Whether you want to be a real estate agent or broker, if you want to buy and sell real estate in Texas, you’ll need one of these real estate licenses. 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 in Texas also requires completing additional coursework and working as an agent for a minimum of four years.

Key Takeways

  • Texas real estate agents make an average annual salary of nearly $88,000, while brokers can expect to take home around $125,000 a year, including commission.
  • First, you’ll need to get the appropriate license as either a sales agent or broker.
  • Agents must work for licensed brokers, while brokers can work for themselves or hire agents to work for them.
  • To become an agent, you need to complete 180 hours of real estate coursework, while a broker license takes 270 hours and four 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.

Texas Real Estate License Requirements

There are two types of licenses in Texas, so the requirements will vary depending on the license. A Texas real estate agent, 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. Note that for both licenses, you must complete all the requirements within one year of submitting your application.

Here are the requirements to become a sales agent:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must complete 180 hours of real estate coursework—broken down by six courses—through an approved provider 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
  • Must be sponsored by a broker in order to activate the license

Here are the broker license requirements:

  • Must be at least 18 years old
  • Must have worked for at least four years as an agent within the past five years
  • Must complete 270 hours of real estate coursework—broken down by seven courses—through an approved provider plus an additional 630 hours of approved continuing education courses or have a four-year degree in real estate
  • Must pass a final exam
  • Must be truthful 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, even for a minor offense, is grounds for immediate denial of your application.

You may also submit a Fitness Determination application to see if you meet the trustworthiness threshold to apply for a Texas real estate license.

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

From start to finish, it can take about three to four months to become a real estate agent at the sales agent level in Texas. Agents make an average annual salary of nearly $88,000.

For a broker, the road may be a little longer due to the additional requirements: completing 270 hours of real estate coursework (instead of the 180 hours required to become an agent), as well as an additional 630 classroom hours in qualifying courses and a minimum of four years of experience working as an agent. Texas real estate brokers can expect to take home on average around $125,000 a year, including commission.

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

Becoming a real estate professional in Texas takes both time and money. When it’s all said and done, an aspiring agent will spend around $600 to $700 to get their license, while a broker can expect to pay between $1,000 to $2,000, with each spending an additional $110 to $217 annually to keep their license active.

How these costs break down:

  • The cost of pre-licensing exam coursework for agents can start as low as $149, depending on the school, but on average, one can expect to pay around $400.
  • Brokers will have to pony up anywhere from $700 to more than $1,000 to complete the required 270 hours of coursework. An additional 630 hours of classroom study is required. Costs for that vary but can also easily run up to around $1,000, although there are some exceptions if you’ve completed qualifying college courses.
  • A broker application fee runs $235, while agent applications cost $185.
  • Exam fees for an agent license run $43, while broker exams cost $39.
  • Both licenses require fingerprints, which will cost $38.25.

Real Estate License Reciprocity

Texas does not have reciprocity agreements with any other states, so if you want to get into the real estate game there, you’ll have to satisfy all the requirements every other applicant does.

Can You Apply for a Texas Real Estate License Online?

You can apply for a Texas 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 typically takes a few weeks, after which time you’ll be able to schedule your exam. The Texas Real Estate Commission also has an online application tracker that can give you more accurate information when you file. All Texas real estate exams are administered by Pearson VUE, which allows you to easily sign yourself up online.

Texas Real Estate License Exam

When your application has been approved, you can sign up to schedule your exam either in person or online. The agent exam is four hours long and consists of 125 multiple choice questions that include both national and state-specific questions.

The broker exam is also four hours long and consists of 145 multiple choice questions that include both national and state-specific questions. For each exam, the Texas Real Estate Commission has created information booklets that go into greater detail.

You will be notified immediately after the exam if you have passed or failed. If you don’t pass the first time, you will be able to retake the exam three more times (for which additional fees will apply). If you still haven’t passed after four tries, you’ll have to take an additional 30 hours of real estate coursework before you can sit for the exam again.

Texas Real Estate License Application

When you pass the exam, your license will automatically be issued. The process takes up to two weeks. Note that agents, also known as sales associates, must activate their license by submitting an online application with a broker. When that’s accepted, your license will be activated.

Texas Real Estate License Renewal

Texas real estate licenses are good for two years, and the state will notify you approximately 90 days before your renewal date. Renewal fees are $90 for an agent, while a broker license renewal costs $147.

Does Texas Require Post-Licensing Education?

Both Texas real estate agents and brokers who are renewing their licenses must complete 18 hours of approved continuing education coursework.

Special Considerations

Texas has a number of statutes and regulations that govern real estate agents and brokers, and these aim to protect the public from any nefarious activity. The main acts to which licensed professionals must adhere are the Texas Real Estate License Act, the Inspector Act, the Residential Service Company Act, and the Timeshare Act.