Do you want to learn how to become a real estate agent in New York? Whether it’s in Manhattan or the Hamptons, we’re here to guide you so you can begin your exciting new career in the industry. You’ll start by completing a 77-hour prelicensing course from one of these state-approved real estate schools. We’ve broken down every step to get you licensed in one of the busiest real estate markets in the world. Let’s get started.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York
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Complete a 77-hour Prelicensing Course
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Pass the State License Exam
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Complete a Background Check
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Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You
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Apply for Your License

To be eligible to get your real estate license in New York, you need to be at least 18 years old and free of criminal convictions. Let’s take a look at the five easy steps you’ll need to follow to become a real estate agent in New York.

1. Complete a 77-hour Prelicensing Course

  • Cost: $300–$600
  • Time commitment: 1-2 months

Your first step is to complete a 77-hour prelicensing course. You’ll have the option of taking your course online or in person, depending on your preference. For more details on this step, jump to our section on choosing the right real estate school for your needs. 

While some people prefer in-person classes, online options have become much more popular in the last few years. We recommend Colibri Real Estate if you’re considering taking your prelicensing course online as the company offers both self-paced and scheduled classes. It’s a leading online school for aspiring New York real estate agents.

Colibri Real Estate is offering our readers 30% off its prelicensing packages. Use promo code TheClose30 to save today.

Colibri Real Estate has four packages priced from $355 to $613. The top three packages include a Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. This means you’ll receive a full refund of your tuition if you don’t pass the licensure exam on the first try. It’s part of the reason they are our top pick in our guide to the best New York real estate schools.

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2. Pass the State License Exam

  • Cost: $15
  • Time commitment: 2 hours (arrive 30 minutes early)

Once you’ve completed your NY prelicensing course, it’s time to schedule your license exam. Start by creating an account with eAccessNY, New York’s licensing system. You’ll be able to pay the $15 exam fee online and schedule your exam at one of 11 exam sites in New York.

The New York real estate license exam is a multiple-choice written exam that you’ll get 1.5 hours to complete. Your exam results will be available on your eAccessNY account. You’ll receive a pass-fail notification, not a numerical score. Should you fail the exam, you can use your eAccessNY account to schedule another test. Note that you can retake the New York real estate licensing exam as many times as you like, but you’ll have to pay the $15 exam fee each time.

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3. Complete a Background Check

  • Cost: $101.75
  • Time commitment: 2 Hours

Congratulations! At this point, you’ve passed your license exam and are ready to apply for your real estate license. As part of the license application, you’ll need to complete a fingerprinting background check.

Your background check is administered by the New York City Department of Investigation. You can schedule your background check through the IdentoGO online system. No walk-ins are permitted for background checks, and you’ll pay $101.75 for the background check.

4. Find a Sponsoring Broker to Hire You

  • Cost: No cost
  • Time commitment: 2–4 weeks

When you explore job prospects with different brokerages, make sure you ask about their compensation and employment terms. See our section on compensation below for more details. Take all of these terms into consideration before you sign a contract with any brokerage. Once you’ve signed on the dotted line, you can find your first clients and start earning commissions!

📌   Pro Tip

Licensed New York real estate brokers have been in the field for at least three years, have taken 75 additional hours of real estate coursework, and have passed the New York State broker exam.

Licensed real estate agents are required to work under a broker. So at this point, it will be time to start looking for jobs with a New York real estate broker. Be prepared to knock on doors and introduce yourself to find a brokerage to oversee your work. 

5. Apply for Your License

  • Cost: $65
  • Time commitment: 1-2 weeks

Now that you’ve found a sponsoring broker, you can complete and submit your real estate license application. First, fill out the Real Estate Salesperson Application and pay the $65 application fee. You’ll need to include your sponsoring broker’s ID number on the application.

Your broker will receive a notification that you’ve submitted a licensing application and will give their approval. Once approved, you’ll receive your New York real estate license in the mail within a week or two.

