Real Estate Salesperson vs. Mortgage Agent

Getting your real estate license vs. mortgage agent license

So you want to be a Real Estate Salesperson, eh?

Real Estate Investment:  $7,745   VS.  Mortgage Broker/Agent Investment: $1,600

Real estate sales can be a fantastically rewarding career…but you need to go in with your eyes wide open!  Like most things in life, successful people make it look easy. But what you see are the results of their efforts, and their money. They’ve had to overcome fierce competition: there are over 100,000 Real Estate Salespeople with their real estate license (registration in Ontario) in Canada or nearly 1 for every 266 adult Canadians.

And they’ve had to invest in their career. Unlike other real estate careers, such as mortgage brokering, real estate can be expensive. It will cost a new Real Estate Salesperson over $7,500 in the process of becoming licensed (registered in Ontario), compared to just over $1,600 for a mortgage broker.

That just gets you in the door.  Now you have to pay for marketing, your car, and all of the other costs that will run up your line of credit until you start making some money.

And once you start earning you’ll likely be sharing that commission with your brokerage (and CRA, of course).  But, having said all that, it’s a fabulous career if you’ve got the time and money it takes to make it.  So here’s a breakdown of the time and the money you’ll have to invest to become a licensed Real Estate Salesperson (registered Real Estate Salesperson in Ontario).

What does it take to become a registered Real Estate Salesperson in Ontario

Total Investment: $7,745 (plus brokerage charges, desk fees, advertising, franchise fees, etc)

Time: The licensing process takes from 3 to 4.5 years to complete

Educational Prerequisites

To qualify for admission into the Real Estate Salesperson Program, an applicant must hold a Canadian secondary school diploma or GED certificate, or an acceptable equivalent credential.

Applicants that do not have a Canadian secondary school diploma or GED Certificate may provide acceptable equivalency credentials.

The Salesperson Registration Education Program

Pre-Registration Phase

Investment: $3,590

Time: Up to 24 months

Course 1: Real Estate Essentials – eLearning    $525.00

Exam 1: Invigilated Theory Exam    $100.00

Course 2: Residential Real Estate Transactions – eLearning     $595.00

Exam 2: Invigilated Theory Exam    $100.00

Course 3: Additional Residential Real Estate Transactions – eLearning          $315.00

Exam 3: Invigilated Theory Exam    $100.00

Simulation Session 1: Residential Real Estate Transactions     $750.00

Course 4: Commercial Real Estate Transactions – eLearning   $315.00

Exam 4: Invigilated Theory Exam    $100.00

Simulation Session 2: Commercial Real Estate Transactions   $600.00

Course 5: Getting Started eLearning         $90.00

Pre-Registration Phase Cost     $3,590.00

Post-Registration Phase

Investment: $770

Compliance – eLearning$300.00

Elective Courses (two electives @ $135 each)$270.00

Post-Registration Phase Cost$770.00

Additional Costs

Investment: $3,385

$400 – RECO E & O Insurance fee (annually)

$350 – RECO licensing fee (every 2 years)

$840 – CREA membership (one-time fee)

$475 – CREA Fees (annually)

$460 – TREB Registration (one-time fee)

$860 – TREB Membership (annually)

Following completion of the Pre-registration Segment, students have up to 12 months to obtain employment with a brokerage and obtain Registration as a Salesperson with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO).  Registration Requirements:

To become registered as a Salesperson with the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO), you must:

  • be a resident of Canada
  • be at least 18 years of age
  • complete the Pre-registration Segment courses within 18 months of the start date of the first course (Real Estate as a Professional Career)
  • obtain employment with a registered brokerage and make application for registration with RECO within 12 months of completing the Pre-registration Segment
  • apply for registration within one year of successfully completing your last Pre-registration course (The Real Estate Transaction-General and either The Residential Real Estate Transaction or The Commercial Real Estate Transaction)
  • complete and submit the forms approved by the Registrar under REBBA 2002, accompanied by the relevant fee

You may begin trading in real estate upon obtaining Salesperson registration with RECO.F

Keep in mind that there are many different brokerage models in the market.  Commissions range from 60% to 100% for agents, depending on many circumstances.  Understand that a brokerage won’t pay a high commission for a new agent.  Some charge desk fees up to $1,500 per month, while others charge much less.  Some provide a considerable amount of free training, while others make you pay for it.

