How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York? (license| income)


How to become a real estate agent in New York

(**) 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 New York, you must

  1. Meet all eligibility requirements;
  2. Complete 75-hours of pre-licensing real estate courses;
  3. Pass the New York Real Estate Salesperson Exam;
  4. Work with a sponsoring real estate broker;
  5. Submit a Real Estate Salesperson Application and $55 fee to the New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services 
  6. Complete continuing education and renew the license

The Division governing body that issue licenses to real estate sales agents, brokers, and regulate the industry.

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 career in New York, this is the guide for you. You’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate agent in New York, 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. (**)

New York Real Estate License

6 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York

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 higher education

Step 2: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

You are required to take 75 hours of courses. Below are the topics to be covered.

Topics to be Covered
1.The Real Estate Transaction
2.License Law Rules and Regulations
3.Unlicensed Assistants and License Law Violations
4.Law of Agency
5.Agency Relationships
6.Agency Disclosure Agreements
7.Independent Contractor or Employee
8.Estates and Interests
9.Liens and Easements
10.Deeds
11.Title Closing and Costs
12.Leases
13.Contracts
14.Contract Preparation
15.Real Estate Finance
16.Real Estate Finance 2
17.Land Use Regulations
18.Construction Issues
19.Environmental Issues
20.Valuation and Pricing Properties
21.Human Rights and Fair Housing
22.Real Estate Math
23.Municipal Agencies
24.Property Insurance
25.Taxes and Assessments
26.Condominiums and Cooperatives
27.Types of Investment Properties
28.Analyzing Investment Property
29.Commercial Leases
30.Income Tax Issues
31.Mortgage Brokerage
32.Property Management
33.Practice Exam
34.Final Exam

You could consider taking online real estate courses because they are a lot more convenient and you could study at your own pace. You’ll have access to the study materials 24/7, whenever and wherever.

Step 3: Pass the New York Real Estate Salesperson Examination

This is to test your knowledge on the real estate topics that are covered in the 75 hours of pre-licensing courses. First, you’ll need to register for the exam writing through the eAccessNY. This is the online system of the NYS licensing website. There is a $15 exam fee.

New York Real Estate Exam Registration
Screen Shot from the NYS Department of State website

The exam consists of 75 multiple choices, and you’ll be given 1.5 hours to complete. The required passing grade is 70%, but you won’t know the exact numerical score. Instead, you’ll only know whether you pass the exam or not.

The more you prepare, the greater confidence you’ll have when walking into the exam room. RealEstateExpress and PrepAgent both offer excellent exam prep materials to help you pass the real estate exam. Here is some info about their program.

Step 4: Get Sponsorship by a Licensed NY Real Estate Broker

Join a New York real estate broker

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

But don’t rush into working for just any broker. Finding a good mentor is crucial at the initial stage of your real estate career. It helps to shape your business practice in the long run.

When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only overfocus on the commission split. But they neglect other essential factors in building a solid fundamental to their real estate business.

For example, what type of training will the brokerage provide? Will they equip you with the skills to find qualified 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 business leads? Do they utilize up-to-date technology (i.e., CRM, software subscription) to streamline the daily workflow?

I will also include the Top New York Real Estate Brokerages later in this post.

Step 5: Submit an application to the NYS Department of State

Submit the Real Estate Salesperson Application to the NYS Department of State

Although you could mail the Real Estate Salesperson Application in a paper format, doing so online is a lot quicker. (It’s also good for the environment.)

In the application, you’ll be asked to enter the sponsoring broker details (i.e.: broker license number, company name, and address), name of the school and completion date of the pre-licensing courses.

In addition to providing other required details, there is a $55 application fee.

Step 6: Maintain the Real Estate License

You are required to renew your real estate license every two years. Once again, you can do so through the online services, eAccessNY.

Furthermore, you must complete 22.5 hours of continuing education for each renewal term. This is to ensure that you are keeping up to date with the real estate laws, regulations, and best business practices.

Keep in mind that there is no grace period where you could continue working without being licensed. So, don’t leave the renewal until the last minute.

A Quick Table Summary of Becoming a Real Estate Agent in New York

EligibilityEducationExamFees
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 higher
75 hours of pre-licensing course



22.5 credit hours of continuing education every two years
1.5 hours

75 multiple-choice questions

Required passing score is 70%
Pre-licensing courses around $284

Exam fee $15

Application fee $55

Here’s a Snippet of What a Real Estate Agent Think about The Profession

You can make your own hours, but you have to plan out your week in advance, so you have a work life balance

– Lori James, Real Estate Agent at Real Living Real Estate

If you want to know what Lori and other real estate agents think about this career, here’s an article you must not miss: “Is Real Estate a Good Career?”

