Become a Real Estate Agent in Louisiana
Becoming a licensed real estate agent in the state of Louisiana is not quite as easy as the many real estate shows might make it seem. In fact, you need to do some work to become licensed before you can start listing and selling, partially because you need to learn the ins and outs of listing and selling. Also consider that as a real estate agent, you act as a mediator between the buyers and the sellers, which comes with a number of ethical ramifications. Therefore, you need to obtain the proper certification and training from the Louisiana Real Estate Commission. You will need to complete several hours of classwork and pass the state licensing exam. While this may seem overwhelming, you'll be on your way to becoming a real estate agent.
Preparing for Licensure
- Make sure you meet the general qualifications. In the state of Louisiana, every real estate salesperson licensee must be at least 18 years old and have obtained a high school diploma or an equivalent degree.
You must also be able to pass a criminal background check.
- If you have an arrest or conviction in your past, you can still request permission from the Louisiana Real Estate Commission (LREC) to sit for the licensing examination.
- Find a sponsoring real estate broker. To obtain a license, you must be sponsored by a real estate broker. Essentially, finding a broker is much like applying for a job. You look for listings on job sites, then you contact local real estate brokers with your resume. Like a job, you may or may not be called back for an interview.
- Technically, you won't be "sponsored" until after you take the exam, but most real estate brokers will help you with the process of getting your license. Then, they will sponsor you if you pass the exam.
- In fact, many real estate brokers will sponsor your education, meaning they offer scholarships to help you pay for school.
- Complete the required pre-licensing education. Prior to applying for a salesperson license, you must complete 90 hours of real estate education courses, including those on real estate principles and practices, the Louisiana Real Estate License Law, and civil law pertaining to real estate.
- Other courses needed for the pre-licensing educational requirement include courses on the rules and regulations of the LREC and the Law of Agency, a real estate-related statute.
- Classes can be taken at state-certified real estate schools, colleges, or universities. Many brokers have a preferred school or recommendations for you, but you can check for programs at your local community colleges and universities. Many will have real estate programs.
- Some credit may be available for courses completed in jurisdictions other than Louisiana. Contact the LREC for more information.
- Apply for a license with the LREC. In addition to submitting the paperwork certifying that you have completed the pre-licensure educational classes, you will have to complete the information allowing for the criminal background check. Additionally, you will need to pay a fee of $90 to LREC to apply.
- Your completed application and fee can be mailed to the Louisiana Real Estate Commission, PO Box 14785, Baton Rouge, LA 70898-4785.
- Once your application has been approved, you will receive approval to take the licensing exam. At this time, you will receive an Examination Authorization Form, which is effective for 90 days from the date of issuance.
Taking the Licensing Exam
- Schedule your exam. LREC contracts with a company called PSI to administer real estate exams. To schedule, submit your registration materials and fee ($85 for a salesperson, broker, or instructor exam) to PSI. PSI will then send you a confirmation notice stating that you can schedule your exam. You can then call PSI to make an appointment to take the exam.
- The exams are offered at test sites throughout the state (Metairie, Baton Rouge, Lafayette, Lake Charles, and Shreveport) on Tuesdays through Saturdays.
- Walk-in registration for the day of the test is not available.
- If you must reschedule your exam once you’ve made your appointment, you must give PSI notice at least two full business days prior to the scheduled testing date to receive a fee refund.
- Use the outline to prepare for the exam. The salesperson exam is comprised of 135 questions, 80 for the national portion and 55 for the state portion. The national portion includes topics ranging from eminent domain and property taxes to different types of liens and mineral rights. Meanwhile, the state portion of the exam features questions on specific statutory requirements, conflicts of interest, and the Louisiana civil law system.
- The PSI website contains an exhaustive outline of each section of the exam.
- The outline is a great study tool because it helps ensure you are studying everything that the exam will cover.
- Study for the exam. Preparing for the exam is key, since you must obtain a grade of at least 70 percent on the national portion of the exam and at least 73 percent on the state part of the exam to pass.
- Plan for several study sessions of 45 to 60 minutes, instead of cramming for hours in the days before your exam. You will learn the material better if you study it over time.
- As you progress through the test outline, mark each section as you master the material. When all items have been marked, schedule your exam.
- Taking notes while studying or highlighting materials are good ways to mark items to review in the days before the exam.
- Study with colleagues and peers. One excellent way to prepare for the exam is to talk to people you know. For instance, the broker that is sponsoring you will likely have some experts who can sit down with you and offer some tips about studying for the exam. Be sure to use that as a resource.
- Additionally, try setting up study groups with people who are/were in the same classes as you. Studying in a group can help you all retain the information better, as long as you stay focused. Plus, someone else may understand a concept better than you do, just as you may understand something they don't.
- Take your exam. On the day of your scheduled exam, make sure to arrive at least 30 minutes early and have the proper credentials with you. You will need two forms of identification with your signature on them, one of which must contain a photograph. You will also need the original copy of your Examination Authorization Form.
- If you arrive after the exam has started, you may not be allowed to enter the testing site.
- Upon completion of the exam, you will see your score appear immediately on the computer screen. If you do not pass, you will receive a diagnostic report alerting you to topics that you should review for the next time.
- Get errors and omissions insurance. Once you pass the exam, you'll need to have errors and omissions insurance before your broker will sponsor you. Basically, this insurance is focused type of liability insurance that covers you (and the company) when you make a costly error. You can apply for this type of insurance with most major insurance companies, though you're broker may have a preferred company.
- Complete your sponsorship. Now that you've passed, you can officially be sponsored by your broker company. Your sponsoring broker should be notified of your scores on the exam. You'll also need to provide proof of your insurance to your company. After that, your broker should be willing to accept you on.
Continuing Your Studies
- Complete your post-license education. Within 180 days of passing the salesperson licensing exam, you need to complete 45 post-license educational hours. The LREC website has a list of educational providers to help you fulfill this requirement.
- Louisiana has five approved continuing-education vendors. They are Bob Brooks School of Real Estate and Insurance, Inc. (in person or distance), Burk Baker School of Real Estate and Appraising, LLC (distance), Donaldson Educational Services, LLC (distance), ProEducate (distance), and Gardner Realtors® (live). Contact the school directly for more information on the courses.
- You can take classes in-person or online, depending on what works best for you.
- Keep up with your continuing education requirements. The LREC requires all licensees to complete 12 hours per year of continuing education, 4 hours of which must be in the annual mandatory topic. These hours must be completed prior to submitting your license renewal.
- Continuing education classes can be taken either in person or through distance learning. The LREC website offers links to approved educational providers.
- Pursue a broker license. Once you have received your salesperson license, you may be interested in becoming a broker. Eligibility for the broker license includes being actively licensed as a real estate salesperson for at least four years and successfully completing 150 classroom hours of education as approved by LREC. You must then pass the broker’s exam.
- LREC allows you to be exempt from the national portion of the exam if you provide proof of passing an equivalent license examination within five years of the date of application for a license in Louisiana.
- Many people benefit from taking real estate test prep courses along with the required education.
- Make sure that the real estate school and courses you choose are approved for the state of Louisiana.
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