If you're just taking your first steps into the world of Real Estate, you probably think everyone's speaking another language! Here are some basic definitions from the world of Real Estate Education to help get you started.
Prelicensing Class/Broker Prelicensing Course Hopefully you're already familiar with this, but just to be clear, this is your starting point. The 75-hour Broker Prelicensing Course is the course required by the North Carolina Real Estate Commission for anyone wanting to become licensed to practice real estate in North Carolina. You can take your class in person or livestreamed with a live instructor, or online in a self-paced video/digital format. There is a minimum attendance requirement of 80% for instructor-led courses, and all formats include a final exam which must be completed with a score of 75% or higher in order to pass the class.
In-Person Classes are traditional classroom courses. They are led by an instructor or instructors, and meet at a particular location on a specified schedule. Everyone in the class must attend the classes at the same time and location, and there is a minimum attendance requirement.
Livestream Classes are similar to in-person classes; they are instructor-led and meet on a regular schedule. The difference is that the class is livestreamed through a platform such as Zoom or RECampusLive, and everyone attends virtually rather than at a physical meeting place. Everyone takes class at the same time, and students and instructors can interact in real time through the online platform, but participants are separated by distance. Livestream classes require certain basic technology, such as a webcam, microphone, and speakers, as well as a good internet connection, for participation. Once again, minimum attendance requirements apply.
Self-paced/On Demand Classes are not instructor-led. These are online, at-your-own-pace courses that you work on whenever and wherever it's convenient for you. While a true on-demand course will involve a video component, there is no interaction between students and instructors or other students. Each learner works independently. There is no minimum attendance requirement for these courses, but there is a 6-month time limit to complete each course; this should be plenty of time if you take it seriously, even for the 75-hour Prelicensing course. There is a required exam at the end, which is taken online, and there are basic technological requirements for access.
Real Estate Commission/NCREC/REC/Commission You'll hear about these folks a lot. This is the state governmental agency for all things Real Estate in North Carolina. The Commission’s primary function is to license and regulate real estate agents (persons and firms who sell, lease, etc. real estate for others). North Carolina’s 100,000-plus real estate agents are licensed as brokers (the separate "salesperson" license went away decades ago). The Commission administers the North Carolina Real Estate License Law (see NC General Statute 93A) and makes rules which govern the practice of Real Estate in NC (see 21 NCAC 58 A, B, C and E).
I borrowed parts of the paragraph above from their website, ncrec.gov. You can read more about them and what they do, as well as review the NC Real Estate License Law and Commission Rules there.
One main thing the REC does is oversee the licensing of real estate agents. Once you pass your 75-hour Prelicensing course exam, your next step toward starting your Real Estate career will be to apply to the Commission for your licence. Part of the application process will be to take another exam; you must pass this exam in order to become licensed. The application, as well as a booklet outlining the licensing process and how to complete an application ("Real Estate Licensing in North Carolina", or "RELINC" for short), are available on the Commission's website, ncrec.gov.
Provisional Status/Provisional Broker/PB Newly licensed Real Estate brokers in North Carolina will have their license on Provisional status, and are referred to as "Provisional Brokers" or PBs. Provisional brokers can engage in and be compensated for real estate brokerage activities, as long as they are affiliated with a brokerage firm under the supervision of a Broker-in-Charge. To remove the Provisional status from their license, PBs must complete all three Postlicensing classes within 18 months from the day they become licensed. If a PB fails to complete the three classes within 18 months, their license goes inactive and they cannot practice or receive compensation for brokerage activities until they re-activate their license.
Postlicensing Classes The three required Postlicensing classes are "Broker Relationships and Responsibilities", "Contracts and Closing", and "North Carolina Laws, Rules, and Legal Concepts". The courses are 30 classroom hours each. They may be taken in any order, and more than one course may be taken at the same time as long as all three are completed within 18 months. Completing the three courses removes the Provisional status from your license; not completing them on time will cause your license to become inactive (meaning you cannot practice Real Estate and get paid for it) until you complete them. Like the Prelicensing course, the Postlicensing courses may be taken in person, via livestream, or online. The courses each revisit critical topics from the Prelicensing course, in greater depth and detail than time permits during the Prelicensing course. Each course has a final exam which must be completed with a minimum score of 75%, and live courses have a minimum attendance requirement of 90% in order to pass. Online courses have a 6-month completion deadline.
