If you’re wondering how to get a North Carolina real estate license, you’re in the right place. We can guide you through the steps to obtaining your North Carolina real estate license and answer some common questions about this exciting career path. First, a word about terminology…
In North Carolina, real estate agents are referred to as Brokers. New real estate brokers start out as Provisional Brokers. You won’t see information from the North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) regarding your license as an “agent” or “salesperson.” Instead, there are are Provisional Brokers, Full Brokers, or Brokers-in-Charge in North Carolina.
How To Get a North Carolina Real Estate License
To be eligible for a North Carolina real estate license, you need to:
- Be at least 18 years of age
- Be a U.S. citizen or have legal working status in the U.S.
- Have a Social Security number
- Be of good character
If you checked all three boxes above, you are ready to take the first step toward a career in real estate. But if you want to learn more about where the industry is heading, check out Pinnacle Realty Advisors’ e-book containing the brokerage’s 2023 predictions for real estate. This educational report is chock full of historical data and trend charts to give you insight into the changing market you’ll be diving into.
Now that you’re armed with that vital market information, let’s take a look at the steps you’ll need to follow to get licensed in North Carolina.
1. Complete a 75-Hour Prelicensing Course
Time Commitment: 4-6 weeks
You’ll start by signing up for a prelicensing course. You can choose between taking your prelicense course in-person or online. Read our section on choosing a North Carolina real estate school for the types of class formats offered by most providers, but generally, you can take courses online or in-person.
The coursework will take 75 hours, and the North Carolina Real Estate Commission has a list of approved broker prelicense providers on its website. However, we’ve narrowed your search in our buyer’s guide, linked below.
You’ll want to explore the various prelicense package options to help you compare prices, features, and formats. In North Carolina, your prelicensing course ends with a proctored final course exam. The CE Shop conveniently includes free virtual online exam proctoring with their North Carolina prelicensing packages.
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2. Apply for a Real Estate License
Time Commitment: 30-60 minutes
Once you’ve completed your prelicensing course, you can complete your application for a North Carolina real estate license before scheduling the license exam. You can complete the real estate license application and pay the $100 fee online on the NCREC’s website.
You’ll need to create a login account. All your information pertaining to your application will be saved to this account, which you can access whenever you need to. When completing the application, you’ll be asked to provide the following:
- Legal name and address
- Social Security number
- Your prelicense school, instructor, and course information
- Your previous license history (if any)
- Your previous residences from the last seven years
- Your employment history from the last three years
- Any criminal offenses
Once you’ve completed the application, save it online.
3. Pass a Background Check
Time Commitment: 2-7 business days
You’ll also need to complete a background check as part of the license application. To start the process, which costs $15, visit the Criminal Records Checks (CRC) website. If you’ve lived in other states in the last seven years, the cost will vary. You can check the CRC’s pricing per state online.
Your background check will take two to seven business days to process, and the report will be sent to you by email. It will also be reported to your online broker application form on the online application system. You can submit your application once it is complete.
4. Pass the License Exam
Time Commitment: 4 hours (arrive 30 minutes early)
After you’ve completed your license application, you’ll receive a Notice of Exam Eligibility by email from the NCREC. You have 180 days to schedule your license exam.
In North Carolina, you can choose to take your license exam at a PSI testing location or via an online, proctored exam. You’ll need a good internet connection, microphone, and camera, and you’ll be supervised by video for the duration of the exam.
The license exam is administered by PSI Services, and they will already have your exam eligibility uploaded to their system. You can schedule your license exam in two ways: online or by phone. You’ll pay the $56 exam fee when you schedule your exam.
If you take your exam in person, you’ll need to bring two valid forms of ID with you. Both will need to show your signature, and one needs to be a government-issued photo ID. You can take the exam in-person at the following locations:
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4. Join a Real Estate Brokerage
Cost: No cost
Time Commitment: 2-4 weeks
Once you’ve successfully completed your prelicensing course, application, and license exam, you’ll be ready for an exciting career in real estate in North Carolina. The NCREC will email your provisional real estate broker license to you when your application and exam have been approved.
Your initial real estate broker license in North Carolina has provisional status, which means you’ll begin working under the supervision of a Broker-in-Charge. To remove the provisional status, you need to complete a 90-hour post-licensing course, after which you’ll get full broker status in the state.
Start looking for brokerages in the areas you’d like to work to jumpstart your new career, and check our guide, linked below, to get the inside track on some of the larger firms.
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How Much Does It Cost to Get a North Carolina Real Estate License?
