A Comprehensive How-To Guide for Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Hawaii

Whether you have always had an interest in real estate, know someone who has succeeded in their real estate business, or simply want to make a little extra income, everyone must go through the same process in order to become a real estate agent.

Between the varying state requirements, education, and exams needed to obtain a real estate license, the process can feel a bit daunting. No need to fear! We will be your ultimate guide in showing you everything you need to be prepared for your journey of becoming a Hawaii real estate agent.

There are quite a few steps to becoming a Hawaii real estate agent, so keep reading to find out what your next steps are and what to expect from each one.

How to become a real estate agent in Hawaii checklist infographic

The Real Estate Market in Hawaii

Real estate is always in demand in Hawaii, which means that licensed real estate agents are also in demand. While it is fairly simple to get a real estate license in Hawaii, not everyone who becomes a licensed agent is active and successful. Being a consistent and active advocate for your clients is what will ultimately set you apart from other Realtors in the area.

To be successful in the competitive Hawaii real estate market, you have got to be hard-working, self-motivated, honest, and enjoy helping people. If you check all of those boxes, then it may be time to follow the steps below and start your Hawaii real estate journey.

Benefits of getting into Hawaii Real Estate

The first benefit is a quite obvious one — the income. The average price for a single-family home in Oahu falls around $850,000, which means when a real estate agent makes a sale, they have a hefty commission — often 3% or $25,000. According to salary.com, a real estate sales agent in Hawaii averages $44,000 to $57,000 per year. These numbers will fluctuate based on commission percentage, number of homes sold, the split with your broker, if you have any caps, and the value of the homes.

For more insight, the average number of single-family homes sold in Oahu over the last 5 years is 3,680, and the average number of condominiums sold in the same time frame is 5,477, as shown by the Honolulu Board of Realtors.

Aside from gaining a good amount of income, becoming a real estate agent has many other benefits, including:

  • Flexibility in your work
  • Constantly varying environments and tasks
  • Helping people
  • YOU are the boss
  • Gaining knowledge and insight about people, your community, and your area

Now that you have an idea of what you are walking into, let’s get into the actionable steps that will have you on your way to thriving in the Hawaii real estate market.

Do I Prequalify?

There are a couple of things to check on before you can start the process of becoming a real estate agent in Hawaii. The overall requirements of obtaining a Hawaii real estate license include the following:

  • You must be 18 years old.

  • You must be a U.S. citizen, a U.S. national, or an alien authorized to work in the United States.

  • You must have a social security number.

  • You must have a reputation of “competency, honesty, truthfulness, financial integrity and fair dealing,” which will be assessed during the license application.

If you think you might have any background issues that could prevent you from obtaining your license, you can get a non-binding decision from the Hawaii Real Estate Commission before beginning the next 5 steps.

Once you have all those boxes checked, you are ready to begin the journey of becoming a Hawaii real estate agent!

1. Complete 60 Hours of Pre-License Education

There are a lot of registered real estate schools to choose from on Oahu and other Hawaii islands. Pick whichever one calls to your heart, and complete 60 hours of education. There are both in person and online options available for you.

For graduates of an accredited law school, those that have received a degree from a university with a major course of study in real estate, former licensees, or those with a current license in another state seeking licensure in Hawaii, please see the Hawaii Real Estate Branch website for detailed requirements for each candidate’s situation.

Some of the various topics covered in a registered real estate pre-licensing school include:

Licensing Laws



Encumbrances, Liens, and Easements

Tenancy and Ownership

Condos, Timeshares, and Unit Developments

Property Development and Hawaii Land Use

Hawaii Standard Forms




Commercial Real Estate Management

Environmental Issues

Landlord-Tenant Code


2. Pass the Course Final Exam

Congratulations! You have made it through your online or in-person lessons, and are now ready to show your knowledge. The course exam typically consists of 130 questions and you must receive a passing score of at least 70 percent.

The School Completion Certificate you will receive is valid for two years from the issue date, which means you must complete step four (see below) within two years of passing your course exam.

3. Take and Pass the Hawaii Licensing Exam

You heard us, another exam. Don’t worry, we are here to prepare you so you know exactly what to expect.

The Hawaii Real Estate Salesperson and Broker Examination is administered by PSI, an outside agency, and costs $61. You can register for the exam online, by phone, mail, or fax. The exam can be canceled and rescheduled without losing your fee as long as you cancel/reschedule at least two days before the examination date.

On Oahu, the examination site is at the Ala Moana Pacific Center; neighboring islands have other Hawaii real estate license exam sites as well.

On the day of your Hawaii real estate exam, bring the following:

  • Two forms of identification (driver’s license, passport, etc.)
  • Printed or original, unexpired Hawaii School Completion Certificate
  • If applicable, an original, unexpired Equivalency to Uniform Portion of Examination Certificate

Once inside the exam site, you’ll be asked to place all electronic devices, bulky clothing, and other personal items in a secure location, and you will be asked to sit in front of a computer to take the test.

There are 80 questions about general real estate information across the United States, which you have 150 minutes to answer, and 50 Hawaii-specific questions with 90 minutes to answer. The questions can cover the following topics:

  • Property ownership
  • Land use control and regulations
  • Valuation and market analysis
  • Financing
  • Agency principles
  • Property disclosures
  • Contracts
  • Leasing and property management
  • Title and conveyances
  • Contracts
  • Escrow and closing statements
  • Transfer of title
  • Real estate practice
  • Real estate calculations

You must receive at least a 70% to become a Hawaii real estate salesperson, and the score will immediately be given to you once you complete the exam. If you do not pass, you will have an opportunity to see areas that need more studying before taking the exam again.

4. Submit Your Completed Licensing Application

Phew! You have taken the courses, passed the exams, and are now ready to apply to be a Real Estate Agent in Hawaii.

The testing center will give you your application and instructions on how to properly submit it. They will also provide you with a report of your score and any other documentation needed to apply. The completed application will likely need to be submitted by mail or hand delivered.

Make sure to complete this step within two years of passing your exam, otherwise the score and certificate will have expired and you may have to restart the process.

5. Choose A Sponsoring Real Estate Broker

In order to be a licensed and active practicing real estate agent in the beautiful state of Hawaii, you are required to be associated with a registered brokerage firm or broker. Working with the right broker is an important decision and a key factor in your growing real estate career. Here are some things to consider when selecting a sponsoring broker:

  • What is their local and national reputation?
  • What systems do they use?
  • What types of agents are they looking for?
  • Do they provide education and training for agents?
  • Do they provide marketing materials and potential leads?
  • What benefits do they have?
  • What is their commission structure?
  • Is there opportunity for growth?

How To Become A Real Estate Agent in Hawaii

Want to Become a REALTOR® in Hawaii?

Every REALTOR® is a real estate agent, but not every real estate agent is a REALTOR®. Want to take your business a step further, have great networking opportunities, and be part of an evolving real estate community? Here are your steps to becoming a REALTOR® in Hawaii:

  • Obtain your state real estate license
  • Join your local REALTORS® Association – The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) has over 1,400 associations across the U.S. You can find one closest to you with their “find an association” tool.
  • Pay the one-time application fee – The amount varies in each association
  • Upkeep NAR membership dues – Once you are a REALTOR®, you must pay the annual association fee of $150 per year.

There you have it! Everything you need to know about beginning the exciting and opportune journey of Hawaii real estate.

Now that we have taken you this far, we would love to provide you with more resources and information to help you thrive in this new venture. Get the ball rolling and be the best agent you can be with our Showcase IDX Grow Your Real Estate Business Academy courses.

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