Becoming a real estate agent in Massachusetts is as easy as taking 40 hours of real estate education and passing the Massachusetts real estate license exam. Since most significant career changes require at least some technical training or even a college degree, making the switch to real estate is easy by comparison.
Let’s get started with a basic rundown of what it takes to become a Massachusetts (MA) real estate agent, then we’ll jump into a little more detail about each step and round things out with some of your most frequently asked questions. In no time at all, you’ll be selling homes from Boston to Bridgewater, Brookline, and Braintree. How exciting is that?
Take the Prelicensing Courses
Apply for the Massachusetts Salesperson Examination & License
Study for the Massachusetts Real Estate Exam
Pass the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Exam
Pay Your License Fee
Join a Massachusetts Real Estate Brokerage
OK, now that you know the basics, let’s dive into each step and walk you through each part of getting your MA real estate license.
1. Take the Prelicensing Courses
Before you choose a school to enroll in for your prelicensing courses, make sure it’s an authorized real estate school in Massachusetts. This list tells whether the schools offer online or in-person courses.
Some of the real estate schools are independent institutions that can only be found in Massachusetts. Other schools are “chains” that can be found in other states. Regardless, all of the schools are required to cover the same material.
As you try to figure out which school would be best for you, check out The CE Shop. They offer three online packages of Massachusetts prelicensing classes and boast a 91% success rate for students passing the exam.
What Will I Learn in My Prelicensing Classes?
During your prelicensing courses, you’ll learn about real estate from both legal and financial perspectives. You’ll also learn about real estate principles and practices that should guide your behavior while working as a salesperson.
Here are some of the topics you’ll cover:
- Property rights
- Title transfers
- Basic contract law
- Agency relationships
- Brokerage operations and responsibilities
- Property disclosures
- Financing for real estate
- Property valuation
- Federal real estate laws
- Massachusetts real estate laws
- Real estate math
This list of topics may feel intimidating at first, but don’t worry, you don’t have to have any prior knowledge about real estate before taking the classes. It’s the duty of the real estate school to present the material as interestingly as possible so you can learn the unfamiliar information.
At the same time, keep in mind that real estate school isn’t going to be a breeze. You need to take some personal responsibility for your learning, so make sure you’re setting yourself up with good study habits and preparing yourself for class to get the most out of every session.
Should I Take My Prelicensing Class Online or In Person?
There are actually three options available for completing your prelicensing coursework. Let’s discuss the pros and cons of each type.
In-person Real Estate Classes
If you want the benefit of live instruction and you learn best in a classroom environment, in-person classes are your best option. With 40 hours of material, you’ll likely be expected to show up for a few weekly sessions or a couple intensive weekends. While in-person classes tend to be more expensive than online options, it’s worth the investment to master the material and ace your test the first time.
Online Real Estate Classes
Before you sign up for online real estate classes, make sure you understand the format. Some offer text-only slides that you have to read, and other courses provide visual and audio instruction. Either format allows you to go through the material at your own pace and work on the courses when your schedule allows.
Some Massachusetts real estate schools offer 20 hours of classroom instruction and then require you to get through the other 20 hours of material on your own time. Other schools offer live Zoom classes, so you can log in from home to receive live instruction.
2. Apply for the Massachusetts Salesperson Examination & License
The next step in becoming a real estate agent in Massachusetts is to apply to take the exam. You’re not able to sit for the exam until you complete the following steps:
- Show proof that you are 18 years old or older
- Submit a form from your real estate school showing that you completed the 40 hours of prelicensing courses within the last two years
- Submit three character endorsements from non-familial people
- File all Massachusetts state tax returns and pay all state taxes
- Provide a Social Security or tax identification number
- Pay an application fee of $31 and the exam fee of $54
Once you’ve been approved to take the MA real estate license exam, you can go online at www.psiexams.com to schedule your exam. You can also sign up for the exam by phone or through email. When you sign up for the test, make sure you spell your name exactly as it appears on your identification.
Massachusetts testing sites include Auburn, Charlestown, Fall River, Lawrence, and West Springfield.
3. Study for the Massachusetts Real Estate Exam
Before you purchase a prelicensing course package from a Massachusetts real estate school, read the fine print on what it includes. Some of the higher-priced packages may include access to study materials for the Massachusetts real estate exam.
If your package does not include study materials, you may consider purchasing exam prep materials from Mbition. Their $129 test prep materials will help you prepare for the national and state portions of the exam.
4. Pass the Massachusetts Real Estate Salesperson Exam
The Massachusetts salesperson exam consists of 120 multiple-choice questions. You’ll be given 240 minutes to take the exam, and the questions will cover topics relating to state and national real estate practices and laws. The test is administered on a computer.
