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Frequently Asked Questions For Real Estate Applicants

Need a License?
Getting Started -General Application Questions

Qualifying for a Nebraska Real Estate License

Criminal Backgrounds

Pre-License Education Requirements

License Recognition/Reciprocal Licenses

Answers to Need a License Questions
  • When do I need a real estate license?
    A real estate license is required when acting as a broker as defined in Neb. Rev. Stat. §81-885.01(1), which specifically states:           

      “Broker means any person who, for any form of compensation or consideration or with the intent or expectation of receiving the same from another, negotiates or attempts to negotiate the listing, sale, purchase, exchange, rent, lease, or option for any real estate or improvements thereon, or assists in procuring prospects or holds himself or herself out as a referral agent for the purpose of securing prospects for the listing, sale, purchase, exchange, renting, leasing, or optioning of any real estate or collects rents or attempts to collect rents, gives a broker's price opinion or comparative market analysis, or holds himself or herself out as engaged in any of the foregoing. Broker also includes any person: (a) Employed, by or on behalf of the owner or owners of lots or other parcels of real estate, for any form of compensation or consideration to sell such real estate or any part thereof in lots or parcels or make other disposition thereof; (b) who auctions, offers, attempts, or agrees to auction real estate; or (c) who buys or offers to buy or sell or otherwise deals in options to buy real estate”

  • Are attorneys exempt from being required to have a real estate license?
    Only in a very, very limited sense as outlined in NEB. REV. STAT.§ 81-885.04 (2) which states the exemption as:  “An attorney in fact under a duly executed power of attorney to convey real estate from the owner or lessor or the services rendered by a attorney at law in the performance of his or her duty as such attorney at law;”
  • I would like to use an unlicensed person as an assistant. What can they do?
    Below is the Commission’s Policy and Interpretation of what an unlicensed person can do and what activities would require a real estate license.  This can also be found in the Commissions Policies and Interpretation section of the License Manual .

    • Use of Unlicensed Persons by Licensees
    Licensees, both brokers and salespersons, often use unlicensed persons, either employed or contracted, to perform various tasks related to a real estate transaction which do not require a license. Such persons, for example, are used as personal assistants, clerical support staff, closing secretaries, etc.
    The Nebraska Real Estate License Act prohibits unlicensed persons from negotiating, listing, or selling real property. It is, therefore, important for employing brokers and other licensees using such persons to carefully restrict the activities of such persons so that allegations of wrongdoing under the License Act or Rules can be avoided.
    Licensees should not share commissions with unlicensed persons acting as assistants, clerical staff, closing secretaries, etc. The temptation for such unlicensed persons, in such situations, to go beyond what they can do and negotiate or take part in other prohibited activities is greatly increased when their compensation is based on the successful completion of the sale.


    In order to provide guidance to licensees with regard to which activities related to a real estate transaction unlicensed persons can and cannot perform, the Commission establishes the following Policy:
    Activities which can be performed by unlicensed persons who, for example, act as personal assistants, clerical support staff, closing secretaries, etc., include, but are not necessarily limited to:
    1. Answer the phone and forward calls to licensees.
    2. Transmit listings and changes to a multiple listing service.
    3. Follow up on loan commitments after a contract has been negotiated.
    4. Assemble documents for closings.
    5. Secure documents, i.e. public information, from courthouse, sewer district,
     water district, etc.
    6. Have keys made for company listings.
    7. Write and prepare ads, flyers and promotional information and place such
     advertising.
    8. Record and deposit earnest money and other trust funds.
    9. Type contract forms under direction of licensee.
    10. Monitor licenses and personnel files.
    11. Compute commission checks.
    12. Place and remove signs on property.
    13. Order items of routine repair as directed by licensee and/or supervising broker.
    14. Act as courier service to deliver documents, pick up keys, etc.
    15. Schedule appointments.
    16. Measure property, if measurements are verified by the licensee.
    17. Hand out objective written information on a listing, other than at functions such as open houses, kiosks, and home show booths or fairs.
    Activities which cannot be performed by unlicensed persons who, for example, act as personal assistants, clerical support staff, closing secretaries, etc., include, but are not necessarily limited to:
    1. Host open houses, kiosks, home show booths or fairs, or hand out materials at such functions.
    2. Show property.
    3. Answer any questions on listings, title, financing, closing, etc.
    4. Discuss or explain a contract, agreement, listing, or other real estate document with anyone outside the firm.
    5. Be paid on the basis of real estate activity, such as a percentage of commission, or any amount based on listings, sales, etc.
    6. Negotiate or agree to any commission, commission split or referral fee on behalf of a licensee.
    Employing brokers, whether they are employing unlicensed persons or whether licensees under their supervision are using unlicensed persons as personal assistants or the like, are responsible for assuring that such unlicensed persons are not involved in activities which require a license and/or activities which violate this policy. Brokers should establish guidelines for the use of unlicensed persons and procedures for monitoring their activities. It is the responsibility of the employing broker to assure that unlicensed persons, either directly employed or contracted, or employed or contracted by licensees under his or her supervision, are not acting improperly.
    This policy does not include unlicensed persons who are acting under the exemption related to management of property as set forth in 81-885.04(4).
    Adopted February 12, 1992
    Amended November 15, 2001

