Licensing FAQ's

Getting a License in NC

Licensing FAQs




Who is required to have a real estate license in NC? Any person or business entity who engages in brokerage must have a real estate license. See GS 93A-1 and GS 93A-2 for rules & exceptions.


Why do I need to get a NC real estate license if I am already licensed in another state? Per GS 93A-1 no one may accept compensation for brokerage activities in NC without a NC real estate license on Active status.


Are real estate/real property attorneys required to have a real estate license to engage in real estate brokerage in NC? Yes, per GS 93A-1 no one may accept compensation for brokerage activities in NC without a NC real estate license on Active status.


How do I obtain a NC Real Estate license? The entire licensing process and all requirements are provided in the Commission’s Real Estate Licensing in NC (RELINC) booklet.


I had a NC real estate license in the past. I want to get back in the business. What do I do? If your license has expired and you wish to practice brokerage, you must apply for Reinstatement. Refer to the Reinstate your License page for details.


What are the fees associated with keeping an active license? Brokers must pay NCREC’s annual renewal fee, registration fees for CE courses per year, and NC’s Privilege License annual fee.
Provisional Brokers must also pay registration and textbook fees for Postlicensing courses.


Does NC have a salesperson license? No. NC is a “Broker-only” state. NC’s Provisional Broker category is the entry-level license status. See Rules 58A.0506 & 58A.1902.


What are the types of broker licenses in NC? Broker, Firm, and Limited Nonresident Commercial Definitions provided on pp 3-4 of RELINC.


What is a “Provisional Broker” (PB)? Provisional Broker (PB) is the entry-level license status. PBs must be supervised by BICs (Broker-in-Charge) and complete Postlicensing education to maintain Active licenses. See Rules 58A.0506 & 58A.1902.


What are the license qualification requirements in NC? License qualification requirements are provided on p4 of Real Estate Licensing in NC (RELINC) .


What are the fees associated with getting a license? Prelicensing course registration fee, application fee, exam registration fee, & criminal background check. For details, see pp 4-11 of RELINC.


Where can I sign up for a Broker Prelicensing course? The list of schools currently approved to offer the Prelicense course is available on the Commission’s website. Contact the schools directly regarding registration.


What is the best Prelicensing school? The Commission does not recommend schools. Click here to view the License Examination Performance Summary Report by School.


Where can I buy the Prelicensing textbook? Ordering info for both approved textbooks is provided in the Prelicensing Syllabus. Contact your school to determine which book will be used.


Can I take the Broker Prelicensing course online? Yes. The Prelicensing course is offered in variety of formats – in-person, via synchronous distance learning (aka, “live online” instruction using Zoom or similar technologies), or via distance courses (self-paced online courses).


If I hold a license in another state, do I need to take the Prelicensing course or exam? An applicant who holds a current real estate license in another state (or U.S. territory or Canadian jurisdiction) that has been on active status within the previous three years may qualify to waive the Prelicense course and the “National” section of the North Carolina real estate license examination, but the applicant must pass the “State” section of the examination. See pp 4-7 of RELINC.


Can I apply for my license online? Yes, if you are applying for a broker license. Click here to access the Commission's online application system. Applications for Firm Licenses and Limited Nonresidential Commercial Licenses must be submitted via paper forms. Visit the Forms page of the Commission's website to download the paper application forms.


I lost my application username and password. Help! The username should be your email address & you can choose to “reset password”. Also, you may contact the Commission for assistance.


I took (and passed!) the Prelicensing course last year. May I apply now or do I need to retake the class? You may apply now. You do not need to retake the course at this point. The Broker Prelicense course must have been successfully completed within 3 years prior to application. See p5 of RELINC.


How do I obtain my criminal record report? Contact Criminal Record at 877.272.0266 or Criminal Record Check (CRC) is the only approved criminal record provider for the NC Real Estate Commission. Reports from other agencies will not be accepted.


I ran a criminal background check a year ago. Do I need to order a new report? Yes, you need to order a new report. Only a report prepared by CRC within the previous six months is acceptable. See pp 10-11 of RELINC.