Show up at least 30 minutes before the scheduled start of the test. Bring two valid forms of ID on the day of the exam. One of the pieces of identification needs to be a government-issued photo ID, such as a driver’s license, passport, or military identification card. The second ID can be a credit or debit card or Social Security card. Employment and school IDs aren’t accepted.
Leave all other items except the two pieces of identification in your car or at home when you arrive at the testing facility. You’ll not be allowed to have any of your personal belongings in the same room with you during the test.
When Will I Receive the Results of My Exam?
As soon as you complete the exam, you’ll be notified if you pass. You must receive at least 70% on both sections of the test to obtain your license.
Can I Take the Exam More Than Once?
If you don’t earn a 70% or higher on both sections of the MA real estate license exam, you’ll receive a diagnostic report detailing your strengths and weaknesses. This report should enable you to strategically study for the next time you take the exam.
You may retake the exam as many times as you need within two years following the date that you completed your prelicensing classes. You’ll have to pay the exam fee each time you schedule a retake.
5. Pay Your License Fee
Massachusetts is an interesting state in that it allows you to pay for and receive your license immediately after passing the test. When you arrive at the testing facility, you need to be prepared to pay for your license using a credit or debit card, personal check, cashier’s check, or money order. Cash payment is not accepted.
The fee ranges between $103 and $150 since the cost of the license is prorated depending upon the birth month of the applicant.
6. Join a Massachusetts Real Estate Brokerage
Massachusetts law requires that real estate salespeople work under a real estate broker. A broker has experience in real estate, has taken additional training, and has passed the broker exam.
Consider talking with several brokers in your area. While they will ask you questions similar to what you may answer in a job interview, it is necessary that you ask questions of the broker as well.
You may ask about the split that you can expect on your real estate commissions. For example, some brokerages offer a 50/50 split, while others may provide you with a higher percentage but will charge you a monthly “desk fee.”
Also, consider asking about the “cap.” A “cap” is the top amount that the brokerage will take from your commissions within a year. Commissions that you earn on top of the cap are yours to keep.
As a beginning real estate salesperson, you may also question the brokerage on what kind of training or support they offer to those just starting in the profession. Finding the right real estate brokerage can be tough, which is why The Close has put together a guide to help you choose. Check out our article, The Best Real Estate Company to Work for in 2020, to get the inside strategy on how to choose the right real estate company for you.
How to Get a Real Estate License in Massachusetts: FAQs
We know you are excited to help families find their dream homes. Here are a few other items to consider before you get started.
How long does it take to become a licensed real estate agent in Massachusetts?
You can become a licensed real estate agent in Massachusetts in two or three months. If you have the time, you can finish the 40 hours of classroom instruction in one week. The rest of the time will need to be spent studying for the exam, filling out the application, and finding a real estate broker to oversee your career.
How much does it cost to get a MA real estate license?
It costs around $800 to get your MA real estate license. Some of the costs of earning your real estate license in MA are the same for everyone, such as exam fees and exam application fees. But some of the costs are variable, such as the prelicensing classes and test prep materials.
Massachusetts Real Estate License Costs
|Prelicensing Classes (40 Hours)||$469 (through The CE Shop)|
|Test Prep Materials||$129 (through Mbition)|
|Massachusetts Real Estate License Exam Fee||$54|
|MA Real Estate License Exam Application Fee||$31|
|Massachusetts Real Estate License Fee||$103-$150 (depending on your birthday)|
How much do real estate agents in Massachusetts make?
According to Indeed, the average salary of a real estate salesperson in Massachusetts is $85,162. While this income may sound higher than average, remember that is entirely based on commissions.
Should I be a full-time or part-time real estate agent?
It may take you some time to ramp up your real estate business, but hopefully, word will quickly spread about how you provide amazing customer service to your clients. Until that happens, you may consider keeping your day job so you can earn an income during those building months.
To help you decide when it is time to quit your day job, take a look at the Part-time Real Estate Agent Success Calculator located in this article. This will help you determine how many average-priced homes you need to sell to earn a profit.
Which states have real estate license reciprocity with Massachusetts?
There are 11 states that offer real estate license reciprocity with Massachusetts. This means licensed real estate agents in those states may not have to retake prelicensing courses or the real estate exam before getting a license to work in Massachusetts. To learn more about reciprocity agreements between states, read Real Estate License Reciprocity and Portability: A State-by-State Guide.
Looking for More Resources?
Want more information about getting your real estate license and planning a successful launch of a new career? Check out our complete guide on getting a real estate license, as well as join The Close Real Estate Agents Mastermind Group to learn more from fellow agents.