How to Get a Mortgage Broker License in Florida

How to Get a Mortgage Broker License in Florida

Eligibility Requirements for a Florida Mortgage Broker License

Getting a mortgage broker license in Florida can be a great career move for those looking to enter the mortgage and real estate industries. Mortgage brokers work with borrowers to find the best mortgage options and rates and assist them through the mortgage application and approval process. As demand for mortgages continues to grow in Florida, experienced and licensed mortgage brokers are in high demand.

This comprehensive guide covers everything you need to know about getting a mortgage broker license in Florida, including eligibility requirements, fees, the application process, education requirements, exams, background checks, and more.

Eligibility Requirements for a Florida Mortgage Broker License

To qualify for a mortgage broker license in Florida, you must meet certain eligibility standards set by the Florida Office of Financial Regulation. Here are the basic requirements:

  • Be 18 years or older: You must be at least 18 years old to apply for a mortgage broker license in Florida.
  • No felony convictions: If you have been convicted of a felony, you may not be eligible for a mortgage broker license in Florida. Some exceptions exist for older convictions.
  • Meet educational requirements: You must complete mortgage broker pre-licensing education through an approved provider. See the education section below for specifics.
  • Pass exams: You have to pass both a national and state licensing exam to demonstrate your knowledge of mortgage laws and regulations.
  • Prove financial responsibility: You must provide proof of having a net worth of at least $63,000 as of your last fiscal year's end if applying as a sole proprietor.
  • Agree to background check: All applicants must submit fingerprints for a criminal background check.
  • File application and pay fees: You have to properly complete and submit your license application along with all applicable fees.

As long as you meet these eligibility criteria, you can apply for your Florida mortgage broker license.

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Mortgage Broker License Application Process

The mortgage broker license application process in Florida involves a few key steps:

  • Complete the required mortgage broker education
  • Schedule and pass licensing exams
  • Submit the license application form and documentation
  • Complete background check
  • Get approved and receive your license

Let’s look at each of these steps in more detail:

Complete required education: Before you can apply for your license, you have to complete at least 20 hours of mortgage broker pre-licensing education through an approved Florida provider. Courses cover topics like federal laws, ethics, lending standards, and more.

Schedule and pass exams: Florida requires passing both a national and state licensing exam to demonstrate your knowledge. You can schedule exams after completing your education. The national exam costs $115 and the state exam is $155.

Submit license application: You can submit your mortgage broker license application online along with the required documents and fees. This includes forms, financial statements, surety bonds, and more.

Complete background check: As part of the application process, you have to submit fingerprints and pass a criminal background check. There is a $50 fee for the check.

Get approved: Once your application, exams, and background check are complete, the FL Office of Financial Regulation will review and issue your license if approved.

The mortgage broker license application process takes 30-90 days on average. You can check your application status online as it is processed.

Mortgage Broker Education Requirements in Florida

To qualify for a mortgage broker license, Florida requires applicants to complete pre-licensing education courses.

You must complete at least 20 hours of courses through an approved education provider in these subject areas:

  • Federal mortgage-related laws - 8 hours
  • Ethics - 4 hours
  • Lending standards for residential mortgages - 4 hours
  • Florida mortgage law and rules - 4 hours

You can take these courses online, in a classroom, or through home study materials. Approved course providers include the Mortgage Bankers Association of Florida and 360training. Make sure any courses you take are specifically approved for Florida.

After completing your education, you will get a certificate of completion that serves as proof you met the requirements. This certificate is required as part of the license application.

Florida Mortgage Broker License Exams

To qualify for your mortgage broker license, you have to pass two exams - a national exam and a Florida state exam.

National Exam:

  • Hosted by the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS)
  • Consists of 125 multiple-choice questions
  • Covers general mortgage industry topics
  • 3 hours to complete
  • A score of at least 75% required to pass

Florida State Exam:

  • Also hosted by NMLS
  • Consists of 50 multiple-choice questions
  • Covers Florida-specific laws and regulations
  • 1.5 hours to complete
  • A score of at least 75% required to pass

You can schedule to take both exams on the same day at approved testing centers. The exams cost $115 for the national and $155 for the state. You can retake any failed exams after a 15-day waiting period and pay a re-exam fee.

