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Getting a Real Estate License in Washington

What education is required to become a broker?

The education to become a real estate broker in Washington is 90 clock hours of coursework, broken down into the following hours and topics:

  • 60 hour Real Estate Fundamentals course
  • 30 hour Real Estate Practices course

What can I expect when I take the broker exam?

The Washington real estate brokers exam is made up of 140 multiple choice questions. There are two sections which are mixed in with one another, the first part covers national real estate topics and laws, the second Washington state specific laws.

Question breakdown is:

  • 35 questions on the state portion (30 scored)
  • 105 questions on the national portion (100 scored)

You will notice we mentioned that not all of the questions in each section count toward your score. That's because the testing company is always trying out new questions and by giving them to real applicants they can determine their quality before mixing them into the scored portion for future brokers.

In order to pass the exam you must receive a final scaled score of 70% or better. It's called a scaled score because each question isn't worth a straight 1 point. Certain questions that are easy may end up being worth around 0.8 while other more difficult questions may be valued at 1.2. It's a way to accurately value questions based on difficulty and necessity of knowing the particular subject matter .

What can you do with a real estate brokers license in Washington?

In Washington state, a real estate license is required to be a property manager, residential broker, and commercial broker. Within each field there are a number of possible focuses, for example, warehouse properties, apartments, office buildings, medical buildings, retail properties, shipyards and many more, just within the commercial field.

The most common use of a real estate license in Washington state is for residential sales, which involves assisting buyers and sellers purchase and sell individual homes.

How quickly after completing my education do I need to pass the exam?

You have 2 years from the time you finish your first course of required education to pass the Washington state broker's exam.

What are the steps to Getting a Real Estate License?
  1. Take and pass all required education
  2. Register with PSI (the testing company) as a broker license candidate
  3. Sign up for a test time and pay the testing fee
  4. Take the exam
  5. After passing both the state and national portion of the exam, you get fingerprinted
  6. Select a brokerage to work with
  7. Send in you license fees to the state and notify them of which brokerage you have agreed to work with
How long does it take to become a real estate broker?

Students are allowed to study for up to 10 hours a day, meaning it is possible to meet the education requirement in 9 days. Doing this would be highly atypical, as most students take a couple months to complete their coursework. After completing the courses, registering, studying and taking the exam usually takes a couple weeks.

Can I work for myself after getting a real estate license?

Sort of. A broker has to be affiliated with a brokerage firm in order to practice as a real estate broker. You do work for yourself in a sense because you will likely be an independent contractor who exercises control over their own schedule, marketing budget, and tasks.

How much money does a broker make when they sell a house?

When a property is sold, a brokerage firm typically earns 3% of the sales price. For example, if a broker sells a house to a buyer for a sale price of $600,000 the firm would earn $18,000. The amount the broker would earn would be dependent on the agreement between the firm and the broker. Some brokerages will give 100% of the commission, all $18,000 to the broker, subject to a small transaction fee and a monthly desk fee, while others will split the commission with the broker at various percentages 50/50, 70/30 etc. There are many different commission structures offices will use as well as varying levels of service and training provided to the broker.

How long until you get paid as a real estate broker?

Since brokers are typically paid on commission, they don't get paid until a transaction closes. That means that a new broker needs to find a client to buy or sell a house, sign a contract and close the deal before being paid. From the time of signing a contract of a residential property until a sale is closed, is typically 30 days. Due to the time lag between getting a license and getting paid, it's important to be financially prepared to absorb the wait for income.

The best part is that the amount you'll be paid when the check comes in is quite large, making it well worth the wait.

I have a license in another state, am I required to take all 90 hours of education and the exam to be licensed in Washington?

First you should check with the Washington Department of Licensing, the DOL. Usually the only requirements if you have an active license in another jurisdiction it to pass the state law section of the Washington exam for brokers or for managing brokers.

If I only have to pass the Washington section of the state exam as an out of state broker, does that mean I need to take a law class?

No, you are not required to complete any clock hours to sit for the exam. However, most out of state brokers with reciprocity, do in fact sign up for the state cram for brokers or the state cram for managing brokers. You can find both of these packages in the Get a License section or Managing Broker section at the top of our home

Can I retake the exam if I fail?

Yes, and you can retake it as many times as you want. Granted, retaking the exam many times would be expensive and time consuming, but, there isn't currently a limit on the number of times you can take it.

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