I'm often asked about what's involved in becoming a real estate agent here in Middle Tennessee, and while that conversation can go in a multitude of directions, the central and unavoidable topic is typically to point out that every agent must obtain (and maintain!) an active Tennessee real estate license.
The Tennessee license for real estate is called an 'Affiliate Broker License' and agents must be 'affiliated' with a Real Estate Brokerage, which is under the authority of an experienced agent who has obtained a 'Broker' license. The purpose of this arrangement is to ensure that new agents work under the authority of a more experienced agent who is responsible for them and their decisions.
Basic License Requirements
- Proof of high school graduation
- Proof of completion of pre-license education (60 hr. & 30 hr.)
- Proof of errors & omissions insurance policy
- Payment of all fees due. ($91.00)
- Electronic fingerprinting
The bulk of the time commitment in getting the license is in completing the 90 hours of pre-licensing education Tennessee requires. The 90 hours is broken into two classes - a 60 hour Basic Principles course and a 30 hour New Affiliates course.
These two courses are usually purchased together, and can be taken through a variety of Tennessee approved schools. Some schools hold the classes in-person on a set schedule, others conduct them via webinar with an instructor on camera, and there are also vendors that provide the whole course as a self-paced interactive web browser experience.
Once you've completed the 60 hour Basic Principles course you'll be eligible to take the affiliate broker licensing exam. This is administered by PSI Exams, and thus you'll sometimes see this referred to as the 'PSI Exam'. The exam has two portions - one for state level rules, and one on national principles of real estate.
You'll need a 70% or better to pass each portion. Fortunately, if you pass one portion but not the other, you'll only need to retake the portion you didn't pass.
Fingerprints & Background check
Real estate agents routinely access people's homes, and play a major role in some of the most significant financial transactions in consumer's lives. To protect the public Tennessee requires applicants to get fingerprinted and pass a background check.
As you might expect, felony convictions can negatively impact eligibility to obtain a license. Any prospective licensee this applies to may seek a preliminary decision on eligibility from the Tennessee Real Estate Commission, before enrolling in pre-licensing courses.
Errors & Omissions
Tennessee requires real estate agents to carry insurance policies that cover potential oversights that may occur in their business. Errors & Omissions insurance doesn't cover fraudulent activity by an agent, but does provide a safety net when honest mistakes are made.
Those are the main steps to getting your license. Here's a link to learn more from Tennessee's site: https://www.tn.gov/commerce/regboards/trec/licensee-applicant-resources/how-to-get-a-license.html