From luaus and poke bowls to sandy beaches and towering volcanoes, Hawaii is a captivating place to live—and an even better place to begin your journey as a real estate professional. But in order to connect residents of the Aloha State with the properties of their dreams, you’ll need to first learn how to get your real estate license here.
And that’s where we come in. Follow these six easy steps, and you’ll be launching your career in Hawaii real estate in no time.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Hawaii
Let’s dive into these steps in a little more detail. Before long, you’ll be helping clients buy and sell Hawaiian renaissance houses in Honolulu, plantation-style homes in Kauai, and waterfront properties in Waikiki.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Hawaii?
It costs approximately $900 to get your real estate license in Hawaii, including your prelicensing education. Some of the costs are fixed, such as the state’s licensing and exam fees, and others vary.
While you don’t need a college degree to become a real estate agent in Hawaii, you must complete the state-specific licensing process. The price of the required 60-hour prelicensing courses (and optional exam prep materials) will vary depending on the provider you choose.
(Hawaii real estate license costs as of May 2023)
How to Get a Hawaii Real Estate Agent License in 6 Easy Steps
Before you begin, let’s make sure you’re eligible. Hawaii requires those seeking a real estate sales associate designation to:
- Be at least 18 years old
- Be a United States citizen or lawful permanent resident
- Have a high school diploma or equivalent
- Have a Social Security number
- “Possess a reputation for or record of competency, honesty, truthfulness, financial integrity and fair dealing,” in the words of the state’s licensing division. To check your eligibility, submit a Request for Preliminary Decision form before registering for the prelicensing course
If you are a licensed attorney or have a degree in real estate, you may be able to skip some of your licensing requirements. For example, you may be able to waive your prelicensing education requirements by obtaining a Prelicensing Education Equivalency from the Real Estate Branch of Hawaii’s commerce department (HREB) if you:
- Are licensed in another state with similar or superior prelicensing education requirements as determined by the HREB
- Hold a law degree from an accredited college or university in the United States
- Hold a bachelor’s degree in real estate or business from an accredited college or university in the United States
Hawaii is one of the few states that does not have reciprocal agreements with any other states, so you’ll need to go through the entire application process to obtain your license unless you qualify for a prelicensing education equivalency. Visit the HREB website for education and examination requirements tailored to your specific situation.
Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability: A State-by-State Guide
Ready to learn more about how to become a real estate agent in Hawaii? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
1. Complete a Background Check
- Cost: $25
- Time commitment: 1-4 weeks
As mentioned above, Hawaii requires that a candidate “possess a reputation for or record of competency, honesty, truthfulness, financial integrity and fair dealing” in order to become a licensed real estate agent. This is often implied via background check requirements throughout the country, but Hawaii emphasizes the point by including specific language throughout its licensing materials.
With that in mind, Hawaii recommends completing the Request for Preliminary Decision application before enrolling in prelicensing courses and submitting supplemental documentation outlining your offenses when necessary. The cost of the application is $25. The HREB will review your information to determine whether you qualify for licensing.
2. Complete a 60-hour Prelicensing Course
- Cost: $226-$849
- Time commitment: 2-5 weeks
Prelicensing courses kick off your real estate career, and you’ll have your choice of completing them online or in person. Your choice of course format will depend on your learning style and what suits your schedule best.
The amount of time you’ll need comes down to how much class time you allot per week. You can complete all 60 hours online; those who study at a faster pace will finish in a shorter amount of time. If you approach it like a 40-hour workweek, you’ll finish in less than two weeks.
Prelicensing courses will often include extra features like exam prep, instructor support, or career resources.
The state of Hawaii requires 60 hours of coursework before sitting for the licensing exam. You’ll learn:
- Property ownership
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuation and market analysis
- General principles of agency
- Property disclosures
- Leasing and property management
- Transfer of title
- Practice of real estate
- Real estate calculations
- Ascertaining and disclosing material facts
- Types of ownership
- Property management
- Land use
- Title and conveyances
- Escrow process and closing statements
- Professional practices and conduct
You’ll need the help of a highly rated Hawaii real estate school to get through this weighty material. Most people choose a real estate school based on the cost and the educational format of the course. Here are the most popular options in terms of course design.
Wherever you live in Hawaii, you should be able to find a real estate school that meets in person during regularly scheduled sessions.
Classes that meet online at scheduled times are usually broadcast over Zoom (or another videoconferencing tool).
Self-paced Online Classes
On-demand real estate classes are extremely popular for those wanting to become real estate agents in Hawaii quickly. The course material may be presented in a series of slides, videos, and interactive content.
If you’re looking for a self-paced experience, we like Colibri Real Estate’s online platform best. They also happen to be featured on our national roundup of the best online real estate schools.
Readers of The Close can get 25% off tuition on any Colibri Real Estate prelicensing course in Hawaii using coupon code “Theclose25.”
After you have completed your coursework, you must pass the course’s final exam. The course exam will test your newfound knowledge of real estate law and real estate principles. The state requires a passing score of 70% or greater to move on to the next step. School completion certificates are valid for two years from the date of issuance.
3. Open an eHawaii Account
- Cost: Free
- Time commitment: 1 day
After passing the course final exam, you must register for an eHawaii account in order to create your course completion certificate. All formal certificates, including when you pass the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam, will be sent through this service. Use an active email address and make sure you type in your name as printed on your government-issued ID. If there’s any discrepancy, you may not be allowed to take the exam.
