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Getting a real estate license in Hawaii opens up a world of possibilities in an industry fueled by million dollar oceanfront listings and continuously growing property values. But where do you start when it comes to getting licensed and beginning your career?

If you’re short on time, here’s a quick answer to your question: You’ll need to complete a Hawaii real estate prelicensing course, pass the license exam, submit your license application with fees, and activate your new license within two years. Now let’s dive into the step-by-step process.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know to get a Hawaii real estate license, from prelicensing education requirements to the process for maintaining an active status once you’re licensed.

Meet the Initial Hawaii Real Estate License Requirements

Be 18 Years or Older

The first requirement to get a Hawaii real estate license is that you must be at least 18 years old. This is the legal age of an adult who can enter into contracts in the state. Being a licensed real estate agent involves legal paperwork, so you must meet the minimum age requirement.

Prove Legal US Residency

You must be a legal resident of the United States to get a real estate license in Hawaii. This means you must show proof of citizenship, permanent residency, or eligibility to work in the US. Documents like your birth certificate, passport, green card, or social security number can prove your lawful status.

No Felony Criminal Convictions

Having a clean criminal history is crucial for securing a real estate license. You cannot have any felony convictions in the past 5 years. The state regulatory agency (REC) reviews your fingerprints and background check to verify you have no serious criminal offenses.

Submit Fingerprints for Background Check

As part of your license application, you must complete a fingerprint scan that the REC uses to run a criminal background check. Any concerning records of fraud or financial crimes could disqualify you from getting approved. Pay the fee and schedule an appointment to get fingerprinted.

Complete the Prelicensing Education

Enroll in an Approved Hawaii Real Estate Course

The first step to getting your Hawaii real estate license is to enroll in a state-approved prelicensing course. This course provides aspiring real estate agents with a strong foundation on essential real estate concepts and laws.

There are many reputable real estate schools in Hawaii that offer approved prelicensing courses, both online and in-person. When selecting a school, check that it is accredited by the Hawaii Real Estate Commission.

The course duration is around 60-75 hours, with topics covering Hawaii real estate license law, rules and regulations, business practices, and more.

Study and Prepare for Your Final Exam

It is crucial to comprehend and retain the course material in order to pass the school’s final exam. Most schools provide students with hefty prelicensing packets or digital course manuals to study. Students should also take advantage of instructor office hours and study groups to discuss complex concepts.

The final exam is typically a combination of 100-150 multiple choice and true/false questions. Focus studying on key topics like real estate principles, land titles, property valuation, finance, and federal fair housing laws.

Utilizing real estate exam prep books and taking practice tests are also hugely beneficial for reinforcing your understanding.

Pass the School’s Final Exam

To receive a prelicensing education certificate, students need a minimum score of 75-80% on their school’s final exam. Passing demonstrates that you have sufficiently grasped the core real estate concepts tested on the state licensing exam.

If you fail on your first try, determine your weak areas using your test score results. Most schools allow you to retake the exam for an additional fee. Upon passing, the school will award your prelicensing certificate and certify your eligibility to register for the state exam.

Pass the Hawaii Real Estate License Exam

Passing the Hawaii real estate license exam is a crucial step to becoming a licensed real estate agent. Here is a comprehensive guide to preparing for and passing the exam:

Exam Format and Content

The Hawaii real estate license exam consists of 200 multiple choice questions. You will have 300 minutes (5 hours) to complete the exam. The exam covers topics such as:

  • Hawaii real estate laws and regulations
  • Real estate principles and practices
  • Real estate math calculations
  • Property disclosures and transfer requirements
  • Contract writing

You need to score at least 75% to pass the exam.

Registration Process

To take the Hawaii real estate license exam, you must first register with Pearson VUE. The steps are:

  1. Submit exam registration form and $68 exam fee to Pearson VUE
  2. Pearson VUE will send you an exam confirmation email
  3. Schedule your exam date online or by phone

You can take the exam at any of Pearson VUE’s testing centers in Hawaii. Make sure to schedule your exam as soon as you receive the confirmation to secure your preferred date and time.

Study and Preparation Strategies

Proper preparation is crucial to pass the Hawaii real estate license exam. Useful tips include:

  • Study exam prep books and online courses
  • Take as many practice tests as possible
  • Master real estate terminology and math calculations
  • Focus on your weak areas and keep reviewing them
  • Ask brokers/agents for exam tips and experience

On average, candidates spend 50-100 hours preparing for the exam. Develop a study schedule and stick to it. Many find forming study groups with peers greatly boosts preparation efficiency and confidence.

What to Expect on Exam Day

On the day of your Hawaii real estate license exam:

  • Arrive early at the test center with proper ID
  • No electronic devices, books, notes etc. allowed
  • A short tutorial will orient you prior to the test
  • Carefully read and fully understand each question before answering
  • Skip difficult questions and return to them later
  • Double check your work before submitting your exam

Stay calm and focused throughout the 5 hour exam duration. And remember – almost three-quarters of examinees pass on their first try, so with diligent preparation your chances of success are excellent!