It will cost about $700 to $900 to get a North Carolina real estate license. The cost includes all your prelicense education, application, and exam fees. Here’s a breakdown of what you’ll need to pay to get your North Carolina real estate license.
North Carolina Real Estate License Costs
|75-hour Prelicensing Course||$500-$800|
|North Carolina Real Estate License Exam Fee||$56|
|Background Check Fee||$15|
|North Carolina Real Estate License Application||$100|
If you’ve lived outside of North Carolina in the last seven years, your background check cost will vary by state. The cost of your prelicensing course will vary depending on which school and package you choose. Most basic packages include the 75-hour prelicense course, but others may offer extra support like exam prep or instructor support.
How much do real estate brokers make in North Carolina? So far in 2022, the average North Carolina real estate broker earns $82,903. Remember that in a commission-based career, there is no limit to your potential earnings as a real estate broker. Commission sales reward those who hustle and provide excellent client service.
Whether you decide to commit yourself full-time of part-time to your new career, 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 your commissions between yourself and the brokerage. For example, a 50/50 split means that the brokerage and salesperson evenly share the commission.
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: A cap is the maximum amount that the brokerage will take from the commissions that you’ve earned within the year. You may find some agencies offer a higher split but a lower cap, or vice versa.
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Choosing a North Carolina Real Estate School
Many schools provide online courses with additional features like exam prep, videos, and interactive study groups. Others offer livestreamed classes led by an instructor in real-time. Here are some of the pros and cons of each class format.
|Types of Instruction|
|In-person Classes|| |
|Livestream Classes|| |
|Online Classes|| |
North Carolina Real Estate FAQs
You’ve learned how to become a real estate broker in North Carolina, and you may still have questions. We’ve answered the most commonly asked questions about reciprocity, education requirements, cost, and more. Let us know if there’s something we missed in the comment section below!
Can I get my North Carolina real estate license online?
Yes, you can complete all North Carolina real estate licensing steps online. You can choose an online school for your prelicense course. You will have to complete a proctored exam when you’re done with your prelicense course, but you can do that at home or at a location of your choice. Likewise, your background check and license exam can be completed online.
How long does it take to get my North Carolina real estate license?
It typically takes people four months to get their North Carolina real estate license. The most time-consuming part of the process is completing your 75-hour prelicensing course. After your course, the process to apply and receive your real estate license is as little as 10 days.
Do I have to take the prelicensing course to get my real estate license in North Carolina?
If you have a degree in real estate, you can skip the 75-hour prelicensing course. In order to skip the prelicensing course, you’ll need a bachelor’s degree or higher in real estate, brokerage, real estate finance, real estate development, or a law degree. Your degree must be from an accredited college or university.
What is on the North Carolina real estate license exam?
The North Carolina Real Estate Commission outlines what is on the license exam in detail in their license applicant booklet, which you can find on their website. They also provide a Prelicensing Course Syllabus with more information.
What if I fail the license exam?
You can retake the North Carolina real estate license exam within 180 days of your original exam eligibility. The original date of your exam eligibility is the day you received your notice of eligibility by email. There needs to be at least 10 days left before your eligibility period expires in order to retake the exam if you failed before.
How do I activate my real estate license in North Carolina?
When you receive your North Carolina real estate provisional broker license, it will be on inactive status. In order to place your license on active status, you will need to find a broker-in-charge. When you work under a broker-in-charge, they will be able to place your license on active status. You will remain a provisional broker until you complete your 90-hour post-license course.
Does North Carolina have post-licensing requirements?
In order to become a full status broker, newly licensed provisional brokers in North Carolina have to complete a 90-hour post-license course.
How do I upgrade my provisional broker license status to full broker status?
To become a broker and say goodbye to the provisional broker status on your new North Carolina real estate license, you must complete 90 hours of post-licensing coursework.
If you’re eager to get to full broker status immediately, you might consider The CE Shop and their prelicensing course packages, which include your post-licensing hours so you can get started right away.
What if I already have my real estate license from another state?
If you are a real estate professional in another state, you may be able to skip the prelicense education requirements in North Carolina. All reciprocity applicants will be required to take and pass the North Carolina portion of the state licensing exam.
We recommend you reach out to the North Carolina Real Estate Commission to inquire about reciprocity based on your current licensure. You can learn more about license portability and reciprocity in our article Real Estate License Reciprocity & Portability: A State-by-State Guide.
More Career Resources From The Close
We hope you’ve learned the steps you need to take for your new real estate career in North Carolina. We wish you the best and we’re here to help you every step of the way. At The Close, our mission is to provide you with reliable strategies to help you thrive in your real estate career.
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