How long does it take to get a real estate license in New York?

It takes approximately four months to get a real estate license in New York. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the required education, exam, background check, application, and get sponsorship by an actively licensed New York real estate broker.

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

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

It costs approximately $354 to get a real estate license in New York. Here’s the breakdown:

  • 75 hours of pre-licensing courses with exam prep – $284 
  • Exam fee – $15
  • Application fee – $55

Although the exam prep not mandatory, you may want to invest in it. 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. 

Once you obtain the real estate license, there would be other business expenses to account for—for instance, E&O, MLS subscription, laptop, travel expenses, advertising, and marketing.

Is there any pre-licensing education exemption?

If you hold a Bachelor’s Degree with a heavy focus in real estate, you may be able to get an exemption from the qualifying course requirement. However, you need to get approval from the Department of State by submitting a waiver request.

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

New York has share real estate reciprocity agreement with nine states.

New York real estate license reciprocity rule

This is a screen shot from the NYS Department of State website

You could find out more about the reciprocity rules on the Department of State website.

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

FAQ on the New York real estate license

I checked the Department of State website, it seems the best way is to reach them by email at licensing@dos.ny.gov. Their response time is around 3 to 5 business days.

How much do real estate agents make in New York?

How much do real estate agents make in New York?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistic, real estate agents in New York earn an average yearly salary of $111,800. It typically ranges from $66,480 to $142,020. (*)

There are 4700 real estate agents in New York, which is the 7th state with the highest number of real estate agents. It works out there are 0.494 real estate agents per 1000 of workers.

At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you could have a lower income. It does take time to build 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.

Here’s another post that covers the important variables that could significantly affect your income.

(*) Bureau of Labor Statistic – May 2019

Which Cities has the Most Real Estate Business Opportunities in New York?

real estate agent social media online presence

New York has a population of over 19 million, which is the 4th most populous state in the U.S. When you are selecting 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.

Median Home Prices of the Top 10 Highest Population Cities in New York

CitiesPopulationMedian Home Price
New York (-)8,601,186$681,000
Buffalo (-)252,555$86,000
Rochester206,318$74,200
Yonkers (-)202,127$507,900
Syracuse141,353$87,200
Albany97,640$165,700
New Rochelle79,518$686,000
Mount Vernon68,212$555,000
Schenectady63,536$110,900
Utica59,608$116,300

Source: Median Sale Price on Zillow.com (April 2019)

Note: I would use the median sales price data, but when it is not available, I would use the Zillow Home Value Index which is labelled as (-)

Top Real Estate Brokerages in New York

real estate agent client meeting

If you want to be the best in the industry, you need to learn from the best. Below are the top real estate brokerages in New York based on their sales volume in 2018. The figures are obtained from RealTrends.com.

Real Estate BrokeragesCities2018 Sales Volume
Douglas Elliman Real EstateNew York$26,115,055,090
CompassNew York$14,010,643,969
Daniel Gale Sotheby's International RealtyCold Spring Harbor$3,276,000,000
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Rand RealtyNanuet$2,217,348,187
HUNT Real Estate ERABuffalo$1,843,619,198
Realty Connect USAHauppauge$1,658,213,344
Coach Real Estate AssociatesNorthport$1,413,792,901
Keller Williams Realty LandmarkFlushing$1,303,626,173
Coldwell Banker Prime PropertiesAlbany$1,093,426,651
CENTURY 21 American HomesEast Meadow$1,048,550,901
Keller Williams NYCNew York$959,880,163
Laffey Real EstateGreenvale$757,778,196
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Hudson Valley PropertiesLagrangeville$651,256,573
Keller Williams Realty Capital DistrictLatham$601,192,399

Practical ideas to build a real estate career in New York

Tip#1: Network with other real estate professionals

Join the New York State Association of REALTORS

You may consider joining the New York State 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 New York

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 New York.

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.

A Video Summary on How to Get a Real Estate License in New York

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. (**)

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 New York Department of State, Division of Licensing Services.

(**) 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.

Reference:

  • Department of State – Division of Licensing Services (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (May 2019) (source)
  • Real Trends: Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in New York (source)
  • Zillow.com – New York Home Values (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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