Required criteria and qualifications to work in real estate

Before you can get a licence to work in real estate, you need to meet certain criteria and obtain either a standard qualification or a property degree.

Criteria you must meet to work in real estate

Criteria you must demonstrate

You need to:
  • be 18 years of age or older
  • be able to demonstrate that you are honest
  • be a fit and proper person
  • have the right qualifications and experience.
You cannot get a licence if you:
  • have had a real estate licence cancelled
  • have any other prohibitions
  • are a lawyer or conveyancer.

Criminal history check

When you apply for or renew your real estate licence, you must consent to a criminal history check. This lets us ask New Zealand Police for any information about you that could affect your eligibility to work in real estate. 

You can’t have a real estate licence if:
  • you’ve been convicted of any crime involving dishonesty in the past 10 years
  • you’re an officer of a company (or other corporate entity or partnership) where someone in management has been disqualified from being licensed because they’ve been convicted of a crime involving dishonesty in the past 10 years
  • you’ve been convicted of an offence under sections 14, 17—22 or 24 of the Fair Trading Act 1986 in the last 5 years.

If you are unsure if a previous conviction would prevent you from holding a licence, contact us.

Be a fit and proper person

Being a fit and proper person means meeting a certain standard of conduct and character. It's up to you to satisfy the REA Registrar that you are fit and proper.

When applying for a new licence, you should tell us about:

  • any criminal convictions that haven’t been ‘clean slated’ (wiped from your record or legally withheld from us) — this includes driving-related offences
  • any pending criminal charges
  • any unsatisfied judgments in court
  • any adverse findings against you by a court in civil proceedings
  • any significant financial issues, such as bankruptcy
  • any disciplinary action taken against you by another regulatory or professional body.

When applying to renew your licence, you should tell us if any of the above have occurred since the last time your licence was approved.

When you won't be granted a licence

  • If you have some restrictions

    Examples of restrictions:

    • You’ve been subject to an overseas order in the last 5 years that means you can’t act as an agent, branch manager or salesperson (or equivalent) unless we agree that you’re a fit and proper person.
    • You’re prohibited from directing, promoting or managing an incorporated body under the Companies Act 1993, the Securities Markets Act 1988 or the Takeovers Act 1993.
    • Your real estate licence has been cancelled within the last 5 years.
    • Your licence is currently suspended.
    • You’ve been disqualified from holding a licence.
  • You’ve been made bankrupt

    If you’re an undischarged bankrupt or are subject to Part 5 Subpart 4 of the Insolvency Act 2006, you can’t hold an agent’s licence but you can hold a branch manager’s or salesperson’s licence.

    Read the Insolvency Act 2006 here(external link).

Lawyers and conveyancers

Lawyers and conveyancers can carry out real estate work without a real estate licence. However, lawyers cannot hold both a real estate licence and a legal practising certificate.

Refer to section 7 of the Real Estate Agents Act 2008.

Visa holders

REA doesn’t give advice about visa restrictions that apply to training or employment in New Zealand.

If you are in New Zealand on a visa and you want to become licensed, you will need to contact an approved education organisation and ask if you can enrol with them. We recommend you also contact Immigration New Zealand to ensure your visa entitles you to work in New Zealand.

View the education organisations that offer training for real estate qualifications here.

Qualifications to work in real estate

Standard qualifications

Different licence classes require different qualifications. You need to apply for a licence within 3 years of completing your qualification.

To become a salesperson

You need either:

  • a New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4) 
  • a National Certificate in Real Estate (Salesperson) (Level 4). 
To become a branch manager

You need either:

  • a New Zealand Certificate in Real Estate (Branch Manager) (Level 5)
  • a National Certificate in Real Estate (Branch Manager) (Level 5) (version 3 or later).

You also need 3 years' work experience, which you can gain while you’re studying.

To become an agent

You need either:

  • a New Zealand Diploma in Business (Level 6) with the Real Estate strand
  • a National Diploma in Real Estate (Agent) (Level 5) awarded after 1 July 2010.

You also need 3 years' work experience, which you can gain while you’re studying.

Education organisations

These education organisations offer classroom-based or correspondence training for the standard qualifications. Contact them directly for information about study options and course fees.

Toi Ohomai Institute of Technology (previously Bay of Plenty Polytechnic)

Open Polytechnic

TAFE College

Unitec

Skills

Open Polytechnic and Skills are the only education organisations offering the agents and branch managers qualification.

Recognised property degrees

If you have a property degree, you can use this to apply for any class of real estate licence. To get a branch manager's or agent’s licence, you will also need 3 years' work experience.

You must apply for a licence within 10 years of completing your property degree.

You also need to complete an assessment against unit standard 23137, which covers sale and purchase agreements with The Skills Organisation (Skills), unless you’re already licensed and are applying for a licence of a higher class.

Recognised property degrees
  • Bachelor of Business (Property) conferred by Massey University
  • Bachelor of Business Studies (Real Estate) conferred by Massey University
  • Bachelor of Business Studies (Valuation and Property Management) conferred by Massey University
  • Bachelor of Commerce (Valuation and Property Management) conferred by Lincoln University
  • Bachelor of Land and Property Management conferred by Lincoln University
  • Bachelor of Property conferred by University of Auckland
  • Bachelor of Property Administration conferred by University of Auckland
  • Membership of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors as a member or fellow with chartered designation in general practice, commercial property, residential property, or valuation.

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