Explore the licensing timeline, real estate blog articles, and our video library. 


Scroll down to learn about each step of the Iowa Real Estate licensing process.

Step 1:

Submit your background check

How to submit your background check.

A criminal background check is required by Iowa law for all real estate salesperson and broker applicants. The Iowa Real Estate Commission searches an applicant’s history through three divisions: The Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and Iowa Courts Online. The search will include the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. 

    Step 2:

    Start interviewing brokerages

    The most important questions to ask when interviewing a brokerage.

    In order to become a REALTOR®, you must hang your license with an existing brokerage. There is so much to consider when choosing a brokerage. The key components you should think through are the brokerage’s training, culture, brand, and costs/commissions. 


    Wondering if you would make a good real estate agent? There are certain traits and qualities that generally translate into a successful real estate career. You’ll receive a detailed report that will help determine your personality type along with invaluable insights to help you move one step closer to a great real estate business.

    Step 3:

    Take the 60-hour pre-licensing course

    60 Hour Course: Online vs. In-Person

    To get your real estate license, you are required to take a 60-hour pre-licensing course. There are two options when it comes to course style – you can choose between taking the course in-person or online. 

    There are benefits to both. There are a few things you may want to consider when choosing a course format such as how flexible your schedule is, cost, and your learning style. 

    Step 4:

    Pass your licensing exam

    The best ways to prepare for your real estate licensing exam.

    Preparing for the Iowa real estate exam is definitely a daunting task (or at least it feels that way). The best advice is to think about what methods really worked for you when you studied for tests in school.  For example, some are good with memorization – so flashcards & repetition within the hours leading up to the test can be really helpful.  


    We’ve compiled the top 10 most frequently asked questions we receive about becoming a real estate agent. This covers everything from getting your license to income expectations to launching your business to generating leads.

    You’ve got questions, we’ve got answers!

    Step 5:

    Complete additional required courses

    Why and where to take your additional required courses.

    In addition to taking your 60-hour pre-licensing course, you will need to complete three additional 12-hour courses. These can be taken before or after you take the 60-hour course, but are most often taken after. The only stipulation is that you have to take them within a year of your license application. When applying for your real estate license, you need to present your completion certificate for all courses. 

    Step 6:

    Commit to a brokerage

    How to commit to a brokerage. 

    After meeting and interviewing multiple brokers, choose the one that most aligns with your goals. Once you’ve selected the brokerage, reach back out to whomever you originally met with and they will let you know what their process looks like from there.

    Step 7:

    Sign up for E&O insurance

    How to sign up for Errors & Omissions Insurance.

    Work with either your brokerage to enroll or reach out to a local Errors & Omissions insurance provider to select your coverage. Every licensed real estate agent is required to carry at the minimum an individual E&O policy.

    Step 8:

    Submit your application

    What is the process to submit my application?

    Once you have completed all of the pre-licensing requirements, you will be ready to submit your Iowa Salesperson License application. This is done entirely online – typically alongside your brokerage – through the Professional Licensing Bureau website. The approval process can take up to 5 business days as they review your background check results and ensure you have completed all of the course and exam requirements. 

    Step 9:

    Join your local MLS

    How to join your local MLS.

    Attend your local association of REALTORS® board orientation to gain access to the Multiple Listing System for your market. Be prepared to pay a large bill for your start-up fees. This will also automatically enroll you with the state and national associations. 


    You did it! But… now what?

    The first year of business can often be the hardest for many. So we created a step-by-step resource to teach you about what pitfalls to avoid, how to much to budget for, the different techniques for generating leads and how to conduct your business to build a thriving empire.


    Your comprehensive guide to getting started in real estate.
    What Additional Pre-Licensing Real Estate Courses Do You Need to Take?

    What Additional Pre-Licensing Real Estate Courses Do You Need to Take?

    In addition to taking your 60-hour pre-licensing course, you will need to complete three 12-hour additional courses. These can be taken before or after you take the 60-hour course but are most often taken after. Our guide will explain how, when, and where to take buying practices, listing practices and ethical practices.

    read more