As a licensed real estate agent in New York, you’ll be able to start selling in one of the most lucrative real estate markets in the world. We wish you all the best in your exciting new career!

How Much Does It Cost to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York?

It costs about $400 to $600 to get your real estate license in New York. Some of these costs are fixed, such as the application fee and exam fee. Your course costs and exam prep materials will vary depending on the school you choose.

Sample New York Real Estate License Costs

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Quick Facts

Prelicensing Course (77 hours):



Exam Registration:



License Application:



Total Cost:


(New York real estate license costs as of April 2023)

Choosing a Real Estate School in New York

Your first consideration is to decide whether you want to take classes in person or online. Online classes are typically more affordable and can often be taken at your own pace from home, eliminating the need for a commute.

In-person classes at New York real estate schools can be completed in 10 days, but you need the flexibility to be able to spend all day in a classroom. If you prefer interacting with instructors and other students, this may be your best option.

If you like aspects of both these formats, you might want to consider livestream classes. With this option, you’ll be able to follow an online schedule and talk to instructors in real time, but you won’t need to commute to a school for class.

Types of Instruction
In-person Classes
  • Traditional classroom setting
  • Get to know other students
  • Easy access to the instructor
  • More expensive than online classes
  • Commuting and traffic
  • Finding class times to fit your schedule
Livestream Classes
  • No commute
  • Ideal if you live far from in-person schools
  • You can ask instructors questions in real time
  • Finding classes to fit your schedule
  • No interaction with other students
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should
Online Classes
  • Work at your own pace anywhere with internet access
  • Take classes when convenient for you
  • Often the least expensive option
  • Instructors can generally only be accessed via email or phone
  • Little interaction with real estate pros
  • Technology doesn’t always work as it should

Colibri Real Estate is offering our readers 30% off its prelicensing packages. Use promo code TheClose30 to save today.

Compensation for New York Real Estate Agents

How much do real estate agents in New York make? According to Indeed, a real estate agent’s average income in New York is $89,847 (as of this writing). New York City agents earn a higher average annual income than many other places in the state due to the high cost of property there.

In your new career as a real estate agent, you’ll be paid solely by commission. If you’ve never worked as a commissioned salesperson, it may take some getting used to, but commission sales reward those who hustle and provide excellent client service. Here are some important things to know about your compensation structure as you begin your search for a brokerage to hire you.

  • Split: A split refers to how you’ll divide sales commissions between yourself and the brokerage. For example, a 50-50 split means that the brokerage and salesperson share the commission evenly.
  • Desk fee: Some brokerages will give you a higher percentage for your split, but they may charge you a monthly desk fee. Although you may make a larger share of the commission with each transaction, the desk fee will be collected monthly, whether or not you’ve closed a sale.
  • Cap: This is the maximum amount that the brokerage will take from the commissions that you’ve earned within the year. In general, once you hit your cap, you’ll take home 100% of your commission. You may find some agencies offer a higher split but a lower cap, or vice versa.

You may decide to quit your day job and jump in with both feet. Some new agents choose to work on a part-time basis to maintain another steady source of income as they develop a client base.

Curious how much an agent or broker makes in a year? Colibri surveyed thousands of real estate professionals, compiling the data for a comprehensive report that gives this kind of deep insight into the industry. If you want to understand your income potential, click on Colibri’s report below to learn all the secrets of the trade. The future is bright and the numbers are there to prove it.

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How to Become a Real Estate Agent in New York: FAQs

Still not sure about your path forward? We’ve answered the most frequently asked questions below. If we missed something, let us know in the comment section—we’d love to hear from you!

More Career Resources From The Close

We hope you’re as excited about starting your career as a real estate agent in New York as we are. At The Close, we’re here to celebrate your success and encourage your career growth with actionable steps. Don’t miss a single article and subscribe to our newsletter. And don’t forget to check out our Facebook Mastermind Group to connect with agents nationwide.