Costs To Become a Realtor Explained

Published by Kartik Subramaniam

Reading Time : 4 minutes

Student counting money for real estate license cost

What Does It Cost to Become a Realtor®?

To start, we should differentiate between a “real estate licensee” and a “Realtor”. Remember, that to become a Realtor, it’s not only the exam and license fees, but also association of Realtor’s membership dues that you have to pay. I’ll discuss all of these through this blog post.

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It’s also important to keep in mind that prices for real estate education, exams, and licensure will vary state-by-state. That said, let’s look at the costs below. The main expenses you’ll incur on this journey are:

Statutorily required pre-license education

Classes at our real estate school currently range between $150 and $499. The price difference depends on whether you want to take the classes online or with an in-person component. Our online classes are great and our in-person classes are legendary. It’s really up to you. One other thing – please keep in mind that these prices are subject to change. While we haven’t raised the prices of our program in years, depending on where and when you read this post, things may have changed. The best thing to do is check our website or call us at 888-768-5285.

Also, realize that some states do not allow the future real estate professional to take their classes online. Arizona, for example, requires that you take classes in person. California allows you to do either or a combination of both. Check with your state to determine what the requirements are.

Exam fees

In California, the current cost of the real estate examination is $60 for salesperson applicants and $95 for the broker exam. If you happen to fail the test, the state requires that you pay this fee again.

Pro tip: Don’t fail the exam. Study with our amazing real estate exam prep site here.
Not sure what the difference between the sales license and brokers license are? Check out our video about this here.

License fees/criminal background check

The fee mentioned above is only for the exam. The state of California requires that you pay a license issuance fee as well. This is $245 for the sales license and $300 for the broker license. This fee is to be paid every four years when the real estate license is renewed.

You’ll also need to go through a Livescan criminal background check – even if you’ve been through this before. This will cost $49 to the Department of Justice in California plus whatever the livescan operator charges. Typically it’s another $20 on top of the $49.

Association of Realtor dues + joining a brokerage

If you’re a residential real estate professional, you will need to join the National Association of Realtors, the California Association of Realtors, as well as join a brokerage in order to do any act that would require a real estate license. Your board dues will cost between $1,000 and $1,500 per year depending on the association of Realtors that you choose.

Joining an association is mission critical as membership will provide you:

◦ The MLS (The most accurate database of current and former real estate transactions and tax information)
◦ Zipforms (ultra-convenient program that helps you draft complete contracts)
◦ E-Key (grants access to show properties)

Join a brokerage

Each company offers unique fees to agents that join them that vary. You may have a monthly office fee, website fee or pay up front for photocopies. You’ll want to interview a few of them first to make sure that you’re in the right spot.

Optional Expenses

Just because I’m terming these “optional”, it doesn’t mean that they’re not important. Being a full-time agent requires paying careful attention to your image online and in the community. Investing in these following items can boost your reputation.

Getting professional headshots that are updated yearly can cost between $100 and $500 per session, depending on the photographer you use, nature of the photo shoot and number of photos you need. Accurate and good-looking professional photos are important in order to appear credible to new prospects. Imagine a fuzzy, outdated, 10-year old MySpace selfie being used on an agent’s website and business card. This looks lazy and doesn’t help the agent gain credibility. When you take the time to invest in your professional image, it helps win the trust of new leads.
• When it comes to marketing and promotion expenses, the sky is the limit. Your marketing expenses will depend on how much you want to invest in these:

◦ Boosting posts on social media: $5-as much as you want to spend.

◦ Open houses: Varies depending on how much food and drink you’re providing.

◦ Fliers and ads: Physical fliers are still necessary in many cases. The costs are minimal if you have an office printer and a set amount of prints you can do per month. Postcard marketing is also a tried and true method to gain new seller leads. We recommend our affiliate listed here.

Get Your Real Estate License in California

If you want to know more about getting a real estate license in California, feel free to contact us today.


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