ANSWERS TO GETTING STARTED - GENERAL APPLICATION QUESTIONS
  • QUALIFYING FOR A NEBRASKA REAL ESTATE LICENSE

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Please review the Real Estate License Information section on our website for a complete list of Requirements for Licensure.  Or the items required to issue a license

  • What are the qualifications for a salesperson's license?
    -You must be at least 19 years of age at the time the license will be issued.
    -You may obtain an application packet by contacting the Commission Office or email request to realestate.commission@nebraska.gov

    Please follow the recommended procedures attached to the fingerprint cards to submit both completed cards to the Nebraska Real Estate Commission.  Failure to follow the procedures attached to the fingerprint cards could cause a delay in processing. 

    -If applying for a salesperson’s license, you must complete 60 hours of approved pre-licensing education.
    -You must submit a complete application and examination fees. The fees are listed on the Fee Schedule. If you are applying for original licensure and are disclosing a criminal conviction, adverse civil judgment, or denial or discipline of a professional or occupational license you held or currently hold, provide the additional documents and information required.
    -When you have received the letter approving you to sit for the examination you should contact Applied Measurement Professionals with the telephone number given in the letter or via their website at http://www.goamp.com/ to schedule your examination.  Take photo ID to the exam. You have 1 year from the date we receive your application to take the examination. After passing your examination, submit your pass-score/application form(s), your license fee (the fees are listed on the Fee Schedule) and proof of Errors and Omissions insurance
  • What are the qualifications for a broker’s license?
    -You must be at least 19 years of age at the time the license will be issued.
    -You may obtain an application packet by contacting the Commission Office or email request to realestate.commission@nebraska.gov
    -You must submit your fingerprints for the criminal background report.
    -If you are applying for a broker’s license, you must complete180 clock hours(6 courses)  in Pre-License Courses or 120 clock hours (4 courses which may include the two courses taken to earn the salesperson license) in Pre-License Courses and 2 yrs full-time Salesperson Experience or part-time equivalent.
    -You must submit a complete application and examination fees. The fees are listed on the Fee Schedule. If you are applying for original licensure and are disclosing a criminal conviction, adverse civil judgment, or denial or discipline of a professional or occupational license you held or currently hold, provide the additional documents and information required.
    -When you have received the letter approving you to sit for the examination you should contact Applied Measurement Professionals with the telephone number given in the letter or via their website at http://www.goamp.com/ to schedule your examination.  Take photo ID to the exam. You have 1 year from the date we receive your application to take the examination. After passing your examination, submit your pass-score/application form(s), your license fee (the fees are listed on the Fee Schedule) and proof of Errors and Omissions insurance
    - To be an employing broker or to be employed by a broker (on active status), please review the following section on our website: Items Needed to Issue a Real Estate License or you may review the Real Estate Salesperson and Broker License Issuance Procedures available on our website.
  • How can I obtain a pre-licensing application packet?
    You can request the packet by calling the Commission office at 402-471-2004, email your request to realestate.commission@nebraska.gov or fax the form to our office. Allow seven to ten days for the packet to arrive. When requesting a packet we will need your name, address and type of packet you need. The following questions will need to be answered for the Commission to provide the appropriate packet. 
    The question(s) are:
    Do you currently hold a real estate license in another state?
    1. If the answer is "NO" then we will send you a salesperson or broker packet.
    If the answer is "YES" the following answers are required:
    2. What state has issued the license and is it a sales or broker license?
    3. Is that state your current state of residence and are you seeking a non-resident Nebraska license?
     If "YES", then we will send the non-resident sales or broker packet (based upon the type of license you hold in your state of residence).
    If the answer to #3 is "NO" and you have moved OR are moving to Nebraska with this current license from your state of residence or immediate preceding residence, then we will send the moving-to-Nebraska salesperson or broker application (based upon the type of license you hold in your state of residence or immediate preceding residence).
    - EXCEPTION: CO, NC, OR, and SD only issue broker licenses BUT have different levels of a broker license. There are clarifying questions which need to be asked. Please contact Teresa Hoffman or Marilyn Masters in our office.
  • Do I have to get a packet? Can't I just fill out the forms on the website?
    Yes, you can find all of the forms on our website with the exception of the fingerprint cards.  You may utilize the forms from our website to submit your application to our office. Upon receiving the application, the Commission will return fingerprint cards with instructions for the applicant. The fingerprint cards sent are necessary as they carry a code authorizing the Real Estate Commission to receive the reports. .

