As the third-most-populous state in the U.S. and a top spot for retirees, Florida is a great place for real estate professionals. Still, if you want to buy and sell real estate in Florida, you’ll need a real estate license, whether you want to be a real estate agent or broker. You’ll also need to be at least 18 years old, complete specific real estate coursework, pass an exam (or two, depending on the license), and undergo a criminal background check.

Which license is right for you? The difference between a real estate agent and a real estate broker is largely based on years of experience and education. For one, an agent must work under a licensed broker, whereas brokers can work for themselves and/or hire agents to work for them. Becoming a broker also requires completing additional coursework and working as an agent for a minimum of two years.

Key Takeaways

  • As the third-most-populous state in the U.S. and a top spot for retirees, Florida is a great place for real estate professionals.
  • First, you’ll need to get the appropriate license for either an agent or a broker.
  • Agents are required to work for licensed brokers, while brokers can work for themselves or hire agents to work for them.
  • It takes 63 hours of real estate coursework to become an agent, while a broker license takes 72 hours and two years of practical experience.
  • Coursework for both licenses is valid for two years after completion.
  • Both licenses require passing a final exam and undergoing a background check.
  • Florida has reciprocity agreements with eight states, but applicants must still pass a Florida-specific exam.

Florida Real Estate License Requirements

There are two types of licenses in Florida, so the requirements will vary depending on the license. A Florida real estate agent (known as a sales associate), for example, is authorized to handle real estate transactions but must work under a licensed broker. On the other hand, a broker is able to own their own company and hire other agents to work for them.

Here are the license requirements for an agent:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must complete 63 hours of real estate coursework through an approved provider (coursework is valid for two years from the date of completion) or have a four-year degree in real estate
  • Must pass a final exam
  • Must be truthful about all information provided and pass a background check

Broker license requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have worked for at least two years as an agent within the past five years
  • Must complete 72 hours of real estate coursework through an approved provider (coursework is valid for two years from the date of completion) or have a four-year degree in real estate
  • Must pass a final exam
  • Must be truthful about all information provided and pass a background check

A note on background checks: You must disclose any and all criminal convictions on your application. Depending on the crime, a conviction may or may not be disqualifying, but failure to disclose a conviction for even a minor offense is grounds for immediate denial of your application.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Florida?

From start to finish, becoming a real estate agent at the sales associate level in Florida takes roughly one to two months. For a broker, the road may be a little longer due to the additional requirements: completing 72 hours of real estate coursework (instead of the 63 hours needed to become an agent) as well as having worked a minimum of two years as an agent.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Florida?

Becoming a real estate professional in Florida requires both time and money. When it’s all said and done, an aspiring agent will spend between $400 and $500 to get their license. A broker can expect to pay between $500 and $600.

How these costs break down:

  • The cost of pre-licensing exam coursework can start as low as $80, depending on the school, but on average expect to pay around $245 to $400.
  • Exam fees are the same for a sales associate as well as a broker: $36.75.
  • Both licenses require fingerprints, which will cost around $57. These costs may vary slightly, depending on the provider.

Real Estate License Reciprocity

Florida has reciprocity agreements with eight states: Alabama, Arkansas, Connecticut, Georgia, Illinois, Mississippi, Nebraska, and Rhode Island. If you reside in any of these states and wish to become licensed in Florida, you must meet the following criteria:

  • Be at least 18 years old
  • Not be a Florida resident
  • Have an active real estate license from the state with which Florida has a reciprocity agreement
  • Fill out an application to operate in Florida
  • Pass a Florida-specific exam that consists of 40 questions
  • Pass a background check and submit fingerprints

Can You Apply for a Florida Real Estate License Online?

You can apply for a Florida real estate license online or by mail. You can easily access either option through the application site for the license you are seeking.

The review process takes about four to six weeks, after which you’ll be able to schedule your exam. All Florida real estate exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which allows you to easily sign yourself up online.

Florida Real Estate License Exam

When your application has been approved, you can sign up with Pearson VUE to schedule your exam to be taken either in person or online. Both the agent and broker exams take three-and-a-half hours and consist of 100 multiple-choice questions. For each exam, the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation has created information booklets that go into greater detail.

You must score 75% or higher to pass either exam. If you don’t pass the first time, you will be able to retake the exam again as many times as you need to (with additional fees).

Florida Real Estate License Application

When you pass the exam, your license will automatically be issued. The process takes seven to 10 business days. Note that agents must activate their license by submitting another application, one that has been filled out by their employer (broker/real estate firm) and sent to the Florida Department of Business & Professional Regulation.

Florida Real Estate License Renewal

Florida real estate licenses are good for two years, and the state will notify you via email when your renewal date is nearing. Fees will run $32 for an agent and $36 for a broker.

Does Florida Require Post-Licensing Education?

Florida real estate agents who are renewing their licenses for the first time must complete 45 hours of approved continuing education coursework, while brokers need 60 hours of continuing education. Subsequent renewals require 14 hours of approved continuing education for both agents and brokers.

Special Considerations

If you are an attorney who is a member of the Florida Bar in good standing, you are exempt from some of the requirements to become a licensed real estate agent or real estate broker. Basically, you are granted permission to sit for the exam straight away. Your eligibility to practice law in Florida can exempt you from the college classes required of other applicants. However, you must still take and pass the relevant exam to become a real estate agent or broker. Moreover, you will also need to complete the 45 hours of post-licensing education required for an agent or the 60 hours required for a broker within the first renewal year.

And speaking of real estate law, Florida has a number of statutes and regulations of which all real estate professionals should be aware. Florida’s Real Estate Commission has a guide that covers laws governing real estate in the state.