How to become a Real Estate Broker in New York
By Colin Ryan
With its scenic Adirondack landscapes, abundant farmland, and of course, the largest city in the U.S., New York State hosts some of the best homes and commercial properties in the country.
The New York property market has made a significant recovery in recent years, with the median home price increasing to $299,000 from a low of $230,000 in 2013. Real estate is especially booming in New York City, where the median home price has climbed to $678,000.
Every day, more New York real estate agents are choosing to take their careers to the next level by earning a broker license. Becoming a broker enables you to open your own brokerage, hire a team of agents, and ultimately expand your business.
If you’re looking to become a real estate broker, we have good news: New York has relatively simple requirements for real estate broker licensing. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what it takes to get your real estate broker license in New York.
How Much Money Can a Real Estate Broker Make in New York?
In New York, the vast majority of real estate brokers earn their salaries via commission—that is, they take home a percentage of each real estate sale that they and their agents close.
With mean annual earnings of $85,190, New York real estate brokers rank tenth in the nation for annual salary. Nevertheless, pay varies widely from location to location due to the concentration of the state’s population in and around New York City.
For instance, real estate brokers in the Syracuse area have a median salary of $47,690, while brokers in the New York-Newark-Jersey City area earn $115,950, making them the second-highest-paid metropolitan area in the country.
Plus, with just 0.17 brokers per thousand jobs in New York, the state offers high demand and opportunity for brokers in many areas.
New York Real Estate Broker Qualifications
To qualify for a real estate broker license in New York, you must:
- Be at least 20 years old;
- Have completed both the 75-hour real estate salesperson education course and an additional 45-hour real estate broker course; and
- Have 2 years of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson (or 3 years of experience in the general real estate field) and meet the state’s experience “points” threshold.
Note: Members of the New York State bar are exempt from the educational, experience, and examination requirements for broker licensure.
How Long Does it Take to Become a Broker in New York?
How long it will take to earn your New York broker license depends on your level of experience in the real estate industry. If, for instance, you’re already an experienced broker from a state that has reciprocity with New York, you may be able to waive certain requirements and get your broker license in a matter of months.
However, if you’re new to the real estate industry, it may take as many as three years to meet the New York real estate broker requirements.
4 Steps to Become a Licensed Real Estate Broker in New York
New York broker licensing is governed by the Department of State’s Division of Licensing Services. The state’s process for qualifying and certifying brokers in New York boils down to five key steps:
Step #1. Satisfy The Experience Requirements
In order to qualify for a broker license in New York, you must possess either:
- An active New York real estate salesperson license, and have at least 2 years of work experience, or
- 3 years of “equivalent experience in general real estate business.” This may include experience selling your own homes (FSBO), acting as a landlord, negotiating residential mortgage loans, etc.
In addition to this general requirement, New York also uses a points system to determine broker eligibility based on what you’ve accomplished during your time as an agent.
For instance, each closed residential sale is worth 250 points, while rental agreements are worth 25 points each. In total, you must accumulate at least 3,500 points of agent experience to qualify for a broker’s license in New York.
Alternatively, you may use equivalent experience as described above to meet a higher threshold of 5,250 points.
Step #2. Complete New York State Broker Education Requirements
With 120 hours of combined coursework, New York State’s education requirements for brokers are fairly easy. (Consider Texas, for instance, where brokers must complete 900 hours of education).
To begin, broker applicants must complete the state’s 75-hour real estate salesperson course through an institution approved by the State Department. If you’re already licensed as an agent in New York, you have already met this requirement to obtain your current license. If, however, you’re applying for your broker license via equivalent experience, you’ll still need to take the agent course. To receive your certificate, you must pass a school exam (distinct from the state’s own licensing exam) administered by your institution. Once completed, this course is valid for 8 years, and will not expire once applied to a license.
Once you’ve completed your real estate agent education, you must also complete a 45-hour broker education course. Just like your salesperson course, you must complete this broker course must be completed through an approved institution.
