How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Maryland?

(**) 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.

Are you thinking to start your own business as a real estate agent in Maryland? If so, that’s great! This is a complete career guide for you.

To become a real estate agent in Maryland, an applicant must complete 60 hours of pre-license courses, pass the salesperson exam, submit an application and fee to the Maryland Real Estate Commission. The real estate licensee also needs to affiliate with a licensed broker.

Before you decide to pursue further in this profession, it’s important to know what the role of a salesperson is. To put it simply, an agent acts as an intermediary between buyer and seller in order to facilitate the sale or purchase of property.

A real estate agent is a professional who helps clients find, buy and sell properties. Their responsibilities including but not limited to: evaluating the property for its condition and desirability, advertising listings online or in print media, negotiating on behalf of clients during negotiations with sellers, providing information about neighborhoods and schools to buyers, helping prepare paperwork such as purchase agreements.

In this guide, you’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate salesperson in Maryland, income figures, career updates and FAQ on 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. The CE Shop is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)

A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Salesperson in Maryland

At least 18 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number

Hold a high school diploma or equivalent
60 hours of pre-license courses

15 hours of continuing education every 3 year
2 hours

110 questions

Required passing score: 56/80 for the National Portion and 21/30 for the State Portion
Pre-licensing courses fees – $120 to $255 (approximately)

Exam fee – $44

Application fee- $90

Background check fee – $31.25

7 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Maryland

Real estate agent meeting couple clients

Step 1: Meet the eligibility requirement

  • Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
  • At least 18 years of age
  • Have a valid Social Security Number

Step 2: Complete the pre-license education

You are required to take 60 hours of course which covers different real estate concept. Of which includes at least a 3-hours course in real estate ethics. 

It can be taken in a classroom setting or online, but it must from an approved education provider. Then you need to pass both portions of the salesperson exam within 1 year of course completion.

Step 3: Pass the Maryland Real Estate Salesperson Examination

Writing a real estate exam

The Maryland Real Estate Salesperson Exam consists of two portions, the National portion and State portion. There are 110 questions and you’ll be given 120 minutes in writing it. The required passing rate is 77/ 110.

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

There is a $44 examination fee which could be paid by credit card. Also, since the exam is a computerized test, your result will appear immediately on the screen.

On the day of the exam, you must bring two pieces of valid ID to the test center. The primary one must be a government issued ID with your name, signature and photo on it. (i.e., driver’s license, state ID card, passport.). The second piece must have your signature and preprinted legal name.

You can also bring an non-programmable calculator. 

Step 4: Register with the Maryland Real Estate Commission

After you pass the exam, you’ll have one year to apply for a real estate license. You may apply through the Maryland Department of Labor Licensing website.

Just create an account for online access first. In there, it may ask you to provide personal details, the completion info of pre-licensing education, exam, and other necessary documents.

There is also a $90 fee payable, which includes $20 Guaranty Fund payment.

Maryland Real Estate Commission Licensing Website
This is a screenshot of the Maryland Real Estate Commission website

Step 5: Go through a background check

The Maryland Real Estate Commission is responsible for issuing licenses to real estate salesperson and brokers. To protect the public interest, they will conduct a criminal background check on you.

You’ll need to submit the fingerprint for a criminal history background check. It must be done with an approved vendor. There is a fee of $31.25.

Step 6: Join a real estate brokerage firm

real estate client meeting

After your application is approved, your license will remain inactive until a real estate broker would sponsor your license. It can remain inactive for 3 years. (But of course, I’m not suggesting you to procrastinate.)

Finding a good trainer is crucial at the initial stage of your real estate career. It’s important to learn 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? Can the brokerage provide you with adequate administrative and marketing support? 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.

Below are the top real estate brokerage in Maryland based on their sales volume in 2018. The figures are obtained from

Real Estate BrokeragesCities2018 Sales Volume

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty
Severna Park$4,329,079,128
RE/MAX Realty GroupGaithersburg$1,769,577,103
Keller Williams IntegrityEllicott City$1,048,634,465

Cummings & Co. Realtors
Keller Williams Realty CentreColumbia$971,037,128
RE/MAX Advantage RealtyEllicott City$827,076,408
Keller Williams LegacyPikesville$653,728,262
Real Living At HomeChevy Chase$647,746,300
Keller Williams Crofton/Ft. MeadeMillersville$603,445,520
Keller Williams American Premier RealtyBel Air$584,858,140

Step 7: Maintain a real estate license

All Maryland real estate licensee is required to renew the license every three years and you may do so through the Real Estate Commission website The renewal fee is $70 for salesperson.

You also need to complete 15 hours of CE courses in each renewal period. The curriculum must include:

  • 3.0 legislative
  • 3.0 MREC Agency-residential
  • 3.0 ethics
  • 1.5 fair housing (required classes)
  • 4.5 hours are electives

However, if you only deal with commercial properties, then 15-hours of CE credits must include:

  • 3.0 legislative
  • 3.0 MREC Agency-commercial
  • 3.0 ethics (required classes)
  • 6.0 hours are electives

Looking to succeed in the real estate industry? Subscribe to our exclusive email list today and gain access to expertly curated real estate guides from industry leaders, as well as discounted CE courses and the latest industry updates. From marketing strategies to virtual staging techniques, our handpicked resources cover everything you need to know to stay ahead of the game. Click here for more details!

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.

Here is more info about the Maryland Real Estate Exam!

Real estate career studying

How many questions are on the Maryland real estate exam? and what is the required passing score?

