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 be at least age 18 or older.
That’s it? Don’t I need a high school diploma?
Actually, no, you don’t need a diploma (although having one certainly doesn’t hurt). You don’t need a college degree, either. You also don’t need to be currently employed. 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.
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 three months. They cost $10, payable by major credit card, and usually generate a result within 24 hours. You can order and pay for one at the “Pennsylvania Access to Criminal History” website, here.
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Illustration by Andrew Croce