How to Become a Real Estate Agent & Broker in Virginia?


real estate agent with clients

(**) 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 Virginia, you need to complete the 60 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses, pass the real estate salesperson exam, and register at the Virginia Real Estate Board.

The Real Estate Board is the regulatory body that licenses salespersons, brokers, and firms which represent others in property transactions.

If you are interested in knowing about a real estate career in Virginia, then this is the guide for you.

Not only you’ll know about the step-by-step process to become a real estate agent or broker, but you will also find important info such as the salary, career outlook and a list of top real estate firms in Virginia. So make sure you’ll read until the end!

Having said that, let’s get started!

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Virginia?

Virginia Real Estate License Requirement

Step 1: Meet the Basic 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

The required amount of coursework in Virginia is not too much when comparing to other states. You only need to complete 60 hours of real estate salesperson courses. The core curriculum must include:

  • Virginia law
  • Ownership, valuation, and brokerages
  • Mortgages, lending laws, and other consumer-based themes

You’ll need to take them from a qualifying education provider. But make sure to search for one that is reputable and has a long track record in successfully helping their students. You could find the one we like on the resource page.

Step 3: Pass the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Examination

writing real estate exam

Since these are computerized exams, you’ll immediately know your score after writing them. Here’s more info about the exam. Once you pass the test, you can begin the registration process with the Virginia Real Estate Board.

Step 4: Register with the the Virginia Real Estate Board

Background Check through Fingerprints

Your next step is to to get your electronically fingerprinted at one of PSI Virginia sites. It can be done during regular testing hours.

There will be a $52.00 fee and can be made payable by money order, cashier’s check, VISA or MasterCard. The processing time typically is 4 to 6 weeks.

Submit Salesperson License Application

real estate application

Within 45 days after you submit the electronic fingerprints and within one year that you passed the exam, you must complete the Salesperson License Application.

In addition to the application, you also need to provide.

  • Application fee $170;
    • Cheque payable to TREASURER OF VIRGINIA
    • You could also paid by credit card (VISA, Master, Discover)
  • Supporting legal documents
  • Transcripts or course completion certificates of the pre-licensing education

After you have prepared all the necessary documentation, you could mail them to the Commonwealth of Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation 9960 Mayland Drive, Suite 400 Richmond, Virginia 23233-1485.

If you need any help on the registration, you could contact the Virginia Real Estate Board at

Step 5: Work with a Real Estate Brokerage

After you pass the exam, your license status would still be inactive. You need to work with a real estate broker who would sponsor your license.

But don’t rush into working for just any broker. Finding a good trainer is crucial at the initial stage of your real estate career. We will also provide more details about choosing a real estate brokerage to work for later in this post.

How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Virginia?

real estate broker license requirement California

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.

Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement

Once again, you’ll need to be at least 18 years old, have a valid Social Security Number, Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien.

Step 2: Fulfill the Work Experience Requirement

You must be “actively engaged” as a real estate agent for at least 36 of the months prior to applying. It has to be full-time basis (average 40 hours/ week)

Step 3: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education

Real Estate Exam Study

You are required to complete the 180 hours of pre-licensing classes from an approved provider. You might want to check out this online real estate school at our resource page.

In the curriculum, you need to take a R
Tip 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. You could find the exam prep providers that we like on our resource page. eal Estate Brokerage course and one of the study options below:

Option #1) Three Broker-Specific Courses (Real Estate Appraisal; Real Estate Finance; Real Estate Law)

Option #2) Two Broker Specific Courses and one of the following Broker-Related Courses:

  • Real Estate Abstracting
  • Real Estate Contract Law
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Feasibility Analysis
  • Real Estate Investments
  • Real Estate Math
  • Real Estate Property Management
  • Real Estate Property Law
  • CCIM (all parts)
  • CRB (all parts)
  • GRI (all parts)
  • SIR/SIOR (all parts)
  • Business Law
  • Commercial Mortgage Lending
  • Land Planning and Use
  • Urban Development

Step 4: Pass the Virginia Real Estate Broker Examination

Here’s a complete guide with helpful tips in passing the real estate exam.

Step 5: Submit Application to the Virginia Real Estate Board

Similar to the registration process of being a real estate agent, you’ll need to apply to the regulatory board. Just that this time you’ll complete the Broker License Application.

You also need to provide other necessary documents, such as the courses completion documents, experience reference form and the application fee of $210.

There are three types of broker license you could apply for. They are the Associate Broker, Principal Broker and Sole Proprietor. If you are applying for a Principal Broker license, you may need to fill out the Firm License Application as well.

Not sure what type of real estate broker you want to become? No problem, here’s an article that covers the different types of real estate broker.

Virginia Real Estate Salesperson & Broker Examinations

Real Estate Courses

The salesperson and broker exams are two separate tests. However, their nature is so similar so that we’ll talk about them here all at once.

These examinations are to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. They are computerized exams administered by PSI. The exam fee is $60.

Each test consists of the national and state portions.

Virginia Real Estate Exams Summary

Examination Portion# of QuestionsTime AllowedRequired Passing Score
Salesperson-National80 (80 points)105 minutes56
Salesperson- State40 (40 points)45 minutes30
Broker- National75 (80 points)105 minutes60
Broker- State50 (50 points)55 minutes38

National Portion Exams Content Outline

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%

State Portion Exams Content Outline

Exam Content# of Items (Salesperson)# of Items (Broker)
Licensing813
Escrow Accounts27
Disclosure Requirements107
Agency Definitions and Relationships1212
Virginia Fair Housing Law and Regulations 46
Specific Acts Pertaining to Real Estate Practice45

Tip 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. You could find the exam prep providers that we like on our resource page.

