What Qualifications Do Real Estate Agents Need?

Question: In a recent column you said that, under Article 26 of the Arizona Constitution, a real estate agent has the right to practice law, e.g., draft purchase contracts or leases in a real estate transaction. We recently moved to Arizona from West Virginia, and we are planning on buying a new home from a homebuilder in Gilbert with the purchase price in the $1.2 million range. We were surprised to learn from the Gilbert homebuilder’s sales agent that real estate agents in Arizona generally take the place of a lawyer in the purchase of a new home. Sounds totally crazy to us as we have always used a real estate lawyer back in West Virginia to help us with the paperwork when buying a home. What are the qualifications to be a real estate agent in Arizona? Does a real estate agent have to have at least a college degree in real estate or financing?

Answer:  There are no formal education requirements to get a real estate agent license in Arizona. There is, however, a comprehensive 90 hours of real estate education required from a licensed real estate school, and a requirement of passing tests of both the licensed real estate school and the State of Arizona. In addition, a real estate agent has to take at least 24 hours of continuing real estate education from a licensed real estate school every two years. Most residential real estate agents are also Realtors who belong to a local Realtor association. This local Realtor association has more than a hundred real estate forms to assist Realtors and their clients, and also has marketing and educational sessions for their Realtor members. Finally, unlike lawyers, all real estate agents must be supervised by a designated broker who is usually experienced and highly trained in real estate transactions.

Note: Most homebuilders selling new homes like your Gilbert home use their own form of purchase contract. The purchase contract for resale homes, however, is published by the Arizona Association of Realtors, and is used in 95% of resale homes.

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