Why do I need a license, anyway?

Pennsylvania state law requires that you obtain a license to assist in the purchase, sale, rental or lease of real estate on behalf of anyone other than yourself. The license is issued by the Pennsylvania Department of State, and is supervised by the Pennsylvania State Real Estate Commission.

OK, so who qualifies?

To qualify for a real estate sales license you must pass the Pennsylvania Real Estate Salesperson Exam, be at least age 18 or older and submit a criminal record check. (In order to qualify for the PA Real Estate Salesperson Exam, you must complete Real Estate Practice (45 hours) and Real Estate Fundamentals (30 Hours).

You also need a high school diploma.

What State Law Requires Of LicenseesAs of Aug. 28, 2018, the state Legislature implemented a requirement that real estate sales licensees must hold a high school diploma or its equivalent at the time they apply for a license. No college degree is necessary. Getting a license can lead you into a whole new career, though, and that’s sort of the point!

The “buts …”

“Aha! I knew there had to be some,” you’re saying. There aren’t many.

If you have a criminal record, in Pennsylvania or another state, you need to be aware the Real Estate Commission may decide on your ability to be licensed only AFTER you have passed the licensing exam. Even then, it considers licensing on a case-by-case basis after reviewing many factors. However, there is a published “Schedule of Criminal Convictions that may Constitute Grounds to Refuse to Issue, Suspend or Revoke a License, Certificate, Registration or Permit.” Click here to visit the PA Real Estate Commission’s published list.

Consequently, the Real Estate Commission requires you to have the Pennsylvania State Police conduct a personal criminal background check before your license can be issued. Background checks are good for only 90 days. A fee will be charged, payable by major credit card, and results usually are available with four business days.Ā  You can order and pay for one at the “Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History” website, here.

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Illustration by Andrew Croce
Last updated 20180911