At the end of the day you, like consumers, have choice.  You can decide which brokerage to join (as long as they hire you!) and what you want to get out of your affiliation with that brokerage.  You also get to decide how hard you want to work at your new career.  Remember that old saying, “garbage in, garbage out” applies to the self-employed the most!

Mortgage Broker/Agent

So you want to be a mortgage broker, eh?

Mortgage brokering can be a wonderful career choice, as long as you know what you’re getting in to.  With under 11,000 mortgage brokers/agents in Ontario, there is much less competition than for real estate sales.  However, while nearly 90% of consumers use Real Estate Salespersons to buy and sell a home, about 30% use mortgage brokers/agents to obtain a mortgage.  Lots of room for growth, or consumers don’t need mortgage brokers/agents as often as they need Real Estate Salespersons; depends on your outlook.

You are considered to be an independent contractor as a mortgage broker/agent (in the vast majority of situations; some brokerages will hire a broker/agent on salary or as an employee but this is rare).   That means you have all of the other expenses involved in running your own business, such as marketing, your car and all of the other costs that, just like in real estate, can run up your line of credit before you start making some money.

In addition, you’re paid commission and your brokerage will take a split of that, ranging anywhere from 50/50 for the first several deals until you are trained, up to 95/5 (95% for you)

And once you start earning you’ll likely be sharing that commission with your brokerage (and CRA, of course).  But, having said all that, it’s a fabulous career if you’ve got the time and money it takes to make it.  So here’s a breakdown of the time and the money you’ll have to invest to become a licensed mortgage broker/agent.

What does it take to become a mortgage broker/agent in Ontario?

Total Investment:  $1,668

Time: One week up to 6 months (can be done in as little as one week or up to 6 months, in class or online)

In Ontario, to become a licensed mortgage broker/agent you must:

  1. Pass the mortgage agent course – click here for information on the course
  2. Get hired by a licensed mortgage brokerage – click here for information on getting hired
  3. Get licensed by the regulator, the Financial Services Regulatory Authority, FSRA (formerly the Financial Services Commission of Ontario (FSCO))

Educational Prerequisites

None – anyone can take the REMIC Mortgage Agent Course (RMAC).  This is the course required to get licensed.

The REMIC Mortgage Agent Course (RMAC)

Phase 1

Investment: $338

Time: One week to 6 months

$338 – $345 – REMIC Mortgage Agent Course (RMAC) – 47 hours

The Real Estate and Mortgage Institute of Canada Inc. (REMIC) is a certified educational institution by Human Resources and Skills Development Canada (HRSDC). As such REMIC’s courses are tax free.

In addition REMIC offers a free job placement assistance program designed to assist graduates in obtaining employment with a licensed mortgage brokerage in Ontario.

Phase 2

Investment: $1,300

Time: 2 weeks to one month

$300 – $400 – Brokerage E & O insurance fee (annually)

$941 – FSRA licensing fee (this is pro-rated- see below)

FSRA licensing fee

  • Licenses come up for renewal every year (previously every two years), with the next renewal on April 1st.  To renew, the fee is $841.  To apply for a new license the fee is $941 for a full year, prorated if applying after April 1st, like this: $100 + (# of months to March 31, 2020 x $70.08).[1] 
  • For example, if you applied for a license on April 1, 2020 then you would pay an application fee of $100 plus $841 (12 months to April 1, 2021 x $70.08) = $100 + $841 = $941.  If you were already a mortgage agent you wouldn’t have to pay the application fee, so renewing the license would cost $841.[1] FSRA, https://www.fsrao.ca/sites/default/files/2019-06/fee-rule-2019-001-en.pdf

Conclusion

In conclusion, both careers can be as rewarding as you make them.  Selling real estate and brokering mortgages are well accepted careers in Ontario, with the potential to earn a significant income.  If you’re looking for a career that you can begin quickly and with only a small investment, the nod has to go to mortgage brokering.  Of course, I’m biased because I’m a mortgage broker.

Ultimately, the choice is yours!  I hope this information helps you make an informed decision.

P.S.

You can have both licenses. Something else to consider…

If you found this article helpful, please share it with your community!

