Internationally speaking, real estate agents generally have a governing body that they adhere to. With most countries smaller than the United States, it is much easier to regulate and govern the activities that are related to housing and purchasing land, buildings, and all associated items.
With the sheer size of the United States, every single jurisdiction will have different laws and rules that govern them, including both the acceptance and ongoing conduct of the agents and realty themselves. It is always best to check with your local and state real estate commission on the practices and guidelines for becoming licensed.
Texas is largely considered the most difficult state to obtain your real estate license. Many factors go into this, primarily the sheer size of the state. Texas is also the prime destination for immigration internationally and domestically alike.
You must be 18 years of age or above, an American citizen or legal alien, as well as a legal resident of Texas to pursue your real estate license. When you apply, you must meet the Texas Real Estate Commission's qualifications of honesty, integrity, and trustworthiness. This last part is why obtaining a license is so tricky, as the esoteric nature of this intangible requirement makes it difficult to ascertain what exactly you need to do to qualify as an upstanding citizen.
Once you have met these requirements, you must be able to pass certain knowledge and background checks. Texas requires 180 hours of pre-licensing education and a clean record. The exam itself consists of 125 questions. To pass, applicants must pass 56 out of 85 questions in the national section and 21 out of 40 in the state section. Only 60% of test takers pass on the first try. This is proof that the exam is quite challenging.
There are many states that offer a real estate license without being too stringent on the rules. Some of these states include Alaska, Massachusetts, and Mississippi. Generally speaking, as long as you are able to pass a course, are 18 years of age, and have no prior convictions, you can qualify to become a real estate agent.
North Carolina, for example, is one of the easiest states to obtain your license. North Carolina does not even require its agents to be residents of the state, the only requirement is that you are a US citizen or a legal alien. Most other states also require a GED or high school completion, but North Carolina does not have such educational requirements.
While it may seem like the cutoff is very low, those who are accepted must conduct 75 hours of education and submit applications to the real estate commission. After the 120-question exam is passed and is sponsored by brokers, another licensing course must be taken afterward. There is no mention of a criminal record as well, meaning that background checks do take that into consideration, but may not restrict prior convicted felons from obtaining their license if they are indeed trying to fix their life in good faith.