Not long ago, Realtor.com published a list of the 20 hottest housing markets. Many of the usual suspects were there—cities like Austin, Denver, and San Francisco, but the list also included Columbus, Springfield, Canton-Massillon, and Dayton. That’s right, four of the top 20 cities were located in Ohio.
If you’ve been considering a real estate career and live in Ohio, perhaps it’s time to act. Working as a real estate salesperson will enable you to have a flexible schedule and the potential to earn a good income. You’ll also be taking advantage of living in an area where homes move faster than other markets in the country.
Are you ready to work in one of America’s hottest housing markets? Let’s get started by reviewing the basic steps necessary to getting a real estate license in Ohio.
Choose an Ohio Real Estate School & Sign Up for Classes
Complete Your Ohio Real Estate Prelicensing Classes
Find a Broker to Hire You
Complete the Salesperson Examination Application
Pass a Background Check
Schedule Your Ohio Real Estate License Exam
Pass the Ohio Real Estate License Exam
How to Get an Ohio Real Estate Agent License in 7 Steps
We’ve scoured Ohio’s Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing’s website to learn the nitty-gritty details of earning your Ohio real estate license. Let’s dig into each step in detail, and then we’ll answer some of your most frequently asked questions.
1. Choose an Ohio Real Estate School & Sign Up for Classes
The first step of earning your real estate license in Ohio is to complete the educational requirements outlined by the state. Here’s a breakdown of the courses you’ll need to complete.
Ohio Real Estate Education Requirements
|Real Estate Principles and Practices||40 hours|
|Ohio Real Estate Law||40 hours|
|Real Estate Appraisal||20 hours|
|Real Estate Finance||20 hours|
|Total Hours||120 hours|
The courses must be completed at “an institution of higher education that awards a degree in at least a two-year program.” This means that you must enroll in a college or community college to take the real estate prelicensing courses that allow you to sit for the exam.
You won’t need to enroll in Psychology 101 or American history classes and earn a bachelor’s degree to become a real estate agent. While you could receive your bachelor’s or associate’s degree in real estate-related fields, most schools, like Hondros College, also have real estate professional programs that you can complete in just a few months.
The good news about these real estate programs is that many of the courses are offered online. Having this flexibility will enable you to pick a plan that fits your schedule and learning style.
Should I Take My Prelicensing Classes Online or in Person?
Since the state of Ohio requires you to take your courses from a community college or college, your choice of schools may be limited.
One benefit of taking in-person classes is that you’ll be forced to spend a set amount of time each week for your real estate study. Also, there may be a price difference between in-person and online classes, so if budget is a concern for you, make sure you factor this into your decision-making process.
[Related Article: 4 Best Places to Take Real Estate Classes Online in Ohio]
2. Complete Your Ohio Real Estate Prelicensing Classes
You’ll cover a lot of material in your prelicensing classes, and it may feel overwhelming to learn so much in an eight-week course. But you can do this! You may have a difficult few months of study, but it will be worth it when you earn your first commission for the sale of a house in Cleveland or Columbus.
The state requires that you complete the 120 hours of coursework to sit for the exam unless you’ve been a licensed real estate salesperson within the last four years. Additionally, you must have completed the instruction within 10 years before submitting a salesperson application.
3. Find a Broker to Hire You
It may seem odd that you would find a broker to hire you before you pass the salesperson exam, but part of the exam application asks you to enter the information for the company you plan to be associated with when working as an agent. The form asks for the broker’s company file number and contact information.
All states require that beginning real estate salespersons work under a broker. A broker is an experienced real estate agent who took additional courses and passed a broker exam. After passing the exam, a broker can oversee other real estate agents’ transactions.
Finding a broker to work under may feel like applying for a job. In the course of your discussion, make sure the broker answers the following questions:
How Will My Commissions Be Split?
Make sure you understand how the commissions that you earn will be split between you and the agency. Some brokers will require a 50/50 split on commissions in exchange for an office, promotional materials, and other professional benefits.
Will I Be Charged a Desk Fee?
If the broker allows you to keep a higher percentage of your commissions, you may be charged a monthly desk fee. These fees would be due to the agency regardless if you earned any commissions that month.
What’s My Cap?
A cap is the top amount of money that the agency will take from the commissions that you have earned within the year. Once you have made a set amount of commissions for the agency, you’ll be able to keep all of your commissions for the rest of the year.
Consider speaking with several brokers and comparing offers before making a decision. You may find that big-name agencies have built-in strategies to assist a beginning salesperson, whereas smaller brokers that might be willing to take you offer you a better deal and provide more personalized training.
4. Complete the Salesperson Examination Application
Once you’ve completed the 120 hours of coursework and have found a broker willing to take you under his or her wing, it’s time to fill out the exam application. This application must be accompanied by the proof of completion of the education requirements, which may be a copy of your official transcript or a course completion certificate from the educational institution. You must also include the application fee of $81.
The actual application is rather short. Besides providing your contact information, date of birth, and Social Security number, you’ll also need to include the broker’s signature and the agency’s file number.
How Should I Answer the Questions About My Background?
The state of Ohio cares about your criminal history. After all, as a real estate agent, you’re allowed access into people’s homes when they are not present. State guidelines say that applicants should not have been convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude. Also, applicants must not have violated any civil rights laws regarding real estate.
If there is something concerning about your past, you may be tempted not to disclose that information on your application. This would be a mistake. The next step in the application process involves getting fingerprinted for a background check. The state may overlook your criminal past, but they may not be as forgiving if you violated the application rules.
