Sununu signs bill to firm up course requirements for new Realtors

12 hours of prescribed courses to be needed for two-year license renewal

Rookie real estate agents in New Hampshire will have to take 12 hours of prescribed courses rather than electives if they want to keep their license.

Gov. Chris Sununu on Monday signed Senate Bill 461, which originally would have added six more hours to the current 15-hour requirement. The NH Association of Realtors strongly supported the additional hours to “raise the bar and to increase the professionalism in the industry,” said the association’s lobbyist, Bob Quinn.

But the governor and Republican lawmakers were moving in an opposite direction, attempting to ease the requirements of occupation licensing, “so we were swimming against the tide,” Quinn said.

The association defeated two attempts in other bills that would have made it easier for out-of-state Realtors to practice in New Hampshire. One occupational bill did pass, but exempted professions with reciprocity arrangements, such as Realtors

The House amended SB 461 so the number of required hours would remain the same, including a prescribed three-hour “core course” and 12 hours of elective courses every two years. But lawmakers later agreed to an association proposal that, for new agents, those 12 hours of electives would instead be prescribed by the NH Real Estate Commission for the first license renewal.

Although the law officially goes into effect on Aug. 11, it really won’t change anything until sometime next year, when the commission will come up with those required courses. Quinn said the courses might cover such topics as contracts, disclosures and agency. Some of this is covered in the 40 hours needed to get the license in the first place, but Quinn said it’s different when you’re learning this with some experience under your belt.

There are about 10,000 real estate brokers licensed in New Hampshire. Quinn estimated that about a tenth of them are in their first two-year cycle. 

The association was “very pleased” with the new continuing education requirements, which is a “step forward” in “increasing the professionalism,” he said.

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