Maryland Real Estate ExamNumber of QuestionsTime AllowedRequired Passing Score
Salesperson (National Portion)80 (80 points)90 min56
Salesperson (State Portion)30 (30 points)30 min21

What topics will be tested in the Maryland real estate exam?

When you are studying for the exam, it is wise to spend more time on sections that are more heavily weighted.

Here’s the content of the National Portion:

Exam ContentWeighting (Salesperson) Weighting (Broker)
Property ownership8%10%
Land use controls and regulations5%5%
Valuation and market analysis 7%7%
General principles of agency 13%11%
Property disclosures 6%7%
Leasing and Property Management 3%5%
Transfer of Title 8%7%
Practice of real estate 13%14%
Real estate calculations10%8%

Here is the State Portion Content Outline

MD State Portion ContentSalesperson (# of Items)Broker (# of Items)
Duties and Powers of the Real Estate Commission45
Licensing Requirements48
Business Conduct69

Looking for more ideas in passing the Maryland real estate exam? Here you go!

Maryland real estate exam candidate information bulletin

Check out these practice questions

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.

Quote from Maryland Real Estate Exam Candidate Information Bulletin

The Colibri is the online school that I like. Their Exam Prep have helped thousands of students pass their exam on the first try. They even have a “Pass or Don’t Pay” Guarantee. That’s why confident they are with their program. You may click here to view their exam prep. (**)

FAQ about the Maryland Real Estate license

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

It takes approximately three months to become a licensed real estate agent in Maryland. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the pre-license course, exam, application, and get sponsorship by a licensed real estate brokerage.

You may speed up in getting the real estate license by taking online courses. This way, you’ll have the flexibility to finish the pre-license education at a quicker pace. Online application submission will also eliminate the mailing time.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in Maryland?

It costs approximately $420 to get a real estate salesperson license in Maryland. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses fees – $120 to $255 (approximately)
  • Exam fee – $44
  • Application fee- $90
  • Background check fee – $31.25

The above are just the costs of getting the license. But to start a real estate business, there will be other expenses involved such as MLS subscription, E&O premium, phone, internet, and office supplies.

I have a real estate license in another state. Can I become licensed in Maryland by applying through reciprocity?

The Maryland Real Estate Commission has a reciprocal agreement with Pennsylvania and Oklahoma. If you are actively licensed in one of these states, you may be eligible to waive the education requirement and go straight to writing the real estate exam.

Can the pre-license education requirement be waived?

In addition to being a license holder in OK or PA, if you are practicing law in the State, then the Maryland Real Estate Commission may waive your education and experience requirements.

Once they approve your request, they will provide you with the information to register for the exam.

Can a felon be a real estate agent in Maryland?

Although the Maryland Real Estate Commission would put into consideration of the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character and integrity, the application will not be automatically be declined due to a felony or misdemeanor conviction.

The Commission evaluates it a case-by-case. In fact, on their website, they do encourage everyone to apply for it.

When applying, you need to submit True Test copies of the proceedings surrounding the conviction with your application.

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 another post 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 to become a commercial real estate agent in Maryland?

To become a commercial real estate agent in Maryland, an applicant must complete the 60 hours of pre-license real estate courses, pass a salesperson exam, submit an application and fee, and affiliate with a real estate broker.

Basically, it is the same requirement as we just went through. Although you could obtain a standalone COMMERCIAL license, you will be restricted in perform commercial transactions only. Whereas having a RESIDENTIAL would give you more flexibility in dealing with both commercial and residential transactions.

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 a “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career“, which covers the career outlook, earning potential, and insights from actual CRE agents. Be sure to check it out!

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

You could contact the Maryland Real Estate Commission at:

  • 500 North Calvert Street, 3rd Floor, Baltimore, MD 21202-3651
  • Phone: 410-230-6230
  • Fax: 410-333-0023
  • e-mail:

Real Estate Career Updates in Maryland

Real Estate Agent Using Mobile Phone In New Property

How much do real estate agent make in Maryland?

Real estate agents in Maryland earn an average yearly income of $54,250, typically range between $33,670 and $63,510. Top 10% of high-earning real estate sales agents are making over $94,960 per year(*)

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because it takes time to build up the client base and established trust with the prospects.

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

Furthermore, 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 2020)

[Read: Real Estate Agent Salary Guide – What Makes a 6 Figures Earner?]

Is being real estate agent a good career in Maryland?

Real estate can be a good career in Maryland if you enjoy running a self-employed business, interacting with different people and have flexible work hours.

According to the RedFin, as of May 2021, there were 9,517 homes sold, and the median sales prices was $365,000. All these figures went up when comparing to the year-over-year period. As I’m reviewing the data now, it seems that the demand far exceeded the housing supply. In fact, 49.2% of homes were sold above the list price.

These transaction volume shows a significant demand for real estate agents. According to Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020), there were 2,,970 real estate sales agents in Maryland, which worked out to be 1.177 sales agent per 1,000 jobs.

However, there are always people succeeding and failing in each industry. The utmost importance is how you can remain competitive in the real estate market.

Check out this article: 30 Practical Tips to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent!

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. The Colibri is exactly that! You may click here to check it out yourself. (**)

So do you find this guide helpful? If so, please share it!

(**) Affiliate Disclosure: Please note that some of the links above are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you. Our company, JCHQ Publishing 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. For full and exact details, please contact the Maryland Real Estate Commission.


  • Maryland Real Estate Commission (source)
  • Maryland Department of Public Safety & Correctional Services- Background Checks (source)
  • Maryland Real Estate Exam Candidate Information Bulletin (Source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (May 2020) (Source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (Source)
  • RedFin – Maryland Housing Market (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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