How to Get a Real Estate License in Hawaii

Written by: Kevelyn Rodriguez

Last updated:

In order to kickstart your real estate career in Hawaii, it’s essential to obtain a Hawaii Real Estate License. However, despite the fact that the application process is mainly completed online nowadays, many applicants can still find it quite confusing and complicated.

For this reason, this How to Get a Real Estate License in Hawaii article will break down the main steps involved in the licensing process, covering everything from educational requirements to exam preparation and having your fingerprints taken.

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Hawaii Real Estate License

In order to get your Hawaii real estate license and start working in the real estate industry, there are several key steps you’ll need to complete, including:

  1. Ensuring You Meet the Licensing Eligibility Requirements
  2. Completing the Mandatory Pre-Licensing Education
  3. Passing the Hawaii Real Estate Exam
  4. Submitting a License Application
  5. Finding a Sponsoring Broker

In the sections below, we’ve explored each of these steps in more detail.

Step 1: Meet the Hawaii Real Estate License Requirements

Before continuing ahead with your application for a Hawaii real estate license, you’ll first need to confirm that you’re actually eligible for it by ensuring you meet the following prerequisites:

  • Must be at least 18 years of age
  • Must have earned a high school diploma (or equivalent)
  • Must be a US citizen, national, or resident alien that can legally work in the country
  • Must have a social security number
  • Must have a record of honesty, competency, and financial integrity

While the Commission won’t automatically reject your application for a real estate license if you have a criminal record, you may want to submit a Request for Preliminary Decision regarding your eligibility if you have a “questionable background”.

This allows the Commission to review your situation and let you know whether your application would be rejected on this basis before you start spending money on a pre-licensing education and taking the course final exam.

Note: Some examples of issues that would be sufficient for a “questionable background” include — but are not limited to — things like criminal convictions, civil actions (e.g., DUIs and unpaid tax), and disciplinary actions (even if they come from another state or country).

Step 2: Complete the Mandatory Pre-Licensing Education

In addition to the general requirements outlined above, there are certain educational prerequisites you’ll be expected to meet in order to be able to apply for a Hawaii real estate license.

In particular, you’ll be expected to complete 60 hours of real estate education from a Hawaii registered prelicense school. You can find out more about what content this course should cover in the Hawaii Real Estate Commission’s Salesperson Prelicensing Curriculum document.

To be able to enroll in a pre-licensing course, you must first have a MyPVL account — this platform allows you to find all pre-licensing education information on a single dashboard and can be easily accessed by logging in with an existing eHawaii.gov account.

After completing your course, you’ll be sent a School Completion Certificate using the data included in your MyPVL account. Make sure to look after this certificate as you’ll need to be able to present it later on at the testing site in order to take the Hawaii licensing exam (see Step 3).

This certificate is valid for a period of two years from the date it was issued, meaning you’ll need to take and pass the exam within this time in order to avoid having to complete this pre-licensing education requirement all over again.

Important

Even though completing the courses is mandatory, it would be a mistake to think of this step as just “checking a box”. This is because your pre-licensing education is what will prepare you to both pass your exam and become a better real estate agent.

For this reason, we always encourage our readers to invest in high-quality and reliable courses, as their study materials (like real estate practice tests and flashcards) can be invaluable during the exam prep stage.

On top of this, some of the top courses also offer money-back guarantees in the event that you do not pass your exam on your first attempt after taking their course.

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Note: If you hold a law degree, Bachelor of Arts or Science in Real Estate or Business, or a currently active real estate license in any other state, you may be exempt from this requirement through Prelicensing Education Equivalency.

Step 3: Pass the Hawaii Real Estate Exam

The next step you’ll need to complete is to pass the Hawaii real estate exam. This four-hour exam, which is administered by PSI, is made up of 130 questions spread across a general and a state-specific section.

In order to schedule your real estate exam, you’ll need to head over to the PSI Exams website and make an online reservation. If this is your first time using the platform, you’ll be required to create an account, after which you’ll be shown step-by-step instructions on how to complete the reservation.

When making an exam reservation you’ll be required to pay a $61 fee — this remains the same regardless of whether you plan to sit one or both of the portions of the state licensing exam.

In order to pass, you must obtain an overall score of at least 70% across both of these portions. Your score will be shown to you on-screen immediately after finishing the exam and you should receive a score report by email.

Note: You can find more information about this step of the licensing process in the Real Estate Salesperson Candidate Information Bulletin.