Submit Your License Application and Fees

Complete Licensing Forms

To apply for a Hawaii real estate license, you will need to complete several forms available from the Hawaii Real Estate Commission website ( These include an application for license, consent to service of process, and broker experience certificate.

Carefully read all instructions and fill out each form completely to avoid any delays.

Provide Required Documentation

Along with the completed application forms, you must submit documentation proving you meet licensing eligibility requirements. This includes:

  • Proof of completing prelicensing education
  • Fingerprint samples for criminal background check
  • Certified birth certificate copy
  • Social security card copy

Having organized and complete documentation is crucial for swift application processing. The Real Estate Commission provides a helpful checklist of all required items.

Pay License and Recovery Fund Fees

Finally, appropriate fees must accompany license applications. Costs include:

License application fee $15
License issuance fee $100
Education fund fee $40
Recovery fund fee $40

Fees can be paid via cashier’s check, money order, or online payment. Total fees range from $155 for salesperson applicants up to $380 for broker applicants. Fee amounts are set by the Real Estate Commission and subject to periodic change, so verify current rates.

Activate Your Hawaii Real Estate License

Complete Continuing Education Requirements

Once you have passed the exam and met all other licensing requirements, there are still a few steps left before you can start practicing real estate in Hawaii. One of those steps is completing the mandatory continuing education requirements.

All active Hawaii real estate licensees must complete 20 hours of continuing education coursework during each 2-year license renewal period. At least 10 of those hours must relate to consumer protection topics, while the other 10 can be electives.

Popular elective topics include fair housing, agency relationships, contract writing, and risk management.

You can complete your CE hours through live classroom courses or approved online courses. Top providers like The CE Shop offer a wide variety of Hawaii CE packages that bundle everything you need. The key is making sure any courses you take are state-approved.

The fastest route is typically using an all-inclusive online CE package that lets you access on-demand video courses 24/7 from anywhere with an internet connection.

Enroll as an Active Broker or Salesperson

The final requirement for activating your Hawaii real estate license is to register it under an active Hawaii brokerage. You cannot legally practice real estate on your own with just a salesperson license.

Instead, you must hang your license with a local brokerage firm and work under their supervision. Most brokerages charge new agents monthly desk fees and/or brokerage splits to offset the costs associated with legally sponsoring them.

When choosing a Hawaii real estate brokerage, consider factors like company culture, training programs, mentoring support, lead generation systems, brand recognition, broker/agent splits, fees, and broker availability.

Setting up interviews with multiple brokerages can help you find one that aligns with your goals and needs. Look for a supportive broker who takes an active interest in your success. Places like Hawaii Life offer phenomenal training systems to help new agents thrive.

Maintain Your Active Hawaii Real Estate License

Once you have obtained your Hawaii real estate license, there are certain requirements you must follow to keep it active. Failing to meet these mandates can lead to suspension or revocation of your license, so it’s important to stay on top of your obligations.

Pay Annual Fees Before Renewal Deadline

The Hawaii Real Estate Commission requires license holders to pay annual fees to maintain an active license status. Current fees are $70 for individual brokers and $35 for individual salespersons. Fees are due by December 31 each year for the upcoming renewal period.

You can pay your renewal fees online through the Commission’s website. If fees are not paid on time, your license will be considered inactive starting January 1. This restricts your ability to legally conduct real estate transactions until fees are paid to reactive your license.

Complete Continuing Education Every Two Years

Hawaii mandates that all actively licensed brokers and salespersons complete 20 hours of Commission-approved continuing education courses during each renewal period. The hours must include a 3-hour core course along with 17 hours of elective courses related to real estate laws, rules, and practices.

You can find approved CE providers and courses on the Hawaii Real Estate Commission’s website. Classes are available online and in-person. As you complete courses, make sure to retain your certificates of completion as proof of meeting CE requirements.

Follow Laws and Best Practices

Maintaining an active real estate license in Hawaii also means consistently operating under legal and ethical standards. You must follow all state license laws as well as the National Association of Realtors® Code of Ethics.

This helps ensure you protect client interests and promote fairness in transactions.

Additionally, it’s wise to implement best practices like using up-to-date sales agreements, keeping organized records, and staying current on market trends. This demonstrates professionalism and attentiveness that home buyers and sellers appreciate.


Getting licensed as a Hawaii real estate agent or broker is an investment that opens up tremendous career opportunities. While there are several steps involved, from prelicensing to examination and beyond, our guide breaks down everything you need to know.

Understanding the full Hawaii real estate licensing process sets you up for success. Equipped with the knowledge above, you can confidently complete each requirement until you’re ready to begin building your career – and helping shape the Hawaii real estate landscape.

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