So, what does it take to get your Real Estate license, become an Agent, and maintain your license it in North Carolina?

The North Carolina Real Estate Commission (NCREC) is the governing body over real estate licensure in North Carolina. All candidates must prove legal presence, pass a criminal background check, be at least 18 years of age, and have a valid social security number. North Carolina is an all Broker state, e.g., anyone who earns their license is considered a Broker and there are 3 status levels of Broker in North Carolina.

To become a Provisional Broker, you must take a state sponsored 75-hour intense instructional pre-licensing class and pass the “in class” exam to be eligible to take the state exam.  The class teaches you the rules of the road and covers the following: Property Ownership, Encumbrances & Non-Possessory Interests, Property Taxation and Assessments, Property Description, Transfer of Title to Real Property, Title Assurance, Land Use Controls, Brokerage Relationships and the Law of Agency, Agency Contracts and Brokerage Practices, Basic Contract Law, Sales Contracts and Practices, Mortgages and Deeds of Trust, Financing Legislation and Practices, Real Estate Financing Principles, Basic Residential Construction, Closing Real Estate Transactions, Real Estate Valuation, Property Insurance, Federal Income Taxation of Real Property Ownership, Basic Real Estate Investment, Environmental Issues and the Real Estate Transaction, Landlord and Tenant, Property Management, Fair Housing & Laws Against Discrimination, Commercial Real Estate Brokerage, and Case Studies.

Did I mention math?  A lot of math! The class does not teach you how to sell!

The state exam is 2 parts – The national section includes 100 questions and the state portion includes 40 questions specific to North Carolina. A score of at least 75% is required to pass the state exam, e.g., you must correctly answer 75 out of 100 questions on the national portion, and 30 out of 40 questions on the North Carolina-specific portion.

Once you pass, you must affiliate with a Brokerage and/or Broker-In-Charge (BIC). A Provisional Broker can do anything a Full Broker can do but has to do so under the supervision of a Broker-In-Charge (BIC).  I am a Provisional Broker.

All Brokers (Provisional, Full and BIC) must take at least 8 hours of continuing education each year to maintain their license on “active” status. This usually includes a 4-hour update course and a 4-hour elective.

In addition to 8 hours of continuing education, a Provisional Broker must take 90 hours of additional classroom training within their first 3 years of licensure (a minimum of 30 hours each year). Once the 90 hours are completed, the Provisional status is removed/terminated and the Provisional Broker becomes a Full Broker.

The third level is Broker-In-Charge (BIC). To become a BIC, a Full Broker must have been actively practicing real estate full time for at least 2 of the last 5 years and must take a 12-hour BIC specific course. Once passed and the Real Estate Commission grants the BIC designation, BICs must take an annual 4 hour BIC Update Course. There are many responsibilities for a BIC, including supervision of all Brokers under their charge, creating office policy, and managing the Trust Account, etc. BICs are legally responsible for the actions of those they supervise.  In addition, they are legally responsible for the operation of the Trust Account. A Trust Account is a bank account for managing the money of others and requires strict procedures be followed to ensure proper and legal handling of such funds.

Remember, only a BIC can advertise the sale of Real Estate in North Carolina. So, each Brokerage must have a BIC.  In fact, each Brokerage office must have a BIC.

If you don’t meet the annual continuing education requirements, you can maintain your license on inactive status by paying the annual license fee. However, you are not able to practice real estate with an inactive status. One only needs to meet the education requirements to gain active status once again. If you don’t pay the annual license fee, the license expires. If this license expires for more than 180 days, you need to go through the licensure process all over again.  So, it is wise to pay the fee, even if you are not actively practicing real estate!

As always, please let me know if you have any questions...