I’ve shared this briefly before but for those of you who don’t know, last year I officially obtained my Georgia Real Estate License! It’s honestly something that had been on my list of things I wanted to do since I got out of the military years ago, however, I’d always find one reason or another why It just wasn’t the time. I know hindsight is 20/20, but now that I have my license in hand, it’s hard to come up with any valid reason why I didn’t get it done sooner!
Since I announced this new career avenue to my social media family I’ve gotten a ton of questions regarding the process. What was required? Was it hard to get? How long did it take? Do I think it’s worth having? I’ve also spoken with a lot of people who are interested in becoming an agent but for whatever reason haven’t been able to pursue that interest. Or have started along the path but somehow got discouraged or distracted along the way.
For those of you that are interested in pursuing real estate as an agent or even as an investor who is also licensed then this post is for you! While the requirements are usually similar state to state, In this post I’ll specifically be speaking about the requirements to getting your Georgia Real Estate License. If you’re not in Georgia I encourage you to use this post as a reference point and then head over to your state real estate commission website for information that will be specific to you.
Now let’s get into it!
First things first, to earn your Georgia Real Estate License you must be at least 18 years of age and have a high school diploma or equivalent.
Next, you must complete the required education. Here in Georgia, the requirement is a 75- hour pre-licensing course at a school approved by the Georgia Real Estate Commission. There are options to attend a school in person or purchase and complete the course online. I chose to go in person and highly recommend it! While the online course is more flexible, the amount of information you’re required to learn can be a bit overwhelming. I found it much easier to see the instructor in person and take in their antidotes and have classmates to discuss and bounce ideas off of. Also, the structure of the in-class session makes it hard to fall behind. If you work full time this is important. There are normally classes available on the weekdays and in the evenings.
In lieu of taking a pre-licensing course, you can also fulfill the education requirement if you’ve successfully complete a minimum of 10 quarter hours or 6 semester hours of either course work eligible for a major in real estate from a U.S. or Canadian accredited college or university or course in real property, agency, or contracts from a U.S. or Canadian accredited school of law, or provide proof of completion of at least 75 hours of pre-license course work approved by the real estate regulatory agency of another state or province of Canada. You must obtain a letter from that agency that verifies that the course work is approved in that state or province.
After successful completion of the education requirement, you’ll be allowed to sit for your state examination. Before your test date, you will need to obtain two additional documents. A background check (Georgia Crime Information Center Report, GCIC) which you can get from most police stations and sheriff’s offices, and also the Lawful Presence Verification form which you’ll receive once you register for the state exam and will need to have notarized.
Now, some people take their test right after passing their course and some people wait a month or two (must be taken within 12 months of finishing). I decided to give myself a couple of weeks to hunker down and revisit some of the material I was still getting hung up on. The best advice I can give you for the state examination is to be as prepared as you can be, show up early with a positive attitude, and knock that test out of the park! It won’t be easy, but, if you’ve put in all the work in the pre-licensing course, and have an understanding of all the concepts, you should be okay. I don’t advocate for delaying your test for too long, because you don’t want to forget everything that you’ve learned.
Once you’ve successfully passed your test (because I know you will), you’ll have a few options. You can do nothing, for the time being, you can apply for an inactive license, or you can start your search for a sponsoring broker so that you can apply for an active Georgia real estate license. If you choose the option to do nothing, you’ll have 12 months from the time you pass your test to apply for a license. Or, you can apply for an inactive license and maintain that status until you are ready to start your career. Finally, if you choose to apply for an active license you’ll first need to find a sponsoring broker to “hang” your license with.
Finding the right broker is one of the most important decisions you’ll make as a new agent. You may have one in particular in mind but I encourage you to set up interviews with a few so you can make sure that particular brokerage fits your needs. In my case as a first-time agent, a brokerage with a strong training program and quality resources was important to me. Other things you want to take into consideration is the brokerage commission split with your transactions, their known quality of work and reputation within the community that you’re in, and also if the overall vibe of the company matches yours.
Once you’ve found that right brokerage and signed with them you’re now able to apply for your active license and do business as an agent! If you’ve made it this far down then you ARE interested in real estate and I wish you well! Hope this post helps you in your journey and feel free to share it with others you think it’ll help as well. Until next time!