Real Estate Career Outlook in Virginia

Real estate career opportunity

How Much do Real Estate Broker Make in Virginia?

Real Estate Agents in Virginia earn an average yearly salary of $72,902, which is higher than 96% percent of similar careers in the same state. (*)

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.

The salary of a real estate agents in Virginia typically range from $17,364 and $118,320. (*)

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 6880 real estate agents in Virginia, which is the 6th state with the highest number of real estate agents. It works out there are 1.816 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)

(*)Figures displayed on Sokanu.com as of Feb 2019

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

Which Cities has the Most Real Estate Business Opportunities in Virginia?

real estate career outlook

Virginia has a population of over 8.4 million, which is the 12th 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 Virginia

CityPopulationMedian Sale Price
Virginia Beach454,846$251,700
Chesapeake245,467$242,800
Norfolk242,070$182,700
Richmond233,796$207,500
Newport News181,345$168,500
Alexandria163,724$495,600
Hamn (-)132,578$96,000
Roanoke98,733$151,200
Suffolk92,744$231,700
Portsmouth91,940$142,600

The median sale price of homes in Virginia is $260,600, with a listing price per square foot of $153. The median monthly rent in Virginia is $1,650. (+)

Source: Median Sale Price on Zillow.com (Feb 2019); (-) is the Zillow Home Value Index

How to Choose a Real Estate Brokerage in Virginia?

Real estate team building

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.

All these would be extremely important especially at the beginning phase of your career.

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

Real Estate BrokeragesCitiesSales Volume in 2018
CENTURY 21 New MillenniumAlexandria$3,010,018,835
Keller Williams: The Virginia Realty Alliance GroupReston$2,833,072,734
RE/MAX AllegianceAlexandria$1,900,267,452
McEnearney Associates, Inc.Alexandria$1,761,500,000
CENTURY 21 Redwood RealtyAshburn$1,662,352,841
Keller Williams Metro CenterAlexandria$1,505,042,441
Rose & Womble RealtyVirginia Beach$1,365,182,423
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Towne RealtyVirginia Beach$1,344,825,955
Keller Williams Realty McLeanMcLean$937,075,357
RE/MAX GatewayChantilly$790,990,531
McWilliams|BallardAlexandria$667,292,393
Keller Williams Realty Chesapeake/Western BranchChesapeake$659,808,666
RE/MAX CommonwealthRichmond$658,738,009
Coldwell Banker EliteStafford$606,361,976
Keller Williams Realty Chesapeake/GreenbrierChesapeake$605,637,529
Keller Williams Realty Falls ChurchFalls Church$588,395,664

FAQ about the Virginia Real Estate Career

Is there any pre-licensing education exemption for broker applicant?

Yes, if you have taken equivalent courses that are Board-approved. They must be offered by an accredited university/college or other schools that are accepted by the Virginia Real Estate Board.

Each course must consist of a minimum of 45 hours or 3 semester hours.

You can submit the proof of classes completion to the Board for approval.

How long does a Virginia real estate license last?

You are required to renew your real estate license every two years. You can do so within 60 days before the expiry day through the online services on the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation website.

Also, you need to fulfill the post-licensing or the continuing education requirement.

What is the continuing education requirement to renew the real estate license?

real estate career

Post-Licensing education for the salesperson license

Within the first year that you obtain the real estate salesperson license, you need to complete 30 hours of Post-License Education (PLE).

The PLE curriculum must include the following nine courses.

  1. Agency Law (3 hours)
  2. Contract Writing (6 hours)
  3. Current Industry Issues and Trends (2 hours)
  4. Escrow Requirements (3 hours)
  5. Ethics and Standards of Conduct (3 hours)
  6. Fair Housing, ADA and Civil Rights (2 hours)
  7. Real Estate Law and Regulations (6 hours)
  8. Real Estate-Related Finance (2 hours)
  9. Risk Management (3 hours)

Continuing education requirement for the salesperson license

On the subsequent renewal, you need to complete 16 hours of continuing education. Of which, it must include:

  • Ethics & Standards of Conduct (3 hours);
  • Fair Housing (2 hours);
  • Legal Updates and Emerging Trends (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Agency (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Contracts (1 hour).

Then for the remaining 8 hours, you could take Real Estate elective classes that are approved by the board.

Continuing education requirement for the real estate broker license

You are required to complete 24 hours of CE courses to renew your real estate broker license. Of which, the curriculum must include:

  • Broker Management (6 hours);
  • Broker Supervision (2 hours);
  • Ethics & Standards of Conduct (3 hours);
  • Fair Housing (2 hours);
  • Legal Updates and Emerging Trends (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Agency (1 hour);
  • Real Estate Contracts (1 hour).

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

real estate agent career

Yes, you can. To apply for the salesperson license, you’ll need the following:

  • Pass the State portion of the exam
  • Submit evidence that you have completed 60 hours of the “Principles of Real Estate” course
  • Provide letters of certification from other jurisdictions about your license

As for applying for the real estate broker license, you’ll need:

  • Pass the State portion of the examination,
  • Provide proof that you are actively engaged as a salesperson or broker for 36 out of 48 months prior to submission of the broker license application
  • Submit original transcripts that you have taken the 180 classroom hours of broker pre-licensing courses. (They need to be significant equivalent to Virginia’s real estate education requirements)
  • submit letters of certification from other jurisdictions where licensed

Final Thoughts about Real Estate Career in Virginia

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

If you decide real estate is the career that you want to explore further, your first step is to take the real estate broker courses. However, don’t select just from any school that comes along the way.

You should find one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. We prefer schools that provide online-courses so that you could take them anytime and anywhere that is convenient for you.

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


Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.

Reference:

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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