Have you been thinking about changing careers and becoming a real estate agent in Colorado? If so, now is a great time to start. Your first step is completing a 168-hour prelicensing course at a Colorado real estate school.
I’ve been a real estate broker in Colorado for 26 years and I’ll walk you through the process of getting your license from start to finish. We’ll explore Colorado real estate schools, taking the state exam, interviewing brokerages, and completing your real estate license application.
How to Get a Colorado Real Estate License
- Complete a 168-hour Prelicensing Course & Exam
- Pass the Colorado Real Estate Exam
- Complete a Background Check
- Join a Colorado Real Estate Brokerage
- Get Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance
- Apply for Your License
Before we get started, we need to clarify some terms. In Colorado, new real estate agents are called brokers. They have the same role as real estate agents in other states, so this is a difference in name only.
Let’s jump into each step to getting you to your Colorado real estate license.
1. Complete a 168-hour Prelicensing Course
Cost: $399 to $1,249
Time commitment: Two to eight months
Colorado requires that you complete 168 hours of prelicensing coursework to qualify for your real estate license. The real estate classes include both state and national topics, and cover the following topics:
- 48 hours, Real Estate Law & Practice
- 48 hours, Colorado Contracts & Regulations
- 8 hours, Trust Accounts & Recordkeeping
- 8 hours, Current Legal Issues
- 24 hours, Real Estate Closings
- 32 hours, Practical Applications
You’ll need to complete a course final exam, which is separate from the Colorado license exam. There are a few different ways to take your prelicensing course in Colorado. If you want the flexibility to move at your own pace, then Real Estate Express offers a full suite of self-paced packages at an affordable price.
Readers of The Close can save 25% on any of Colibri Estate Express prelicensing courses. Use promo code TheClose25 at checkout.
You can also expect to see Colorado real estate schools offering livestream and in-person courses. Livestream courses are popular because you can enjoy the structure of a classroom setting from the comfort of home. One of our top picks, Kaplan, offers Live Online course options that allow you to attend individual courses at your own pace.
6 Best Real Estate Schools in Colorado for 2023
2. Pass the Colorado Real Estate License Exam
Time commitment: Four hours
Once you have successfully completed the educational requirements, you can now register for the state real estate license exam.
Colorado’s real estate exam has a reputation for being one of the most difficult to pass in the country. If you have completed your 168 hours and still don’t feel entirely prepared for the license exam, then consider an exam prep course. Real Estate Express offers Real Estate Exam Prep for $99, which includes a money-back guarantee if you don’t pass the state exam on your first try!
When you’re ready to schedule your exam, visit the PSI testing website. You’ll be able to schedule your exam and pay the $44.95 exam fee. You’ll have four hours to complete the license exam, and you’ll need a minimum score of 75% to pass.
PSI has seven test center locations in the state of Colorado, so you shouldn’t have trouble finding a test center near you. The locations are:
Colorado PSI Real Estate Test Center Locations
|Centennial, Colorado||12200 E. Briarwood Ave, Suite 270|
|Colorado Springs, Colorado||5050 Edison Avenue, Suite 121|
|Durango, Colorado||799 East 3rd Street, Suite 3|
|Fort Collins, Colorado||3000 S College Ave Suite# 206|
|Grand Junction, Colorado||743 Horizon Court, #203|
|Pueblo, Colorado||803 West 4th Street, Suite #803S|
|Wheat Ridge, Colorado||4891 Independence St., Suite 220|
3. Complete a Background Check
Time commitment: Two to six weeks
Next, you’ll need to complete a fingerprinting process to get a background check. Since it can take six weeks to process your results, we recommend getting started early.
You can obtain your fingerprints from IdentoGO or at most local police departments. You will need to bring a government-issued identification card. Examples include a driver’s license, passport, or military ID. To learn more about fingerprint requirements, click here.
Once completed, your fingerprints must be submitted to the CBI for a background check. You won’t be notified by the Colorado Division of Real Estate on receipt or results of your record. Instead, the results will be sent to the Colorado Division of Real Estate (DORA) and matched with your real estate license application.
