Are you thinking of getting your Iowa real estate license? A career in real estate offers variety and allows you to be your own boss. The best part is that it’s relatively simple to get started too. With just a few straightforward steps, you could be helping buyers and sellers in Des Moines or any other community in Iowa in no time.
To qualify, you must be over 18 and a legal U.S. resident. Our helpful guide will walk you through each step of the process so you know what to expect. Let’s jump in!
How to Get an Iowa Real Estate License
Each step of the process is straightforward, and we’ve researched every detail so you can get started right away. Let’s dig deeper into each step.
1. Complete a Prelicensing Course & Exam
Cost: $650 – $800
Time commitment: One to two months
To get started, you will need to complete 96 total hours of prelicensing coursework. In Iowa, the coursework is split into a 60-hour Principles of Real Estate Course and three 12-hour additional mandatory courses. Your mandatory courses cover buying, listing, and ethical practices.
The Principles of Real Estate course can be taken either in-person, via livestream, or in a self-paced online format. Many people prefer the flexibility that a self-paced course allows to accommodate their work and life schedule.
Your three additional mandatory courses, however, must be taken via live instruction. This means you can take them in-person or in a livestream format from the comfort of home.
If you’re interested in taking as much of your prelicensing course online, we recommend looking through the value-packed options for the 60-hour Principles of Real Estate portion at Colibri Real Estate. Their courses are expertly designed for self-paced learning, easy to use, and engaging.
Readers of The Close can SAVE 25% on any Colibri Real Estate prelicensing course in Iowa. Just use promo code TheClose25 at checkout.
In Iowa, you must also show proof of completing a final exam, although this isn’t your state license exam yet. Your chosen real estate school will provide you with unit tests or checkpoints for understanding throughout your course, and your final exam will check your overall comprehension of the material.
2. Pass the Iowa Real Estate License Exam
Quick Facts: Iowa Real Estate Exam
- Cost: $95
- Time to complete: Three hours
- Format: Computer-based, 120 multiple-choice questions
- What to bring: Two forms of valid signature ID (one photo ID)
Once you’ve finished your course, you’re ready to schedule your Iowa real estate license exam. You’ll need to visit the PSI Testing website to schedule your exam or schedule by phone at 1-800-733-9267.
You’ll be able to choose from one of Iowa’s three testing locations for your exam:
- West Des Moines
- Cedar Rapids
- Council Bluffs
Aim to arrive at your testing site 30 minutes early to allow for registration and be sure to bring two pieces of ID. You’ll have three hours to complete the 120-question exam. There will be two sections to your exam—a national and state portion. You will need to score 70% on each of the state and national portions to pass the license exam.
Free Real Estate Practice Exam + 7 Hacks to Help You Ace Your Licensing Test
3. Complete a Background Check
Time commitment: Four-plus weeks for processing
Congratulations on passing your license exam! Now it’s time to check some paperwork off our to-do list to get your license. In Iowa, you’ll need to complete a background check that you will submit with your license application.
We recommend starting the background check process right away, as it can take around four or more weeks to process. Start by visiting the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau’s website to create an account (called “My Iowa PBL”). You’ll be able to request a fingerprinting packet and pay the $51 fee online.
4. Join an Iowa Real Estate Brokerage
Time commitment: Two to four weeks
Before you can apply for your license, you must be associated with an active sponsoring broker in Iowa. Your sponsor broker will oversee you as a new agent and provide guidance and support as you navigate your new career.
You can start by finding local brokerages in your city and getting in touch with them. Brokers are familiar with this process since they had to go through it themselves, and they’ll be happy to tell you if they are looking to grow their real estate team.
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5. Purchase Errors & Omissions Insurance
Cost: $140 – $887
Time commitment: 30 – 60 minutes
You’re almost there! In Iowa, you must purchase Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance and include proof as part of your real estate license application. E&O insurance is a form of liability insurance that protects you and your real estate business in case of an unintentional mistake that leads to a lawsuit.
The Iowa Real Estate Commission has selected Rice Insurance Services Center as their group insurer, and there are two avenues you can pursue to get your coverage. The easiest is likely to work with your sponsoring broker since they have experience with E&O insurance and can guide you on what coverage to purchase.
You can also view and submit the application for individual E&O coverage through the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau’s website.
