Posted by on July 28, 2017

In Colorado, with one notable exception, property managers are required to obtain a real estate license. Many of the duties of a traditional property manager fall under the Colorado Real Estate Commission’s (CREC) definition of real estate activity, including the leasing and management of real estate for a fee, negotiating lease terms, and handling security deposits and rental receipts.

Let’s explore the exception to the licensure requirement and answer questions commonly asked by prospective property managers pursuing a real estate license.

The Exception

There one exception to the real estate license requirement for property managers in Colorado is for on-site residential managers of apartments and condominiums. These managers are exempt only if they reside on-site, are salaried employees, and do not negotiate lease terms. However, on-site managers may perform what the CREC deems the “customary duties” of apartment and condo managers, including showing units, processing rental applications, collecting rent, and scheduling maintenance.

Common Questions

If the on-site manager exception does not apply, a property manager must possess an active real estate license. Here are some common questions prospective licensees have about the process.


1. What are the basic requirements for obtaining a Colorado real estate license?
  • Complete 168 hours of approved college level real estate courses.
  • Submit fingerprints to the Colorado Bureau of Investigation for a routine background check.
  • Register and take the Colorado broker examination.
  • Purchase Errors and Omissions Insurance (E&O).
  • Complete the online license application.


2. How is it determined if college courses meet the education requirement?

The CREC requires 168 hours of qualifying education for a real estate license, which can be obtained from an accredited college or university or a real estate school approved by the Colorado Department of Private and Occupational Schools. A list of qualifying schools can be found on the CREC website and the Division of Real Estate provides information on the first time exam pass rates for each provider offering pre-licensing education.

The required courses are set out by the CREC as follows:

  • 48-hours of Real Estate Law and Practice
  • 48-hours of Colorado Contracts and Regulations
  • 8-hours of Trust Accounts and Record Keeping
  • 8-hours of Current Legal Issues
  • 24-hours of Real Estate Closings
  • 32-hours of Practical Applications

After completion of the required hours, applicants must get a certificate completion or official transcript from the school, college, or university where the courses were completed.


3. How does the background check work?

In order to initiate the CBI background check, applicants must submit their fingerprints. Fingerprinting can be done at an approved provider (either Arapahoe Community College or a Psychological Services Incorporated (PSI) facility), which will collect the $39.40 background check fee and electronically transmit the fingerprints and identification information to the CBI. Applicants may also obtain a fingerprint card and get fingerprinted at a police department. Once the CBI receives the fingerprints, it will conduct a Colorado and national criminal history background check.


4. Where do applicants register for the Broker examination?

In addition to completing the educational requirement, licensees are required to pass the Colorado broker exam. The exam is administered by PSI, and applicants may register and schedule the exam through their website. Please note that there is a $90 broker examination fee.


5. Where can applicants get E&O insurance?

Colorado requires all real estate licensees to have current E&O insurance, which covers all functions performed under the license. Licensees may get coverage under their company’s umbrella policy or Colorado’s Division of Real Estate has a contract with a company (Rice Insurance Services, LLC) to provide a group E&O insurance program for independent licensees.


6. What application and fees are required?

All applicants must complete the Colorado Real Estate Broker Online Application and submit an application fee of $485. After the background check information and fee is received by the Division of Real Estate, applications can take up to ten business days to process.

Remember, only property managers that are on-site, are salaried employees, and do not negotiate lease terms are exempt from getting his or her license. Every other property manager must get their Real Estate License in Colorado.

Learn more about real estate management in Colorado and learn what may be best for you.