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Iowa Real Estate License Requirements

To sell or lease real estate in Iowa and earn a commission, you must have an Iowa Real Estate License.

The steps to obtain a IA Real Estate License:

Step #1: Complete the 60-hour Iowa Real Estate Salesperson Pre-license Course and 3 additional 12-hour courses.

Step #2: Submit to a background check.

Step #3: Schedule your IA State License Exam.

Step #4: Take and Pass the State Licensing Exam.

Step #5: Purchase E&O Insurance.

Step #6: Find an IA real estate sponsoring broker.

Step #7: Apply for your IA real estate salesperson license exam.

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General Requirements

To apply for a real estate salesperson license in Iowa, you must be 18 years or older within six months of taking the licensing exam and before applying for a license.

If you meet this qualification, you can earn an Iowa real estate salesperson's license in (7) steps.


Step 1: Complete Your Pre-license Education

Iowa requires salespersons to complete 60 hours of instruction from an approved pre-license school. Online courses are the most convenient way to meet your 60-hour course requirement, although you can take them in a classroom environment.

Your pre-license course completion certificate is good for one year.

After the initial 60 hours, you also need to take three 12-hour classroom courses in the following:

  • Listing Practices
  • Buying Practices
  • Developing Professional & Ethical Practices

The course completion certificate for these courses is good for one year.

Step 2: Complete a Background Check

Every Iowa salesperson candidate must complete a criminal records check at the state and federal levels. To start the process, create an account on My Iowa PLB. Next, follow the steps to make a background check packet request.

The Iowa Real Estate Commission will mail you a fingerprinting packet within 3-10 business days. The fee is $51 and can be paid by check or money order when submitting the packet to the IREC. You can also pay online after sending the packet; you will be notified on My Iowa PLB to make payment.

Your background check results are valid for 210 days. Aim to complete the application process within that time frame.

Step 3: Scheduling Your Salesperson Exam

Once you have completed your 60-hour pre-license course, you are eligible to take the salesperson licensing exam within one year of your course completion date.

Iowa uses PSI for the licensing exam. PSI recommends registering and scheduling your exam directly by visiting https://www.psiexams.com or calling 1-800-733-9267. The exam fee is $95.00 payable to PSI. PSI accepts credit card, money order, company check, or cashier's check. Note that cash and personal checks are not accepted.

Exam centers are located in West Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, and Council Bluffs. Search the website or see the Iowa Candidate Bulletin for a list of addresses.

Step 4: Take and Pass the State Exam

Bring to the PSI test center your Pre-license Course Completion Certificate and two forms of identification with your signature.

The Iowa state salesperson exam is divided into two sections: national and state law. You must pass both sections to be issued your salesperson license.

The Iowa salesperson exam breaks into:

  1. National section with 80 questions and a passing score of 56. The time allowed is 120 minutes.
  2. State section of 40 questions and a passing score of 26. The time allowed is 60 minutes.
  3. There may be 5-10 experimental questions that are not scored and do not count against your score. These questions are not identified.

The Iowa Candidate Bulletin breaks down the number of questions in each section and their topics.

You will see a score report on-screen immediately upon exam completion. You’ll also leave with a printed score report. Passing candidates receive real estate license application instructions with their report. You have six months from passing to submit the required information. If you fail, you must schedule a retake with PSI.

Step 5: Buy Errors & Omissions Insurance

Proof of E&O coverage must be provided with all new license applications. A group insurance policy is available with the IREC through Rice Insurance Services Company (RISC). A basic policy cost $144 in 2021.

You are not required to use RISC, but any coverage through a private carrier requires your policy to meet the requirements of coverage in Chapter 19 of Administrative Rules 193-E.

Step 6: Find a Sponsoring Broker

All Iowa salespersons work under the supervision of a sponsoring broker. You will need an Iowa licensed broker to finish your application for the salesperson license as they must sign the Broker Certification section and your original license. No inactive licenses are issued to new candidates.

Step 7: Applying for the Salesperson License

Once you are ready to submit an application, you’ll create an account with My Iowa PLB if you have not done so yet.

You will need to submit your proof of meeting all the education requirements, from the 60-hour pre-license course to the three 12-hour courses in Listing Practices, Buying Practices, and Ethics. All of the course certificates must be dated within a year prior to your application date.

You’ll also need your passing score report for the national and state portions of the exam taken and passed within the prior six months. Additional requirements are proof of E&O insurance in Iowa, and you must have started or completed the criminal background check.

The licensing fee is $125.

The application requires a notarized signature from your sponsoring broker and yourself.

Once the Iowa Professional Licensing Bureau approves your application, congratulations! You are an official Iowa real estate salesperson!

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