Going from Agent to Broker
Real estate agents all must be supervised by a Broker. But what does it take to become a broker yourself?
A Utah broker license allows you to legally supervise an office of real estate agents, and possibly even run your own brokerage. Not everyone is cut out for the role, and there are many agents who are very successful as agents, and plan to stay that way. In fact, you can get your broker license, and remain an active sales agent. A licensed broker who works like a regular agent under the supervision of another broker is the known as an Associate Broker. If you supervise the main office, you are a Principal Broker, and if you supervise a branch office as part of a larger brokerage, you are known as a Branch Broker.
Whether you plan to supervise agents or not, a Broker License can set you apart from other sales agents. It is the only designation above a sales agent that the state endorses. A broker license shows that you have experience, and that you are invested in your business as a real estate professional. It demonstrates that you are willing to go above and beyond what a regular agent is willing to do, and is a legitimate certification of your value to your clients.
These are the requirements to get your broker license:
- Honesty, truthfulness, integrity, reputation and competency
3 of the last 5 years working actively, full time as a real estate agent
60 experience points, based on real estate transactions in the last 5 years
Complete the Utah Rea l Estate Broker Course
Pass the license exam
The first requirement of Honesty, truthfulness, integrity, reputation and competency, is certainly subjective, so the Division of Real Estate takes a more pragmatic approach. They do a background check for felony or misdemeanor activity, specifically as it relates to misrepresentation, theft, fraud or dishonesty, and of course anything related to real estate transactions. If you don’t have any criminal history, then you will fulfill this requirement.
The next requirement is that you have been working actively as a full time real estate professional for the 3 of the last 5 years. There is an exception, which is if you have worked up to a year in a related industry, such as a Mortgage Loan Officer, a Designated Appraiser, a General Contractor, a Real Estate Attorney, a Certified Public Accountant, an Escrow Officer or Licensed Title Agent, a Bank Officer dealing with real estate loans, or a certified Real Estate Prelicensing Instructor. You can count up to 1 years of experience in one of these professions toward your 3 active years working in the industry.
Experience points are calculated on the following table:
If you are an active agent, it is not difficult to get the required number of transactions. 2.5 points for a residential transaction means that you only need 8 transactions a year for 3 years to get all the experience points that you need for your broker license. Note that if you get your experience from property management, that you can only get 25 points from active management, and the rest must come from new leases or new property management agreements. You can use a mix of sales and property management to obtain your full 60 points.
There are a few details to keep in mind when calculating experience:
- You need exclusive agency to get full credit. Non-exclusive agency agreements are only worth ¼ the credit.
- If you work on a team, you need to make sure your name appears on the contract. The Division won’t count experience if your name isn’t listed as the agent.
- If there are multiple agents on a transaction, the Division will divide the experience between all of the agents listed.
- At least half of your transactions must take place in Utah.
- Transactions only count if they are done through your brokerage. Personal transactions done outside the brokerage will not be considered.
So if you are working toward your broker license, make sure you have written agency agreements, that your name is on the contract, that your transactions are in Utah, and that you run all the transactions through your brokerage. As long as you follow these tips, you can accumulate the points that you need.
Broker License Course
The Utah Broker License Course is required to become a real estate broker. The course is 120 hours, and most candidates take 3 months to complete the course. You can do up to 8 hours a day, so it can be completed in as little as 3 weeks if you have the time to dedicate to the course. You can take the course in person, or online at your convenience. Many schools give you up to a year to complete the course, but the more time that passes, the harder it will be to remember all the information when it is time to take the state license exam. Completing the course within about 3 months should keep it fresh at test time. Some schools have parts of their broker course approved for Continuing Education (CE) credit as well, so you can complete both at the same time. The course curriculum is outlined by the state, and covered many of the same laws and rules that the sales agent course teaches, but a deeper understanding is required of broker candidates.
Broker License Exam
After you complete the broker license course, you can take the broker license exam. It is 150 questions, with part of the test dedicated to General or national laws, and part of the test covering Utah real estate law. The exam is proctored at PearsonVUE test centers, with a location in Draper and another location in Ogden. They also have locations all over the country for candidates who are coming to Utah from other states. You can schedule a time for your exam when the course is complete, and provide the PearsonVUE test center with your course completion date, and the school code for the course that you completed. You will need to bring a Candidate Education Certifying Document provided by your school to the test center. In order to pass the broker license exam, you will need to score at least 75%. The exam costs $66, and if you don’t pass it the first time, you can take it as often as you like.
There are certain timelines that you need to be aware of regarding obtaining your broker license:
- You have 1 year from the date you complete the Broker Licensing Course to get your broker license.
- You have 90 days from the date you pass the broker license exam to get your broker license.
Broker License Application
You can apply for your broker license in person at the Division of Real Estate, or directly online on their website. The broker license application fee is $158.00. When you apply for your broker license, you will need to deliver to the Division of Real Estate all of the following items. Some are provided at the test center after you complete the exam. Others you can download directly from the Division of Real Estate Website at realestate.utah.gov.
Broker License Application
This is usually provided at the test center after you pass your exam. This is your personal information informing them who is applying to be licensed as a broker in the state of Utah.
Candidate Certifying Document
This is provided by the school where you completed your broker license course, and is the same document you bring with you to take the broker license exam.
This is usually provided by the testing center. It asks questions about your honesty and integrity, criminal history, and basic education requirements.
Signed and Notarized Broker Experience Documentation Form
This is the form where you affirm that all of the transactions and other experience you will be documenting were your own, and this must be notarized.
Broker Transaction Log and/or Broker Property Management Log
Here is where you will list all the transactions and property management experience you have done to prove that you are a competent professional.
Signed and Notarized Broker Verification Form
This document is required to be filled out by each broker you worked with over the last 5 years before your application. Each broker must complete the form, have it notarized, and must be delivered to the Division of Real Estate in an envelope with the broker’s signature across the seal.
If you complete the broker license exam in Utah, the test center will take your fingerprints and give them to you with your application. If you take the license exam outside of Utah, you will need to obtain fingerprints (Blue FD-258) from a police station or similar location to send in with your application.
Certificate of Legal Presence
You must sign this certificate affirming that you are a citizen or legal resident.
Notarized permission to use the Company Name
This requirement is only for those applicants who are going to be Principal Brokers or Branch Brokers. They must submit to the Division a letter authorizing them to use the company name, and it must be signed by a company officer and notarized.
Starting a new Brokerage
If you are starting a new brokerage at the same time that you are applying for a Principal Broker license, then you will need to provide additional documentation to the Division, such as a Real Estate Company registration form, Registration with the Division of Corporations, and Trust Account documentation.
When you get licensed as a broker, it resets your license renewal period, so you will need to remember your new expiration date. The continuing education (CE) requirement for brokers is the same as sales agents, 18 hours of CE with at least 9 hours of CORE credit.
Getting licensed as a broker is a certain point of pride, and opens up your future options to additional opportunities. I believe every agent should work toward their broker license, and use their standing as a competent professional to lift up our industry, and in turn improve the market for everyone. Let’s work together to bring prestige to this great vocation.