How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts? – Comprehensive Career Guide!


real estate agent client meeting

(**) 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.

To become a real estate agent in Massachusetts, an applicant need to complete the 40 hours of pre-license courses and pass the real estate salesperson exam, submit an application and license fee to the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesperson. The licensee also needs to join a real estate broker in Massachusetts who will sponsor the license.

If you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent in Massachusetts, 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. They help clients find homes that meet their needs and negotiate contracts with sellers for those homes.

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

If you are interested in knowing about a real estate career in Massachusetts, then this is the guide for you. Not only you’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate salesperson, but you will also find helpful information such as the salary, career outlook 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.

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

EligibilityEducationExamFees
At least 18 years of age

Have a valid Social Security Number

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


12 hours of continuing education every 2 year
240 minutes

120 questions

Required passing score is 70%
Pre-license courses – $280 to $430 (approximately)

Exam fee – $85

License fee – $103 to $150

PSI licensing fee – $12

6 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts

Massachusetts real estate agents showing properties to 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 40 hours of course which covers different real estate concept. It can be taken in a classroom setting or online, but it must from an approved education provider.

Once you complete the courses, the school will provide you with a “Candidate Handbook.” It contains proof that you have already completed the courses and the details to schedule for writing the salesperson examination. 

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. (**)

Step 3: Pass the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Examination

Real estate career studying

The exam is to test your knowledge on the real estate topics that are covered in the pre-license education. You must successfully pass it within two years of completing the courses.

The Massachusetts real estate salesperson exam consists of two portions, the General portion and State portion. There are 120 questions and you’ll be given 240 minutes to write it. The required passing score is 70%.

The test is administered by the PSI. To register, you need to complete their online exam registration and provide them with the required documents. As part of the registration requirement, you need to obtain three candidate endorsements from individuals that are not related to you. There is a $85 examination fee which can be paid by credit card.

However, don’t assume taking the class alone will guarantee passing the real estate exam! You still need to spend some time to really know the course materials. In particular, reviewing the topics that weighted the most in the exam. (I’ll also include more details on the exam content later in this guide.)

(Here’s a Real Estate Study Hacks in helping you to pass the exam on the first try.)

Step 4: Register with the MA Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesperson

Once you pass the exam, you can register for the real estate agent license by paying the fees right at the test center. The MA Board of Registration is the part of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which responsible for issuing licenses to real estate salesperson and brokers.

Since the license fees are prorated, it will be in the range of $103 to $150. Also, there is a $12 PSI licensing fee.

However, if you do not register the license right on the spot, you could do so by filling out the License Application within 30 days of passing the exam.

Step 5: Join a real estate brokerage firm

real estate agent meeting broker in Massachusetts

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

But don’t rush into working for just any firm. Finding a good mentor is critical at the initial stage of your real estate career. 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.

Here’s another post which covers why do agents leave their brokerage firm. Perhaps, this could give you a clear idea on what to look for when searching for a brokerage company.

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

Real Estate BrokeragesCities2018 Sales Volume

Gibson Sotheby's International Realty
Boston$1,722,678,392
CENTURY 21 CommonwealthNatick$1,536,113,134
RE/MAX Leading EdgeWinchester$1,501,197,461
Keller Williams Realty, Boston-MetroBoston$1,246,016,936
Jack Conway & Company, Inc.Norwell$1,031,805,335
Keller Williams RealtyBeverly$1,028,977,343
LAER Realty PartnersChelmsford$823,647,796
Keller Williams Realty - Easton Market CenterSouth Easton$802,186,582
ERA Key Realty ServicesWhitinsville$769,945,093
Coco, Early & Associates Inc.Methuen$656,751,944
Robert Paul PropertiesOsterville$605,600,189
Keller Williams Realty Showcase PropertiesBraintree$599,140,376
RE/MAX Executive RealtyFranklin$587,000,325

Step 6: Maintain the real estate license

Massachusetts real estate agent renewing license

You need to renew the real estate license every two years. You may do so through the ePlace portal.

You must also complete 12 continuing education hours for each renewal term. I just checked on the Mass.gov, the CE courses may include:

  • Fair Housing
  • Access for Disabled
  • Agency Law
  • Environmental Issues in Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal and Finance
  • Zoning and Building Codes
  • Property Tax Assessments and Valuations
  • Real Estate Board Regulations
  • Additional Course

Let’s Prepare for the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Exam!