Broker-in-Charge/BIC This is the managing broker of a Real Estate firm or office. One of the duties of a BIC is to supervise all the Provisional Brokers affiliated with that firm or office. The qualifications of a Broker-in-Charge include at least two years of full-time real estate brokerage experience, or equivalent education & experience recognized by the REC, and completion of the Commission's 12-hour Broker-in-Charge course. A Provisional Broker may not be a Broker in Charge.
Affiliation simply means where you hang your license. Provisional brokers must be affiliated with a brokerage firm in order to engage in brokerage activities. Note that brokers, including PBs, are independent contractors who manage their own business, so you are not an employee of your firm; however, most brokerage firms offer brokers various perks and incentives as part of the arrangement. You will want to discuss this with the BIC at the firm you plan to affiliate with, as the arrangements can vary widely between firms. As a new PB, you'll want to be sure that formal training and support are part of the deal!
Continuing Education All brokers must complete 8 hours of Continuing Education every
year following their first license renewal (see below) in order to keep their license on Active status (meaning your license and all education requirements are current and you can practice Real Estate and get paid). Your 8 hours will be in the form of one 4-hour Update course and one 4-hour Elective. You must complete your CE between July 1 and June 10 of the following year (for example, you can take your CE for this license year anytime between now and June 10, 2022). If you do not complete this requirement, your license will become inactive and you will not be able to practice Real Estate until you make up your missed classes. The one exception to the Continuing Education requirement is for newly-licensed brokers in their first license year. After your first renewal you must take CE every year to keep your license active.
GenUp/BIC Up These are the short names of the Commission's annual Update classes. They are 4-hour classes that change each year; as the name suggests, their purpose is to keep everyone updated on changes to Real Estate law, rules, and industry standards since last year. All brokers must complete one of these classes each year as half of their 8-hour Continuing Education requirement (the Elective class is the other half). Brokers-in-Charge must take the Broker-in-Charge Update ("BIC Up"); everyone else takes the General Update ("GenUp"). These classes must be taken in a live, instructor-led format, either in person or livestreamed via Zoom, RECampusLive, etc. There are no exams at the end, but the 90% minimum attendance and participation rule applies.
4-Hour Elective Just like in college, there are many approved Elective courses and you can pick any one of them that interests you, but you can't take the same one year after year. Most schools will offer a variety of Elective courses so you should be able to find something useful or interesting each year. Elective courses can be taken in-
person or livestreamed, with a 90% attendance requirement, or self-paced online with a 30-day completion window. There are generally no exams at the end of instructor-led courses, but there will be unit and end-of-course quizzes in self-paced online courses, just to prove you were paying attention.
License Renewal All brokers must renew their license annually between May 15 and June 30; the "license year" in Real Estate is July 1 - June 30. Renewal is done on the Commission's website, there is a simple form to complete and a small fee (currently $45). Licenses not renewed by June 30 each year expire on July 1. If you let your license expire, you must stop all Real Estate activities immediately until your license is reinstated. The fee jumps to $90, and depending on how long your license has been expired you will have additional things to do, from making up any missed CE classes to retaking the Prelicensing course (basically starting all over). Do not let this happen!
Association of REALTORS® All REALTORS are brokers, but not all brokers are REALTORS. The National Association of REALTORS is a trade association for those who work in the Real Estate industry. Members of the NAR, including its state and local branches, are called REALTORS. Membership is optional, but there are many benefits including the prestige of being able to legitimately call yourself a REALTOR and the public perception of quality and ethical professionalism that goes with it. NAR members subscribe to a strict Code of Ethics which ensures that consumers are served by requiring REALTORS® to cooperate with each other in furthering clients' best interests. You can learn more about the National Association of REALTORS on their website, nar.realtor.
That should be good to get you started! If you have questions about the process of becoming a licensed Real Estate Broker that this post doesn't answer, check out the Start Your Career, Class Information, or FAQs pages on our website, or feel free to reach out to us by phone or email (email@example.com), or leave us a message in the Chat. We'll be happy to help!