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  • Do I have to submit my high school diploma?
    If you are a high school graduate, all we require is that the name, city and state of the high school be provided on the application form where requested.  The Commission only requests a copy of the high school diploma if you have a GED.  If you have graduated from a foreign high school (somewhere other than the US or its territories) you should review the information pertaining to this in the Licensing Information found at:  http://www.nrec.ne.gov/licensing-forms/licenseinformation.html

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  • How long does it take to get licensed?
    While there are various scenarios which may alter this answer, the  average time frame would be six to eight weeks.  The Commission must receive the completed application from the applicant including fees prior to mailing the applicant the fingerprint cards and instructions. While the applicant is waiting for the background check to be completed the applicant should be working on any pre-licensing education requirement they have. Once the background report is received from the State Patrol, permission to sit for the examination would be mailed to the applicant from the Commission Office within 48 hours.  After the applicant has passed the examination, filled out forms regarding how he/she plans to do business (inactive status, affiliated with a broker or a self-employed broker), received proper Errors and Omissions Insurance and paid the licensing fee the license can be issued within 24 hours. Please keep in mind that this timeframe depends largely upon the criminal background check and the applicant , therefore, time frames can vary a great deal. Please review the Tips for Proceeding Through the Application Process Most Expediently.

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  • I mailed in my application to take the test and haven't heard anything back. Can I take the exam?
    Not until your application has been approved. The process to review the application materials typically takes between 24 to 48 hours from the date of receipt. The review will result in either a check letter indicating items still missing from the application or a letter informing you that your application is complete and giving you contact information in order to make your appointment with the testing company.   If you have not received such notification, please contact the Commission office.

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  • My payment to the Real Estate Commission was insufficient, what should I do?
    The State of Nebraska, Treasurer’s office runs checks through the financial institution, twice.  If the moneys are not available on the second run, the Commission receives notification from the Treasurer’s office.  The following section of law relates to unpaid returned payments:

    Section 81-885.14 of the Nebraska Real Estate License Act states, in part, as follows:

    Any check presented to the commission as a fee for either an original or renewal license or for examination for license which is returned to the State Treasurer unpaid or any electronic payment presented to the commission as a fee for either an original or renewal license or for an examination for license that is not accepted against the commission shall be cause for revocation or denial of license.

    If funds were not available, you will need to provide the following to the Commission office:
    • Submit a letter addressed to the Commission with an explanation giving fully the circumstances surrounding the issuance of the insufficient funds.
    • The unpaid check amount with an additional $30.00 processing fee.  If the fee was for a renewal of license, an additional late penalty fee may need to be added.  The Commission will only accept a money order, cash, cashier’s check or a different credit card for payment of insufficient funds.
    Please be aware that the service for which the funds were paid will be reversed upon notification of insufficient funds.  For example, if you were going to take the examination, you will be unable to until the appropriate documents have been received by the Commission.  Another example, if you were renewing your real estate license, your license would not be renewed until the appropriate documents are received by the Commission. 

