Iowa Real Estate License Requirements & Costs – 2023

Iowa Real Estate License Requirements

In this article, we will cover the step-by-step process of meeting the Iowa real estate license requirements.

Opportunities to get into the real estate business in Iowa are many. Des Moines, Davenport, Sioux City, Cedar Rapids, and other cities are havens for homes and property.

To join the real estate salesperson community, however, just like all the states in the U.S., you must meet a set of Iowa real estate license requirements.

Acquiring a real estate license in Iowa is a process of several simple and comprehensive steps. You can start by selecting a topic in our table of contents below or read more from start to finish.

As it is widely known, the Iowa real estate license requirements and costs are not the same as every other US state. Whether it is the number of hours to complete the pre-licensing course, getting fingerprinted and background checks, finding a sponsoring broker, and more.

If you are looking for information on another state, we are working on a list of the real estate license requirements for all 50 US states.

In this article, we shall discuss the requirements to get a real estate license in Iowa and their subsequent costs.

Before we dive into that, we must learn about the Iowa Real Estate Commission which governs all real estate activities in the state. 

Who Is the Iowa Real Estate Commission?

Real estate is one of the most important industries in the state of Iowa.

As such, many consumers, stakeholders, and sellers are attracted to it. Since it involves the transaction of large amounts of money, the Iowa lawmakers decided to develop the Iowa Real Estate Law.

It was all done in a bid to protect consumers from possible exploitation from the brokers and any real estate stakeholders. Under the law is the Iowa Real Estate Commission

The commission aims to protect the public through examination, licensing, and controlling real estate salespersons, brokers, and companies by the Iowa Code chapter.

It does this by issuing disciplinary sanctions against real estate professionals who violate the law. For more details about the commission’s composition, Iowa rules and law for real estate sales, forms, and applications visit the commission’s website.

Requirements For a Real Estate License in Iowa

The following steps are supposed to be completed for you to get licensed in Iowa. You have to be at least 18 years old to apply.

  1. Complete the 60-hour Iowa Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course
  2. Submit a Criminal Background Check
  3. Take and Pass the State of Iowa Real Estate Licensing Examination
  4. Find an Iowa Sponsoring Broker
  5. Obtain Iowa Errors and Ommissions Insurance 
  6. Submit the Iowa Real Estate Salesperson Application

We will get into the details of these Iowa Real Estate License Requirements Below.

1. Take an Iowa Real Estate Pre-Licensing Course

The 60-hour Iowa salesperson pre-licensing course is mandatory in Iowa. This course equips you with the necessary real estate knowledge, skills, and legal information to give a concrete foundation in the industry.

It is also instrumental for your final real estate licensure exam. It should be undertaken in state-approved real estate schools.

The pre-licensing course is usually capped with a final exam which the course provider will issue. You need to score at least 75% on the Iowa pre-licensing exams.

Topics that are covered in the Iowa real estate prelicensing course include;

  • Law of Agency
  • Iowa Real Estate Law and Conveyancing 
  • Legal Descriptions and Zoning
  • Trust Accounts and Iowa Closing Statements
  • Iowa Real Estate Insurance
  • Law of Contracts
  • Iowa License Law and Commission Rules
  • Fair Housing
  • Iowa Appraising
  • Financing of Real Estate in Iowa
  • Taxation
  • Real Estate Math

What Are The Best Online Iowa Real Estate Pre-Licensing Schools?

We recommend the following two schools for your online-based real estate education:

  1. Iowa Colbri Real Estate Pre-Licensing
  2. The CE Shop Iowa Pre-Licensing School

How Much Does The Iowa Real Estate Pre-licensing Course Cost?

Online real estate pre-licensing courses in Iowa costs from about $250 to $500 depending on the chosen school and course package. In-person courses cost from about $350 to $650.

The former contains supplementary materials like exam information, workbooks, textbooks, etcetera. That is why they may cost more than online courses.

There are two ways that you can take the course. You can register for in-person lectures or sign up for online classes. It depends on your suitability and the course provider.

