If you want to sell lakefront homes in Guntersville, single family homes outside of Tuscaloosa in Northport, or anywhere else in the state, you need to be licensed. While you may not have any idea of where to begin, we are here to prepare you for the whole process.
Between the education requirements, exams, and applications needed to become an Alabama agent, the journey can appear to be overwhelming. In this article, we are giving you all the preparation you need to become a real estate agent in Alabama.
There are quite a few steps to becoming an Alabama real estate agent, so continue reading and we will take the guesswork off of your plate.
The Real Estate Market in Alabama
Alabama’s housing market has been absolutely resilient in the past few years. According to the Alabama Association of Realtors, June home sales in the state have increased 18.7% year-over-year, meaning home sales are up 3.5%. Alabama is also one of the top five states in the nation showing the most improvement in its real estate market over the last six months.
To be truly successful in the Alabama real estate market, you have got to be hard-working, self-motivated, honest, and enjoy helping people. If you check all of those boxes, then it may be time to follow the steps below and start your Alabama real estate journey.
Benefits of getting into Alabama Real Estate
The first benefit is obvious — the income. According to salary.com, a real estate sales agent in Alabama averages $39,000 to $51,000 per year. These numbers will fluctuate based on commission percentage, number of homes sold, the split with your broker, if you have any caps, and the value of the homes.
For further insight, the average price for a home in Alabama is around $150,525, which means when real estate agents make a sale, they have a solid commission — often 5% or $7,526.
Aside from gaining a good amount of income, becoming a real estate agent has many other benefits, including:
- Flexibility in your work
- Constantly varying environments and tasks
- Helping people
- YOU are the boss
- Gaining knowledge and insight about people, your community, and your area
Now that you have an idea of what you are walking into, let’s get into the actionable steps that will have you on your way to becoming an Alabama real estate agent.
Do I Prequalify?
There are a couple of things to check on before you can start the process of becoming a real estate agent in Alabama. The overall requirements of obtaining an Alabama real estate license include the following:
- You must first be a U.S. citizen, permanent resident alien, or legally present in the U.S.
- You must be at least 19 years of age.
- You must show proof of residency in any state in the U.S.
- You must have proof of high school graduation or the equivalent.
- You must not have been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude.
- You must not have had a real estate application or license rejected or revoked in any state within the past two years.
Once you have those boxes checked, you are ready to begin the journey of becoming an Alabama real estate agent!
1. Complete 60 Hours of Pre-License Education
There are many registered real estate schools to choose from across Alabama. Pick whichever one calls to your heart, and complete 60 hours of real estate education courses. There are both in person and online options available for you.
2. Take and Pass the Course Final Exam
Congratulations! You have made it through your online or in-person classes and are now ready to show your Alabama real estate knowledge. Before you can schedule your pre-licensing course exam or move forward with any other steps, you must register with the Alabama Real Estate Commission.
Once you complete all course materials, meet the 60-hour requirement, and pass the practice test, you can take the course final exam. In order to pass the exam and earn your certificate, you must receive a passing score of at least 70%.
Your final exam must be taken with a proctor present, which you can schedule in advance with whichever real estate school you take classes through.
3. Take and Pass the Alabama Real Estate Exam
You heard us, another exam. Don’t worry, we are here to prepare you so you know exactly what to expect.
The Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Examination is administered by PSI, an outside agency. Once you register with the Alabama Real Estate Commission and receive your ID number, you can schedule your exam appointment online, by telephone at 888-818-5824, or by mail. There is a $77 examination fee.
On the day of your Alabama real estate exam, bring the following:
- Two (2) forms of identification
Once inside the exam site, you’ll be asked to place all electronic devices, bulky clothing, and other personal items in a secure location, and you will be asked to sit in front of a computer to take the test.
You will have 3.5 hours to complete the 140-question exam. The exam is split into two portions: an 100-question national portion with a 150-minute time-frame and a 40-question state potion with a 60-minute time frame.
Some topics covered in the exam include the following:
- Purpose of License Law/Rules and Regulations and Role of Commission
- Land use controls and regulations
- Leasing and Property Management
- Transfer of Title
- Licensing Requirements
You must receive at least a 70% to become an Alabama real estate salesperson, and the score will immediately be given to you once you complete the exam. The testing center will give you the printed application form and instructions for applying when you receive your score report.
Make sure to take the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam within 6 months of completing your educational courses.
For more information on the Alabama Real Estate Salesperson Exam, you can view the PSI Candidate Handbook.
4. Choose a Sponsoring Broker
In order to be a licensed and active practicing real estate agent in the state of Alabama, you are required to be associated with a registered brokerage firm or broker. Working with the right broker is an important decision and a key factor in your growing real estate career.
Here are some things to consider when selecting a sponsoring broker:
- What is their local and national reputation?
- What systems do they use?
- What types of agents are they looking for?
- Do they provide education and training for agents?
- Do they provide marketing materials and potential leads?
- What benefits do they have?
- What is their commission structure?
- Is there opportunity for growth?
Want to Become a REALTOR® in Alabama?
Every Realtor is a real estate agent, but not every real estate agent is a Realtor. Want to take your business a step further, have great networking opportunities, and be part of an evolving real estate community?
Here are your steps to becoming a REALTOR®:
- Obtain your state real estate license
- Join your local REALTORS® Association — The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has over 1,400 associations across the U.S. You can find one closest to you with their “find an association” tool.
- Pay the one-time application fee — The amount varies in each association.
- Upkeep NAR membership dues — Once you are a REALTOR®, you must pay the annual association fee of $150 per year.
5. Submit Your Completed License Application
Within 90 days of passing your licensing exam, you must complete and submit your Alabama real estate license application to the Alabama Real Estate Commission.
Here is everything you need to send in when applying:
- Completed application, received at your testing center
- $210 application fee
- Criminal History Release form and fingerprinting
Once your application is approved, you will be issued a temporary license. The only way to complete the process and receive your permanent license is to finish the next step.
You can find all the information about submitting your license on the AREC website.
6. Complete Post-Licensing Training
The last step to obtaining your Alabama real estate license is to complete 30 hours of a post-licensing training course. At the start of the post-licensing course, you will need to provide your ID number that you used to schedule your licensing exam (step 3).
You must complete this step within 12 months of your application being approved in order to maintain an active license.
There you have it! Everything you need to know about joining the exciting world of Alabama real estate.
Now that we have taken you this far, we would love to provide you with more resources and information to help you thrive in this new venture. Get the ball rolling and be the best agent you can be with our Showcase IDX Grow Your Real Estate Business Academy courses.