From the pageantry of the Kentucky Derby to the distinct flavors of the Bourbon Trail, Kentucky is an attractive 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 Bluegrass 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 seven easy steps, and you’ll be launching your career in Kentucky real estate in no time.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Kentucky
Let’s dive into these steps in a little more detail. Before long, you’ll be helping clients buy and sell Federal-style houses in Louisville, Colonials in Lexington, and Queen Annes in Owensboro.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Kentucky?
It costs approximately $1,000 to get your real estate license in Kentucky, 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 Kentucky, you must complete the state-specific licensing process. The price of the required 96-hour prelicensing courses (and optional exam prep materials) will vary depending on the provider you choose.
Prelicensing Course Final Exam:
Errors & Omissions Insurance Premium:
(Kentucky real estate license costs as of May 2023)
How to Get a Kentucky Real Estate Agent License in 7 Easy Steps
Before you begin, let’s make sure you’re eligible. Kentucky 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
If you are a licensed attorney, have a degree in real estate, or have a license in another state, you may be able to waive some of your licensing requirements. For example, if you have six academic credit hours in real estate courses from an accredited college or university, they can be used to fulfill your 96 hours of prelicensing education.
Kentucky has reciprocal agreements with four states: Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia. Visit the Kentucky Real Estate Commission (KREC) 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 Kentucky? Here are the steps you’ll need to follow:
1. Complete a 96-hour Prelicensing Course
- Cost: $325-$849
- Time commitment: 3-6 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 96 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 three weeks.
Prelicensing courses will often include extra features like exam prep, instructor support, or career resources. Visit The Close’s article on real estate schools in Kentucky to find the prelicensing course that’s right for you.
The state of Kentucky requires 96 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
- Real estate commission
- Requirements for a license
- Brokerage activities and requirements
- License law requirements for contracts
- Property management
You’ll need the help of a highly rated Kentucky 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 Kentucky, 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 Kentucky 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 Kentucky using coupon code “Theclose25“.
For more options, visit The Close’s article on real estate schools in Kentucky to find the prelicensing course that’s right for you.
2. Pass the Prelicensing Course Final Exam
- Cost: $0-$25
- Time commitment: 1 day
After completing your 96-hour prelicensing course, you must get at least 75% of the answers correct on your course final exam.
This, to be clear, is not the same as the state exam. It’ll be provided by your prelicensing education company and is an indication that you have reviewed and retained the information from your course. Like the state exam, it’s a closed-book, closed-note test. You are allowed to use a basic-function calculator and scratch paper, but no cell phones or outside internet access is allowed.
Kentucky is one of the few states that require the prelicensing course exam to be supervised by a proctor. Even if you take this test in your own home, you must have a proctor overseeing you when sitting for the test. Since the final exam, whether offline or online, must be taken in a proctor’s presence, you’ll have to schedule a proctoring appointment in advance. The cost for proctoring is $25 per exam. However, some schools include a proctored exam in their education packages.
3. Complete a Background Check
- Cost: $28-$61.25
- Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
Kentucky requires all applicants to request a copy of their national criminal history before registering for the real estate exam or submitting their activation paperwork.
To begin this process, go to your local law enforcement agency to get fingerprinted. The state real estate commission recommends that you obtain your fingerprints at a police station or sheriff’s office. Kentucky State Police charge $10 for fingerprinting.
After getting your fingerprints taken, there are two options for obtaining a national criminal history check:
- Through the FBI: This option costs $18. The report is mailed to you and the average processing time is one week.
- Through the Kentucky State Police: This option costs $51.25. Individuals must schedule an appointment to be fingerprinted through the Kentucky State Police. This report is sent directly to the KREC and the average processing time is one to two weeks.
Completing and turning in your fingerprints will begin the background check process. All national criminal history checks expire 90 days after the report date of issuance, so it’s important to time this step wisely. The KREC cannot issue a license without a valid, current report.
4. Schedule & Pass the Kentucky Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Time to complete:
Computer-based, 130 questions
Bring to testing center:
Two forms of identification, including one current government-issued photo ID that includes your signature
After passing your background check, you can schedule your sales associate exam. In order to begin scheduling, you’ll need to create an account with PSI, the company that administers the exam. You have four months to pass the exam after passing your background check. The cost of the exam is $100.
How to Study for the Real Estate Exam: Tips & Strategies
The Kentucky 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: 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.
A passing score for the Kentucky Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 75%, which translates to 60 questions correct out of 80 for the national section and 38 correct answers out of 50 for the state portion. The rate at which testers pass the Kentucky Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 50%. There is no limit to the number of times you can retake the exam within the four-month window. However, don’t forget that your background check is only valid for 90 days, so it’s best not to put off the exam too long.
You should arrive 30 minutes early at the testing site. The Kentucky 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 Kentucky real estate exam are located in the following cities:
- Bowling Green
- Mount Sterling
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 one year following the date on which you sent in your original exam application, but you will have to pay $100 each time.
5. Obtain Errors & Omissions Insurance
- Cost: $100-$232
- Time commitment: 1 day
All active licensees in Kentucky are mandated to carry errors and omissions (E&O) insurance. This insurance typically protects brokerages and individual agents from getting sued by a client if they made a mistake related to real estate transactions. It’ll cover the legal, defense, and court costs related to a claim.
You can use any insurance agency to find the E&O policy that works for you, so it’s best to take some time and research your options. KREC works closely with Rice Insurance Services Company to provide affordable options, but make sure to check with your principal broker to verify their firm requirements for coverage. In the case of Rice, the initial cost of the policy is $232, but there are surcharges and taxes that can impact the price. This policy is good for two years.
Visit the KREC website for more information.
6. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
- Cost: Free
- Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
Kentucky requires that you work under a broker after passing the real estate salesperson exam. 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?
7. Complete the Licensing Process
- Cost: $130
- Time commitment: 1-2 weeks
The final step is a simple one. With all the above tasks completed, apply for that hard-earned salesperson license.
This license allows you to handle real estate transactions, including buying and selling properties as well as managing the rental process. You’ll receive your application along with your passing score report at your exam site. The cost of the application is $130. While the KREC doesn’t provide an estimated wait time to get your application reviewed and approved, you must apply for your license within 60 days after passing your exam.
You can either complete the application and send it to the KREC’s office with a check or money order or submit the application online. You will receive an email with application instructions from KREC within two days of passing both portions of the exam. At the end of the application, you will be asked to pay the appropriate fees with a debit or credit card.
Upon a successful application review by KREC, you will be recognized as a Kentucky salesperson in real estate.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Kentucky: FAQs
Still not sure about the path forward? Get answers to common questions about how to become a real estate agent in Kentucky below.
Is the Kentucky real estate exam hard?
The passing rate for the Kentucky Real Estate Salesperson Exam is 50%, meaning half 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 $100 to take the test again.
What if I have a real estate license from another state?
Kentucky has reciprocity agreements with four states: Florida, Ohio, Tennessee, and West Virginia
For a complete list of steps to get your Kentucky 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 Kentucky?
It usually takes prospective agents two to four months to get their real estate license in Kentucky. Most of the time spent getting your license will be in your 96-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 Kentucky real estate license online?
Do real estate agents make good money in Kentucky?
According to ZipRecruiter, real estate agents make an average of $71,747 in Kentucky.
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, this is a fixed percentage between you and your brokerage. 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 Kentucky?
More Career Resources From The Close
Licensed agents can get a steady stream of career help by subscribing to our newsletter. You’ll get the latest news, actionable real estate strategy, and insight from (and for) the world’s best real estate agents.