Real Estate Reciprocity: How to Get a Real Estate License in All 50 States

Real Estate Reciprocity: How to Get a Real Estate License in All 50 States

Maybe you're planning a big move, or you just have a potential client that lives across the country. Either way, there are many reasons why you'd want to conduct real estate practices in another state.

In this article, we will explore the basic process for obtaining a real estate license that applies to most states, explain what real estate reciprocity is, and highlight which states offer reciprocity.

Basic Process for Getting a Real Estate License

Before delving into the concept of real estate reciprocity, it's important to understand the basic process for obtaining a real estate license that applies to most states. While the specific requirements may vary slightly from state to state, the general steps involved are as follows:

Pre-licensing Education

Most states require aspiring real estate agents to complete a certain number of hours of pre-licensing education from a trusted real estate school, such as VanEd. These courses cover essential topics such as real estate principles, practices, laws, and ethics.


After completing the pre-licensing education, you will need to pass a state-specific real estate exam. The exam typically consists of both a national portion and a state-specific portion.

Background Check

Many states require applicants to undergo a background check to ensure they have a clean criminal record. Typically, background checks involve reviewing an applicant's criminal history, including arrests, convictions, and any disciplinary actions taken against the individual in other professional or licensing contexts.


Once you have successfully passed the exam and completed the necessary background check, you can submit your application for a real estate license to the state regulatory authority. This typically involves paying a fee and providing the required documentation.

Post-Licensing Education

After obtaining your real estate license, some states may require you to complete additional post-licensing education within a specified time frame.

Can You Get a National Real Estate License?
Unfortunately, no. There is no such thing as a national real estate license. However, there is something called real estate reciprocity that might allow you to work in two different places with just one license.

What is Real Estate Reciprocity?

Real estate reciprocity is an agreement between two or more states that allows licensed real estate agents from one state to practice in another state without having to complete the full licensing requirements of the second state. Essentially, it recognizes the qualifications and credentials of a licensed agent in their home state and grants them the ability to operate in another state, subject to certain conditions and limitations.

Reciprocity agreements are typically established to facilitate business opportunities for real estate professionals across state lines, promote economic growth, and streamline the licensing process. However, it's important to note that the specific terms and conditions of reciprocity agreements can vary widely from state to state.

There are a couple of types of reciprocity agreements. Each one determines exactly how an agent can conduct real estate activities across state lines. Here are some of the common types of reciprocity in real estate:

Full Reciprocity

Full reciprocity, also known as unconditional reciprocity, lets anyone with a real estate license in any other state without additional requirements.

Partial Reciprocity

Partial, also called limited, reciprocity means that the state in question includes only certain states in their reciprocity agreement. Agents seeking reciprocity in these states might also have to work within certain restrictions or conditions. These limitations can consist of specific types of transactions, property types, or receive additional educational requirements.

No Reciprocity

Unfortunately, many states don't offer any license reciprocity at all. If you happen to move to or need to work in a state with no reciprocity, you might have to retake your real estate course for that particular state and pass their final exam.

Which States Do Not Offer Reciprocity?

There are currently 17 states that do not offer real estate license reciprocity. They include:

  • Alaska
  • Arizona
  • California
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Michigan
  • Missouri
  • Montana
  • New Jersey
  • New Mexico
  • South Dakota
  • Texas
  • Vermont
  • Washington
  • Wyoming

Which States Offer Reciprocity?

Many states do offer some form of reciprocity for licensed real estate agents. The exact requirements and conditions for reciprocity vary, and it's crucial to research the specific regulations of each state you wish to practice in.

There are five states that currently offer full license reciprocity. They include:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Virginia

Here are a few examples of states that offer partial reciprocity:


Arizona has reciprocity agreements with several states, including Colorado and Nebraska. To qualify for reciprocity, agents must meet certain requirements, such as having an active license in their home state, completing fingerprinting and background checks, and passing the Arkansas portion of the licensing exam.


Florida has mutual recognition agreements with a few states, such as Alabama and Georgia. Under these agreements, agents from the participating states may be exempt from certain education and exam requirements. However, they are still required to complete a Florida-specific course and pass an exam.

It's important to note that while reciprocity agreements exist, there may be additional requirements or limitations imposed by each state. These can include fees, additional education, or limitations on the types of transactions an out-of-state agent can handle. It's advisable to consult the regulatory authority of the state you are interested in practicing in to obtain accurate and up-to-date information on their reciprocity policies.

While there is no national real estate license that allows you to practice in all 50 states, real estate reciprocity agreements provide a pathway for licensed agents to expand their practice across state lines. By understanding the basic process for obtaining a real estate license and researching the reciprocity agreements of specific states, real estate professionals can navigate the licensing requirements and take advantage of the opportunities available in multiple jurisdictions. Remember to stay informed about the specific regulations and conditions of each state to ensure compliance with their licensing requirements.

The first step to becoming a real estate professional is getting licensed. Select your state here to get started today!

Written and Published by: VanEd

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