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  • Reasons for Denial of a Nebraska Real Estate License
    Criminal convictions, civil judgments, or disciplinary action involving any other professional licenses in Nebraska or any other state may result in license denial. 
    You ought to review the following state laws, also known as Nebraska Revised Statutes (Neb.Rev.Stat.), which may pose problems during the review of an application for a new license or an application for renewal of an existing license.

    81-885.12. License; when granted.
    (1) Licenses shall be granted only to persons who bear a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, integrity, and competence to transact the business of broker or salesperson in such manner as to safeguard the interest of the public and only after satisfactory proof of such qualifications has been presented to the commission. No license shall be granted to an applicant who will be conducting business through a corporation, partnership, or limited liability company unless any stockholder, partner, or member having a controlling interest therein, if any, bears a good reputation for honesty, trustworthiness, and integrity.
    (2) When an applicant has been convicted of forgery, embezzlement, obtaining money under false pretenses, larceny, extortion, conspiracy to defraud, or any other similar offense or offenses or has been convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude in any court of competent jurisdiction of this or any other state, district, or territory of the United States or of a foreign country, such untrustworthiness of the applicant and the conviction may in itself be sufficient ground for refusal of a license.
    (3) The commission may in its discretion deny a license to any person who has engaged in the real estate business without a license.
    (4) When an applicant has made a false statement of material fact on an application, such false statement may in itself be sufficient ground for refusal of a license.
    (5) Grounds for suspension or revocation of a license, as provided for by the Nebraska Real Estate License Act, or the previous revocation of a real estate license shall also be grounds for refusal to grant a license.

    81-885.18. Application; refusal; hearing; decision.
    (1) If the director of the commission, after an application in proper form has been filed with the commission, accompanied by the proper fee, refuses to accept the application, the director shall give notice of the fact to the applicant within twenty days after his or her ruling, order, or decision.
    (2) Upon written request from the applicant, filed within thirty days after receipt of such notice by the applicant, the commission shall set the matter down for a hearing to be conducted within ninety days after receipt of the applicant's request.
    (3) The hearing shall be at such time and place as the commission shall prescribe. At least twenty days prior to the date set for the hearing the commission shall notify the applicant and other persons protesting, and the notice shall set forth the reasons why the director refused to accept the application. Such written notice of hearing may be served by delivery personally to the applicant and protesters or by mailing the same by registered or certified mail to the last-known business address of the applicant and protesters.
    (4) At the hearing the applicant shall be entitled to examine, either in person or by counsel, any and all persons protesting against him or her, as well as all other witnesses whose testimony is relied upon to substantiate any protest or denial of the application. The applicant shall be entitled to present such evidence, written and oral, as he or she may see fit and as may be pertinent to the inquiry.
    (5) At the hearing all witnesses shall be duly sworn by the chairperson of the commission, or any member thereof, and stenographic notes of the proceedings shall be taken. Any party to the proceedings desiring a copy of the stenographic notes shall be furnished with a copy upon the payment to the commission of such fee as the commission shall prescribe, if the request is made within ten days after the date of any order issued by the commission.
    (6) The commission shall render a decision on any application within sixty days after the final hearing on such application and shall immediately notify the parties to the proceedings, in writing, of its ruling, order, or decision.

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  • BACKGROUND CHECKS
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    • What do I do if I have been convicted of a felony, or misdemeanor or have an adverse judgment or disciplinary action?
      Decisions as to whether the Commission will allow someone with a criminal past to be licensed are made by the Commission on an individual case-by-case basis.  All convictions should be fully disclosed and some detail given concerning the circumstances surrounding the arrest.  Those with a felony conviction will be required to appear before the Commission at an informal hearing at a regularly scheduled meeting.  Those with multiple misdemeanors and/or a pattern of offenses may also be required to appear before the Commission. We recommend that you write a letter to the Commission or send an email to the Commission’s Director with the following information: The date of the charge, what the charge was, the city and state, if it is a misdemeanor or felony, a detailed description of the circumstances leading up to the charge and the dispositions (were you fined, did you serve time, did you serve probation, if so, the length of probation served, etc.).  Please provide phone number and mailing address so we can contact you. After receipt, the Director will review the information and respond to your request.

