The Ultimate Guide to
Getting Your Real Estate License
Presented by the Real Estate Academy of Idaho
Welcome to Your Career in Real Estate
Please enjoy our guide to getting your Idaho real estate license and beginning your career as a real estate agent in Idaho. The steps below are an overview of the steps required to obtain your real estate license. We offer both pre-license courses to launch your career, as well as continuing education courses to keep your license current. We are here to help you succeed - don't hesitate to reach out if you have any questions about getting licensed or your career in real estate!
Preparing for Your Career
You’re ready to make the leap into real estate. Whether you are just dipping your toes or cannon-balling right in, you’ll want to set your goals and expectations. We find that students often start without having a clear picture of what they are after. They know they want success and, of course, income, but what does that mean? Success is one of those words tossed around and yet the definition is different for each person.
As you begin your career, you'll want to define what success means to you. For example, success could be work/life balance. Success could be a specific income level or a number of successful transactions. How are you defining your success and is it something that is measurable? How will you know when you’ve achieved it?
How do you set goals in real estate? What is realistic and attainable? How do market conditions affect what you are seeking to accomplish? There are many variables that come into play and as you set your goals, you will want to take those into account. If, for example, you’ve set a target income level, you have to account for the cost of sales to find your net income. So, if you are wanting to make $50,000 in net commissions, how much do you need to earn in gross commissions knowing that a significant portion goes towards taxes, broker splits, marketing costs, license maintenance, office space rental, etc?
Equally important, where do you anticipate your business coming from? Do you have a lot of personal connections or are you looking to invest in online marketing? What is the anticipated return on investment for each method of marketing? Will you spend your resources (time and effort) focused on buyers or sellers?
These are all factors to consider as you write a business plan. Yes, you read that right, a business plan. You are starting a small business – you should have a full plan that not only defines success, but outlines your budget, identifies business activities and tactics, and a 12-month marketing calendar.
Once you have focused on building a business with structure, you’ll find yourself a little less lost and a little less frantic because you will know your direction.
Complete Pre-Licensing Courses
The Idaho Real Estate Commission requires that all licensees take 90 hours of live, in-person pre-license education. All pre-license modules are available as live courses only – there is no option to complete your pre-license modules online in Idaho.
There are two pre-license modules that are required. Each module is 45 hours of in-person education that combine to make an intensive introduction into the world of real estate in Idaho. Module 1 focuses on real estate industry principles, theory and applications. Module 2 focuses on the practice of real estate including pricing, contracts and ethics. We offer both Pre-Licensing Modules 1 & 2 at the Real Estate Academy of Idaho.
Each module takes a week to complete. The courses are offered in consecutive weeks. You must take Module 1 first, but you do have the option to choose to take Module 2 immediately after Module 1, or wait until a subsequent offering.
Both Modules have final tests that you must pass in order to be eligible to take the Idaho state licensing exam.
Schedule Fingerprinting & Background Check
You will need to get fingerprinted and have a background check completed before you can get your Idaho real estate license. It can take up to 6 weeks for the prints to be processed. We recommend scheduling an appointment as soon as you can – no need to wait until your courses are over!
The Idaho Real Estate Commission partners with Pearson VUE to conduct fingerprinting and hold the state licensing exams. You can schedule a time to get fingerprinted with Pearson VUE testing centers conveniently located in both North Idaho and Boise.
The cost for having fingerprints taken is approximately $60.00. Fingerprints are valid for a period of six months.
Schedule Idaho State Real Estate Licensing Exam
Upon completion of Pre-License Modules 1 & 2, you will be prepared to take the Idaho real estate licensing exam. You can schedule the exam immediately following your courses, or you can wait for up to three years after completing the pre-licensing modules. We recommend taking the exam as close to the completion of your courses as you feel comfortable. The longer you wait, the harder it may be to recall the information learned.
To schedule the exam, you can schedule a time through Pearson VUE. As mentioned above, the testing center is also the location of the fingerprinting office.
The cost for the exam is $80.00 each time you take it.
We often get questions about passing rates on the exam. The testing facility does not track by individual school, but here are overall Idaho state statistics:
Salesperson Exam Passing Rates
|National Portion||Idaho Portion|
|First Time||Retake||First Time||Retake|
Apply for your Idaho Real Estate License
Upon completion of the exams and fingerprinting, you are now able to apply for a license. You will need to complete the Idaho Real Estate Commission Salesperson License Application. You'll need to provide the verification of fingerprints, your certificates from Pre-License Modules 1 & 2, a high school or college diploma or transcripts, and the completed, notarized application.
The cost for applying for your license is $160.00. This can be done in person in Boise at the Idaho Real Estate Commission office located at 575 E Parkcenter Blvd, Ste 180, Boise, or via mail (details on application).
Interview Brokers and Hang Your License
The Idaho Real Estate Commission will issue a license, but it will be inactive until a real estate broker activates it. Every salesperson must work under an active broker in order to list or sell real estate for another. This is commonly referred to as "hanging your license."
There are many brokers to choose from and you’ll want to consider what services, technology and training you hope to receive from your broker. We’ll offer tips during class about how to create a list of questions and we strongly encourage you to interview with several brokers – even if you think you know which brokerage you would like to represent.
We want you to feel confident with your decision to ensure that you will seek success no matter where you land!
Continue Your Education
Your education in real estate does not stop when you obtain your real estate license! Not only will you be continually learning from experience throughout your career, you will need to participate in accredited Continuing Education (CE) courses in order to keep your real estate license current.
View this video from the Idaho Real Estate Commission to learn about renewing your license and CE credits:
We offer Continuing Education (CE) courses at the Real Estate Academy of Idaho.
Costs to Become A Real Estate Agent in Idaho
As you can imagine, there are costs associated with starting your real estate career. These include everything from your initial pre-license education, to getting fingerprinted and paying for your final exam, to your regular MLS membership dues.
The cost to become a licensed real estate agent in Idaho has a few variables, but can be generally summarized by the below costs:
- $725: Pre-License Education
- $60: Fingerprinting
- $80: License Exam
- $160: Licensing
- $210: E&O Insurance
- $550: REALTOR® Dues*
- $360: MLS Subscription**
- $200: Lockbox Key
** Varies based on local MLS, prorated quarterly
There many optional costs to consider when starting your real estate career. These are a few we recommend starting with:
- $92: Lockbox
- $75: Yard Signs
- $20: Sign Riders
- $40: Business Cards
- VARIES: Brokerage Fees
- VARIES: Marketing Budget
Launch Your Career!
Upon completion of the above steps, you are ready to embark on your real estate career in Idaho! From first licensing to every Continuing Education credit and license renewal after, the Real Estate Academy of Idaho will be there providing your educational needs. Good luck! We will see you in the trenches!