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How Can I Renew My Broker License?

Renewing your real estate broker's license is essential to keeping you and your entire brokerage or agency operating legally. Renewal can also keep your license valid, even if you're not actively brokering real estate transactions. Read on to learn of the actions you need to take to keep your license current.

Overview of Real Estate Broker Licensing Renewal

Most states have similar processes for renewing your broker's license. You complete renewal forms, pay a renewal fee and submit proof of your continuing education credits. You may have the option of submitting your renewal documents and fee online, by mail or in person. Lapse of your broker license due to non-renewal may affect the ability of agents under you to make real estate deals.

Broker license renewal may occur annually or at other intervals. For example, the California Department of Real Estate reports that California brokers must renew their broker licenses every four years (www.dre.ca.gov), and in Alaska, renewals are required every two years (www.dced.state.ak.gov). The real estate division in the state of Nevada requires first-time licenses to be renewed after two years and then every four years thereafter (www.red.state.nv.us).

Important Facts About This Occupation

Median Salary (2018) $50,300 (for real estate brokers and sales agents)
Entry-level Education High school diploma or equivalent
Job Outlook (2016-2026) 6% growth (for real estate brokers and sales agents)
Key Skills Interpersonal skills, business skills, organizational skills, problem-solving skills

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Renewing an Expired License

Some states provide a window of time when your license can be renewed such as no earlier than 45 or 90 days prior to its expiration. You may or may not have a grace period for renewal if you miss the expiration date. For example, Maine allows you to renew your license up to 90 days after the expiration date (www.maine.gov). Texas gives you six months, and both California and New York accept renewal applications up to two years after expiration. Even if you have a grace period, you will not be able to conduct business under an expired license. Outside of the grace period, or in states that lack a grace period, if you fail to renew your broker license, you'll need to apply for a new license and meet the requirements for initial licensure.

Continuing Education Requirements

A common requirement for broker license renewal is continuing education. The specifics of what type and how much continuing education you need are determined by your licensing state. Your first renewal may require you to take specific post-licensure continuing education coursework in some states. Classes are typically available at community colleges and through the continuing or professional education departments of 4-year colleges. In some states, you may be able to earn continuing education credits online.

Continuing education programs may include courses in ethics, fair housing, risk management, trust funds, contracts and consumer protection. Some states mandate an annual course in real estate law to ensure that brokers have the most current information on laws pertaining to real estate disclosures, home inspections and agency rules.

In some states, including Arkansas (www.arec.arkansas.gov), you may be able to renew your broker license without continuing education courses, but your license will be placed on inactive status. States that allow this type of inactive license renewal usually prohibit you from actively working in real estate, but you would be able to re-activate your license in the future without going through the entire initial application process again.

Additional Requirements

There may be additional requirements for license renewal in some states. In Texas, for example, you are required to be fingerprinted and pass a criminal background check. This involves an additional fee.