People with certain prior convictions are less likely to get approved for a Colorado real estate license. If you have concerns about your background check, you may want to contact DORA and explain your situation before going through the trouble and cost of studying to get your real estate license.
4. Join a Colorado Real Estate Brokerage
Cost: No cost
Time commitment: Two to four weeks
In Colorado, beginning real estate brokers must work under an employing broker. This allows you to learn from other experienced licensees regarding how to work with buyers and sellers and how to successfully complete real estate transactions.
Brokerages are familiar with this process and are always looking for motivated new brokers to add to their team. Let’s look at a few of the factors to consider when choosing a brokerage.
Mentorship & Training
Some brokerages are set up for new licensees and some are geared toward independent veteran brokers. Look for brokerages that offer training specifically for the newly licensed. Some brokerages also provide experienced brokers as mentors to guide you through your first transactions.
There are many fees associated with holding a real estate license. Some of these fees are absorbed by the brokerage and others are passed through to you. Here is a list of the most common broker fees.
- Monthly fee: Some brokerages will charge what’s called a monthly fee or “desk fee” for having you as a part of their team. Fixed monthly fees are fine for experienced brokers, but they can become a repetitive burden on new brokers who are just getting started.
- Franchise fee: Franchises pass the franchise fee to the agent or broker directly. If the brokerage has an additional franchise fee, be clear on how it is charged and if it has a cap or limit.
- Transaction fee: Many brokerages today charge a transaction fee upon the success of a closing. Some transaction fees are charged to you as the broker and others are passed to the buyer or seller.
- Setup and annual fees: Brokerages may have a setup fee associated with you joining them. Find out what this fee is, what you receive, and if it is a one-time fee or a recurring annual fee.
- E&O insurance: Errors and Omissions (E&O) insurance is required for you to obtain your license. Check to see if the brokerage has a group or discounted policy.
- Other fees: There are additional systems and services that may be required to operate a successful real estate practice. Check to see if the brokerage offers to cover these additional systems and services:
Split & Cap
Split is a term that is used to describe the percentage of the commission that you receive. A split plan is a nice way to start your real estate career; the brokerage makes money by you making sales, so this is a win-win. Many new brokers will begin with a 50/50 or a 60/40 split (the 60% to you). Many split compensation plans also include a limit on the percentage the brokerage will take, which is called the cap.
The environment you are in has a direct impact on success. If you are around others, new or experienced, who are challenging themselves to be successful, then you will naturally pick up strategies that will lead you to greater success. Ask to tour the office and sit in on training classes before you make your decision to join.
The more experience you have, the less reliant you are on the physical office space, but starting out you will need access to training, mentorship, administration, and professional office space to meet clients.
Ask if the brokerage is a member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR). A common misunderstanding is that obtaining your real estate license makes you a Realtor. Realtor is a designation affiliated with real estate agents and brokers who are members of NAR. Benefits of NAR include many discounts with service providers, large-scale lobbying, representation, advocacy for real estate-related issues on a national scale, and designations to help you specialize your business.
Real Estate School Reimbursement
Some brokerages will reimburse some of your real estate school costs. Be sure to ask about tuition reimbursement when interviewing brokers.
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5. Get Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance
Time commitment: Two hours
The Colorado real estate commission requires that all active, licensed real estate brokers maintain a policy of errors and omissions (E&O) insurance to cover all acts that require a license. Your brokerage may provide E&O insurance. If they don’t, you will need to obtain a policy on your own.
The broker must maintain a minimum of $100,000 coverage per covered claim and an annual aggregate limit of $300,000. The Colorado Group policy from RICE begins at $240 annually. Check here for more information regarding E&O policy requirements.
6. Apply for Your Colorado Real Estate License
Time commitment: 30 minutes to apply + one week to process
Congratulations! You’ve made it to your final step—applying for your Colorado real estate license. You’ll easily be able to apply online. Be sure you have the following documents ready when you apply:
- Certificate of Completion for your real estate school or degree in real estate
- Receipt of fingerprinting completed
- Receipt of fingerprints submitted to CBI
- Brokerage information
- E&O certificate
- Application fee ($485)
Start by setting up an account on the Colorado Division of Real Estate’s (DORA) website. For more help, visit DORA’s additional instructions. From there, you’ll apply for a new broker license and submit your personal information, brokerage information, and supporting documents.