Maintaining a Florida Mortgage Broker License

After getting your mortgage broker license approved, you must take steps to properly maintain it on an ongoing basis. This includes:

  • Renew license annually: Licenses expire on December 31st and must be renewed by that date. Renewal fees are $400.
  • Complete continuing education: You need 14 hours of continuing education each year before renewing, including 2 hours of ethics.
  • Maintain surety bond: Your $25,000 surety bond must remain valid.
  • Pay annual fees and assessments: You have to pay license fees, renewal fees, and any annual or quarterly assessments to the Office of Financial Regulation.
  • Report any changes: Update your license records with any changes to your name, address, company, etc.
  • Follow all relevant laws: Abide by federal and Florida laws and regulations at all times as a licensee. Violations can lead to license suspension or revocation.

Properly maintaining your mortgage broker license will allow you to legally continue originating and brokering mortgages in compliance with Florida requirements.

Mortgage Broker License Costs in Florida

Here are the typical costs associated with getting and maintaining a Florida mortgage broker license:

  • Mortgage broker pre-licensing education: $200-$300
  • National licensing exam fee: $115
  • Florida state licensing exam fee: $155
  • Initial license application fee: $375
  • Fingerprinting/background check fee: $50
  • Surety bond: $500 annually
  • License renewal fee: $400 annually
  • Continuing education: $100-$200 annually
  • Assessments: Up to $100 annually

In total, expect first-year costs of $1,000-$1,500 including education, exams, fees, bond, etc. Ongoing annual costs are typically $600-$1,000 for renewals, education, assessments, bond, and other fees.

How Long Does It Take to Get a Mortgage Broker License in Florida?

The full process of getting licensed as a mortgage broker in Florida generally takes 30-90 days from start to finish.

Here is a breakdown of the timeline:

  • Education: Can be completed in as little as 1-2 weeks if done full-time.
  • Exam preparation: Recommended 1-2 weeks of studying before taking licensing exams.
  • Apply for license: Up to 60 days for the FL Office of Financial Regulation to process the application.
  • Background check: Can take 2-4 weeks to clear fingerprinting and background check.
  • License approval: 1-2 weeks to get approval once the application is fully processed.

So in total, expect the licensing process to take about 1-3 months. If you work diligently to complete your education, study, and submit a thorough application, you can potentially get licensed within 30 days.

Finding Job Opportunities as a Licensed Mortgage Broker

Once you have your Florida mortgage broker license, there are a few paths for finding employment:

  • Work for an established lender/brokerage: Large banks and mortgage brokerages frequently hire licensed brokers.
  • Join a mortgage broker team: Many independent brokers work in teams under a senior broker. This can be a good way to gain experience.
  • Start your own brokerage: If you want to work independently, you can start your own licensed mortgage brokerage. This has higher risks and costs.
  • Partner with a real estate office: Build relationships with real estate agents who can send you referrals.
  • Take over an existing book of business: Some retiring brokers sell their client base and loan pipeline.
  • Use online job sites: Check sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Monster, etc. for open mortgage broker positions.

Joining a larger brokerage or team can provide mentoring and lead-generation support for new brokers getting started. Over time, you can transition to independent brokerage or buy your own book of business.

Requirements for Mortgage Brokerages in Florida

If you want to operate as an independent mortgage brokerage in Florida, there are state requirements to legally do so:

  • Obtain a company license - Your mortgage brokerage business must apply for and be approved for a Mortgage Broker Business license in Florida.
  • Appoint a principal loan originator - Your brokerage must appoint an individual licensed loan originator as the principal loan originator responsible for overseeing operations.
  • Maintain a surety bond - Brokerages must carry a $25,000 surety bond and provide proof to the state regulator.
  • Follow record-keeping and reporting rules - Brokerages must keep transaction records and submit quarterly reports on activities to the state.
  • Disclose fees - Must provide customers with clear disclosure of all fees charged on mortgage transactions. Cannot charge excessive fees.
  • Comply with laws and rules - Brokerage and all employees must follow all relevant state and federal mortgage brokerage laws and regulations.

Before starting a mortgage brokerage, carefully review all Florida state requirements to make sure your business will be fully compliant.

Requirements to Operate Nationwide

To be able to originate and broker mortgages across multiple states, you must follow some additional requirements:

  • Obtain NMLS unique identifier - Apply through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System for a unique identifier number that can be used to get licensed in other states.
  • Gain licenses in other states - To operate legally in another state, you must apply and meet that state's licensing requirements, which vary. Most require exams.
  • Follow laws in each state - Be familiar with the mortgage broker license laws and regulations in each state you want to do business and make sure you comply.
  • Pay licensing fees - There are separate licensing, application, and renewal fees required for every state you want to be licensed in.
  • Meet education rules - Some states require certain education topics to be covered for non-resident licenses.

