A Career in Real Estate


Is this the right career for you?

There are many opportunities for individuals interested in pursuing a career in the real estate industry.  Real estate offers an extremely wide variety of specialties such as trading services (sales), rental property management, strata management, appraisal, mortgage financing, commercial trading services and leasing, farm trading services, investment real estate, land development, counselling and research.

However, your decision to undertake a career in real estate, as with the choice of any vocation, merits very careful consideration. It is a field in which you may easily misjudge your future.  Each year many individuals expend time, effort and money to enter the real estate vocation only to discover that they cannot complete the required licensing course and examination or, having done so, that they are unsuited to the work.

Being of Good Reputation

The Real Estate Services Act requires that applicants for a licence shall be of “good reputation”.  Following application for a licence to the Real Estate Council, the applicant is investigated. (The Real Estate Council is the licensing and regulatory agency established by the provincial government to administer the Real Estate Services Act.)  General business and personal reputation are reviewed along with criminal convictions and charges, which must be disclosed, including anywhere conditional or absolute discharges were granted.  Current policy is that these are not necessarily a bar to registration, depending upon circumstances and recent record.

In the case of summary conviction offences unrelated to employment, an application for licensing will not be considered until the completion of sentence, parole, probation or payment of fine.  Where summary conviction offences are related to real estate employment, application for licensing will not be considered until at least two years after completion of sentence, parole, probation or payment of fine.

Longer waiting periods are imposed for white collar crimes and for indictable offences whether related or not related to employment. If you require further information with respect to these waiting periods, please contact the Real Estate Council or review the Real Estate Licensing Guidelines at this link: http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/education_licensing.html#grg

What if I have concerns about satisfying the requirements of “being of good reputation”? What is the pre-screening process?

For an individual who has some concern about satisfying the requirements of “being of good reputation” should, prior to registering for a Licensing Course, complete an Application for Pre-screening Form, which can be found at:  http://www.recbc.ca/pdf/forms/prescreeningapp.pdf

That application should be returned to the Real Estate Council office, together with the appropriate pre-screening fee (currently $100) and full disclosure of any convictions, current charges, or other issues of concern relating to questions 1-7 of the application.  You are required to obtain an original criminal record check from your local police agency and submit it along with your pre-screening application to the Council. You can find that detailed information here: http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/recordcheck.html

An advance decision may thus be obtained as to the applicant’s suitability for licensing, subject, of course, to passing the course and examination. Please note that this process is not for everyone wishing to become licensed, but only for those with concern regarding their suitability for licensing.

What is the age requirement to become a realtor?

To be eligible for real estate licensing in the province of British Columbia, section 10(b)(i) of the Real Estate Services Act requires that an applicant for licensing is at least 19 years of age.  Individuals who are interested in pursuing a career in real estate who are not yet 19 should keep in mind that the applicable licensing course and examination may be completed prior to the age of 19 and that individuals have up to one year from the date of passing a licensing exam to apply for licensing.  As a result, individuals who do not yet meet the age requirement may wish to plan courses and examinations accordingly.

Alternatively, there are opportunities for individuals who do not yet meet the age requirement and wish a career in real estate to pursue post-secondary education by completing a number of real estate related programs such as:

  • Bachelor of Commerce in Urban Land Economics (University of British Columbia)


  • Diploma in Marketing Management – Professional Real Estate Option (British Columbia Institute of Technology)

What is the income of a real estate agent?

The type of compensation structure you receive will depend on which real estate specialty you select.  Typically, a specialty such as rental property management is salary based while a specialty such as trading services is commission based.  You should talk to various people in the industry and to a number of brokerages to see what type of compensation structure they use.

If your compensation structure is commission based, it means that that you will have little or no guarantee of income level.    While predicting income is difficult, your earnings could be affected by your sales ability, people skills and hard work, or by the market conditions, property area, property type and the commission structure.  You should also take into account the cost as well as the time needed to establish a practice and to build up an income to meet your personal requirements.  Therefore, you should have sufficient capital available to support yourself if your personal goals are not met as soon as you would like.

What are the expenses of a real estate agent?

Making a commitment to a career in real estate also includes a number of financial considerations.  The following is a sample of various initial and ongoing budget items that need to be considered:

  • HP 10BII financial calculator – Available from office supply stores (prices vary $65-$75) or directly from the UBC Real Estate Division for $53.00 + tax.
  • LPI examination (if required) – $109 + tax in BC, $135 + tax outside of BC and 160 + tax in Hong Kong.
  • Criminal record check – costs vary depending on police agency.
  • Additional costs for consideration: brokerage desk fees, transaction fees, business cards, signs, and advertising, smart phone, computer, printer, scanner, website, internet access, car lease and business car insurance, business clothing, etc.
  • You should also take into account the cost as well as the time needed to establish a practice and to build up an income to meet your personal requirements. Make sure you have sufficient capital available to support yourself if your personal goals are not met as soon as you would like

What are the steps I need to take to become a licensed realtor?

Before you register:

Before registering in the licensing course or applying to the Council for licensing, carefully review the following information to make sure you have considered all the requirements for becoming licensed in BC.

  • Do You Meet the Good Reputation Guidelines?

If you are concerned about whether you satisfy these requirements, you may submit an Application for Pre-Screening form to the Council before registering in the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course. The Council will consider your pre-screening application and determine whether you are eligible for licensing in BC (you will still be required to pass the licensing course and examination, and successfully complete the Applied Practice Course).