6. Apply for Your License
Time commitment: 30 – 60 minutes
You’ve completed every step and now it’s time to apply for your Iowa real estate license. You’ll do this by visiting the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau’s website and logging into your My Iowa PBL account. This is the same account you created to complete your background check.
To complete the application, you will follow the prompts in your Iowa PBL account and submit the following information or documents:
- The $125 application fee
- The application form with your and your sponsoring broker’s signature
- Proof of completion of your prelicensing courses
- Proof of passing the Iowa license exam
- Proof of E&O insurance coverage
Once you have submitted your license application, you’ll be notified by email of your active Iowa real estate license. You can also check your My Iowa PBL account at any time to check your license application status.
How Much Does It Cost to Get an Iowa Real Estate License?
Iowa Real Estate Governing Board:
Iowa Real Estate Commission
96 Hours of Prelicensing Coursework
Price Range for Prelicensing Courses:
$750 – $900
Total Estimated Cost:
$1,145 – $2,000
It costs an average of $1,400 to get your Iowa real estate license. Iowa is a unique state to get your real estate license because you must also purchase Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance. The cost of E&O insurance can vary by the type of coverage you choose.
Likewise, you’ll have some variability in the price of your 60-hour Principles of Real Estate course. Be sure to look through each of the real estate schools’ package features to get the most out of your learning experience.
Iowa Real Estate License Costs
|60-hour Prelicensing Course||$359 – $475|
|36-hour Additional Mandatory Courses||$375|
|Iowa Real Estate License Exam Fee||$95|
|Background Check Fee||$51|
|Errors & Omissions Insurance||$140 – $887|
|Iowa Real Estate License Application||$125|
|Total Costs:||$1,145 – $2,000|
Choosing an Iowa Real Estate School
In Iowa, the 96 hours of prelicensing coursework is often split into a 60-hour Principles of Real Estate course and three 12-hour additional courses on Buying, Listing, and Ethical Practices. The Iowa Real Estate Commission allows you to complete your 60-hour Principles of Real Estate course in an online, self-paced format, but your additional courses must be taken via live instruction.
This means you’ll be able to choose between taking your courses entirely in person, online via scheduled livestream classes, or a combination of the two formats paired with self-paced study. Luckily, you can complete all of your prelicensing courses from the comfort of home online.
|Types of Instruction|| |
|In-person Classes|| || |
|Livestream Classes|| || |
|Online Classes|| || |
You can expect to find a variety of features offered by Iowa real estate schools, such as instructor support, exam prep materials, and study groups. If you like the idea of learning at your own pace, Colibri Real Estate courses are packed with useful tools. Their courses are easy to navigate and designed by industry professionals with decades of experience, all at an affordable price.
For a one-stop shop, we recommend checking out the Iowa Association of Realtors, which offers all 96 hours of prelicensing coursework in a convenient bundle. You’ll be able to take all your courses via scheduled livestream classes from the comfort of home.
Related article: 5 Best Iowa Real Estate Schools for 2022 (when published)
Iowa Real Estate FAQs
How long does it take to get an Iowa real estate license?
It takes an average of three to six months to get your Iowa real estate license. The part of the process that takes the longest is completing your prelicensing coursework, as well as the processing time for a background check and obtaining the license.
Can I get my Iowa real estate license online?
You can complete nearly every step of getting your Iowa real estate license online. Start by choosing an online real estate school to complete your 96 hours of prelicensing coursework. Then, apply for your license exam, background check, and your license online. You’ll also be able to obtain your Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance online.
You will need to take your license exam in person and visit your local brokerages to become associated with a sponsoring broker.
How much do real estate agents make in Iowa?
As of 2022, real estate agents in Iowa earn an average income of $85,446 a year. Don’t forget that in a commission-based career, the sky is the limit on your earning potential as a real estate agent. Likewise, any business-building career can have its associated risks. With perseverance and a commitment to excellent customer service, you can enjoy a lucrative real estate career.
Can I get my Iowa real estate license by reciprocity?
Yes! Iowa has licensing reciprocity agreements with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Dakota, and West Virginia. You’ll simply need to provide your original real estate license, proof of Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance in Iowa, and proof of a background check to the Iowa Real Estate Commission.
For more information, visit the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau’s website.
More Career Resources From The Close
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