How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas

Written by: Ethan Peyton

Last updated:

In order to kickstart your career as a real estate agent in Texas, it’s essential to obtain a Texas 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 Texas 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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Real Estate License Texas

In order to get your Texas real estate license and start working in this 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. Getting Your Fingerprints Taken and Passing a Background Check
  4. Submitting a License Application
  5. Passing the Texas Real Estate Exam
  6. Finding a Sponsoring Broker

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

Step 1: Meet the Texas Real Estate License Requirements

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

  • Be a US citizen (or a lawfully admitted alien)
  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Be deemed honest, trustworthy, and of integrity by the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC)

If you have any prior criminal offenses or unfavorable judgements against you, you may be disqualified from obtaining a Texas real estate license due to this background. If you’re worried about this, you should note that you won’t need to wait until the final stages of the application process to find out whether or not you’re eligible.

Instead, you can opt to request Fitness Determination (FD) from TREC in order to determine this before you begin the steps of pursuing a license. To do this, you’ll need to pay a $52 non-refundable fee through the Online Services platform, then fill out and submit the FD-1 form that you’ll receive by email within the next five business days.

After receiving this form (and all necessary documentation), the Commission typically takes up to 30 days to review all the information you provided and make a fitness determination.

Note: For more information on the Fitness Determination process, be sure to check out the Texas Real Estate Commission’s website.

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 Texas real estate license.

In particular, you’ll need to complete at least 180 classroom hours of real estate pre-licensing education from a qualifying provider. This will need to be broken down accordingly:

  • Principles of Real Estate I (30 classroom hours)
  • Principles of Real Estate II (30 classroom hours)
  • Law of Agency (30 classroom hours)
  • Law of Contracts (30 classroom hours)
  • Promulgated Contract Forms (30 classroom hours)
  • Real Estate Finance (30 classroom hours)

Once you finish a pre-licensing education course, your provider should give you a certificate of completion — be sure to hold onto it as you’ll need it for the next step of the licensing process.

Important

At this stage, choosing the right course is essential; while completing one is mandatory, it would be a mistake to think of it as just “checking a box”. This is because this course 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 that you’ll pass the exam on your first attempt if you take their course.

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Step 3: Submit a License Application

After completing your pre licensing education course, you’ll be ready to move onto submitting your license application and course completion certificate. This is typically done online through the TREC’s Online Services page for a fee of $205, though you can also submit a paper application by mail if you prefer.

If you decide to submit a paper application, you’ll need to file it to the following address:

Texas Real Estate Commission
P.O. Box 12188
Austin, Texas 78711-2188

Once you’ve submitted an application (either online or by mail), you’ll need to provide all of the following documents to TREC either by fax (512-936-3864) or email (documents@trec.texas.gov):

  • A copy of ALL course completion certificates
  • Any relevant college transcripts where relevant
  • Your application receipt

Having submitted your application and these documents, you should receive an exam eligibility letter containing an ID number you’ll need in order to sign up for the state exam later on.

However, your license will remain inactive until after you’ve completed the rest of the requirements — which include getting fingerprinted, passing the state exam, and finding a sponsoring broker. You’ll have a year to do all this before your application expires.

Note: If you’re ever wondering about the progress of your real estate license application, you can keep an eye on it through TREC’s Application Tracker tool.

Step 4: Have Your Fingerprints Taken and Pass a Background Check

In order to satisfy TREC’s requirement for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity, you’re required under Chapter 53 of the Texas Occupations Code to submit your fingerprints to the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) and FBI for a criminal history check.

Fingerprints are taken electronically at IDEMIA locations, which you’ll be able to schedule as soon as you’ve received your exam eligibility letter from TREC. To schedule an appointment, you’ll need to obtain your IdentoGO ID from TREC’s Fingerprint Requirements page and then select a date and time from the IdentoGO website.

Alternatively, you can make a fingerprint reservation by calling (888) 467-2080. Regardless of the method you use, you’ll need to provide the TREC ID number contained within your exam eligibility letter, as well as pay a $41.45 filing fee.

While you’re able to do this before or (up to a year) after filing your real estate license application, we typically recommend getting it out of the way early due to how time consuming it can be.

For example, if you wait until you’ve passed your state exam to organize your fingerprinting appointment, you’ll have to wait for the DPS and FBI to clear your background history check first — which can take up to three weeks.

