019 Population Zillow Home Value IndexMedian Rent
Birmingham210,999N/AN/A
Huntsville199,487$152,200$1,095
Montgomery197,337$85,300$895
Mobile191,437$121,100$900
Tuscaloosa103,068$153,400$1,200
Hoover85,767$290,700$1,599
Dothan68,396$135,300N/A
Auburn66,535$259,300N/A
Decatur54,226N/AN/A
Madison50,926$220,900$1,400

Source: Zillow.com and WorldPopulationReview.com

How to become a commercial real estate agent in Alabama?

How to become a commercial real estate agent in Alabama?

To become a commercial real estate agent in Alabama, you need to complete the 60 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses and pass the real estate salesperson exam.

I contacted the Alabama Real Estate Commission. They confirmed they do not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. So, the requirement is basically the same one we just went through.

Furthermore, if you are going to pursue a career as a CRE agent, you should look for a brokerage that could give you the right support and resources.

Here’s the “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career“, where I cover the career outlook, earning potential, and valuable feedback from CRE agents. Be sure to check it out.

I have more questions about the AL real estate license, whom should I contact?

You could contact the Alabama Real Estate Commission. Below is their contact info:

  • Address: 1201 Carmichael Way Montgomery, AL 36106
  • Phone: (334) 242-5544
  • Fax (334) 270-9118
  • [email protected]

To prepare for this guide, I also called them to verify some details. Their phone line is very quick. It took less than three minutes to transfer to the right department. The answers I got from them are very constructive too.

Practical ideas to build a real estate career in Alabama

Tip#1: Network with other real estate professionals

Join the Alabama Association of REALTORS

You may consider joining the Alabama Association of REALTORS. This allows you to connect with other real estate salespeople and brokers, thus learn from their valuable experience and share ideas with one another. 

In addition, you should build a referral network with other real estate professionals. such as mortgage agents, lenders, notary loan signing agents, and appraisers.

Here’s a list real estate professional groups on our resource page. Hope this will be useful to you.

Tip#2: Become a licensed real estate broker

Become a real estate broker in Alabama

Once you have established a solid client base and develop the necessary skills, then you could consider expanding your business to become a real estate broker.

This allows you to build a team of real estate agents, where your brokerage could be providing training, marketing, administrative support, office space, and a subscription to industry software.

In return, you would get a share of the commission from the transactions that your real estate sales associates handle. Thus, lead to a scalable business model. 

Here’s a post on how to become a real estate broker in Alabama.

Tip#3: Just enjoy it!

Becoming a real estate agent could be a rewarding career. Not only in terms of financial sense, but you also get the chance of meeting many people and working on different properties every day.

It is very fulfilling when you can help out your clients in finding their dream home or locate the right buyers for their property.

Honesty, hard work, and always putting your client’s interest first are the key components to your long-term success.

So that’s all I have to share for now. Do you like this guide? If so, please share it.

A Video Summary on How to Obtain a Real Estate License in Alabama

If you are reading up to this point, I bet you must be interested in getting a real estate license. Your first step is to complete the pre-licensing courses. You should select one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. RealEstateExpress is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

(**) 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.

Reference:

  • State of Alabama Real Estate Commission (Source)
  • Alabama Real Estate Examination Program Candidate Handbook (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (Source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (Source)
  • Zillow.com – Alabama Home Prices & Values (Source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in Alabama (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.

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