Preparing for the Massachusetts real estate exam

How many questions are on the MA real estate exam?

Exam# of QuestionsTime Allowed (in minutes)
Salesperon - General Portion80150
Salesperson - State Portion4090
Broker - General Portion80150
Broker -State Portion4090

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

When you are studying for the exam, it is wise to spend more time on sections that are more heavily weighted. Keep in mind that you’ll need 70% to pass the exam.

Here’s the content of the General Portion:

Exam ContentWeighting (Salesperson) Weighting (Broker)
Property ownership8%10%
Land use controls and regulations5%5%
Valuation and market analysis 7%7%
Financing10%8%
General principles of agency 13%11%
Property disclosures 6%7%
Contracts17%18%
Leasing and Property Management 3%5%
Transfer of Title 8%7%
Practice of real estate 13%14%
Real estate calculations10%8%

Here are the ones in the State Portion:

 WeightSalesperson (# of Items)Broker (# of Items)
Duties and Powers of the Department and the State Board of Real Estate 5%22
Licensing Requirements10%44
Requirements Governing Licenses35%1314
Contracts5%22
Consumer Protection Laws10% to 12%54
Environmental Issues and Hazardous Materials10%44
Massachusetts Fair Housing Law10%44
Landlord Tenant Law10%44
Additional Topics5%22

Tips for passing the exam: Doing practice questions is one of the best ways to prepare for the real estate exam. It helps you to familiarize with the questions and exam format.

RealEstateExpress is an online school that I like. They offer pre-licensing courses and also have excellent exam prep materials. Their programs have a “Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee” in most of the states. That’s how confident they are. You may click here to view their courses. (**)

FAQ about the Massachusetts Real Estate License

real estate agent social media online presence

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

It costs around $752 to get a real estate salesperson license in Massachusetts. Here’s the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses fees – $280 to $430 (approximately)
  • Exam fee – $85
  • License fee – $103 to $150
  • PSI licensing fee – $12

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.

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

It takes approximately four months to become a licensed real estate agent in Massachusetts. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the 40 hours pre-licensing course, exam, application, and get sponsorship by a MA 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.

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

Yes, Massachusetts has reciprocity with many states such as Oklahoma, New York, New Hampshire. You may click here to see if your state is in the list.

Can the MA pre-licensing education requirement be waived?

There are some situations where the pre-licensing education can be waived. If you are a Massachusetts law school student, then you may be only required to write the Salesperson exam without taking the real estate courses.

Also, if you are a Massachusetts attorney, then you may skip both the courses and exam. However, the decision is still based on the discretion of the MA Board of Registration.

Can a felon be a real estate agent in Massachusetts?

The MA Board of Registration would put into consideration of the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character and integrity.

Whether a felon can be a real estate agent is subjected to how the licensing board evaluates the case. 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 Massachusetts?

real estate professional standing in front of commercial building

As most licensed salespeople focus on the residential market, the commercial niche (i.e. Office, retail, industrial) could be a blue ocean for your real estate business.

To become a commercial real estate agent in Massachusetts, you need to complete the 40 hours of pre-license real estate courses, pass the real estate salesperson exam, submit application and license fee to the Massachusetts Board of Registration.

Basically, it is the same requirement as we just went through because MA does not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. However, 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.

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

You could contact the MA Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons at:

  • Phone: (617) 727-2373
  • Email: realestateboard@mass.gov
  • Address: 1000 Washington Street, Suite 710, Boston , MA 02118

Is Commercial Real Estate Agent a Good Career? – Here’s a Snippet of a CRE Agent’s Response

Gueorgui Chikov, Commercial Real Estate Agent

“As a CRE agent I work with all clients on the landlord, tenant, seller and buyer sides. I help these clients find space or lease/sell space/buildings. I try to focus mostly on office properties with an emphasis on sales rather than leasing. It has been about 2.5 years since I stared at NAI Bergman...

…. It is a great career for me because I am passionate about real estate. It is rewarding helping people and companies with their needs. That being said it is a very hard field to get into and stay in. If you’re not passionate, committed and patient, you will not stay long.