How much will the criminal record report cost? If you have only lived in NC during the past 7 years, your report will likely cost less than $30. However, you must submit a criminal record report for any state or country in which you lived during the past 7 years. Fees are assessed for each state and/or country. Also, checks must be performed for all names and aliases. Read more on pp 10-12 of RELINC.


What is an Official Certification of Licensure (aka, Certificate of License History)? A Certification of Licensure is an official document published by the real estate governing agency in the state you hold a license. It is not a wall license, pocket card, or certificate. It shows the type of license you hold, the criteria upon which you qualified for licensure (such as examination or reciprocity), the duration of your licensure, your status history (including broker/firm affiliations), and any disciplinary actions. Applicants for licensure in North Carolina are required to submit a Certification of Licensure from any state in which they have held a real estate license within the 5 years prior to application.


How soon after I submit my application will I be able to take the licensing exam? Assuming the Commission determines you meet the qualification requirements and have submitted a complete application, you will be sent a “Notice of Exam Eligibility” that will enable you to register for the license exam. The notice should be sent to you via email within 5-7 business days of receipt of your application. Read more on p18 of RELINC.


How do I schedule my exam? 1 business day following receipt of the Exam Eligibility Notice, go to to create an account and schedule a testing appointment or call 855.579.4638. See p19 of RELINC.


Once I get a Notice of Exam Eligibility, how long do I have to take the exam? The Exam Eligibility period is 180 days. If you do not take &/or pass the exam within that period, you must re-apply. See p17 of RELINC.


How many times can I take the exam in my 180-day eligibility? Applicants are not allowed to retake the licensing exam for at least 10 calendar days following a failed or missed exam. Other than that waiting period, there is no limit to the number of attempts during the 180-day eligibility period. Refer to pp 17-23 of RELINC.


What is the passing score on the licensing exam? 57 of the 80 National Section scored questions and 29 of the 40 State Section scored questions must be answered correctly to pass. See pp 16-21 of RELINC for details regarding exam format & content.


How long is the licensing exam? The exam is 3.5 hours & includes 120 questions, of which 80 are National and 40 are State-based questions. The remaining 10-15 questions are unscored, pretest questions. See p21 of RELINC for details.


If I pass the national section but not the state in the 180-day period, will I have to take the entire exam again? It depends. If you pass only one section and are applying to retest within the same 180-period, you need only take the portion that you did not pass. However, if you have exceeded 180 days, you must reapply and take the entire exam (both sections) again. You must pass both sections within the same 180-day period. See pp 17-18 of RELINC.


How can I request a special accommodation to take the exam? Candidates requesting special accommodations must call PSI at 1-800-367-1565, ext. 6750, to schedule their examination. Refer to p19 of RELINC.


I passed the licensing exam! When will I get my license? Once you pass the exam, the character section of your application is reviewed. If there are no issues relating to character, your license will be promptly issued and should be received in the mail within 7-10 business days of the examination date. If there is any issue relating to character, your application will be reviewed by Commission staff and may be referred to the Commission for further consideration. This process may become quite lengthy. See p12 of RELINC.


What is the "character review" process? All applicants must successfully complete the Broker Prelicense course (unless exempt), submit an application (with appropriate fee and background check), and pass the licensing exam. At this point, the Commission will evaluate any character issues that were disclosed on the application or background report. Every application is considered individually. If character issues were reported, the application is first evaluated by the License Application Analyst and Executive Director. If necessary, the application may be then referred to the Commission for review at the next monthly Commission meeting. The Commission may make a decision regarding licensure at that meeting or may choose to invite an applicant to the Commission office for a “character conference” the following month. An applicant will be notified in writing of the Commission’s decision.


I want to teach the Prelicense course in North Carolina. What are the qualification requirements and how do I apply? NCAC 58H.0302 explains the criteria and procedures for Commission approval of Pre/Postlicensing and Update instructors. The "Real Estate Prelicensing, Postlicensing, or Update Instructor Application for original approval (Form REC 3.76)" is available on the Commission's website under Forms.