Going through the reciprocity process allows you to legally originate and broker mortgages in multiple states. Just make sure you follow proper procedures.

Getting a Loan Originator License vs. Mortgage Broker License

Florida actually issues two different types of mortgage licenses - Mortgage Broker and Mortgage Lender/Loan Originator. Here are some key differences:

Mortgage Broker

  • Brokers mortgages and brings together borrowers and lenders but do not loan their own funds
  • Has a duty to act in the best interest of the borrower
  • Lower bond requirements ($25k vs. $50k)

Loan Originator

  • Originates and funds mortgage loans using own funds or credit lines
  • Represents the lender they work for
  • Stricter licensing requirements and higher bond

Most industry professionals start with a mortgage broker license first as it requires less startup and operational costs. Once established, a broker can then take steps to also become a licensed loan originator if desired.

Thinking of Hiring a Mortgage Broker? What to Look For

If you want to work with a licensed mortgage broker to help you find the best mortgage, here are some tips on choosing the right one:

  • Check license status - Verify their license on the state regulator website and make sure there are no complaints.
  • Look for experience - Seek brokers with 3+ years of experience with major lenders and programs.
  • Ask about pricing - Will they guarantee competitive rates and explain their fees?
  • Get referrals - Ask current clients if they would recommend the broker. Look for reviews.
  • Compare services - Do they offer a full suite of mortgage services and analysis?
  • Assess communication - Do they listen well, answer questions, and regularly follow up?
  • Consider credentials - Designations like Certified Mortgage Planner indicate deeper expertise.

A trustworthy mortgage broker can simplify the mortgage process and help you get approved on the best possible loan terms. Do your due diligence to find the right broker for your needs.

Frequently Asked Questions About Florida Mortgage Broker Licenses

How long is a Florida mortgage broker license valid?

Mortgage broker licenses in Florida are valid for one year and expire every December 31st. Licensees must renew by this date to continue operating legally.

Can I transfer my license from another state to Florida?

Yes, Florida allows reciprocity for some mortgage broker licenses held in other states. You still have to pass Florida exams and meet other requirements to get a reciprocal license.

Does a mortgage broker need a brokerage license?

If you want to operate as an independent brokerage, you must apply for a separate mortgage brokerage business license in addition to your individual mortgage broker license.

Can I be licensed in multiple states?

Yes, you can hold a Florida mortgage broker license while also getting licensed in additional states by meeting each state's licensing requirements. This is done through the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS).

What happens if my license application is denied?

If your application is denied, the Florida Office of Financial Regulation will send you an official notice stating the reason for the denial. You can appeal the decision or reapply after taking corrective actions.

How much can mortgage brokers legally charge in fees?

Florida laws cap total fees and commissions a mortgage broker can charge. Total compensation cannot exceed 5% of the loan amount for loans under $100k and 2.5% for loans over $100k.

Can I take the licensing exams before I complete my education?

No, Florida requires you to complete 20 hours of pre-licensing education before you can schedule your licensing exams. Proof of education is required.

Are there continuing education requirements?

Yes, to renew your license each year you must complete at least 14 hours of approved continuing education courses, including 2 hours of ethics.

What happens if my license expires?

If you allow your mortgage broker license to expire, you cannot continue originating or brokering loans until you reinstate it. You usually can reinstate for up to 6 months by paying applicable fees. Beyond 6 months requires reapplying.

Can I originate loans nationwide with a Florida license?

No, your Florida mortgage broker license only allows you to operate within Florida. To do business in other states, you must apply and become properly licensed in each state.


Getting licensed as a mortgage broker in Florida can open up great career opportunities, but does require meeting eligibility requirements, completing pre-licensing education, passing exams, going through application processing, and maintaining your license properly. While it takes dedication and effort, having an active mortgage broker license enables you to legally broker mortgages within Florida or even expand your business nationwide through reciprocity.

If you're looking to transition into the mortgage industry, take time to thoroughly understand Florida's mortgage broker license requirements. Reach out to the state regulator with any questions. Consider getting support and mentorship from an experienced brokerage or team when first starting out. This can help new brokers build skills and get up to speed on completing mortgage transactions while ensuring full compliance.

With mortgage demand growing and more consumers needing help navigating home loans, getting licensed as a mortgage broker in Florida provides excellent job stability and income potential. Just be sure to follow all steps outlined here for obtaining and maintaining your license to operate successfully long-term.

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