I think the biggest one – Network! If you do not know anyone, you will not do any deals. This is a relationship business, and with that comes being patience, being committed and consistent. You need to be able to do all of these…”

Gueorgui Chikov. Commercial Real Estate Agent at NAI Bergman

Here’s a “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career.” In there, you’ll find the career updates, earning potential, and response from actual CRE agents. Be sure to check it out.

Real Estate Career Updates in Massachusetts

real estate career outlook

How much do real estate agent make in Massachusetts?

Real estate agents in Massachusetts earn an average yearly income of $94,170, typically range between $51,780 and $100,100. High-earning real estate sales agents are making over $185,330 per year(*)

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because you 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.

According to ZipRecruiter (June 6, 2021), the average annual income for part time realtor in Massachusetts is $53,511. This is a very attractive figures even for part timers.

Here’s an article that goes through important variables that could significantly affect your annual salary.

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics (May 2020)

Is real estate a good career in Massachusetts?

Real estate can be a good career in Massachusetts 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 7,244 homes sold, and the median sales prices was $535,000. 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, 68.1% 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 1,510 real estate sales agents in Massachusetts. 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. I will go over some career tips later in the next section.

Proven Strategies to Be a Successful Real Estate Agent in Massachusetts

AZ real estate agents

Define your business niche

At the beginning phase of the business, it’s likely that you don’t have many clients, so you would have the urge to take up whoever comes along. However, this might not be a good strategy to grow your real estate business in the long run. After all, you cannot be everything to everyone.

It’s better to clearly define your ideal client segment so you can focus your marketing budget, time, and resources on them. You may define your niche based on the property’s locations, type of real estate, the client’s family condition, occupation, or income range.

This helps you to stand out from the crowd in such a competitive space.

Effective ways to generate leads

The importance of generating online leads can’t be overstated for real estate agents. With the rise in popularity and accessibility of homebuyers through the internet, it is imperative that you are promoting your listing to potential buyers on sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and more.

According to the 2020 NAR Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends Report, 93% of all buyers used online websites as information sources in their home search.

Here’s a guide that explains how having a professional website can benefit your real estate business, the features you should include, and affordable ways to build it.

Differentiate your practice with expert knowledge

real estate agent getting NAR designation

Real estate agents are constantly tasked with new responsibilities and challenges. With the rise of technology, real estate laws and compliance requirements, it’s important for sales agents to be up-to-date on the best practices.

Rather than being just another sales agent, you may consider getting a Professional Designation or Certification. National Association of REALTORS® is one of the largest trade associations in the real estate industry. They offers designations such as Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR), Certified Real Estate Brokerage Manager (CRB), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and many more.

I personally like the Green Designation. It can equip you with the knowledge to help clients make informed choices about the resource efficiency and performance of the homes.

Even though the Designation Courses are not part of the pre-license education requirement, your enhanced knowledge will help set you apart from others in such a competitive market.

You may click here to check out the NAR Designation and Certification courses. (**)

Select areas with strong housing demand

Massachusetts housing demand

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

Here are the top ten competitive cities in Massachusetts ranked by RedFin. These are the homes that receive multiple offers, and sometimes with even waived contingencies!

  1. Arlington
  2. Hudson
  3. Arlington
  4. Ashland
  5. North Reading
  6. Peabody
  7. Westford
  8. Beverly
  9. Haverhill
  10. Melrose

Network with other real estate professionals

You may consider joining the Massachusetts 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. They also have great resources such as the classes, events, housing reports and industry updates.

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

The Bottom Line

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.

[Read: 30 Mind-Blowing Tips to Become a Successful Real Estate Agent]

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

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 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 Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesperson.

Reference:

  • Massachusetts Board of Registration of Real Estate Brokers and Salesperson
    • Apply for a real estate license (source)
    • Continuing education course listings (source)
    • FAQ (source)
    • Real Estate Board Policies and Guidelines (source)
  • Massachusetts Examination Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Real Estate Agents (May 2020) (Source)
    • Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Massachusetts (source)
  • ZipRecruiter – Part Time Realtor Salary in Massachusetts (source)
  • RedFin – Massachusetts Housing Market (source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • Massachusetts Association of REALTORS (source)
  • Zillow.com – Massachusetts Home Prices & Values (Source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in Massachusetts (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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