All the Steps You Need to Know for Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Michigan


Real estate career

(**) 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 Michigan, the applicant must complete 40 hours of pre-license real estate courses, pass the real estate salesperson exam, register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA). This is the governing body that issue licenses to salesperson, brokers, and regulate the real estate industry.

If you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent in Michigan, 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 Michigan, 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.

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. (**)

A Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Michigan

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

18 hours of continuing education every 3 year
3 hours writing time

115 questions

Required passing score is 70%
Pre-licensing courses $275 approximately

Application fee $88

Exam fee $79

6 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Michigan

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
  • Hold a high school diploma or equivalent

Step 2: Complete the pre-license education

Completing Michigan real estate salesperson online classes

You are required to take 40 hours of course from an approved education provider. The objective of the courses is to equip with you different real estate concept – for example, real estate law, types of interest and ownership in real estate, home ownership, legal descriptions, titles, liens, taxes, encumbrances, listing advertising, appraisal, finance, closings, and professional code of ethics.

According to the licensing requirement, four hours of the course needs to cover Civil Rights Law and Equal Opportunity in Housing.

Step 3: Register with the MI Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs

You need to submit an online application through the Michigan Professional Licensing User System (MiPLUS). First, you will register an online account with them. The system is very convenient to use. It allows you apply/renew a license, track the status, receive electronic notifications.

The Department recommends using a desktop/laptop and Internet Explorer for the registration.

There is a $88 application fee and you may pay them with a credit/debit card.

If you are a non-resident of Michigan, you also need to submit the Consent to Service of Process form.

Step 4: Pass the Michigan Real Estate Salesperson Examination

It is to test your knowledge on the real estate topics that are covered in the pre-licensing course. The exam is administered by the PSI and you’ll need to register with them before writing the exam. There is a fee of $79.

The Michigan Real Estate Salesperson Exam has 115 questions. It is divided into the National Portion and State Portion. The required passing score is 70% and you’ll be given 3 hours to write it.

I’ll include more details about the exam, and some sample questions later in the post.

Step 5: Join a Michigan real estate broker

After you pass the exam, you must work with a real estate broker who would sponsor your license. After you login in to MiPlus, you should select “Modification” and enter the 10-digit license number of the employer brokers.

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.

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

Real Estate BrokeragesCitiesSales Volume

Real Estate One
Southfield$5,642,076,676
Coldwell Banker Schmidt Family of CompaniesTraverse City$2,746,539,020
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices MI, Northern IN, Tomie RainesRockford$2,435,978,915
Coldwell Banker CBWM Family of CompaniesBingham Farms$1,950,103,556
Five Star Real EstateGrand Rapids$1,084,281,770
Keller Williams Realty Royal OakRoyal Oak$1,035,175,036
Greenridge Realty, Inc.Grand Rapids$950,779,199
RE/MAX ClassicFarmington Hills$863,447,978
Keller Williams Realty of Grand RapidsGrand Rapids$817,044,025
RE/MAX PlatinumBrighton$742,812,752
Keller Williams Realty - KW ProfessionalsPlymouth$643,526,831
Keller Williams NorthvilleNovi$602,113,880
Hardy Real Estate HoldingsBirmingham$578,437,541

Step 6: Maintain the real estate license

You are required to renew the Michigan real estate license every three years. Each year, the license cycle starts on November 1st through Oct 31st. Similar to the initial application process, you will submit the online application through MiPlus and there is a $78 renewal fee.

You also need to take 18 credit hours of continuing education, of which 2 hours of the CE must cover statutes, rules, and court cases in each year of a license cycle.

Here’s a Snippet of What Dina Hurtado Think about Being a Real Estate Agent!

Dina Hurtado, Real Estate Agent

“Being an agent has its pros and cons. It’s a flexible schedule. I love being outdoors enjoying Mother Nature. You get to know a lot of interesting people. It’s very satisfying to see a new home owner or seller happy with the outcome. Cons are you are never off the clock.

One advice I would give to new real estate agents is to have patience. You’ll need lots of patience and be mentally strong, take criticism well. Don’t take a bad day experience home to your family. Be yourself, clients appreciate.”

Dina Hurtado, Real Estate Agent at Compass

Here’s a post where you can read more on Dina’s thoughts about the real estate sales profession. In there, you can also find valuable feedback from multiple professional real estate agents. Be sure to check it out!