Here Is a Snapshot of the Iowa Real Estate Pre-Licensing Costs From The CE Shop

Iowa Real Estate Pre-Licensing Costs

We suggest comparing the CE Shop costs with the Colibri Real Estate Iowa real estate course.

2. Apply For and Submit a Background Check

All first-time salesperson and broker real estate license applicants must apply for and submit a background check to the IREC. The process applies to reciprocity and salespersons converting to brokers as well. 

To obtain a background, visit and create a log-in.

Submit your request for a fingerprint packet electronically through the ‘Re-Background Request’ application.

You will have to pay an amount of $51 to complete the Iowa fingerprinting process.

Many people ask what a background check is and what its relevance is.

Through the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), the FBI, and Iowa Courts Online, the Iowa Real Estate Commission scrutinizes felony, aggravated, and serious misdemeanor convictions of the applicants.

This process is necessary to establish whether the applicant is worthy of the license or not. The process begins with the applicant submitting an FBI fingerprint card to the commission. The latter forwards it to DCI, who scans it for the FBI.

Results of both the national and state background checks are sent back to the commission. Any records found on the Court Online, together with the background checks, are reviewed for final approval. The review happens the moment the commission receives a complete license application.

The background check is made valid for 210 calendar days. The results of the completion of background checks are emailed to the applicant.

The Iowa real estate fingerprinting process may take four weeks or more to complete. 

3. Take and Pass the Iowa Real Estate Examination

After completing your pre-licensing, you can now schedule your real estate exam. You can only take the salesperson exam within one year of completion of the 60-hour Iowa pre-licensing course completion date.

The fastest way to book and schedule your exam is through online registration.

Visit PSI Iowa to create an account, schedule the exam testing centers, and reserve the date. Alternatively, you call 1-800-733-9267.

The exam testing centers are all over Iowa, and they are available in West Des Moines, Council Bluffs, and Cedar Rapids. Visit the Iowa Candidate Bulletin or PSI website to look for specific addresses. You can also schedule to sit for the exam in a center that is close to your home.

Changes or cancellations of the exams must be made forty-eight hours in advance—Call 1-800-733-9267 to re-schedule your exam.

You will be required to bring with you two forms of identification with matching names to the exam center. These include the driver’s license, passport, U.S. social security card, credit card, and debit card, all with signatures. One of them must be government-issued. 

The Iowa salesperson exam contains 80 national questions and 40 state-specific questions, and you must answer 56 national questions correctly and 28 state-specific questions.

Your exam score is shared with you immediately after completing the exam because it is computer-based.

The national portion of the Iowa real estate exam covers the following topics;

  • Property ownership
  • Land use controls and regulations
  • Financing
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • General principles of agency
  • Contracts
  • Property condition and disclosures
  • Transfer of title
  • Real estate calculations

The state portion of the Iowa real estate exam covers the following topics;

  • License requirements
  • License maintenance
  • Real estate education
  • Disciplinary actions: Suspense, revocation, and voluntary compliance
  • Trust accounts
  • Contracts
  • Agency
  • Prop Disclosure Requirements
  • Broker responsibilities
  • Iowa Civil Rights Act of 1965
  • Unlicensed assistants
  • Property management

Quick Tip: Are you worried about passing the Iowa real estate exam? The exam prep course by PrepAgent can help. Here is our in-depth PrepAgent review.

How Much Does the Iowa Real Estate Exam Cost?

The cost for the Iowa real estate exam is $95, and it is payable to PSI through credit cards, company checks, cashier checks, and money orders. Besides not accepting cash or personal checks, the exam vendor refunds the fee or allows transfers. 

After completing your exam, your results are shown to you on-screen as it is with PSI. After passing your exams, get your E & O insurance and find a sponsoring broker to work for.

You must also submit your scorecard to the Iowa Real Estate Commission as part of the license application. This scorecard should be submitted within six months of passing the exam. Otherwise, it shall be invalid.

If you fail, Iowa allows you to retake the exam as many times as you can. However, the time of completing your pre-licensing course and completing your application process is limited.

