Excellent idea! This is one of the few careers with a low barrier to entry and it offers potential for unlimited growth. North Carolina is one of the few “broker only” states in the US. Traditionally, a real estate agent is called a “salesperson” and the person who runs the brokerage and oversees the agents is called the Broker or Managing Broker. In North Carolina, the salespeople are Brokers and the person running the brokerage is called the “Broker in Charge” or BIC.
We’re going to share everything you need to know about getting your license and how to become a real estate agent in North Carolina in four simple steps, including:
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) has some basic requirements you have to meet in order to secure your real estate license and become a real estate agent in North Carolina:
To be eligible to become a licensed broker in North Carolina, you must:
Once you receive your broker’s license from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission, you will have “Provisional Broker Status.” A provisional real estate broker must be under the supervision of a broker-in-charge (BIC) to be on active status and legally provide brokerage services. To remove provisional status, a provisional broker must complete the 90-hour Post licensing education program within 18 months of initial licensure to retain eligibility.
Overall the process for becoming a real estate agent in North Carolina is fairly simple. It’s also an incredible opportunity to build a lifelong business of your very own.
To get your North Carolina real estate license and become a broker, you’ll have to attend a school that’s approved by the NCREC. There are quite a few approved real estate schools throughout the state. Some are online, others in person, and a few do a combination of the two.
Here are a few of the most popular:
When shopping for the best online real estate schools in North Carolina, make sure that they offer additional support for exam prep and sample exams for practice. Some offer weekend cram courses or exam prep courses to ensure sure that you pass the real estate broker exam on the first try.
In North Carolina, you must affiliate with a real estate brokerage in order to activate your real estate license. This is often referred to as the “sponsoring broker.” Picking the right brokerage to work with can be critical to your success as a newly licensed agent.
We would recommend shopping for the best broker once you’ve completed the pre-licensing course and are waiting to take your course or state exam. There are a few ways to do this:
When researching and meeting with different brokerages, keep in mind that many are independently owned franchises. So one Berkshire Hathaway or Keller Williams office could be completely different from another that’s just 10 minutes away. The culture, training, support team, and sometimes even the fees and commission splits can vary from franchise to franchise.
While many newly licensed agents are looking for the best commission splits when shopping for brokers, we would highly recommend that you make that #2 or #3 on your list. The most important thing you should look for in a brokerage is how they support brand new real estate agents. Do they have a formal training program? Will you have at least 3 people you can reach out to if you have questions? Are they available outside traditional business hours? Do they have mentors – and what exactly will the mentors do to assist you?
There are several fees involved when working to become a real estate agent in North Carolina…
Getting licensed is just the beginning! There are several other expenses to consider when you are becoming a real estate agent / broker. After all, you are building a brand new business and there are always costs associated, whether you are opening a coffee shop or launching your real estate empire.
Here are some of the most common expenses:
If you add up the costs to get your license and the costs to officially become an agent, you will likely need to spend a total of $2,300 to $2,800 to launch your new career in North Carolina.
You made it this far! Now that you know how to get a real estate license and find the best brokerage, the next step is getting you mentally prepared to build a successful, thriving new business!
Your NC broker pre-licensing class is primarily focused on learning the common terms, ethics, and laws when practicing real estate. The courses don’t usually go into much detail (if any) on writing contracts, researching market statistics, or marketing your new business online and off.
As a new real estate broker, you need to have a fire in your belly! Your motivation and desire to learn everything you can is going to be critical to your success in the first few years. Many of you may be used to working for someone and being told what to do at work each day, but that isn’t the case in real estate.
Kerry Lucasse and the Building Better Agents team talk with hundreds of newly licensed real estate agents each year. Most have no idea how challenging the first year or two can be and how much you need to learn to be successful. This business is not as easy as it looks on TV! Real estate can be a rewarding and profitable business if you are a self-starter who is 110% committed to being successful and you have the support of a great mentor and brokerage.
To be honest, most of it is up to you! The pre-licensing real estate broker course is only 75 hours, so you could finish that in as little as two weeks. In week three you would take the class exam and then about 2 weeks later, the state exam. Once you pass the state exam, you’ll have to get up and running with all the tools and systems at your new brokerage, so that could take another 2 to 4 weeks. All in all, you could be licensed in as little as a month, but we would recommend planning for 8 to 10 weeks before you would be in a place to start working with clients and writing offers.
It’s not uncommon for people not to pass the exam on the first try. You can easily retake the North Carolina real estate exam, you just have to pay the exam/application fee of $156 again.
There are 120 multiple choice questions and you’ll have up to 3.5 hours to complete the exam. You’ll need to get 29 out of 40 North Carolina state exam questions correct and 57 out of 80 national exam questions correct. The questions can throw you some curveballs, so we highly recommend that you study and take as many practice exams as possible. If you’re still not feeling confident, sign up for an exam-cram or exam prep course.
The North Carolina state real estate exam includes a $100 application fee and $56 examination fee, for a total of $156.
You must travel to a testing location where you will be monitored for the duration of the exam. There are multiple locations around the state, including Asheville, Cary, Charlotte, Fayetteville, Greenville, Raleigh, Wilmington, and Winston-Salem. Due to Covid, there may be some options for a proctored remote exam, but please contact the NCREC or PSI Testing Services at 800-733-9267 to confirm.
According to ZipRecruiter, as of February 2022, the average US monthly pay is $6,908 (about $82K annually). The average earnings for a real estate agent in North Carolina are around $60,000 per year, but when you have your own business, the sky is the limit!
We outlined the costs above, but to sum it up, you’re looking at about $700 to $800 to get your license and then you’ll have to join the Board of Realtors, MLS and there is usually a fee to join your brokerage. The initial fees to get started in real estate could range from $2,300 to $2,800 depending on your area and the brokerage you select.
As of 2012, anyone applying for a real estate license in North Carolina with a current active license in another state, regardless of their place of residency, will not have to take the NC prelicensing course. You will have to complete the state section of the North Carolina real estate exam.