Licensing FAQ's

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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? Provisional Broker, Broker, Broker-in-Charge, 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? Prelicense course registration fee, application fee, exam registration fee, & criminal background check. For details, see pages 4-12 of RELINC.


Where can I sign up for a Broker Prelicense 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 Prelicense school? The Commission does not recommend schools. Click here to view the License Examination Performance Summary Report by School.


Where can I buy the Prelicense 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 Prelicense course online? No. Currently, the broker Prelicense course is only offered in live classroom format. A list of approved schools is available on the Commission's website.


If I hold a license in another state, do I need to take the Prelicense 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.


I am applying for a NC license based on licensure in another state, so I only have to take the “State” section of the licensing exam. Is there a prep class I can attend or a study guide available? The Commission’s “State Section Study Guidelines” are available on the Applicants from Another Jurisdiction page on the Commission’s website. The Guidelines document also provides links to other study resources available across the state.


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 Prelicense 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 p11 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 11-12 of RELINC.


What is a certificate of license history? A license history 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, how you received your license, the duration of your license, your status, and any disciplinary actions.


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 licensing exam. If you filed an online application, the notice should be sent to you via email within 3-4 business days of receipt of your application. If you filed a paper application, it will be sent via US mail within 7-10 business days of receipt. Read more on p24 of RELINC.


How do I schedule my exam? 1 business day following receipt of the Exam Eligibility Notice, you may schedule your exam with PSI/AMP online or by phone.See pages 24-26 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 p24 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 page 24-30 of RELINC.


What is the passing score on the licensing exam? 71 of the 100 National Section scored questions and 29 of the 40 State Section scored questions must be answered correctly to pass. See pp 13-23 of RELINC for details regarding exam format & content.


How long is the licensing exam? The exam is 4 hours & includes 150 questions, of which 100 are National and 40 are State-based questions. The remaining 10 questions are unscored, pretest questions. See p23 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 page 30 of RELINC.


How can I request a special accommodation to take the exam? A candidate requesting special accommodations must call PSI/AMP (800-367-1565, ext.6750) to schedule the exam. Refer to page 25 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 seven 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 pgs 12-13 of Real Estate Licensing in NC (RELINC) for details.


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 58C.0603* explains the criteria & procedures for Commission approval of Pre/Postlicensing course instructors. The “Real Estate Prelicensing and Postlicensing Education Instructor Application for Original Approval & Renewal” (Form REC 3.64) is available on the Commission’s website under Forms.
*As of July 1, 2017, refer to Rule 58H .0302 regarding instructor approval.

Business Entities (Firms) and Sole Proprietorships


When do I need a firm license? Any type of business entity, other than a sole proprietorship, must have a firm license to engage in brokerage. Refer to GS 93A-2 .


What is an SOSID number? SOSID stands for Secretary of State ID (number). An entity is assigned an SOSID once it is registered with the Secretary of State’s office.


Can I fax or email my firm application? No. Firm applications must be sent via US Mail (or other delivery service) with the appropriate fee. Click here for the Firm Application.


I am a Broker named Jane Smith. I want my commission checks to be paid directly to my LLC, which is named Smith Properties LLC. Is that okay? To legally receive compensation for brokerage activities, Smith Properties LLC must obtain a firm license. See GS 93A-1.


My sole proprietorship has changed its name. How do I notify the Commission? If the new name is an assumed name, register the assumed name at the Register of Deeds Office in the county in which you will be doing business. Then, submit written notification of the change to the Commission with a copy of the assumed name registration and a statement that the business will remain a sole proprietorship.


I am currently operating as a sole proprietorship and want to change to another business entity. How do I make that change? First, create the business entity and register it with the Secretary of State. [You may want the help of an attorney to create and register the entity.]
Next, you must apply for a firm license for the entity. To access the firm license application, go to the Commission’s website (, click on the “Forms” tab, select “Application Forms” and select “Firm Application”.


How do I delete a DBA (“trade name”) for my real estate business? Contact the Register of Deeds Office in the county in which your firm is registered in and withdraw the Assumed Name Registration. Mail your firm license certificate to the Commission with a check or money order for the $5 processing fee, a copy of the Withdrawal Certificate of Assumed Name, and a letter listing the names and license numbers of licensees who are no longer working under the DBA name.


My firm (business entity) has changed its name. How do I notify the Commission? Mail your firm license certificate to the Commission with a check or money order for the $10 processing fee, a copy of the amendment authorizing the change, and a letter listing the names and license numbers of those individuals affected by the change.

License Record/Status


Where do I find my initial licensure date? Your initial licensure date is shown on your wall license. Note: If your license has been reinstated, the reinstatement date will be shown.


How do I update my email or residence address or telephone number(s)? Log into your online license record to make these changes. To access your record, go to the Commission’s homepage ( and click on “Licensee Login.”


How do I report a name change for my individual license? Submit the "Name Change” form & appropriate fee to the Commission. The form is available at under “Forms.”


May I designate my email address as “Private”? Yes. Log into your online license record to do so. If you designate your email address as private, it will be used for Commission purposes only and will not be displayed or provided as part of the public information about that licensee.


I have lost my license certificate or pocket card. How may I obtain a new one? To replace your license (wall) certificate, submit the “Request To Reissue Real Estate License Certificate And/Or Pocket Card” form & $5 fee to the Commission. The form is available at under “Forms”. You may view, download, and print your digital pocket card for no charge by logging into your license record. To access your record, go to the Commission’s homepage ( and click on “Licensee Login.”


When does my license expire? All NC real estate licenses expire on June 30 each year. Refer to Rule 58A.0503.


My license is on Expired status. What does that mean? It means that you failed to renew your license in a timely manner, and you no longer have a license. If you wish to practice brokerage, you must apply for Reinstatement. Refer to the Reinstate your License page for details.


My license is currently on Inactive status. How did that happen? There are several possibilities, as follows:
1) You requested that your license be placed on Inactive Status at some point in the past.
2) Even though you paid the renewal fee in a timely manner, you failed to complete the required continuing education or post licensing education on time.
3) If you are a Provisional Broker, you are not currently affiliated with a BIC OR your BIC either did not renew or did not complete his/her required continuing education in a timely manner.
You may NOT perform any brokerage activities or collect brokerage fees (including referral fees) while your license is Inactive.


How do I place my license on Inactive Status? Submit the “Request To Place License On Inactive Status” (Form REC 2.16). You will receive a “Notice of Record Change” once the form has been processed and your license record has been updated.


My license is currently on Inactive status. How long may I remain on Inactive status? As long as you pay your renewal fee on time every year, your license can remain on Inactive status indefinitely.


How do I get a license history or certificate of licensure from the NC Real Estate Commission? To request the certificate online, go to the Commission’s homepage (, click on the “Forms” tab, and select “Request for Certification of Licensure.” You may pay the $10 fee by Visa, Mastercard, or Discover Card.


Where do I get my NRDS number? The NRDS number is assigned by the REALTOR® association, not the Commission. Contact your local REALTOR® board or association for info.


Where do I pay my privilege license fee (privilege tax)? Privilege license fees are paid to the NC Department of Revenue.



How much is the reinstatement fee? As of July 1, 2017, the fee is $90.00. Refer to the Reinstate your License page for details.


Can I apply online for reinstatement? Yes. Go to the "Apply for a License” page on the Commission’s website to access the online application system.


Can I just pay a fee or take CE to reinstate my expired license? Generally, no. The steps required for reinstatement vary based on license status at the time of expiration as well as the length of time that has passed since expiration. Refer to the Reinstate your License page for details.