If you plan to shift into the real estate industry, one of your possible career options is to be a mortgage loan originator (MLO). It can be financially rewarding and offer flexibility, which is why many are interested in this path.
But before selling mortgages in Texas, you must first obtain a license. Here’s a guide to get you started.
6 Steps on How to Get Your Mortgage License in Texas
Follow this step-by-step guide to obtain your license as an MLO in the state.
1. Create an NMLS User Account
NMLS stands for “Nationwide Multistate Licensing System.” It is the official way to keep track of licenses for mortgages and other non-bank financial activities for both individuals and businesses. Set up your NMLS account by signing in on the website, where you’ll be assigned a unique identifier.
2. Take the Pre-License Courses
The minimum required hours of training for MLOs is 20 hours, and most pre-licensing courses run for this long. The general curriculum under the SAFE Act covers mortgage laws and procedures, but some states require additional hours to cover certain policies.
Texas has two licensing authorities: TX-OCCC and TX-SML. A license from the latter requires a 3-hour Texas-specific elective.
3. Pass the Licensing Exam
Log into your NMLS account and schedule your test at the nearest facility after paying the $110 fee. The test has 115 questions that takers must complete within 190 minutes and answer 75% correctly. If you fail the exam, you can retake it after 30 days. Reduce retakes by studying well before the exam.
4. Finish the Mandatory Background Checks
Passing the exam doesn’t automatically certify you as a licensed MLO. On the NMLS website, you must give permission for a criminal background check and choose when your fingerprints will be scanned. Also, you have to submit a credit history report; a low credit score doesn’t disqualify you from getting a license but may affect your job application.
5. Apply for a Texas Mortgage License
Once you pass the exam, apply for the Texas mortgage license through your NMLS account. Fees vary based on the type of license you’re applying for—it costs $225 for TX-OCCC and $90 for TX-SML. You only need to pay one of the licensing fees to be certified.
6. Connect Your NMLS Account to an Employer
Keep in mind that your MLO license remains pending unless it’s linked to and verified by an employer. Therefore, if you’re already working or have a job lined up, you’ll need to log into your NMLS, visit Company Access under Form Filing, and add the company name. Afterward, you’ll be officially licensed following your employer’s approval.
What’s the Next Step After Getting Licensed?
Once you know how to get your mortgage license in Texas and have actually obtained it, you must renew it every year. Besides paying the renewal fee, you must take a minimum of 8 hours of continuing education annually. Bear in mind that coursework should be completed prior to paperwork submission via the NMLS website.
MLO licenses expire every December 31st, so you must complete the requirements before this date; otherwise, your employer must request reactivation and pay the processing fee.
Despite the hurdles of obtaining an MLO license, having a rewarding, well-paying career as a mortgage loan officer is well worth the effort. You will be instrumental in helping many people secure a home. And for every mortgage loan that gets approved, you’ll earn a commission of 1% to 2% of the property price.