Becoming A Real Estate Agent: What You Need To Know About Cost

In navigating the complexities of the real estate industry, many individuals ponder the path to becoming a real estate salesperson. The process involves a blend of formal education and practical requirements that must be met. We understand the importance of this inquiry for those looking to either enter the field or invest in it. Thus, our focus is on delivering clear, comprehensive insights into what it entails to secure a real estate license and the value it brings to one’s professional capabilities.

To become a real estate agent, one must complete a pre-licensing course from accredited real estate schools, pass the real estate license exam, and then apply for a license. The specific requirements and duration of license education vary by state. A real estate license is worth obtaining for those committed to building a career in real estate, as it not only enhances your credibility as a real estate investor but also provides access to more deals, networking opportunities, and a deeper understanding of the market.

real estate career NJ

Cost To Obtain Your Real Estate License

The cost of becoming a real estate agent can vary depending on the state you reside in. At the time of this writing, the typical fees associated with obtaining your New Jersey Real Estate license and taking the necessary exams range from $550-$750.

There are additional costs for things like fingerprinting and background checks. Once you have obtained your license, there are annual renewals fees that must be paid in order to keep it active. These fees are usually around $100-$200 per year.

In addition to the costs associated with getting licensed, there are also other expenses that come with being a real estate agent. These can include things like marketing and advertising expenses, office space rental or purchase, MLS dues, website design and hosting fees, professional liability insurance, and more. While some of these expenses can be optional, others (like MLS dues) are mandatory in order to conduct business. Check out this article if you’re curious about The Benefits Of Reciprocity In Real Estate.

Additional Considerations

cost of becoming a realtor in NJ

Overall, the cost of becoming a real estate agent is not prohibitive, but it is important to be aware of all the associated fees before getting started. By understanding the costs upfront, you can better prepare yourself financially and avoid any surprises down the road.

While the start-up costs for becoming a real estate agent may seem relatively low, it’s important to remember that this is a business venture. As with any business, there is always the potential for loss as well as profit.

It’s important to have a solid plan and budget in place before getting started to help minimize risk and maximize your chances of being successful. In this blog, we will discuss several of the primary costs in detail. This is a great article if you’re interested in learning more about What Does a Real Estate Agent Do?

Preparing For Your Real Estate Exam

Just as with any profession, a real estate career requires you to invest both time and money into your education. In order to take your real estate exam, you will need to take a 75 hour pre-licensing course at a state licensed real estate school. The course will include study materials covering the real estate industry. You will also need to pay the exam fee.

Once you have passed your exam and obtained your license, there are still some additional costs associated with becoming a real estate agent. For example, most agents join their local MLS (Multiple Listing Service), which typically costs between $300 and $600 per year.

Additionally, you will need to purchase errors and omissions insurance (E&O), which protects you against lawsuits arising from any mistakes you might make while working as a real estate agent. E&O insurance typically costs between $200 and $500 per year.

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Attending Real Estate School

The cost of real estate sales person education, books, and materials from the Ocean School of Real Estate based in Brick, New Jersey is currently $449. In addition to the cost of school, there are also the costs of taking the state licensing exam and joining a real estate board or association.

Whichever school you choose to attend, ask about payment plans or scholarships that may help to help offset the cost of attendance. And once you’re licensed, you can start earning money to help cover your expenses.

If you’re thinking about becoming a real estate agent, be sure to research the costs involved so you can plan accordingly. With a little planning and effort, you can become a licensed agent without breaking the bank.

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Real Estate Exam Application Fees

The cost of taking the New Jersey Real Estate Salesperson Exam is $38 – as seen on the PSI website here. The exam fee is paid to PSI, the company that administers the exam. You will need to create an account with PSI and pay the fee online.

In addition to the Exam Application Fee, you will also need to pay a License Application Fee when you submit your application for a license. The License Fee is $160 and is paid to the New Jersey Real Estate Commission (NJREC).

