Obtaining a Real Estate License in Iowa

For those wondering how to get a real estate license in the state of Iowa, the following information will be useful in getting started. Like all other states, Iowa prescribes certain standards for potential realtors, including education requirements and application procedures. The Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau governs the Iowa Real Estate Commission (IREC), which outlines the specific procedures for individuals seeking a real estate license in this state. The following guide outlines these requirements and other general information concerning how to get a real estate license in Iowa.

Basic Prerequisites

The Iowa Real Estate Commission requires that candidates for a real estate license meet certain prerequisites in order to obtain a license. In general, potential realtors must:

  • Be 18 years or older
  • Not have been convicted of a felony or other criminal charge (see specifications below)
  • Not have had a previous application rejected or license revoked
  • Complete 60 hours of prelicensure coursework approved by the state
  • Be sponsored by a broker
  • Obtain Error & Omissions insurance
  • Pay the appropriate fees
  • Submit to a national, federal background check
  • Submit a valid application
  • Pass the final exam for licensure

Applicants will not be denied based on citizenship or other federally protected classes. Candidates who have been convicted of a felony must wait two years after completion of the sentence has been served or resolved to apply for a real estate license; other crimes listed in the commission’s rulebook require a five year waiting period. For a more detailed outline, applicants should visit the commission’s website. 

Training & Education

Applicants for a real estate license in Iowa must complete 60 hours of prelicensing coursework from approved institutions. These prelicensure hours must be taken within one year prior to the candidate’s taking the final licensing exam. Of the 60 required hours, 36 of them must handle buying (12), listing (12) and ethics (12). Detailed information can be found on the IREC website.

The state licensing exam is administered by PSI, Inc., and there is a $100 fee to take the licensing exam. Applicants must register and pay for the test separately on the testing service’s website. Detailed information regarding testing and scoring requirements may be found on the company’s website.

Additional Information

Real estate salesperson licenses in the state of Iowa cost $125 and remain active for three years. During this time, realtors must complete continuing education coursework as determined individually by the IREC. 

Reciprocal licenses may be obtained by licensed realtors in the following states: Alabama, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, North Dakota and West Virginia. Realtors from these states may obtain a license to practice real estate in Iowa provided that they:

  • Obtain a detailed history from their licensing state
  • Submit to a national, federal background check
  • Pay the appropriate fees
  • Reciprocal licensees may qualify for a waiver of certain educational and testing requirements based on their history in their licensing state. Applicants from these states should contact the IREC to determine if they qualify for a waiver.

The real estate profession encompasses other roles, such as brokers, that this article does not address. Rather, this article seeks to provide information specifically to those interested in obtaining a real estate salesperson license in Iowa. For individuals who want more information on becoming a broker or other real estate professional, they should contact the IREC for specific education requirements, applications and fees.

The Iowa Real Estate Commission regulates the licensing procedures for its realtors on a state level. However, national and international organizations exist also to monitor real estate professionals on a wider level. The National Association of Realtors and the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO) are two major associations that actively work to maintain codes of ethics and professional requirements among real estate agents and commissions.

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