Becoming a Licensed Realtor in Iowa | The Path to Success

Iowa Realtor

In Iowa, becoming a realtor can be an exciting and rewarding career endeavor. A realtor is a licensed professional representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. They often work under the supervision of brokers and are responsible for marketing properties, negotiating deals, and managing the transaction process. As a realtor, you can help people find their dream homes, navigate the complexities of the real estate market, and start an LLC in Iowa.

However, before starting your journey to Becoming a Realtor in Iowa, you must complete several steps to obtain your real estate license. This comprehensive guide will walk you through the entire process, so you can confidently begin your new career.

Webinarcare Editorial Team will help you gain knowledge through thorough research and market study. Before becoming a realtor in Iowa, all the steps in this article must guide you.

What is a Realtor?

A realtor is a licensed real estate professional member of the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and adheres to their code of ethics. They may work as individuals, within a real estate brokerage, or as part of a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. Their services include representing buyers and sellers in real estate transactions, assisting with property management, and providing guidance on real estate investments, including rental properties.

The requirements to become a realtor in Iowa may vary, but here are the general steps:

  1. Education: Complete the required pre-licensing real estate education courses. In Iowa, this typically involves completing a certain number of hours of approved coursework.
  2. Examination: Pass the Iowa-approved real estate licensing exam. The exam tests your knowledge of real estate laws, practices, and ethics. Study materials and exam preparation courses are available to help you succeed.
  3. Application: Submit a real estate license application to the Iowa Real Estate Commission. This application includes documentation such as proof of education, exam results, background check, and fees.
  4. Background Check: Iowa requires applicants to undergo a criminal background check. This usually involves providing fingerprints and consent for the background investigation.
  5. Join a Brokerage: Agents must work under a licensed real estate broker in Iowa. Find a reputable brokerage that aligns with your career goals and values and provides new agents with the necessary support and mentorship.
  6. Membership: Consider joining the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and local real estate associations. Membership offers valuable resources, networking opportunities, and access to multiple listing services (MLS), simplifying clients’ buying and selling process.

It’s crucial to note that real estate licensing requirements can change, and it is recommended to check with the Iowa Real Estate Commission for the most up-to-date and specific requirements.

Embarking on the journey to become a realtor in Iowa is not simply about selling houses, it’s about building dreams, yours included. Take the leap and start an LLC. With every property you sell, you’re not just making a living; you’re creating a business that can evolve, grow, and create lasting success.


How to Become a Realtor in Iowa

Suppose you’re considering becoming a realtor and want to form a professional corporation in Iowa. In that case, it’s essential to understand the steps and requirements involved in obtaining your license and starting your professional journey. This step-by-step guide will walk you through the entire process of becoming a realtor, from understanding the requirements to choosing a brokerage.

Step 1: Understand The Requirements

Before becoming a realtor in Iowa, you must understand the requirements to obtain your Iowa real estate license. Iowa has unique requirements, so it’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the specific rules and regulations. In general, to become a realtor in Iowa, you must:

  • Be at least 18 years old.
  • Have a high school diploma or equivalent
  • Complete the required pre-license education
  • Pass the Iowa real estate licensing exam
  • Submit your application and fees to the Iowa real estate commission
  • Complete a background check
  • Obtain Errors & Omissions (E&O) insurance

It’s important to note that Iowa may have additional requirements or prerequisites to become a licensed realtor. Check with the Iowa real estate commission for the most up-to-date information.

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Step 2: Complete Pre-License Education

To become a realtor in Iowa, you must fulfill Iowa pre-license education requirements. Typically, this involves completing a certain number of hours of coursework from an approved real estate school. The curriculum usually covers real estate principles, practices, and laws specific to Iowa.

When choosing a real estate school, ensuring the Iowa real estate commission approves them is important. Many schools offer online and in-person courses, so consider your learning preferences when selecting a program. Additionally, consider the school’s reputation and course pass rates, as this can indicate the quality of their instruction. However, you can still enroll in real estate courses before your licensing exam. Here are the real estate courses and schools in Iowa.

  • Iowa Association of Realtors, Real Estate Express, andThe CE Shop

Step 3: Pass The Real Estate Licensing Exam

After completing the required pre-license education, the next step is to pass the Iowa real estate licensing exam. The exam typically consists of two parts: a national portion that covers general real estate principles and a specific portion that covers Iowa real estate laws and regulations.

To prepare for the exam, consider using study materials and practice exams provided by your pre-license education provider. Additionally, seek out other resources, such as online practice tests and exam prep books, to ensure you’re well-prepared for the test.