Tagged under:

126 Comments

  • Palak Reply

    Hello Joe,

    Amazing article. Thank you for your insights. I just wanted to know how difficult or easy is it to get a job as a mortgage broker in Ontario?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, it is fairly easy. Many brokerages will hire and train new agents, but as mortgage agents are paid on commission, it’s also important to choose a brokerage carefully. REMIC has a job bank that is free for all of our students, and in this job bank there are many brokerages hiring new agents right out of the course. If you have any questions please feel free to call us at 877.447.3642 or email support@remic.ca or visit us at live chat on our remic.ca site. Cheers, Joe

  • Mel Reply

    Hello thanks for the article,
    If I get my license as salesperson here in ON how easy is it to also work as salesperson in other provinces (BC in particular) as I plan to move there in a few years.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, licensing is provincial, so it depends on each province. For example, here is a link for Quebec: https://www.oaciq.com/en/pages/act-as-a-broker-in-quebec
      If you want to learn about the other provinces that you may be interested in I suggest you Google real estate agent reciprocity and the province you’re looking for.
      All the best!
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Fabiola Reply

    Hi Joe,

    With the mortgage agent license can I also work in Quebec. If no, do you know where I can get licensed in Quebec also.

    Thx you in Advance.

  • Wendy Reply

    Hi Joe,
    I know that after you write the exam, you need to work for a brokerage for 2 years. Does it matter if you work for the brokerage full-time or part-time?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, no, you can work full or part time.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Carol J Reply

    Hi Joe, I am very interested moving my career path to a mortgage agent (for now). I understand most of the fees that are paid out; but after reading some comments and responses I am wondering what other ‘fees/commissions’ would I need to put out their to keep my business growing.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi Carol, I’m not positive what you mean. Basically an agent earns a commission on a deal and splits that with the brokerage. Are you asking about other costs, such as annual re-licensing, errors and omissions insurance, etc.?

  • Ossama Reply

    Hi,

    So I completed and passed the 5 exams needed in order to register with a brokerage and become licensed. However, but to a family emergency I was unable to become employed with a brokerage. It has been over 12 months since I completed the pre-registration exams. Am I still able to become employed with a brokerage or will I need to re-do the pre-registration phase again?

    Thank you.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, there is only one exam for the mortgage course. Are you sure that is the course you’re thinking about?
      Regarding the timing, the course certificate is valid for 12 months from the date you pass the exam. If it’s over that time you will need to retake the course.
      As a former student we can give you a discount. Please contact the office in Monday at 877.447.3642 or by email at support@remic.ca
      Cheers,
      Joe White

  • Sheila Stiles Reply

    Hi,

    Do you need to be a good “salesperson” to be a Mortgage Agent?

    thanks,
    Sheila

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, that depends on what you mean by salesperson. You need basic skills to present solutions to your clients, but you’re not trying to sell them something, rather your job is to find and present the most advantageous solution based on their needs and circumstances.

  • J Shaw Reply

    I have been a licensed agent in the U.S. for 25 years, and have sold about 1000 homes. If I were to consider a move to Canada, is there a way to become a registered agent more quickly than simply starting from scratch?

  • Haseeb Reply

    Hi Joe
    Very helpful article, just out of curiosity i was wondering if a person can be a realtor and a mortgage broker.
    does it conflict with each other?
    Thank you

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi, yes, a person can be both a realtor and mortgage broker. There are many who hold both licensed.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Pingback:How to get your real estate license in Ontario – 24LINE.NET

  • Lee F. Reply

    There is no such thing as a “real estate license” in Ontario. RECO (the regulator of real estate, established by the Ontario Government) “Registers” real estate salespeople, brokers, and brokerages. If you are Registered, you are a “Registrant” – you are not “Licensed”. Ontario is unique in this way.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Thanks for the clarification, Lee! We’ve added that to the article.

      • Ryan Reply

        Hi Joe,
        Highly appreciate your valuable information provided in the great article, which inspires me to take the mortgage course this month.
        My question is:
        If I got licensed and were hired by a brokerage, should I go to market to find customers myself or the brokerage could assign some mortgage cases to me with assistance at the first couple months?