If you are taking the Exam and applying for your Real Estate License at the same time, you will need to pay both fees.

how much is the NJ real estate exam

Real Estate License Fees

The first expense you’ll need to consider is the cost of your real estate license fees. In New Jersey, the initial license fee must be paid upon submission of your application. If you’re renewing your license, the fee is $100.

In order to maintain an active license, agents must complete continuing education courses. The cost of these courses can range from $50-$200 per course.

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Live Scan Cost (Background Check)

In addition to the license fee, you’ll also need to pay for fingerprinting and a criminal history record check. The fingerprinting and the background check fee of $66.05 will need to be submitted with your application as well.

As you can see, there are a few upfront costs to consider before you even begin working as a real estate agent. Of course, this doesn’t include the cost of things like business cards, marketing materials, and other necessary supplies.

Real Estate Business Expenses

Let’s take a look at some of the more common ones:

Advertising And Marketing

This is one of the most important expenses for any real estate business. You need to find ways to market your listings and attract potential buyers. There are a variety of ways to do this, and the cost can vary depending on what methods you choose.

Business Cards

cost of realtor's business cards

Don’t forget about the most basic marketing tools for any business. And while you can find some pretty cheap options out there, real estate agents should avoid going too low-budget on their cards. Why? Because high-quality cards send a message that you’re a professional who is serious about your career. Plus, first impressions matter, and you never know when you might meet a potential client.

So how much should you budget for your business cards? A good rule of thumb is to spend around $100-$200 for a batch of 500 quality cards. Of course, if you want to get really fancy with special features or unique designs, you could end up spending more. But ultimately, it’s up to you to decide what kind of image you want to project.

Just remember, your business cards are one of the first things potential clients will see, so make sure they’re representing you in the best light possible.


When you sell a property, you will typically have to pay a commission to the listing agent as well as the buyer’s agent. The amount of commission varies depending on the area, but it is typically around five or six percent of the sales price. You will likely need to pay real estate broker fees as well.

Education And Training

In order to be a successful real estate agent, you need to continuously update your skills and knowledge. There are many ways to do this, including taking courses, attending conferences, and reading industry publications. The cost of education and training can vary depending on the methods you choose.

Multiple Listing Service (MLS)

The MLS is a valuable tool for Real Estate Agents. It allows them to search for properties that are currently on the market, as well as track properties that have sold in the past. This information is essential when pricing a home for sale and determining what homes in the area are worth.

While the MLS is not required to sell real estate in New Jersey, it is highly recommended. For agents who choose to use the MLS, it is important to be aware of the fees associated with the service. By understanding the cost of becoming a Real Estate Agent, agents can make informed decisions about whether or not the MLS is right for their business.

The cost for the FLEX MLS, a Ocean and Monmouth County MLS service is $325 annually. This fee covers the costs of maintaining the website, MLS data, and other administrative costs associated with the service.  $325 annually may seem like a lot but if you plan on selling even just one home, the MLS will more than pay for itself.

At the time of this writing, there are 10 MLS services in the state of New Jersey. They are divided by county. The broker you choose to work with will have more information about the right MLS for your area.

National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)

NAR is a membership-based organization and, as such, there is an annual fee associated with being a member. These costs can vary depending on the state in which you plan to become licensed. You will also need to join a local real estate board, the Monmouth Ocean County Board is the one local to our school, for example. Depending on your local board, $450-$550 per year will cover your application fees and membership dues.

Office Expenses

If you work from home, you may not have many office expenses. However, if you have a dedicated office space, you will need to factor in the cost of rent, utilities, and other necessary expenses.

Open House Expenses

These can really add up – from the cost of food and drink for potential buyers to paying for signage and marketing materials. And that’s not even including the cost of your time!

If you’re thinking of becoming a real estate agent, it’s important to factor in all of these costs before making the decision. Otherwise, you could end up being out of pocket – and in debt! – very quickly.

Do your research and speak to other agents to get an idea of what real estate open houses actually cost. Then, make sure you have a solid plan in place to cover all of your bases.