It can take three to seven days before your application is approved. To find out the status of your application, check the DORA website on your account.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Colorado?
Colorado Real Estate Governing Board:
Colorado Real Estate Commission
Price Range for Prelicensing Courses:
$399 – $1,249
Total Estimated Cost:
$1,395 – $2,400
You can get your Colorado real estate license starting at around $1,400. This price tag includes fixed costs like exam, background check, and application fees. The biggest variable in cost will be your prelicensing course, which can vary in price based on the type of package you choose.
|Prelicensing Classes (168 hours)||$491|
|Colorado Broker Examination Fee||$44.95|
|Errors & Omissions Insurance (E&O)||$240|
|Application Fee for Broker License||$485|
|Total Costs||$1,130. 95|
(Bonus Resource) The Ultimate New Real Estate Agent Checklist
There’s a lot that goes into becoming a successful real estate agent. As a real estate coach and trainer, I’ve worked through the process of launching new agents many times, so I know what it takes to get your business off the ground.
To help you keep track of all the things you need to do as a new agent, we put together a comprehensive checklist of all the different marketing and operations systems you’ll need to help you launch your business in the right direction. Click below to download our free Ultimate New Real Estate Agent Checklist.
How to Get a Real Estate Broker License in Colorado: FAQs
If you have more questions, be sure to scroll through our most commonly asked questions below. Have we missed something? Be sure to let us know in the comment section—we love to hear from you!
Does Colorado offer real estate reciprocity with other states?
If you’re already a real estate agent in another state and want to become a broker in Colorado, you’re in luck. Colorado offers license reciprocity with all 50 states—you’ll only need to take the state portion of the license exam if you hold a valid real estate license in another state.
Do I have to take a prelicensing course to get my Colorado real estate license?
A degree from an accredited college or university with a major course of study in real estate is an acceptable substitution for the educational requirements. Otherwise, if you have an existing real estate license in another state, you may not be required to take the national portion of the exam and educational requirement. Check out our guide, Real Estate License Reciprocity and Portability: A State-by-State Guide, for more information.
How long does it take to get a real estate license in Colorado?
It takes most prospective brokers six to 12 months to get their Colorado real estate license. This includes the time it takes to complete the 168-hour prelicensing coursework, complete background checks and applications, and join a Colorado brokerage.
How much do real estate brokers make in Colorado?
As of mid-2022, real estate brokers make an average of $97,916 in Colorado. This number can vary since real estate is a commissioned-based career. With hard work and excellent customer service, there is no limit to the income a real estate broker can earn each year.
What is a real estate broker in Colorado?
In Colorado, all real estate licensees are brokers. There are three levels of brokers in Colorado.
The associate broker level allows you to practice real estate with the supervision of an employing broker.
After two years with your associate broker license, you can apply to become an independent broker. You will have to pass the state’s brokers exam. Independent brokers can practice real estate as self-employed individuals but cannot have licensees work for them.
If you wish to employ other licensees, with two years’ experience, you can apply to be an employing broker. Like becoming an independent broker, you will have to pass the state’s broker exam, but you will also have to complete the 24-hour Broker Administration Course along with proof of your actual real estate transactional experience.
How difficult is the Colorado real estate license exam?
The Colorado test has a reputation for being one of the more challenging real estate exams in the country. To pass, start by reviewing your prelicensing course notes and consider investing in proper exam preparation materials.
Exam prep provides you with tried and tested strategies and tools to help you pass your real estate exam the first time. We recommend Kaplan‘s exam prep packages, which include access to practice questions, simulated exams, review sessions, and more.
Is the Colorado real estate exam open book?
No, you will not have access to any study materials during your Colorado real estate exam. The exam is computer-based and you’ll need to answer 80 multiple-choice questions. You’ll have two hours to complete the exam and will need 75% correct to pass the exam.
More Resources From The Close
We hope we’ve helped you break down the steps to getting your Colorado real estate license so you feel confident about taking your first step. At The Close, we’re committed to providing actionable strategies for every stage of your career.
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