FAQ - Real Estate Salesperson and Broker

Do I need to be licensed?

What is the difference between a real estate broker and a real estate salesperson?

How do I become a real estate salesperson or broker?

How do I manage my real estate license on line by using eAccessNY?

How do I obtain a waiver from the 75-hour salesperson or 120-hour broker course requirement?

What are the Continuing Education Requirements?

Who licenses mortgage brokers?

When is registration with the Banking Department Necessary?

If I am a real estate management company, do I need a real estate broker's license?

Whom do I call if I am not sure whether I completed my 22.5 hours of continuing education during my license term?

In order to renew my salesperson license, I completed the 45-hour broker qualifying course. Can I apply the extra 22.5 hours to my next license term?

I could not complete the continuing education, but I wish to renew my license anyway. Can I apply for an extension?

I think I might be exempt, but I am not sure when I originally became licensed. Can you tell me when I was first licensed?

What happens if I do not renew my license?

I have been a real estate licensee for many years. Am I exempt from the continuing education requirements?

What are the advertising guidelines for business cards?

What Commission Rate Should I Expect to Pay?

Can brokers pay rebates to customers and offer other incentives?


Do I need to be licensed?
Generally, Article 12-A of the Real Property Law provides that anyone who, on behalf of another and for a fee, 1) negotiates a sale, exchange or rental of real property, 2) collects rent, or 3) negotiates a commercial loan secured by a mortgage must be licensed as a real estate broker.

What is the difference between a real estate broker and a real estate salesperson?
A real estate broker is responsible for the supervision and conduct of the real estate brokerage business. He or she applies for and holds the license on behalf of the brokerage. This person is known as the "representative broker." A real estate salesperson works for and is supervised by the representative broker. The salesperson acts as the representative broker's agent. All listings, although perhaps negotiated by a salesperson, are accepted by the representative broker.

How do I become a real estate salesperson or broker?

Real Estate Salesperson:
In order to qualify for licensure as a real estate salesperson, an applicant must have satisfactorily completed a 75-hour salesperson qualifying education course in real estate approved by the Secretary of State, and have passed a qualifying examination administered by the Department of State. An applicant who completed the 45-hour salesperson qualifying course prior to July 1, 2008 may complete the 30-hour remedial course in order to qualify for licensure.

Real Estate Broker:
In order to qualify for licensure as a real estate broker, an applicant must have at least two years of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson or at least three years of experience in the general real estate field (e.g., buying and selling your own property, managing property owned by your employer), have satisfactorily completed both the qualifying salesperson course of 75 hours and an additional 45-hour real estate broker course as approved by the Secretary of State, and have passed a qualifying examination administered by the Department of State.

How do I manage my real estate license on line by using eAccessNY?
eAccessny is a secure, password-protected occupational licensing management system available online 24/7. See eAccessNY FAQ

How do I obtain a waiver from the 75-hour salesperson or 120-hour broker course requirement?
You must submit a written request stating the waiver you are applying for along with ORIGINAL proof of course completion, a detailed outline listing topics and hours, and a course description. (Home-study/correspondence courses are not accepted.) The prelicensing salesperson's course must be at least 75 hours of classroom instruction and the broker's course, 120 hours.

In addition, if you have a Bachelor's Degree with a concentration in real estate, you may qualify for a 120-hour qualifying course requirement waiver. Please submit an official transcript with your waiver request.

What are the Continuing Education Requirements?
All licensees are required to successfully complete 22.5 hours of approved continuing education, including at least 3 hours of instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest of real property, within the two-year period immediately preceding a renewal.

Any salesperson who successfully completes an approved broker qualifying course (which requires passing the final exam), within their current term, will receive continuing education credit for completion of that course. Please note: The broker course does not satisfy the mandatory 3 hour fair housing requirement.

Exemptions
Either of the below are exempt from the continuing education requirements:

  • Any licensed real estate broker who is engaged full time in the real estate business and who has been licensed prior to July 1, 2008 for at least 15 consecutive years immediately preceding renewal or

  • an attorney admitted to the New York State Bar who holds a real estate broker's license.

Who licenses mortgage brokers?
The license is issued by the Department of State. Anyone who negotiates or attempts to negotiate any mortgage loan other than a mortgage loan on residential property, in the state of New York, is required to be licensed as a real estate broker, or as a salesperson associated with a real estate broker.

