How to Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia

Two Parts:Fulfilling the Legal RequirementsStarting and Advancing Your Career

Mortgage brokers work in real estate to secure lending opportunities for home buyers. They develop associations with banks and other lenders in order to help analyze potential mortgages. To become a mortgage broker in Virginia, you need to be bonded at $25,000, undergo a criminal and personal background check, and gain relevant skills and education. Continue to grow in your career by gaining employment experience with a real estate agency.

Part 1
Fulfilling the Legal Requirements

  1. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 1
    Create an NMLS account.[1] If you are a broker who wishes to perform mortgage loan originator (MLO) activities, you will need to take the SAFE (Secure and Fair Enforcement) test. The NMLS Resources Center ( hosts important information relating to your mortgage license. From the main NMLS Resources Center page, click “Log in to NMLS” in the upper right-hand corner to get started.
    • Click “Request an Account.”
    • Click the “Individual” option.
    • Enter the security code -- a combination of random letters and numbers -- then click “Next.”
    • Finally, enter your personal information -- email address, mailing address, phone number, date of birth, and so on -- and click the “Create an Individual User Account.”
    • Be sure to enter your full legal name.
    • Once you’re done, you’ll get two emails to confirm your account creation and issue you a password.
  2. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 2
    Complete the necessary coursework.[2] Before applying to become a mortgage broker in Virginia, you need at least 20 hours of pre-licensure courses, including three hours of federal law, three hours of ethics, and two hours of non-traditional mortgage lending. The other 12 hours of courses are electives.
  3. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 3
    Enroll in the SAFE test. Log in to your NMLS account, then select the “MLO Testing & Education” tab. From there, click the “Create New Test Enrollment Window” button. You’ll then be able to select the time and place you wish to take your test. Pay the fee of $110.
  4. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 4
    Prepare for the test.[3] The Mortgage Loan Originator testing handbook ( contains a list of sample test questions and answers. The NMLS offers a test outline ( with a list of useful resources that aid in studying. Take advantage of these resources by studying regularly in a clean, quiet, well-lit space before taking the test.
  5. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 5
    Take the SAFE mortgage loan originator test. In Virginia, it consists of just one part, a national test with uniform state content.[4] The test consists of 125 questions and lasts 190 minutes. The entire appointment lasts 225 minutes, however, because it includes 30-35 minutes of tutorial and an optional survey.
  6. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 6
    Pass the background check.[5] The background check evaluates your personality and character based on your employment and criminal history. If you have been convicted of criminal misconduct -- including felonies in a foreign, military, or domestic court -- you may not pass the background check. Additionally, if you’ve had your mortgage broker license revoked in another state in the past, you will probably not be able to become a mortgage broker in Virginia.
    • The background check will be initiated by the NMLS when you create an account.
  7. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 7
    Get bonded.[6] A surety bond is a promise by one party (usually an insurance company) to pay the state if you act or behave in a way that violates mortgage broker laws or regulations. Before becoming a mortgage broker in Virginia, you must be bonded by the company you work for, or by an insurance company as an individual.
  8. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 8
    Complete the broker application. The form is available online at The broker's license fee costs $500. An additional fee of $37 (in the form of a money order, cashier’s check, or certified check), payable to the Treasurer of Virginia, will cover your criminal background investigation. Send the form and related fees to the address on the application. If you also wish to engage in mortgage loan origination, you'll need Individual Form (MU4). This form could be created by either you or your employer (assuming you work for a business that is licensed and registered by the NMLS), but the person who creates the form needs to pay a fee when it is submitted.[8] If your employer is submitting the form, you do not need to do anything except provide the information your employer asks for. If you’re filing on your own:
    • Log in to your NMLS account. Click the “Filing” tab.
    • Click “Create New Filing.”
    • Click “Request New / Update.”
    • Fill in your personal information, then click “Attest and Submit” on the left-hand panel.
    • The fee for the MLO license is $180, payable through the NMLS portal.
  9. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 9
    Upload the necessary documents. If you don't want to send paper copies of documentation along with your application, you can submit them online. In either case, you will need to provide current financial statement forms ( to your NMLS account online. If you’re already employed at a mortgage brokerage firm or another financial institution, your employer will provide proof of employment. If you are not submitting an employment verification form, you may need to submit an application to apply for a company license to operate on your own.

Part 2
Starting and Advancing Your Career

  1. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 10
    Get a bachelor’s degree.[10] While not technically required, if you want to work for a mortgage brokerage firm or financial institution, you should pursue a bachelor's degree in business, economics, or finance at an institution of your choice. Large companies hire brokers who have completed a degree at a college or university, because extra knowledge of law, business, and financial procedures makes you a greater asset to the company.
  2. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 11
    Look for a job. Identify mortgage broker opportunities in your area. Look both on and offline. Sites like Indeed, LinkedIn, and CareerBuilder could help you locate a broker job near you. You could also contact real estate agencies directly to see if they could use your services. Nail the interview by demonstrating your familiarity with the responsibilities and expectations of a mortgage broker. Show enthusiasm for the industry and the job.
    • Most Virginia mortgage brokers work for firms to provide home mortgages.[11] Brokers rely on commission, so you want to choose a location where the real estate market is strong and the competition is not too steep when learning the business.
    • Apply for an entry-level broker position in a firm. It is a good idea to start out working for a company and move into a sole proprietorship or self-employment later. People who prove successful may begin working with companies looking for real estate transactions.
  3. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 12
    Take continuing education courses.[12] Since 2008, the NMLS has required all mortgage brokers nationwide -- including those in Virginia -- to complete eight hours of additional coursework each year before broker licenses can be renewed. The continuing education coursework must include three hours of federal law, two hours of ethics (includes courses relating to fraud, consumer protection, and fair lending), two hours of non-traditional mortgage lending, and one hour of elective work.
    • Failure to complete continuing education coursework will result in your license no being renewed.
    • None of the eight hours can consist of courses that you completed the year before, or include content shared with another course.
    • All the courses must be NMLS-approved.
    • It could take up to a week to have your continuing education coursework reported to the NMLS. Do not wait until the last minute to complete your continuing education.
    • For both regular and continuing education courses, you could take online courses, classroom courses, or a combination.[13]
  4. Image titled Become a Mortgage Broker in Virginia Step 13
    Renew your license annually. Each year, between 1 November and 31 December, you must renew your mortgage broker license. After taking your continuing education courses, submit a renewal application ( Submit the application as soon as possible so that any errors or discrepancies can be addressed before the year’s end.


  • NMLS has a customer service line available at 855-665-7123. Contact them with any questions. The NMLS Resource Center ( could also help you.
  • You could also contact Virginia’s Bureau of Financial Institutions by phone at (804) 371-0484. You can email them at

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