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Travel Expenses

This may be one of your largest expenses, especially if you’re driving a long distance to show properties. Gas, tolls, and parking can all take a chunk out of your profits. You might also decide to pay for airfare and hotels if you’re working with out-of-town buyers. Make sure you factor in these costs when deciding the level of customer service you wish to provide as a New Jersey Realtor.

Website Hosting And Maintenance

A website is one of the most important and often overlooked, aspects of being a real estate agent. Your website is your digital storefront, and it needs to be up-to-date and look its best at all times. That means regular updates, security patches, and occasional redesigns.

Hosting your own website can be expensive, especially if you want to use a premium platform with state of the art functionality. And even if you go with a cheaper option, you’ll still need to pay for things like hosting fees, domain names, and SSL certificates. Then there’s the cost of actually building and maintaining your site.

If you want visitors to be able to search for homes directly on your website, you may have software subscriptions to pay for that will allow you to embed that search capability on your website.

If you’re not a web designer or developer yourself, you’ll need to hire someone to do it for you – contact some local webmasters to get an idea of current pricing and what will be included in your project.

How Much Does A Broker License Cost?

The cost of a broker license varies from state to state. In New Jersey, the license fee for a sole proprietor Broker is $270. The cost for the exam itself is $38.

What Are The Steps To Get A Broker License?

The first step is to complete an accredited real estate program. Once you have completed the program, you will then need to take and pass the state licensing exam. After that, you will need to submit your application along with the required fees.

Once you have met all of the requirements and been approved, you will be issued your broker license! Congratulations!

Final Thoughts

The journey to becoming a licensed real estate agent in New Jersey, while initially seeming cost-effective, does come with ongoing expenses that are crucial for maintaining an active license.

Indeed, the costs of being a real estate professional can accumulate over time due to a variety of factors. These expenses, while inevitable, can be managed effectively with careful planning and foresight. By familiarizing yourself with the common costs and learning how to manage them efficiently, you can ensure your business operates smoothly and avoid unexpected financial hiccups down the line.

For instance, gaining access to platforms like Flexmls NJ, a widely used Multiple Listing Service (MLS) in Northern New Jersey, is one such expense. This platform is essential for real estate professionals to list and sell homes effectively.

Hence, as you embark on your journey to become a successful real estate agent in Northern New Jersey, remember that awareness and effective management of these costs are as important as your ability to sell homes successfully.


How much does it cost to become a real estate agent in New Jersey?

It costs around $710 to become a licensed real estate agent in New Jersey. This includes the cost of the pre-licensing exam prep course, the application fee, the exam, background check, and the license itself.

What are some of the ongoing costs associated with being a real estate agent?

Some of the ongoing costs associated with being a real estate agent include Errors and Omissions insurance, MLS fees, Realtor’s association dues, continuing education courses, website hosting and maintenance, and travel expenses.

Is there anything I can do to minimize my expenses as a real estate agent?

Yes! There are a few things you can do to minimize your expenses as a real estate agent. One thing you can do is join an MLS or multiple listing service. This will help you save on marketing costs by allowing you to list your properties on a central database (MLS) that is accessible to other real estate agents.
Become familiar with a variety of ways to market your business online, using traditional advertising and networking with potential customers in person. By investing in your marketing as a priority, you will attract new customers to will bring you more profits so this expense has the potential for a high return on your investment.

Additional Resources

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  • Kristen Johnson, Esq.

    Kristen E. Johnson, Esq. has been practicing law ( at the Jersey Shore for over 20 years, focusing on all aspects of residential and commercial real estate. Kristen is originally from Monmouth County where she currently resides with her husband and three daughters. Kristen is a graduate of Drexel University (’00) and Villanova School of Law (’03). Kristen has over twenty years experience in foreclosures, Condominium Law, Landlord Tenant law, and residential and commercial real estate. Kristen also is the owner and operator of the Ocean School of Real Estate, where she is licensed educator.