4. Join an Iowa Sponsoring Real Estate Broker

After passing your Iowa final real estate exam, it is your job to look for a sponsoring broker to work for. The sponsoring broker is instrumental in ensuring that you nourish as a real estate agent.

The broker should sharpen your market and real estate skills either by coaching, mentoring, training, or support.

Not all sponsoring brokers offer you the magic you want, though because it’s not easy to distinguish them. Others are what you want, while others are the opposite. Therefore, you must know who you want to work for in your quest for the best career experience.

How To Find The Best Iowa Sponsoring Broker?

  1. What Is the Iowa Broker’s Reputation?

    It is important to know the reputation of a firm you want to work for. Does it have the best reviews among its customers? Does it have a lot of complaints from its clients? These are some of the questions to ask yourself before settling for any brokerage.
  2. What Type of Broker Support Do They Offer?

    Does the firm offer support, training, and coaching to its agents? Try to question one or two agents who previously worked for the company to find out. A company that supports its agents is ideal for a start.
  3. Talk About Commissions

    Ask for the commission split that the company offers. Since you will be moving from one brokerage to another, gauge the best company that offers the commission that would satisfy you. Most companies prefer working on percentages while others opt to give their agents salaries.
  4. What are Their Technological Advancements?

    This is important for a firm, especially now that technology and social media are taking over the world completely. Try to see if the brokerage has a strong or reliable social media presence. Scrutinize their LinkedIn profiles.

    These will assist you in giving finding out about the strength of the company’s marketing skills and branding. If possible, know how the company manages client data in its I.T. systems. Is it reliable or unsatisfactory? Make an informed choice before walking into their premises.
  5. Probe The Iowa Broker

    Many salespersons just choose the first result that shows up on the google engine. Without thorough research, they walk into real estate oblivion.

    The choice of a sponsoring broker can be make-up or break-up for your real estate career. Make appointments with the sponsoring brokers, talk with them, ask them your bothering questions, and make an informed choice about who to work for.

5. Get Your Iowa Real Estate Errors and Omissions Insurance. (E & O insurance)

All active licensees must obtain uninterrupted Error and Omission insurance.

This group insurance policy is only available with the Iowa Real Estate Commission through Rice Insurance Service Company.

Your policy must meet the requirements of coverage highlighted in Chapter 19 of the Administrative Rules. Visit the IREC website for more information on real estate rules and regulations.

The cost is $30 for Iowa Error and Omission insurance against general liability per month. For a year, it may go up to approximately $400.

6. Submit Your Final Iowa Real Estate Licensing Application

This is the final step toward acquiring your real estate license. After all the struggle, you will have to do the following things to complete the process.

Remember that the applications must be submitted within six months of taking the state-issued exam. Here are the steps to finalize the Iowa real estate licensing process;

  1. Pay the required $125 application fee
  2. Proof that you have completed the mandatory Iowa 60-hour pre-licensing course 
  3. Provide documentation that you have completed the Iowa real estate final exam
  4. Provide the E&O insurance coverage documentation
  5. Provide the signature of your sponsoring broker or brokerage firm
  6. Make sure you have signed all the documents before submission

Iowa Real Estate License Requirements – Final Thoughts

After following all the required steps in the Iowa licensing process, however daunting it may look, you will realize that it was so easy after all.

You can get started with Colibri Real Estate or the CE Shop right away. We also have more in-depth reviews of Colibri Real Estate and The CE Shop on our website.

It is quite important to note that the advantages are quite enormous no matter the cost of the licensing process. Real estate can earn you a great income if you keep building networks, stay on the right-hand side of the law, sharpen your marketing skills, and offer quality client service.

Equally important is maintaining a strong market presence and reputation. Nothing is hard in real estate when you have a strong selling mentality.

We have also researched the real estate license requirements for all 50 states if you are ready to get your pre-licensing, check out these online real estate schools in Iowa.

We wish you all the success in your real estate licensing process in Iowa!

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