For a complete overview of broker education course content, click here.
Note: If you have a bachelor’s degree with a concentration in real estate from an accredited university, you may qualify for a 120-hour education requirement waiver.
Step #3. Pass the New York State Broker Examination
Once you’ve met all the above requirements, you can sign up to take the New York real estate broker exam. You can schedule your exam date and time through eAccessNY, the state’s new licensing management system. The exam is administered in 11 cities across the state, including New York City.
The New York State broker exam is multiple choice and based on the combined 120-hour agent and broker curriculum. Applicants will be given 2 1/2 hours to complete the test.
Step #4. Apply for Your Broker License
Finally, once you’ve passed the New York real estate broker examination, you can activate your license by submitting an application packet to the State Department within two years of your exam date. Note that you do not need to submit exam documentation: your exam results will be automatically verified when you submit your application.
Depending on how you intend to organize your New York broker business, you can opt for one of the following broker license types:
- Independent Broker: For brokers conducting business as a real estate brokerage using their personal name only.
- Trade Name: For sole brokers conducting business under a different name.
- Partnership: For brokers exclusively conducting business under a partnership name.
- LLC / LP: For brokers conducting business through a Limited Liability Company or Limited Partnership.
- Corporation: For brokers conducting business through a C-Corp or S-Corp.
- Associate Broker: For brokers conducting business under the name and supervision of another broker.
Reciprocity and Portability for New York Brokers
If you’re a licensed real estate broker from another state, you’ll face some restrictions when it comes to practicing real estate in New York. For instance, out-of-state brokers may only conduct business in New York remotely. This means you can send clients to showings, submit offers, and negotiate transactions in New York, so long as you remain in your own state.
Some states have reciprocity or mutual recognition agreements, which allow real estate brokers from other states to more easily earn their in-state license by using their out-of-state broker license as proof. New York offers reciprocity with nine states: Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Massachusetts, Mississippi, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, and West Virginia.
If you’re a broker from any of these places, you may be able to bypass New York’s experience, education, and exam requirements by submitting proof of your current license. For a full breakdown of requirements for each state, consult New York’s reciprocity guide.
You are not required to be a resident of New York in order to get your real estate broker license. However, you must maintain a New York business address if you plan to actively practice in the state.
Resources to Start (and Run) a Successful Brokerage
Once you’re certified as a New York State broker, you can turn your attention to building your new business. Here are some tools and resources to help you get your real estate brokerage off the ground.
Real Estate Broker Website
Whether you’re starting your own brokerage or joining an established brand, a great website is essential: according to the National Association of REALTORS®, over 90 percent of real estate firms have their own website. A real estate broker website offers consumers the ability to browse your MLS listings, showcases your unique personality, and helps you capture leads.
Resources for Real Estate Broker Websites:
Home Valuation & CMA Tools
Many real estate marketing solutions are designed to help brokers connect with buyers. Yet seller leads are arguably more valuable—after all, listings are the lifeblood of any real estate business, and without them, you’ll have a hard time attracting buyers to your brokerage. Home valuation and comparative market analysis (CMA) solutions can help you attract current and future sellers and show why they should list their home with your brokerage.
Resources for Home Valuation & CMA Tools:
- The 20 Best Real Estate Listing Presentation Tools
- Custom Landing Pages: The Key to Real Estate Website Lead Generation
Client Feedback & Testimonials
Testimonials are a powerful tool for brokers: according to Zillow, 64 percent of millennial homebuyers consider online real estate reviews and ratings to be an important factor when choosing a real estate professional to work with.
A great real estate testimonial platform like RealSatisfied can help you capture feedback to improve your new brokerage, as well as collect and syndicate positive reviews to all the places your audience spends their time.
Resources for Client Feedback & Testimonials:
- How to Harness the Power of Positive Real Estate Reviews
- How to Get Real Estate Testimonials: Techniques and Tools for Agents
Published on May 29, 2019