4. Schedule & Pass the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Time to Complete:
Computer-based, 130 questions
Bring to Testing Center:
Two forms of identification and your school completion or education equivalency certificate
After receiving your course completion certificate, you can schedule your real estate salesperson exam. In order to begin scheduling, you’ll need to create an account with PSI, the company that administers the exam. The cost of the exam is $61.
How to Study for the Real Estate Exam: Tips & Strategies
The Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson exam is an in-person, proctored test administered via computer. The exam consists of two parts that review state and national real estate laws. There are 130 multiple-choice questions altogether: 80 questions in the national portion and 50 additional questions in the state portion. You will have 240 minutes, or four hours, to complete the entire exam.
Bring two forms of identification with you to the testing center, including one current government-issued photo ID that includes your signature. You should also bring an unexpired Hawaii School Completion Certificate (print certificates issued electronically on white paper no smaller than 8 ½ x 11 inches in size), OR the original hard copy Prelicensing Education Equivalency Certificate for Real Estate License Examination.
A passing score for the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 70%, which translates to 56 questions right out of 80 for the national section and 35 correct answers out of 50 for the state portion. The rate at which testers pass the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 70%. There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the exam.
You should arrive 30 minutes early at the testing site. The Hawaii Real Estate Commission’s candidate handbook outlines the types of government-issued identification they’ll accept. There’s also a lengthy list of items you’re prohibited from bringing to the exam room (including common items like calculators, pens, and cell phones).
Testing sites for the Hawaii real estate exam are located in the following cities:
As soon as you’re done with the multiple-choice exam, you’ll learn whether you passed or failed. If you don’t pass, you’ll be given a detailed score report that will help you prepare for the retake. Again, you can take the exam as many times as you’d like within two years following the date on which you sent in your original exam application, but you will have to pay $61 each time.
5. Complete the Licensing Process
- Cost: $282-$382
- Time commitment: 1 week
After you pass your exam, the personnel at your test center will give you the Hawaii real estate license application and instructions for submission. You are required to submit your official school transcripts online through your eHawaii account. The rest of your application and any associated fees can be submitted in person or via mail to the HREB.
Costs vary based on the year. Those applying within an even-numbered year pay $282. Those in an odd-numbered year pay $382.
Your application will be processed within three to five business days. Once approved, you’ll receive your Hawaii real estate license.
Upon a successful application review by the HREB, you will be recognized as a Hawaii salesperson in real estate.
6. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
- Cost: Free
- Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
To hold an active real estate license in Hawaii, you must find a sponsoring brokerage with which to affiliate your license. A broker has received additional training, worked in the industry for at least two years, and passed the broker’s license exam.
Real Estate Broker vs. Agent: A Head-to-Head Analysis
Finding a broker to work under will feel like applying for a job. Once you’ve landed some broker interviews, you’ll want to ask each broker about the split (or how you and the brokerage will divide sales commissions). You’ll find that some brokerages will ask for a 50-50 split on commissions. Usually, brokerages that offer an even split will not charge monthly desk fees.
As you evaluate your options, remember that, as a commissioned salesperson, your income entirely depends on your abilities and effort. Some brokerages may offer you 70% of your commissions, a ratio that may rise to 100% after you’ve met a specific sales goal (or cap) for the year.
It’s important to be realistic about your earning potential in the first few months. It takes time to launch your new business. Some new agents choose to work part time so they can still bring in additional revenue as they’re learning the ropes. And if your brokerage does charge fees, you’ll have to pay them regardless of whether you’re closing deals or not.
Here are some questions to consider during your broker search:
- What is their reputation, both locally and nationally?
- What kind of real estate agents are they looking for?
- Are they technologically advanced and up to date with the latest systems?
- How do they support their agents with education and training?
- What kind of commission structure do they offer?
- Do they offer benefits?
- Do they provide agents with leads and marketing material?
- Is there room to grow with the brokerage?
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Hawaii: FAQs
Still not sure about the path forward? Get answers to common questions about how to become a real estate agent in Hawaii below.
Is the Hawaii real estate exam hard?
The passing rate for the Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 70%, meaning more than a quarter of the people who take it do not pass. Be sure to pay attention during your prelicensing course and take studying seriously. If you put in the proper effort, you should pass on your first attempt. Otherwise, you’ll need to pay another $61 to take the test again.
What if I have a real estate license from another state?
Hawaii is a rare case in that it does not have reciprocal agreements with any other states, so you’ll need to go through the entire application process to obtain your license unless you qualify for a prelicensing education equivalency.
For a complete list of steps to get your Hawaii real estate license through reciprocity, check out our helpful guide, Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability: A State-by-State Guide.
How long does it take to become a real estate agent in Hawaii?
It usually takes prospective agents two to four months to get their real estate license in Hawaii. Most of the time spent getting your license will be in your 60-hour prelicensing course. If you enroll in a scheduled full-time course, you can usually complete your classes pretty quickly.
You might take longer if you decide to work online at your own pace. Self-paced courses, on the other hand, provide you the freedom to fit learning into your busy schedule at work and home. You’ll have to decide how to choose the course that works best for you.
Can I get my Hawaii real estate license online?
Do real estate agents make good money in Hawaii?
According to ZipRecruiter, real estate agents make an average of $94,721 in Hawaii. Salary ranges can vary widely depending on the area and many other important factors, including education, certifications, additional skills, and the number of years you’ve spent in your profession.
Other significant details you should consider are brokerage fees and commissions. Usually, commission is shared between you and your broker based on a negotiated ratio that will be fully outlined in your contract. While this may differ based on several factors, a common commission split is 70% to the agent and 30% to the broker.
What are the pros & cons of becoming a real estate agent in Hawaii?
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