How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
By Colin Ryan
From revitalized Pittsburgh, to historic Philadelphia, to the natural beauty of the Appalachians and everywhere in between, Pennsylvania offers a rich and varied real estate landscape, making it a great place to become a real estate broker.
The Pennsylvania real estate market has made a significant recovery in recent years, with the median home value increasing to $174,000 from a low of $138,000 in 2012.
Every day, more Pennsylvania real estate agents are choosing to take their careers to the next level by earning a broker license. Unlike salespeople, brokers in Pennsylvania can open their own firms and hire agents to work for them, resulting in a much higher potential income.
If you’re looking to become a Pennsylvania real estate broker, we have good news: The Keystone State has fairly flexible requirements for real estate broker licensing. In this guide, you’ll learn exactly what it takes to get your PA broker license.
How Much Money Can a Real Estate Broker Make in Pennsylvania?
Like those in other states, most Pennsylvania real estate brokers are paid via commission—that is, they take home a percentage of each real estate sale that they and their agents close.
According to ZipRecruiter, Pennsylvania real estate brokers earn a mean annual salary of $96,032 a year. Of course, salaries differ from city to city and region to region—for instance, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, brokers in Pittsburgh earn $74,300 a year, while Harrisburg brokers make $90,710 on average.
To qualify for a real estate broker license in Pennsylvania, you must:
- Be 21 years old or older;
- Have a high school diploma or GED; and
- Have 3 years of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson.
5 Steps to Become a Licensed Real Estate Broker in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania broker licensing is governed by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. The state’s process for qualifying and certifying brokers in Pennsylvania boils down to five key steps:
- Background Check
How Long Does it Take to Become a Broker?
Your timeline for earning a broker license in PA depends on how much experience you have in real estate to start with. If, for instance, you’re already an experienced broker from a state that offers reciprocity with Pennsylvania, 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 four years to meet the Pennsylvania real estate broker requirements.
Step #1. Satisfy the Pennsylvania Experience Requirements
Prior to applying for a broker license, applicants must have three years of experience as an active real estate agent in Pennsylvania.
In addition to this general requirement, Pennsylvania also uses a points system to determine broker eligibility based on what you’ve accomplished during your time as a salesperson. For instance, each closed transaction is worth 5 points, while active listings and residential leases are worth 1 point each. Applicants may also earn 6 points for each month spent working full time for a property management company. In total, you must accumulate 200 points to be eligible for your broker license.
Step #2. Complete the Pennsylvania Education Requirements
Prior to taking the Pennsylvania broker exam, license applicants must complete 240 hours, or 16 credits, of broker education courses.
In addition to mandatory courses on real estate law and management, Pennsylvania requires that all broker applicants take a minimum of three core courses from the following list:
- Real Estate Finance
- Real Estate Investment
- Real Estate Sales
- Valuation of Residential Property
- Residential Constructions
- Residential Property Management
- Basic Appraisal Procedures
- Basic Appraisal Principles
All mandatory and core broker courses must be completed in person.
Finally, applicants must take 3 elective courses from the list above, or another approved source. (Electives may be completed in a classroom, or online.) When selecting an education provider for your Pennsylvania broker education requirements, make sure that the institution is approved by the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission.
Step #3. Pass the Pennsylvania Broker Exam
Once you’ve completed your experience and education requirements, you can apply to take the Pennsylvania broker exam, which is written and administered by PSI.
To do this, submit state form SPOA 2103, along with course transcripts and experience documentation, to the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission. Once your exam application is approved, you will receive a certificate of eligibility with instructions for scheduling and taking the Pennsylvania broker exam through PSI at one of their 10 testing locations across the state.
The Pennsylvania broker exam is administered via computer, and includes sections on both national and state laws and practices. Examinees have 2 hours to complete the national portion, and 1 hour for the state portion. You must achieve a score of 75 or higher to pass the exam.
For an overview of topics covered and sample questions, consult PSI’s Pennsylvania Broker Candidate Information Bulletin.
Step #4. Complete a Background Check
The Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission requires every broker applicant to complete a criminal record check. Pennsylvania residents may apply for a background check online through the Pennsylvania State Police, while applicants from outside Pennsylvania should consult their own state police force.
Step #5. Submit Your Completed Broker Application
Once you’ve passed the Pennsylvania broker exam and completed your background check, you can submit an initial application online for your broker license. Depending on how you intend to organize your Pennsylvania broker business, you can apply for one of the following broker license types:
- Associate Broker: For brokers conducting business under the name and supervision of another broker.
- Broker Entity: For brokers conducting business through an LLC, limited partnership, or corporation.
- Broker Sole Proprietor: For brokers conducting business as a real estate brokerage using their personal name or a trade name.
Online applications are also offered for out-of-state brokers applying for a Pennsylvania license. See the next section for more details.
Reciprocity and Portability for Pennsylvania Brokers
Pennsylvania is especially strict when it comes to allowing brokers from other states to practice real estate within its borders. In short, Pennsylvania prohibits out-of-state brokers from conducting any business in their state, whether in person or remotely.
Nevertheless, Pennsylvania does have reciprocity agreements that allow real estate brokers from a handful of states to more easily earn their Pennsylvania license by using their out-of-state license as proof. Pennsylvania offers reciprocity with Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Maryland, Massachusetts, and New York.
To earn your reciprocal license in Pennsylvania, you must submit a certified copy of your existing broker license from one of the states above, along with a verified statement that you are familiar with the Pennsylvania real estate licensing law.
Unlike standard Pennsylvania broker licensees, reciprocal brokers are not required to complete Pennsylvania’s 14-hour continuing education requirement. If your out-of-state license expires, however, you must apply for a standard Pennsylvania license within 90 days. For more information on reciprocal licensing, visit the Pennsylvania Real Estate Commission’s FAQ page.
Resources to Start (and Run) a Successful Brokerage
Once you’ve received a real estate broker license, you are eligible to start doing business, either at your own brokerage or as an associate broker at an existing firm. Here are some tools and techniques to get your new business off to a running start.
Real Estate Broker Website
As a new broker in Pennsylvania, you’ll need a real estate broker website to market your expertise. By building a modern, mobile-friendly website that integrates with your MLS, you’ll have a place for visitors to search active listings, as well as an opportunity to share content that demonstrates your credentials and experience.
Resources for Real Estate Broker Websites:
Of course, a website is only as good as the data you’re collecting from it. With analytics tools like Google Analytics, you can gain visibility into the flow of visitors to and from your site. By analyzing your website traffic and visitor behavior, you can gain valuable insights to help you improve your content and concentrate your marketing in the places your audience is searching for you.
Resources for Web Analytics:
- 13 Google Analytics Reports for Your Real Estate Website
- 14 Google Analytics Metrics and What They Mean
Facebook Business Page
To drive traffic to your real estate website, you’ll need to engage with buyers where they spend their time. One of the best ways to do this is through social media. According to the Pew Research Center, two-thirds of Americans are on Facebook, making it the best place to start.
Rather than using your personal profile, we recommend creating a Facebook Business Page for your brokerage. This allows you to add team members to your page and focus on content specifically tailored to your business. Check out the links below for tips on creating your Facebook Business Page.
Resources for Facebook Business Pages:
- The Step-by-Step Guide to Setting Up Your Real Estate Facebook Profile
- How to Generate Real Estate Leads from Your Facebook Business Page
Published on June 20, 2019