How to Become a Licensed Real Estate Broker in Massachusetts
Jacqueline Kyo Thomas
You've been a real estate agent for several years and you're finally ready to become a broker. Congratulations! Now, the question is: How? Can you simply start calling yourself a broker?
First the bad news: becoming a broker requires more than just positive affirmation. But here's the good news: in this post, we'll give you the exact steps to becoming a real estate broker in the great state of Massachusetts.
Let's get started.
Before we discuss how to become a broker, let's talk about why it's so awesome.
You get to be the boss. As a broker, you can open your own real estate agency and work for yourself. You can sell houses directly or hire agents to work with you.
You can earn more money. Brokers often make more money than agents. As we mentioned in this post on earnings , the average income for a real estate agent is $65,600 whereas the average income for brokers is $103,720. That's a pretty big leap!
You may still be able to work for your current agency. You have the option to work for yourself or to work as an associate broker in your current agency. As a broker associate, you can command a salary (along with associate tax breaks) instead of splitting commission.
You can mentor new agents. If you're a teacher at heart, you can advise rookie agents on how to become a rockstar just like you.
To become a licensed real estate broker, you must meet the following criteria:
You must be at least 18 years of age.
You must be a resident of Massachusetts.
You must be a licensed real estate salesperson. Your license must be current.
You must have been affiliated with an active licensed real estate broker here in Massachusetts.
You must log at least three years of experience as a real estate salesperson. You also must have worked at least 25 hours per week during those three years as a licensed real estate salesperson.
You must take a broker course at an approved real estate school (that's us!).
You must present a $5,000 surety bond that's completed and signed by an insurance agent. (Don't worry: you'll only need to pay about $50 for this five year bond insurance policy.)
You must have a Social Security Number.
You must have a government issued form of identification.
You must have three references (from people who are not related to you and not classmates you met during your real estate class).
You must have filed and paid all of your state taxes.
If you're currently licensed in another state, you may be able to take advantage of Massachusetts' reciprocal licensure. For more information on what states participate in the reciprocal licensure with Massachusetts, check out our list of reciprocal states .
Now that you know what's required, let's discuss what steps you need to take to go from agent to broker.
Do not pass go, do not collect $200 unless you're already a licensed real estate agent. You cannot become a broker otherwise.
Before you can sit for the broker exam, you'll need to take a class. Hooray, this is where we come in!
The state of Massachusetts requires that you complete 40 hours of education before applying for your license. Forty hours may sound brutal, but think about it this way: For each hour of class, you stand to gain up to $1,000 more in annual income. Like I mentioned earlier, a real estate broker in Boston makes almost $40,000 more than an agent on average. Forty hours sounds a lot more doable now, right?
But we'll also make it as painless as possible for you, by focusing on what you need to be a successful broker (and pass the exam). We won't waste your time with fluffy content that won't be on the test. You'll get to practice tests that mimic the real thing, play interactive games, and even interact with us in person if you'd like. Learn more about our broker classes here .
After completing the course, it's time to grab your No. 2 pencils and head to the PSI Services exam facilities. Just kidding: it's the 21st century, so you no longer need pencils. The exam is completed on a computer. In fact, you're forbidden from bringing pencils, good luck charms, baseball caps, cell phones, recording devices, and a long list of other personal belongings into the examination room. Yup, you'll even have to check your sense of humor at the door.
But don't worry - you will be given a pencil and a piece of scratch paper should you need it, but these items must be returned at the end of your exam.
How do you prepare for the day of the exam?
Arrive at least 30 minutes ahead of your scheduled exam appointment. You may be penalized if you arrive late. In fact, you may be turned away altogether (and also lose your registration fee). So it's important that you get there on time.
What should you expect from your broker exam?
The broker exam is split into two parts: the General portion and the State portion. The first part asks general questions, and the second part relates to state-specific questions. There are 120 questions in total, 80 for the General portion and 40 for the the State portion.
How long do you have to take the exam? You have four hours to take the exam. For the General portion, you have 150 minutes. And for the State portion, you have an hour and a half, or 90 minutes.
You need a minimum score of 70% on each section to pass.
If you pass one portion but fail the other, you'll only need to retake the failed portion. You won't have to rush to retake that portion. You have up to two years after receiving your educational certificate from us to retake the failed portion of the broker's exam.
If you'd like to retake the exam ASAP, you'll need to wait at least two days. For example, if you take the exam on Monday, you'll get the results on Tuesday, and you can arrange to retake the test on Wednesday (if space is available).
How much does the exam cost?
To take the broker exam, you'll pay $106, which is $54 for PSI exam fee and $52 Massachusetts application fee. If you need to retake the exam, you'll only need to pay the PSI exam fee of $54.
How much does the license cost?
Yes, be prepared - you'll pay (at least) twice: First, you'll pay for the honor of taking the exam. Then when you pass, you'll pay for your license. And here's where things get slightly confusing.
You'll pay somewhere around $150 for your license. This fee is prorated and based off of your birth date and the date that you passed your exam. Your license will be valid for at least two years (no longer than three years), so you'll pay less if your license will need to be renewed sooner. But don't worry, this total will be calculated for you.
After you become a broker, you must renew your license every two years. In order to renew, you'll need to complete an additional 12 hours of continuing education before renewing. You can take your continuing education classes online , and there's no test required!
What are you waiting for? It's time to get the ball rolling and register for your broker classes. Learn more and register here .
Oh, and before you go, don't forget to download your free checklist of broker requirements.