On exam day, bring the required identification and any necessary materials. Remember to arrive early to allow for any registration processes, and be prepared to spend several hours at the testing center. Once you’ve completed the exam, you will receive your results. If you pass, you can move on to the next step in the licensing process. If you don’t pass, don’t be discouraged. Iowa allows multiple attempts, so take the time to review the areas where you struggled and retake the exam when ready. The exam fee is $155.

Make sure to pass the first attempt of the licensing exam.

Step 4: Submit Your Application and Fees

After passing the Iowa real estate licensing exam, you must submit your license application and fees to the Iowa real estate commission. The application typically requires you to provide information about your education, exam results, and background check. Be sure to complete the application accurately and thoroughly, as any discrepancies or omissions may delay the processing of your license.

The licensing fee in Iowa costs $125. However, there are additional costs associated with processing your background check. Review the fee schedule for Iowa and ensure you submit the correct amount with your application.

Step 5: Complete a Background Check

You must complete a background check as part of the licensing process in Iowa. This ensures you meet the moral character requirements of the Iowa real estate commission. The background check typically involves submitting your fingerprints and any necessary forms to the appropriate agency for processing.

Review the guidelines for Iowa and follow the instructions to ensure your background check is completed accurately and efficiently.

Step 6: Obtain Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance

Obtaining Errors & Omissions (E&O) Insurance is required to obtain your real estate license in Iowa. E&O insurance is a type of professional liability insurance that protects realtors from claims related to mistakes or negligence in their professional services.

If E&O insurance is required in Iowa, research and select a policy that meets the state’s requirements before submitting your license application. Even if it’s not a requirement in Iowa, it’s still a good idea to consider obtaining E&O insurance to protect yourself and your business—the costs of obtaining E&O insurance range from $500 to $1,200 per year.

Step 7: Choose a Brokerage and Start Your Career

Once you’ve obtained your Iowa real estate license, the final step is to choose a brokerage to work under. A brokerage is a real estate firm that employs licensed agents and brokers. As a new realtor, you’ll work under the supervision of a broker who can provide guidance, support, and resources to help you succeed in your new career.

When choosing a brokerage, consider its reputation, commission structure, training and support programs, and company culture. Selecting a brokerage that aligns with your professional goals and provides an environment where you can thrive is essential. You can also find ways to become a realtor by starting a rental property LLC in Iowa.

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Step 8: Pursue NAR membership

Join the National Association of Realtors to become a realtor. Find your local real estate association and confirm the membership criteria, including an application and an annual fee. If you join NAR, you can enroll in continuing education and other professional courses. You can also access market data and services to help you be more efficient as a realtor.


Average Income of a Realtor in Iowa

The average income for a realtor in Iowa varies depending on experience, location, and market conditions. Still, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the median annual wage for a realtor in Iowa is around $47,000.