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    • Can I get a real estate license if I have a criminal record?
      The Nebraska Real Estate Commission reviews license applicants on a case-by-case basis.  Generally speaking one or two misdemeanors in the past (with all sentences served and fines and restitution paid) will not be an impediment to getting a license, felony offenses, ongoing patterns of multiple convictions, or applicants under law enforcement supervision (prison, probation, parole) will generally be given closer scrutiny, and may be denied the privilege of obtaining a real estate license under Nebraska law.   
      Below is also a section of the Commission’s Policies and Interpretations.
                                                     GUIDELINE FOR ORIGINAL APPLICANTS
                                                     WITH CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS

      An individual who files, or seeks to file, an application for a Nebraska Real Estate license, shall appear before the Commission prior to the application being approved and the applicant being allowed to sit for the examination if the applicant has ever had a felony criminal conviction(s). If an applicant has a pattern of any other criminal conviction(s), other than minor traffic violation(s), Commission staff may request that the applicant appear before the Commission so that the Commission may determine if the application should be processed or the applicant allowed to sit for the examination. The applicant may choose a formal or informal appearance before the Commission. Informal appearances may be made by or through a written submission of materials or other methods as determined by Commission staff. If an application for examination or issuance of a license is denied by staff or following an informal special appearance, the applicant is entitled to request a formal hearing as allowed by statute and regulation. An individual who the Commission has approved to sit for the examination after an appearance before it does not have to reappear before the Commission regarding the same issue(s) when applying for subsequent licensure, unless specifically required to do so by the Commission as a part of its original decision. Each application shall be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, however, the Commission adopts the following as guidelines for denying the license:
      1. Unless extraordinary circumstances are present in a specific situation, the application to sit for the examination or issuance of a license will be denied if the applicant has been convicted of a felony violent crime(s) or financial crime(s).
      2. Unless extraordinary circumstances are present in a specific situation, the application to sit for examination or issuance of a license will be denied if the applicant has not completed his or her sentence, his or her probation, or made restitution, if any was ordered. The Commission recommends the applicant authorize his or her probation or parole officer(s) to discuss applicant's performance during the period of supervision with Commission staff.
      a. The applicant’s truthfulness, demeanor, acceptance of responsibility, evidence of rehabilitation, and age at the time of the crime.
      b. The nature of the crime(s), the relationship between the crime(s) and licensed activity, and the effect on the applicant’s worthiness to hold a real estate license.
      c. Any aggravating or extenuating circumstances of the crime(s).
      d. The time since the conviction and/or end of the sentence.
      e. Whether the applicant successfully completed the terms of the sentence, including the timeliness of making restitution.
      f. Whether the applicant’s civil rights have been restored.
      4. If the approval to sit for the examination and/or issuance of a license is granted, the Commission may require the applicant to notify any anticipated employing broker of the criminal conviction(s) and the circumstances of the conviction(s) and said broker shall confirm said notification in writing to the Commission prior to the license being placed with said broker.
      5. If the approval to sit for the examination and/or issuance of a license is granted, the Commission may require the applicant to immediately notify Commission staff of any criminal charge, except those charges where there is no possible sentence of jail time, for a period of time. The time period, if any, is to be determined on a case-by case basis.
      Adopted January 24, 2002
      Amended December 10, 2003

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    • Will you call me when my background check is completed?
      No, we do not contact individuals when we receive the background reports.  A letter will be mailed to the applicant indicating either:
      1)the application is complete and an appointment may be made to take the examination, or
      2)the application is incomplete and listing the items remaining for a complete application
    • Do the background checks expire?
      The background reports expire along with the application one year from the date the application is received. Therefore, it is in the applicants best interest that he/she pursue the fingerprinting process immediately upon receiving the fingerprint cards from the Commission.
    • Can I have a copy of my background report?
      In order to obtain a copy of the background report, you must come into the Commission office with a written request and be able to provide us your identification card, such as your drivers license.

  • PRE-LICENSE EDUCATION REQUIREMENTS
    • If I took pre-license courses in another state, will they work toward getting a license in Nebraska?
      The Nebraska Commission will give credit to pre-license courses taken outside the state of Nebraska as long as they were approved by the real estate regulatory body in that jurisdiction, and are similar to the Nebraska curriculum.  To determine credit, an applicant may submit a copy of the course completion certificate and a syllabus or detailed course outline to the office for review (the table of contents from a textbook is insufficient).  The Commission will notify the applicant with a determination on credit transfer.