If you have something in your past that you worry may affect your ability to sit for the exam, the Division of Real Estate encourages you to apply. It may be possible to have a conviction or violation disregarded.
5. Pass a Background Check
The state of Ohio isn’t going to take you on your word that you have the proper moral code and legal history to work as a real estate salesperson. They will examine your background as a part of the application process.
The first step in this process requires applicants to have fingerprints taken by Webcheck. This needs to be completed within 10 days of submitting your application.
You can find a Webcheck location closest to you by referring to this website. Make sure the site you choose can submit both state and FBI fingerprints to the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation.
The cost of the fingerprint and background check varies depending upon the location. The price for both checks ranges between $50 and $80. Before arriving at the location, make sure you understand what forms of ID are acceptable.
The following reason codes must be given to Webcheck upon having the fingerprints taken: BCI&I Reason Code: 4735 05 and/or 121 08 FBI Reason Code: 121 08.
The results should be directed to the Ohio Division of Real Estate and Professional Licensing.
6. Schedule Your Ohio Real Estate License Exam
Once the Ohio Department of Commerce processes your application, your contact information will be sent to the PSI testing company. PSI will then send you a Candidate Information Bulletin that will have instructions on scheduling your exam.
The cost of both the state and national parts of the exam is $61. The testing sites are in the following locations:
What Is the Best Way to Study for the Ohio Real Estate Broker Exam?
Before signing up for a real estate program, learn whether the institution offers exam prep as a part of the package. This exam prep may vary in quality. Some may provide practice exams, while other schools may include in-class review sessions.
You may also want to check out Mbition. Mbition offers two budget-friendly exam prep packages for Ohio. Their personalized learning tool adapts your study to help you prepare for the test.
PSI, the testing institution, also encourages you to use their examination content outline as the basis of your study time. Applicants should review the list of topics, and read and take notes on those particular points. The outline can be found on pages 9-12 of this document produced by PSI.
7. Pass the Ohio Real Estate License Exam
You must pass both the state and national portions of the Ohio real estate exam with a 70% to receive your salesperson license. You have 120 minutes to answer 80 questions on the national part of the exam, and 60 minutes to answer 40 questions on the Ohio part of the exam.
What Should I Bring When Taking the Exam at a Testing Center?
You must bring two forms of identification on the day of your test. One of those must be a government-issued ID, such as a driver’s license or passport. This form of ID must have your photograph and your signature. The second ID must have your signature and your preprinted name. The names on both IDs must match the name that is found on the Examination Registration Form.
The only other item that you are allowed to have during the exam is a silent, non-programmable calculator. Leave your purse, wallet, phone, watch, food, and drinks in the car.
When Will I Receive the Results of My Exam?
You will see the results of your exam on the computer screen once you are finished. No one else at the testing facility will see your results.
Can I Take the Exam More Than Once?
If you fail the Ohio real estate license exam, you can retake it. The retake fee is the same as the original testing fee of $61. But if you have to retake only one section of the test, you will pay $41.
How to Get a Real Estate License in Ohio: FAQs
What other questions do you have about earning your real estate license in Ohio? Here are the answers to some common questions.
How much do real estate agents in Ohio make?
According to Indeed, real estate salespeople in Ohio make an average of $81,687 per year. Remember, this figure is based on the amount of commissions the real estate agent earns.
How long does it take to become a licensed real estate agent in Ohio?
It takes about three months to become a real estate agent in Ohio. Applicants must complete 120 hours of prelicensing instruction. Besides completing your classes, you will also need to spend time talking with brokers, studying for the exam, and waiting for your application to be approved.
Some in-person programs can get through the 120 hours of material in as fast as six weeks. If you’re working through a self-paced online program, you may choose to work faster or slower, depending on your schedule. Be advised that some online programs only allow you access to the materials for six months.
How much does it cost to get an Ohio real estate license?
It costs around $1,300 to get your Ohio salesperson real estate license. Some of these costs are set, such as the application fee and exam fee.
The cost for the prelicensing classes, on the other hand, can vary greatly, ranging from $1,000 to $2,000. The cost varies based on whether the package includes the exam prep materials or continuing education courses for the first-year license renewal.
Ohio Real Estate License Costs
|Prelicensing Classes (120 Hours)||$999 (through Davis College and The CE Shop)|
|Exam Prep Materials||$129 (Mbition)|
|Ohio Real Estate License Application Fee||$81|
|Ohio Real Estate Exam Fee||$61|
Should I be a full-time or part-time real estate salesperson?
You should consider your financial situation before quitting your current full-time job to work as a real estate salesperson. If you have a healthy savings account or a partner who can pay for your household expenses on his or her income, you may consider jumping into your real estate career with both feet.
You will also incur professional expenses even working part-time as an agent. Those include state licensing fees, marketing costs, and MLS memberships. To help you determine how many average-priced homes in Ohio you need to sell this year to break even, use this part-time real estate agent success calculator.
Does Ohio have a real estate license reciprocity with other states?
Yes, real estate agents working in Arkansas, Connecticut, Kentucky, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, West Virginia, and Wyoming may apply to work in Ohio without taking the 120 hours of coursework. Learn more about license reciprocity from this informative source.
Looking for Even More Resources?
The Close has a TON of strategy guides, walk-throughs, interviews, and tip lists to help you launch your career in real estate. Start by taking a look at our Ultimate Guide to Getting a Real Estate License, and then check out our 7 Hacks for the Real Estate Practice Exam (+ Free Mini Test).