When is registration with the Banking Department Necessary?
To negotiate a mortgage loan on residential property (one to four family building) registration with the New York State Banking Department is required.

If I am a real estate management company, do I need a real estate broker's license?
That depends on what services you provide. If you collect rent or place tenants in vacant spaces on behalf of your landlord client, the answer is yes. If, on the other hand, your services are strictly maintenance, the answer is no. you are not acting as a fiduciary (not handling another person's money).

Whom do I call if I am not sure whether I completed my 22.5 hours of continuing education during my license term?
Contact the school(s) you attended. Schools are required by law to maintain course completion records for three years. You may request duplicate certificates from the school(s) in the event you are audited.

In order to renew my salesperson license, I completed the 45-hour broker qualifying course. Can I apply the extra 22.5 hours to my next license term?
No. The law clearly states that continuing education must be completed within each license term.

I could not complete the continuing education, but I wish to renew my license anyway. Can I apply for an extension?
Please refer to §177.6 in the real estate law booklet. Extensions will only be granted in bona fide hardship cases. You must submit the following, preferably prior to your license expiration: a written request for the extension, completed renewal form, fee, and original documentation demonstrating your hardship; i.e., medical documentation.

I think I might be exempt from continuing education requirement, but I am not sure when I originally became licensed. Can you tell me when I was first licensed?
No. The Department of State only maintains seven years of real estate records. You may possibly determine your original date of licensure if you know when you completed the salesperson course and how long it took you after completing the course to apply for your license.

What happens if I do not renew my license?
If you do not renew your license, you cannot conduct any real estate activities that require a New York State real estate license in accordance with Article 12-A of the Real Property Law. There are no grace periods that allow you to continue working while not licensed. You have two years from the date your license expires to renew your license. If you fail to renew within that period, you will be required to pass the state written examination. No continuing education will be required to repeat the licensing process again.

When you submit your new salesperson application, you must include the following: your new examination results, application fee, and a copy of your expired license/pocket card or ORIGINAL proof of completing the salesperson course. If possible, it is better to submit original proof of your salesperson course. If you do not have an original certificate, then call the school where you took the course to request another certificate.

If you are applying for your broker's license, you must submit ORIGINAL proof of your 75-hour salesperson course and 45-hour broker course, or a copy of your expired broker's license.

I have been a real estate licensee for many years. Am I exempt from the continuing education requirements?
The law does provide for an exemption from this requirement for any licensed real estate broker who is engaged full time in the real estate business and who has been licensed for at least 15 consecutive years immediately preceding their renewal. This exemption must have been met prior to July 1, 2008. An attorney admitted to the New York State bar is also exempt from the continuing education requirement.

Article 12A statutorily requires all real estate brokers and salespeople to complete 22.5 hours of Department of State approved education, including three hours of instruction pertaining to fair housing and/or discrimination in the sale or rental of real property or an interest in real property, within their two-year license period prior to the date of expiration.

What are the advertising guidelines for business cards?
Understanding that a business card is a form of advertisement, it must conform to the general advertising standards. It must be truthful and not misleading. To avoid consumer confusion a business card must include at least the following information:

  • The name and address of the brokerage as licensed by the Department of State (or the branch office if the salesperson is associated with one).
  • The individual’s full name, as licensed.
  • Type of license held (Licensed Real Estate Broker, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, and Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker).
  • The firm’s business telephone number.

The inclusion of additional information is permissible, (business titles, business e-mail address, specialization, trade affiliations or accreditations), providing the information is true and not misleading.

A licensee may include their home e-mail address, cell and/or home telephone numbers, provided that there is a notation that such are residence numbers, and further that such use is not extended to any activity that would constitute branch office operation.

What Commission Rate Should I Expect to Pay?

The commission or compensation of a real estate broker is not regulated by statute or regulation, therefore the amount and terms are negotiable. A real estate broker shall never offer a property for sale or lease without the authorization of the owner. Therefore, prior to the listing or marketing of a client’s real property, it is incumbent upon the real estate broker and the client to mutually agree on a reasonable rate of compensation.

Can brokers pay rebates to customers and offer other incentives?

The payment of cash or offering an incentive to encourage a consumer to do business with a broker is permitted.  The Real Property Law prohibits brokers from sharing commissions with unlicensed individuals.  It is often misinterpreted as prohibiting the payment of cash or offering another business generating incentive to a consumer.  This law prohibits a broker from sharing a commission as compensation for activity that would require a real estate license.