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NYS Department of State Division of Licensing Services


Frequently Asked Questions
Applicants for Real Estate Broker and Salesperson Licensure

Do I need to be licensed?

Generally, Article 12-A of the Real Property Law provides that anyone who, on behalf of another and for a fee, 1) negotiates a sale, exchange or rental of real property, 2) collects rent, or 3) negotiates a commercial loan secured by a mortgage must be licensed as a real estate broker.

What is the difference between a real estate broker and a real estate salesperson?
A real estate broker is responsible for the supervision and conduct of the real estate brokerage business. He or she applies for and holds the license on behalf of the brokerage. This person is known as the "representative broker." A real estate salesperson works for and is supervised by the representative broker. The salesperson acts as the representative broker's agent. All listings, although perhaps negotiated by a salesperson, are accepted by the representative broker.

How do I become a real estate salesperson or broker?
In order to qualify for licensure as a real estate salesperson, an applicant must have satisfactorily completed a 45 hour salesperson qualifying education course in real estate approved by the Secretary of State, and have passed a qualifying examination administered by the Department.

In order to qualify for licensure as a real estate broker, an applicant must have at least one year of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson or at least two years of experience in the general real estate field (e.g., buying and selling your own property, managing property owned by your employer), have satisfactorily completed both the qualifying salesperson course of 45 hours and an additional 45 hour real estate broker course as approved by the Secretary of State, and have passed a qualifying examination administered by the Department.

Who licenses mortgage brokers?
Anyone who negotiates or attempts to negotiate any mortgage loan other than a mortgage loan on residential property, in the state of New York, is required to be licensed as real estate broker, or as a salesperson associated with a real estate broker. This license is issued by the NYS Department of State.
To negotiate a mortgage loan on residential property (one to four family building) registration with the New York State Banking Department is required.

If I am a real estate management company, do I need a real estate broker's license?
That depends on what services you provide. If you collect rent or place tenants in vacant spaces on behalf of your landlord client, the answer is yes. If, on the other hand, your services are strictly maintenance, the answer is no. you are not acting as a fiduciary (not handling another person's money).

Whom do I call if I am not sure whether I completed my 22.5 hours of continuing education during my license term? Contact the school(s) you attended. Schools are required by law to maintain course completion records for three years. You may request duplicate certificates from the school(s) in the event you are audited.

In order to renew my salesperson license, I completed the 45-hour broker qualifying course. Can I apply the extra 22.5 hours to my next license term?
No. The law clearly states that continuing education must be completed within each license term.

I could not complete the continuing education, but I wish to renew my license anyway. Can I apply for an extension?
Please refer to §177.6 in the real estate law booklet. Extensions will only be granted in bona fide hardship cases. You must submit the following, preferably prior to your license expiration: a written request for the extension, completed renewal form, fee, and original documentation demonstrating your hardship; i.e., medical documentation.

I think I might be exempt, but I am not sure when I originally became licensed. Can you tell me when I was first licensed?
No. The Department of State only maintains seven years of real estate records. You may possibly determine your original date of licensure if you know when you completed the salesperson course and how long it took you after completing the course to apply for your license.

What happens if I do not complete my continuing education and don't renew my license?
If you do not renew your license, you cannot conduct any real estate activities that require a New York State real estate license in accordance with Article 12-A of the Real Property Law. There are no grace periods that allow you to continue working while not licensed. You have two years from the date your license expires to renew your license. If you fail to renew within that period, you will be required to pass the state written examination. No continuing education will be required to repeat the licensing process again.

When you submit your new salesperson application, you must include the following: your new examination results, application fee, and a copy of your expired license/pocket card or ORIGINAL proof of completing the salesperson course. If possible, it is better to submit original proof of your salesperson course. If you do not have an original certificate, then call the school where you took the course to request another certificate.

If you are applying for your broker's license, you must submit ORIGINAL proof of your 45-hour salesperson course and 45-hour broker course, or a copy of your expired broker's license.

How do I obtain a waiver from the 45-hour salesperson or 90-hour broker course requirement?
You must submit a written request stating the waiver you are applying for along with ORIGINAL proof of course completion, a detailed outline listing topics and hours, and a course description. We only review prelicensing courses from other states that were completed in a classroom setting. (No home-study/correspondence courses.) The prelicensing salesperson's course must be at least 45 hours of classroom instruction and the broker's course, 90 hours.

In addition, if you have graduated with a Master's Degree with a concentration in real estate, you may qualify for a 90-hour waiver of the qualifying courses. Please submit an official transcript with your waiver request.

If you are granted a waiver, you will receive the waiver letter, the license application, real estate law booklet, and examination schedules. When you are ready to apply for your license, please submit the ORIGINAL waiver letter with your application, fee, passed examination results, and any other required documents.

I have been a real estate licensee for many years. Am I exempt from the continuing education requirements?
Article 12A statutorily requires all real estate brokers and salespeople to complete 22˝ hours of Department of State approved education within their two-year license period prior to the date of expiration. The law does provide for an exemption from this requirement for a real estate broker who has 15 consecutive years of combined licensure as a salesperson and a broker and who is actively engaged in the real estate business as a real estate broker at the time of renewal, or an admitted NYS attorney.

What are the advertising guidelines for business cards?
Understanding that a business card is a form of advertisement, it must conform to the general advertising standards. It must be truthful and not misleading. To avoid consumer confusion a business card must include at least the following information:

The name and address of the brokerage as licensed by the Division (or the branch office if the salesperson is associated with one).
The individual’s full name, as licensed.
Type of license held (Licensed Real Estate Broker, Licensed Real Estate Salesperson, and Licensed Associate Real Estate Broker).
The firm’s business telephone number.

The inclusion of additional information is permissible, (business titles, business e-mail address, specialization, trade affiliations or accreditations), providing the information is true and not misleading.

A licensee may include their home e-mail address, cell and/or home telephone numbers, provided that there is a notation that such are residence numbers, and further that such use is not extended to any activity that would constitute branch office operation.

Where do I get more detailed information?
You may access pertinent law and regulations, applications and exam schedules from this website. You may also request this or other information by calling a Division of Licensing Services customer service representatives or by writing to the Department of Licensing Services.

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