Here is more info on the Michigan Real Estate Salesperson Examination

Studying for the Michigan real estate exam

Once again, the Michigan Real Estate Salesperson Exam is test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. It consists of the national and state portions.

Real Estate Exams Summary

Examination Portion# of ItemsTime AllowedRequired Passing Score
Salesperson115 (115 points)180 minutes70%

National Portion Exam Content

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

State Portion Exam Content

 Salesperson (# of Items)
Duties and Powers of the Department and the State Board of Real Estate 3
Licensing Requirements5
Statutory Requirements Governing the Activities of Licenses10
Contractual Relationships5
Additional State Topics12

Sample Salesperson Exam Questions

To give you a better idea about the real estate exam, below are two sample questions for your reference.

Sample Salesperson Question:

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

Sample Questions Quoted from Michigan Real Estate Salesperson and Broker Candidate Information Bulletin 

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. (**)

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

It takes approximately four months to become a licensed real estate agent in Michigan. 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 Michigan 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-licensing education at a quicker pace.

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

It costs approximately $442 to get the real estate license in Michigan. Here is the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses $275 approximately (with exam prep)
  • Application fee $88
  • Exam fee $79

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

Yes, Michigan has recognition agreement with the following states:

  • Alabama
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Connecticut
  • Louisiana
  • Maine
  • Missouri
  • New Hampshire
  • New York
  • Ohio
  • Oregon
  • Rhode Island
  • Washington

When applying, you could fill out the Reciprocal Real Estate Appraiser License Application. There is a $210 fee.

Can a felon be a real estate agent in Michigan?

Whether a felon can be a real estate agent is subjected to how the licensing board evaluates the case. Most applications would ask if there were any criminal proceeding or civil action, or former offenses against you.

If so, you may need to fill out the Request for Conviction History form. 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.

However, you may want to confirm with the Department of Licensing before you jump through all the hoops on studying and exam.

How much do real estate agent make in Michigan?

Real Estate Business Sale And People Concept Male Realtor With Clipboard And Pen Showing Contract Document To Customers At New Office Room Realtor

Real estate agents in Michigan earn an average yearly salary of $62,500, typically ranges between $33,860 and $83,490. High-earning real estate sales agents are making over $104,380 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.

There are 1850 real estate agents in Michigan, which works out to be 0.471 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)

(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2019

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

Which cities has the most real estate business opportunities in Michigan? 

Real estate career opportunity

Michigan is the 10th most populous state in the United States. It has a population of over 9.9 million.

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.com, the median home sales price in Michigan is $148,900 with median rent of $1,200.

Median Home Prices & Rent of the Top 10 Highest Population Cities in Michigan

CitiesPopulationMedian Home PricesMedian Market Rent
Detroit662,172$64,700$850
Grand Rapids200,498$194,000$1,450
Warren134,561$138,750$975
Sterling Heights133,702$206,000$1,600
Ann Arbor126,833$383,250$2,100
Lansing119,353$107,100$900
Flint95,124$67,000$690
Dearborn92,596$155,000$1,300
Livonia92,583$210,000$1,500
Troy84,970$311,000$2,000

Source: trulia.com (Aug 2019)

Ideas to build your real estate career in Michigan

group of real estate professionals

1) Network with other real estate professionals

You may consider joining the Michigan 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.

2) Become a licensed real estate broker

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 guide on becoming a real estate broker in Michigan.

3) Consider the commercial real estate niche

To become a commercial real estate agent in Michigan, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, complete 40 hours of pre-license real estate courses, pass the real estate salesperson exam, register with the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA).

The Department does 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. After all, not every brokerage specializes in commercial properties.

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.

Video on how to get a Michigan real estate license

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

You could contact the Department of Licensing at:

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. For full and exact details, please contact the Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA), The Bureau of Professional Licensing (BPL)

Reference:

  • Michigan Department of Licensing and Regulatory Affairs (LARA) (source)
    • Michigan Real Estate Salesperson Licensing Guide (source)
    • New Administrative Rules for Real Estate Brokers and Salespersons (source)
  • Michigan Real Estate Licensing Salesperson and Broker Examinations Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • Zillow.com – Michigan Home Prices & Values (source)
  • trulia.com – Real Estate Guides for Michigan (source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in Michigan (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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