All applicants must submit an original criminal record check to the Council along with their licence application. (See Step 3 below for details). Please read all information regarding the criminal record check to ensure you comply with the specific requirements for licensing with the Real Estate Council.

  • Will You Satisfy the Language Proficiency Requirement?

Before you can register to write the licensing exam, you must demonstrate that you meet the minimum English language requirements.

What are the language proficiency requirements and pre-requisites for the course?

English is the language of contracts in British Columbia and the language of instruction in the Real Estate Division’s licensing courses. In order to ensure that licensees are competent to communicate in English, with other licensees and consumers, the Council has required a language proficiency requirement since 1994. While there are no pre-requisites to register in the licensing course, the LPR must be satisfied before you can register for an exam. For more information on LPR exemptions or the LPI examination, please read below on how to satisfy the language proficiency requirements.


How do I satisfy the language proficiency requirements?

The Language Proficiency Requirement must be satisfied prior to exam registration. LPR documents may be submitted after course registration or at least two months before exam registration. Please note that LPR documents will not be returned. Therefore, students wishing to keep original documentation will need to send notarized copies of the original documents.

To satisfy the Language Proficiency Requirement, students must meet one of the following:

Please note: Exemptions based on work or industry experience will not be considered.


Step 1. Register for and Successfully Complete the Licensing Course and Examination

The Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course is offered by the University of British Columbia, Sauder School of Business (Real Estate Division). You can register at any time during the year for this self-paced blended learning course. For course information and to register online, please visit the UBC Real Estate Division’s Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course webpage at: http://www.sauder.ubc.ca/Programs/Real_Estate_Division/Licensing_Courses/Real_Estate_Trading_Services

You must complete all course assignments within one year of registering. The course assignments take a minimum of 10 weeks to complete.

If you feel that you have previous education or experience that may exempt you from either the Licensing Course or Examination, please review the Council’s Education and Licensing FAQ at http://www.recbc.ca/licensee/education-licensing-faq.html and/or the Education Waivers and Guidelines at: http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/education_licensing.html


Required textbook: Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course Manual: UBC Real Estate Division. 2015. Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course Manual. Vancouver, BC: UBC Real Estate Division.


Step 2. Review the Licence Application Form

Make sure you understand all the information that is required as part of the licensing application, it can be viewed here: http://www.recbc.ca/pdf/forms/individualappl.pdf

Step 3. Talk to Brokerages

Begin talking to real estate brokerages, to find the brokerage that is the right fit for you, and to make arrangements to join the brokerage when you are licenced. Your licence application must be signed by the managing broker of a real estate brokerage in BC that is prepared to engage you.

Step 4. Obtain a Criminal record check

You must submit an original criminal record check completed within the previous 90 days along with your licence application to the Council. In order to avoid unnecessary delays in licensing you are encouraged to obtain a criminal record check before you begin the Applied Practice Course.  Find more information on the criminal record check requirements follow this link: http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/recordcheck.html

Mail or courier your criminal record check, along with your completed licence application, all other required documents, and the appropriate fee, to the Council office once you have started the Applied Practice Course (see Step 6 for further details on the required elements of the licensing application).

Step 5. Register For and Start the Applied Practice Course

You may choose to take either the Residential or Commercial version of the Applied Practice Course delivered by the British Columbia Real Estate Association (BCREA). It is a blended course, consisting of four components delivered online and in the classroom. The Applied Practice Course builds on the technical knowledge provided in the Real Estate Licensing Course, giving you opportunities to practice the skills you’ll need most as a real estate professional.

You must complete the required pre-licensing components of the course before your licence can be issued. You will have up to six months to complete the final components of the course while working at your brokerage. Visit the BCREA website at: http://www.bcrea.bc.ca/be-a-realtor-/new-applied-practice-course  for full information and to register in the Applied Practice Course.

You must complete all components of the Applied Practice Course within the prescribed time limits or your licence will be terminated.

Step 6. Apply for licensing

As soon as you have started the Applied Practice Course, mail or courier your completed licence application, along with all required documents and the appropriate fee, to the Council.

Please make sure your application includes ALL of the following:

  1. An original criminal record check from your local police agency. This must be submitted along with your licence application to the Council. Follow this link for more detailed information: http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/recordcheck.html
  2. A completed Application for Representative, Associate or Managing Broker Licence form. This can be viewed at: http://www.recbc.ca/pdf/forms/individualappl.pdf
  3. The appropriate licensing fee. Follow this link for more information regarding the licensing fee:  http://www.recbc.ca/licensing/fees.html

Mail or courier your completed application, criminal record check, and payment to: Real Estate Council of British Columbia, 900-750 West Pender Street | Vancouver, BC Canada | V6C 2T8

Step 7. Complete the Applied Practice Course

Once you have received your licence, you must complete all remaining components of the Applied Practice Course within six months.

If you do not complete the entire Applied Practice Course, your licence will be terminated.

Additional information:

One Year Time Limit: You must apply for licensing within one year of the date on which you successfully completed the licensing examination. If more than one year has elapsed, you will be required to re-write the examination and/or re-complete the Real Estate Trading Services Licensing Course. No exceptions.

Re-licensing Education Program: Once licensed, you will be required to complete a continuing education course during each two-year licence period. This Relicensing Education Program (REP) requirement is a condition of continued licensing. For further information, please see the REP page which can be viewed at: http://www.recbc.ca/licensee/rep.html