How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Virginia? – Complete Career Guide

real estate agent with clients

(**) 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 engage in the real estate practice in Virginia, all individuals must obtain a salesperson or broker license from the Virginia Real Estate Board. This is the regulatory body that issues licenses to salespersons, brokers, and firms which represent others in property transactions.

To become a real estate agent in Virginia, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, complete the 60 hours of pre-license education, pass the VA real estate salesperson exam, join a broker. Applicant is also required to submit an application and a fee to the Virginia Real Estate Board.

As a real estate agent in Virginia, 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 assist clients in searching for a rental property or lease out their units.

In this guide, you’ll find out the steps to become a real estate salesperson in Virginia, 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.

8 Steps to Become a Real Estate Agent in Virginia

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

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.

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 Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Examination

writing VA real estate exam

This examination is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. It is administered by PSI.

The Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam has 120 questions. The required passing score is at least 86/120 and you’ll be given 150 minutes to write it.

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

Step 4: Go through a background check

The Virginia Real Estate Board has the responsibility to protect the public interest, so they will conduct a background check on all real estate license applicants. 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.

Step 5: Submit a Salesperson License Application to the Virginia Real Estate Board

Virginia 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

  • Phone: (804) 367-8526
  • Email:

Step 6: Work with a licensed broker

After you pass the exam, your license status would still be inactive. You need to work with a real estate broker who will 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. When choosing a brokerage firm, 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? 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 are the top real estate brokerage in Virginia based on their sales volume in 2018. The figures are obtained from

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
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

Step 7: Complete post-license education

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)

Step 8: Maintain the Virginia real estate salesperson license

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.

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

According to the DPOR website, new salespersons are not required to take CE in their first two-year license term. (Keep in mind you still need to complete the post-license education.)

But for subsequent renewals, 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.

Here’s a Snippet of What Lori James Think about Being a Real Estate Agent!

Lori James, Real Estate Agent

I think being a real estate agent is a good career for self motivated people. 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.

Here’s the article where you can read more on Lori’s thoughts about the real estate sales profession. In there, you can also find valuable feedback from multiple professional real estate agents. Don’t miss out!

Let’s Prepare for the Virginia Real Estate Salesperson Exam

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. (**)

Real Estate Courses

The Virginia Real Estate Exam is to test your knowledge and understanding of real estate law, principle and practices, and mathematics. After all, you do need to know all these to serve your clients properly in the future.

The 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

National Portion Exams Content Outline

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

State Portion Exams Content Outline

Exam Content# of Items (Salesperson)
Escrow Accounts2
Disclosure Requirements10
Agency Definitions and Relationships12
Virginia Fair Housing Law and Regulations 4
Specific Acts Pertaining to Real Estate Practice4

Here are some sample questions of the VA Real Estate Salesperson Exam


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

Quote from Virginia Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin

FAQ about the Virginia Real Estate License

Real estate agent thinking about career in Virginia

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

Yes, you can apply for the VA salesperson license through reciprocity. To do so, you’ll need to:

  • 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

How long does it take to become a licensed real estate salesperson in Virginia?

It takes approximately four months to become a licensed real estate agent in Virginia. But it also depends on the time it takes you to complete the the pre-license course, exam, background check, application, and get sponsorship by an actively licensed VA real estate broker.

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 get a Virginia real estate salesperson license?

It costs approximately $542 to get the real estate salesperson license in Virginia. Here is the breakdown:

  • Pre-licensing courses approximately $260
  • Application fee $170
  • Exam fee $60
  • Background check $52

Can you become a real estate agent with a felony in Virginia?

It is possible for an applicant with felony to obtain a real estate license in Virginia. It is subjected to the Real Estate Board’s evaluation. They typically be more alarmed on incidents that impact the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character, and integrity.

However, as I’m reviewing the DPOR website, it states that

An individual’s criminal record is never an absolute prohibition to obtaining a license in any DPOR-regulated profession.

Quote from the

Applicant will go through a 3 Step Process:

  1. Documentation
  2. Informal Fact-Finding (IFF) Conference
  3. Board Meeting

90% of license application cases that are referred to boards after IFF conference got approved! And only 10% were denied or issued with conditions.

When evaluating the application, the board will consider these 9 factors:

  1. Type of Offense
  2. Occupational Nexus
  3. Recidivism Potential
  4. Appropriateness
  5. Age
  6. Prior Offenses
  7. Time Passed
  8. Work History
  9. Rehabilitation

So 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.

Real Estate Career Updates in Virginia

Real estate career opportunity

How much do real estate agent make in Virginia?

Real estate agents in Virginia earn an average yearly income of $66,980, typically range between $37,610 and $79,540. High-earning real estate sales agents are making over $111,040 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.

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

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

Is there a demand for real estate agents in Virginia?

According to the Virginia REALTORS ®, there were 13,414 home sales and 17,558 new listings in April 2021, the median sales price was $355,643. All these figures were up when comparing to the same period in 2020.

Also, there are 9340 real estate agents in Virginia, and it works out to be 2.522 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)

After reviewing the above figures, I personally believe there is demand for real estate agents in Virginia.

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 post.

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

4 strategies to build your real estate career in Virginia

Virginia real estate agents

1) Network with other real estate professionals

You may consider joining the Virginia 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) Generate online 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.

3) Select regions with the high sales volumes

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 sales volume. After all, a thriving real estate business does require transactions.

According to the Virginia REALOTRS, below are the counties/cities with the most home sales volume in March 2021.

Virginia home sales volume by county/city

4) Consider the commercial real estate niche

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. You may check out the Commercial Market Report from Virginia REALTORS. 

To become a commercial real estate agent in Virginia, an applicant must be at least 18 years old, complete 60-hour of pre-license education, pass the real estate salesperson exam, join a managing broker. You also need to submit an application and a fee to the Virginia Real Estate Board and go through a background check.

The Board does not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. So, the requirement is basically the same one we just went through. But 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.

Here’s a Snippet of what Amie Lenhart thinks about being a Commercial Real Estate Agent!

Amie Lenhart, Commercial Real Estate Agent

“… I work as my clients biggest advocate and work on behalf of their best interest. My job is an agent is to research, match needs, know the market, tour, draft LOI’s and Lease Proposals and successfully negotiate for my client meeting their goals and objectives...

… I think being a real estate agent is a great career. I love the hustle and relationship building aspect of this job and working for myself...”

– Amie Lenhart ,Commercial Real Estate Agent with Donald R. Kenney and Company Realty (DRK)

Here’s the article where you can read more on Amie’s thoughts about the real estate sales profession. In there, you can also find valuable feedback from multiple professional real estate agents. Don’t miss out!

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

A Video on How to Get a Virginia Real Estate License

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 any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation.


  • Virginia Department of Professional and Occupational Regulation- Real Estate Board (source)
    • Continuing Education (source)
    • Post-License Education (source)
    • What if you have a criminal conviction (source)
  • PSI- Virginia Real Estate Candidate Information Bulletin (source)
  • World Population Review- Population of Cities in Virginia (source)
  • Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (source)
  • Virginia REALTORS ®
    • Housing Market Data (source)
    • April 2021 Home Sales Report (source)
  • (source)
  • Bureau of Labor Statistics
    • Occupational Employment and Wages- Real Estate Agents (source)
    • Occupational Employment and Wage Estimates Virginia (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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