        Thanks in advance,

        Ryan

        • Joseph White Reply

          Hi Ryan, I’m glad the article helped!
          Regarding customers, that is typically the agent’s role, although in some cases the brokerage may provide leads as well. It depends on the brokerage, so I suggest you interview several if that is important to you using the interview questions as the end of chapter 1.
          All the best and be sure to ask any other questions that you may have to get your career started.
          Cheers,
          Joe

          • Ryan

            Hi Joe,
            Appreciate again for your kindly advice.

            Best regards,

            Ryan

    • Maria Reply

      Hi, I am living in Calgary AB, but with a plan to move to Toronto ON, so I am interested to get the real estate licence here, if its so can I work in Toronto also?

  • Nick Reply

    Hey joe great article, I was hoping to become a real estate agent in ontario, I aM Canadian and have been working in Ontario as a Forman in the mining industry for the past 30 years, but I do not have my grade 12, I was wondering what kind of equivalent test there is if I decided not to do my GED?

  • Scott Reply

    I have a criminal record, does that exclude me from doing the real estate course and working as an agent in Ontario? I’ve also worked in Thailand for four years selling real estate, where you dont need a licence to sell, would that exclude me from any parts of the course or do I need to do everything?

    • Joseph White Reply

      REMIC doesn’t offer the real estate course. The only approved provider in Ontario as of 2019 is Humber College.
      Here is a link to their course website: https://humber.ca/realestate/
      Unfortunately I don’t have any other information on their course, but they will be happy to assist you.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Karin Reply

    Are there any restrictions or anything different you need to do if you are a licenced Realtor (in Ontario) who wants to take the mortgage course to dual licence?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Not as far as getting a mortgage agent’s license.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Dexter A. Robinson Reply

    hello Joe,great article here, what’s a decent method to contact you?i’d prefer to converse with you for ten minutes about turning into a dealer. If you don’t mind send me your contact information so I can get in touch with you. Much obliged, Dan

  • Carla Smith Reply

    Hi Dan, I am moving to Ontario In July from the Maritimes. Would you suggest Mortage Brokering as a good career move ? How do I begin the process?
    Thanks, Carla

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi,
      Yes, this is a good career, but it is strictly commission based and most entrants don’t generate an income for at least three months. If you wish to begin the process the first step is to take and pass the mortgage agent course for licensing at remic.ca
      If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us at 877.447.3642 or support@remic.ca
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Sam Reply

    Hi I just got my LLQP license and starting in the insurance business.. does it make sense to add Mtg broker license? Is it allowed or there is a conflict?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi,
      We’re finding more people getting dually licensed to offer more choice to their clients. There is no conflict and it is allowed by the mortgage legislation.
      Let us know if you have any questions.
      Cheers,
      Joe White

  • Gauras Reply

    Thanks a ton for your valuable time and guidance.

  • Kooner Reply

    Hi Joe,
    My Nephew is on Work permit in Ont, Is he eligible to get his Real estate license? He is not Permanent Resident Yet.

    • Gauras Reply

      Hi Joe,
      Good evening. I’m from india and currently on open work permit. I am having a 6+ years of experience in real estate back in india. What would be an ideal option for me to work here in Toronto, Canada.

      • Joseph White Reply

        Hi Gauras,
        Unfortunately I can’t guide you on that. I would suggest that, if interested in real estate, you reach out to a brokerage that you’d like to work for. There are many great brokerages in Toronto that I’m sure would be happy to speak to you.
        All the best!
        Joe

  • jake Reply

    Correct me if I’m wrong but you didnt talk about Mortgage Agent commission split. Once you join a brokerage you will have to split 50% of your self generated costumers. So really 103k is 51.5k. So to sum it all up you only have 30% of customer’s market and competing with other mortgage agents and you will have to split your commission at 50% with the brokerage even your self generated customers.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi,
      You are correct, there are splits, but they range from 50/50 for a brand new agent who is getting training and support from the brokerage, to 95/5 plus volume bonus, which can end up being higher than 100% of the actual commission. The actual split is contingent on the brokerage that you work for, the volume you do, etc.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Md Nurul Hoque Reply

    Hi Joe!
    Currently I am doing job as Real Estate Sales Person for last 14 years in Navana Real Estate Ltd (sister concern of NAVANA GROUP). My location is Dhaka, BANGLADESH. Now I am thinking to get a Mortgage License through REMIC. How is it possible for me? Can you give me suggestions?