What are the requirements to become a realtor in Iowa?
In Iowa, you must be at least 18 years old, have a high school diploma or equivalent, complete 60 hours of pre-license education, pass a state exam, and find a real estate broker.
Can I take the pre-license education course online in Iowa?
Yes, the pre-license education course can be taken online in Iowa.
How long is the real estate pre-license education course in Iowa?
The pre-license course in Iowa is 60 hours of education.
What does the Iowa state exam entail?
The Iowa state exam is made up of both national and state-specific questions and must be completed within four hours.
How much does it cost to take the Iowa real estate exam?
The cost to take the Iowa real estate exam is $155.
Is there a fee to apply for an Iowa real estate license?
Yes, the fee to apply for an Iowa real estate license is $225.
What is the passing score for the Iowa state exam?
The passing score for the Iowa state exam is 70%.
What is a sponsoring broker in Iowa?
A sponsoring broker is a licensed real estate broker who supervises and essentially serves as a mentor to new real estate licensees in Iowa.
Do I need a sponsoring broker before applying for an Iowa real estate license?
No, you can apply for a license and then find a sponsoring broker within six months of becoming licensed.
After becoming licensed in Iowa, how long can I wait before affiliating with a broker?
You have up to six months to affiliate with a sponsoring broker after becoming licensed in Iowa.
Can I become a real estate broker in Iowa without first becoming a salesperson?
No, in Iowa, you must first become licensed as a real estate salesperson before becoming eligible to become a broker.
Is there a minimum amount of experience required before I can become a broker in Iowa?
Yes, in Iowa, you need to have at least two years of experience as a licensed real estate salesperson before you can become a broker.
Can I transfer my real estate license from another state to Iowa?
Yes, if you have an active real estate license in another state, you can obtain an Iowa license by fulfilling certain educational and reciprocity requirements.
Do I need a background check before becoming licensed in Iowa?
Yes, a background check is required to obtain a real estate license in Iowa.
How can I find a real estate broker to work for in Iowa?
You can find a broker on the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau website or by networking with real estate professionals in the state.
How long does it typically take to become a licensed real estate agent in Iowa?
The timeline can vary, but it takes around 2-3 months on average to complete the pre-license education, pass the state exam, and find a sponsoring broker.
How much do real estate agents typically make in Iowa?
According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, real estate sales agents in Iowa make an average of $51,290 per year.
Is there a continuing education requirement for Iowa real estate licensees?
Yes, in Iowa, real estate licensees are required to complete 36 hours of continuing education every three years.
Can I work as a real estate agent part-time in Iowa?
Yes, you can work as a part-time real estate agent in Iowa, but keep in mind that success in the industry generally requires full-time effort and availability.
Can I have my real estate license in Iowa if I am not a resident of the state?
Yes, you can have an Iowa real estate license even if you do not live in the state.
Are there any personality traits or skills that are particularly important for succeeding in Iowa real estate?
Some important traits for succeeding in Iowa real estate include exceptional communication skills, the ability to work independently, persistence, and a knack for negotiation.
Is there anything I can do to ensure I pass the real estate exam on my first try in Iowa?
Solid preparation is key. Doing plenty of practice exams, minimizing distractions and disruptions while taking the test, and taking care of yourself leading up to the exam can all help ensure success.
Can I be a real estate agent in Iowa if I have a criminal record?
Some convictions may impact a person’s eligibility for licensure, depending on their severity and recency. It is best to contact the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau for specific guidance.
How do I renew my Iowa real estate license?
To renew your Iowa real estate license, you must complete all necessary continuing education and submit a renewal application along with the renewal fee.
Can I choose a sponsoring broker right after passing the Iowa real estate exam?
Yes, you can reach out to potential sponsoring brokers as soon as you pass the exam.
If I have a four-year degree, do I still need to complete the full 60-hour pre-license course in Iowa?
Yes, even if you have a degree, you still need to complete the full pre-license course in Iowa.
Can I represent both the buyer and seller in Iowa real estate deals?
Yes, though there are certain rules and disclosure requirements you must follow.
Does Iowa offer reciprocity with any other states for real estate licenses?
Yes, Iowa has reciprocity with several other states, meaning that getting licensed in Iowa could allow you to get licensed in those states more easily.
Can I work for any real estate broker in Iowa, or do I have to choose one based on where I live?
You can work for any licensed broker in Iowa, regardless of where you live or where the broker’s office is located.

Also Read

How to Save Money While Starting a Becoming Realtor in Iowa

One of the first steps you can take to save money while starting out as a realtor in Iowa is to carefully analyze your expenses and create a budget. By understanding where your money is going each month, you can identify areas where you may be overspending and make necessary adjustments. This can help you prioritize your spending and allocate resources more efficiently, ultimately helping you save money in the long run.

In addition to creating a budget, it’s essential to look for ways to reduce your overhead costs. This could involve finding a cost-effective office space, sourcing affordable marketing materials, or negotiating better deals with service providers. By being mindful of your expenses and actively seeking out ways to save money, you can lower your operating costs and increase your overall profitability.

Another key strategy for saving money as a new realtor in Iowa is to make use of free or low-cost resources available to you. For example, instead of investing in expensive software programs, consider utilizing free or low-cost online tools to help you manage your client database, track leads, and organize your schedule. Additionally, taking advantage of networking opportunities and community events can help you build your client base without incurring significant expenses.

Furthermore, it’s essential to prioritize investments that will yield a high return on investment (ROI) in the long term. While it may be tempting to splurge on fancy new technology or upscale marketing campaigns, it’s crucial to focus on spending money where it will have the most significant impact on your business. This could involve investing in professional development opportunities, upgrading your website for better visibility, or hiring a virtual assistant to help you streamline your tasks.

As you work to save money while starting out as a realtor in Iowa, don’t forget to consider the power of collaboration and partnerships. By connecting with other real estate professionals, sharing resources, and pooling your talents, you can leverage each other’s strengths and save money on shared expenses. Building a strong professional network can also help you access valuable industry insights, mentorship, and support as you navigate the challenges of starting a new business.

In conclusion, starting a career as a realtor in Iowa can be a rewarding and potentially profitable endeavor. By being strategic with your finances, prioritizing cost-saving measures, and leveraging free resources, you can set yourself up for long-term success in the real estate industry. Remember that every dollar saved is a dollar earned, and with careful planning and financial discipline, you can achieve your goals as a successful real estate agent in Iowa.


Becoming a realtor in Iowa is a rewarding career choice that offers flexibility, the potential for financial success, and the opportunity to help people navigate the complex world of real estate. Following the steps outlined in this guide and dedicating yourself to learning and growth, you can embark on a successful and fulfilling career as a realtor in Iowa.

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