Step 4: Submit a License Application

After passing the state real estate exam and satisfying all other licensing requirements, you’ll be sent an individual license application as well as more detailed instructions on how to submit it to the Hawaii Real Estate Commission.

Once you’ve filled out this application in full, you’ll be need to submit it alongside the relevant filing fee (see below) by mailing both to:

Real Estate Commission
DCCA/PVL
Licensing Branch
P.O. Box 3469
Honolulu, HI 96801

Alternatively, you can also deliver it in-person to the following address:

Licensing Branch
335 Merchant Street, Room 301
Honolulu, HI 96813

The filing fee you’ll need to pay in order to submit your application will depend on the year in which you file it, with submissions made in even-numbered years costing $282 and those in odd-numbered years costing $382.

Note: Since Hawaii doesn’t offer real estate license reciprocity with any other states, all applicants will be required to complete the entire application process in order to become a real estate agent in this state.

Step 5: Application Review

If you’ve managed to get this far, congratulations! With your application submitted and all the other licensing requirements satisfied, in most cases you should receive communication from the Real Estate Branch of the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs within a few business days.

Be sure to take some time to celebrate your accomplishment. You’ve put in a lot of work and effort and deserve a celebration!

Note: If you’re not sure what’s happening with your license and it’s been longer than expected, you can reach out directly to the Hawaii Real Estate Branch by phone or email.

Step 6: Find a Sponsoring Broker

The final step you’ll need to take before you can begin to work as a real estate agent is to find a currently active broker within Hawaii to work under. This is a licensed real estate professional who supervises and mentors you, ensuring you comply with essential legal and ethical standards.

While it’s a legal requirement for your license to be in “active status”, it’s important you don’t treat this as just a rule you need to follow. This is because these real estate brokers provide essential training, support, and access to valuable networks that will help you to learn the industry, avoid pitfalls, and grow your business effectively.

As such, it’s important to take your time with this decision as choosing the right sponsoring broker for you will be instrumental in your future success as a real estate agent.

Hawaii Real Estate License Renewal

In order to keep your license valid and continue working as a real estate sales agent, you’ll need to renew your license every even-numbered year by November 30.

According to HI Rev Stat § 467-11.5, you’ll be required to complete at least 20 hours of qualifying continuing education (CE) prior to renewal, which should be broken down accordingly:

  • Commission-Designated Core Course (6 hours)
  • Elective Credits (14 hours)

If you fail to do this by the date of your license’s expiration your license will still be renewed, just under “inactive status” — these will prevent you from working as a real estate agent until you reinstate your license.

It’s worth being aware that you won’t be required to complete these CE hours for your first renewal if your license was granted in an even-numbered year. However, you’ll still be required to submit a renewal application by November 30.

We always encourage our readers to think of the post licensing course they take as an investment in their future career — higher quality, more reliable course content is a central part of ensuring you continue to grow professionally.

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Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs

Mailing Address: 

Hawaii Real Estate Branch
King Kalakaua Building
335 Merchant Street, Rm 333
Honolulu, HI 96813

Phone: (808) 586-2643

Email: hirec@dcca.hawaii.gov

Website: http://www.hawaii.gov/hirec

Hawaii Real Estate License FAQ

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

It’s standard for the process of becoming a real estate agent in Hawaii to take several months. This will allow you the time needed to complete 60 hours of pre-licensing education, pass the real estate licensing exam, and submit the required application and fees.

For more information on the application process, check out our How to Get a Real Estate License in Hawaii guide.

How much does it cost to get a Hawaii real estate license?

The total cost to become a Hawaii real estate salesperson can vary widely depending on the pre-licensing and continuing education providers you select.

However, you’ll typically always be required to pay certain fees, including a $61 exam fee and an application fee of either $282 or $382 (depending on the year you file your application).

How hard is the Hawaii real estate exam?

The Hawaii real estate exam can be challenging, as it requires a thorough understanding of both state and national real estate laws. You’ll need a minimum passing score of 70% to get licensed.

While many applicants find the exam difficult, passing is certainly achievable with effective preparation. Investing in a pre-licensing course from a reputable Hawaii real estate school is a good way to do this.

How much do real estate agents make in Hawaii?

A Hawaii real estate agent will typically earn a substantial income, though their earnings can vary based on experience, location, and the housing market.

On average, a licensed real estate agent in Hawaii can expect to make between $80,000 and $100,000 per year. Successful agents who work in high-demand areas or specialize in luxury properties can earn significantly more, often reaching up to $150,000 annually.

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