    Thanks,
    Nurul

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi Nurul and thanks for your inquiry,
      Where do want to get licensed? Mortgage brokers are provincially licensed in Canada.

  • Calgary Real Estate Reply

    Hey there, just wanted to say thanks for the great information on this article.

  • HKaur Reply

    Hello Joe,

    Dou you have to be a Canadian resident to get REMIC license?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi,
      Yes, you must be a Canadian resident with a physical address (not a post office box).
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Dhruv Reply

    HI Joe,

    I am interested in pursuing the career as mortgage agent, but i cant do it full time till i am established.Is it possible to work as Mortgage agent along with a full time job ? Does brokerages hire such part time after hours agents (who can work on evening and weekends only)?

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi,
      Yes, many brokerages hire part time agents to get started. Many people who are changing careers need the income from the current job to help them transition into this new career. Let me know if you have any other questions!
      Cheers,
      Joe

      • Shumaila Reply

        Thanks. Your words are very effective in taking a decision.I was thinking to be a real estate agent but Mortgage broker seems like a good choice with less investment

        • Joseph White Reply

          My pleasure! If you have any questions please contact us directly at 877.447.3642 or by email at support@remic.ca or use our live help on our website.
          Cheers,
          Joe White

  • Kimberley Reply

    Hey Joe, If I decided to become a Mortgage agent, could I find a Broker that would hire me and allow me to work 6-8 months per year. (Snowbird). I’m a realtor in Florida and relocating back to Canada part time. Trying to find a seasonal career that would work. RE agent seems too costly for part time. Thank you.

    • Joseph White Reply

      Hi Kimberley,
      Yes, I’m sure you could. There are definitely brokerages that hire part time.
      Let me know if I can be of any other assistance.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • Dana Reply

    Hi joe My licence expired in March of 2018 due to a family crisis and I got distracted however I would like to be a broker with my own brokerage. Do I have to take the agent course again or can I take the broker course. I have been employed for more than 4 years with a brokerage before that date

    • Joe White Reply

      Hi Dana,
      You will need to get hired by a brokerage. The brokerage will then apply to reinstate your license and FSCO will advise what you need to do to get re-licensed.

    • Vraj Reply

      Hello! Just a quick question. I am a Canadian resident, so I do live in Canada currently, do I need to be a permanent resident for this? Or just a resident?

  • Rajesh kumar Reply

    Hi I am Rajesh kumar from INDIA aged 47 working as a Realestate agent, i want to work in Canada as realestates work person please suggest can it possibal
    Thanks

  • SHIBLY Reply

    Hi Joe,

    Thank you for the write up.

    I did mortgage agent course in early 2013 and got the certificate but until now not pursued mortgage agent career. I’m thinking of going forward with this career. What can I do now?

    Regards.

    SHIBLY

    • Joe White Reply

      Hi,
      You will have to retake the course as it is only valid for two years. Once you pass you must get hired by a brokerage. If you don’t have a brokerage we offer a free job bank for our students. If you have any questions please call us, email support@remic.ca or use our live help.
      Cheers,
      Joe

    • Hasan Shibly Reply

      Thank you Joe for your prompt answer. So you mean as a mortgage agent we have to come back to School and retake the exam every two years? Or there’s a way to renew before it expires in two years. I’m little confused.

      Best regards.

      • Joe White Reply

        Hi,
        If you had been licensed you would not have to retake the course. The course certificate is valid for two years. If you don’t get licensed within two years it expires and you have to retake the course if you want to get licensed.
        Cheers,
        Joe

  • M rap Reply

    Is it possible to get s higher mortgage pre approval compared to a bank? The bank is giving us very little.

    • Joe White Reply

      Hi,
      That depends on your exact situation. I suggest you speak to a broker directly to see what he or she can do.
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • junior Reply

    how do i apply for the mortgage agent broker

    • Joe White Reply

      Hi,
      If you want to become a licensed mortgage agent you first have to pass the agent course. Once you pass the course you must be hired by a brokerage. The brokerage will then apply to the regulator for your license. If you have any questions please feel free to use our live help or email us at support@remic.ca or call us at 877.447.3642
      Cheers,
      Joe

  • sara Reply

    Do you know where I could purchase used textbooks?

    Thank you