Note: You’ll be required to complete irrespective of whether or not you decided to request a Fitness Determination from TREC earlier on in the application process.

Step 5: Pass the Texas Real Estate Exam

With this out of the way, the next step you’ll need to complete is to pass the Texas real estate exam. This is a four hour exam administered by Pearson VUE that’s made up of 125 questions divided into two main sections: national and state.

You’ll have 150 minutes to finish the national section (which contains 85 questions) and 90 minutes to complete the state section (40 questions). Five questions in each section will also be unidentified “pretest questions” that won’t count toward your overall score.

In order to schedule your real estate exam, you’ll need to head over to the Pearson VUE 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.

Making an exam reservation costs $43 and will require you to have certain pieces of information, including your:

  • Legal name
  • Physical mailing address, email address, and phone number
  • TREC ID number contained in the exam eligibility letter
  • Preferred examination date
  • Local test center location

You’ll need to obtain a raw score of at least 56 on the National portion, and 21 on the State portion, in order to pass the overall exam. If you don’t manage to achieve these scores, you’ll have a year to obtain a passing grade on the exam portions you initially failed the first time round.

If you fail either portion of the exam more than three times during an application period, you’ll need to complete 30 hours of additional education for each section you failed.

Note: You can find out more information about this exam in the Pearson VUE Texas Real Estate Candidate Handbook.

Step 6: 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 an email from TREC containing a license document within 14 days.

In the case that you submitted your fingerprints after taking your exam, you’ll also need to wait for your background report to be approved by the FBI and TREC, which can take up to three weeks.

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: To get an idea of how long it’s currently taking TREC to process real estate license applications, you can also refer to the TREC website’s Processing Times page for a quick answer.

Step 7: Find a Sponsoring Broker

Unfortunately, your licensing journey won’t end with TREC issuing your Texas real estate license. This is because, before you can use your license, you’ll need to be sponsored by an active Texas real estate broker.

Until you find a sponsoring broker, your license we’ll be seen as “inactive”, meaning you won’t be able to legally perform real estate activities or earn income. To get an active real estate license, you’ll need to fill out a sponsorship request using TREC’s Online Services, and will be able to start working as a real estate agent as soon as the broker accepts your request.

And that’s it, you’ll now be qualified as a practicing real estate agent in Texas!

Texas 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 two years and pay a $110 renewal fee. You’ll be able to do this at any point between 90 days before your license’s expiration date and two years after, though fines of up to $176 are imposed on late renewals.

Alongside paying this fee, you’ll also need to complete at least 18 hours of continuing education broken down as follows:

  • TREC Legal Update I and II: 8 hours
  • Contract-related coursework: 3 hours
  • Elective CE: 7 hours

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.

Recommended: Interested in getting started? We recommend The CE Shop’s online post licensing education packages due to their high-quality study resources, money-back-guarantee, and flexible pricing.

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Texas Real Estate Commission

Mailing Address:
PO Box 12188
Austin, TX 78711-2188

Phone: (512) 936-3000

Email: information@trec.texas.gov

Website: trec.texas.gov/

Texas Real Estate License FAQ

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

Becoming a real estate agent in Texas typically involves completing a real estate school pre-licensing course, getting fingerprints, passing the licensing exam, and finding a sponsoring broker. Overall, it can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months, depending on your individual circumstances. Be sure to check the Pearson VUE Exam Candidate Handbook or our How to Get a Real Estate License guide for more information.

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

The total cost of obtaining a real estate license in Texas varies, but most students spend around $700. This figure should be enough to cover pre-licensing real estate course, the state exam, background checks, and license application itself. Additionally, there may be expenses for continuing education and association memberships.

How can I get a real estate license in Texas?

Prospective real estate agents in Texas need to meet the eligibility requirements, complete at least 180 classroom hours of pre-licensing education, pass the state exam, undergo a background check, apply online, and find a sponsoring broker to turn your inactive license into an active license. For more information, most students like to check out our guide on How to Get a Real Estate License in Texas.

What’s the difference between a Texas real estate agent and broker?

In Texas, a real estate agent is licensed to represent clients in domestic and commercial real estate transactions under the supervision of a licensed broker. On the other hand, a Texas real estate broker has additional education and experience requirements, allowing them to work independently, supervise agents, and operate their own brokerage firm.

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