This article is part of a larger series on How to Become a Real Estate Agent.
In order to continue to act as a real estate agent or broker, you must periodically renew your real estate license by your state’s deadline. Each state has different renewal rules, so be sure to determine your state’s specific requirements and complete continuing education classes before submitting paperwork to complete your real estate license renewal.
When you’re searching for the best continuing education classes to renew your license, start by checking Kaplan. They provide a large variety in their course topics and formats, which allows everyone to choose the most effective and interesting method of learning. Check out their course offerings today.
Here are the five common steps needed to renew your real estate license.
1. Know Your Renewal Requirements
In order to maintain your status as a real estate agent, you must renew your real estate license by the deadline in your state. The majority of states require real estate agents and brokers to renew their real estate license every two to three years. However, there are a few states that have a longer renewal period.
Keep in mind that some states operate as single-licensure states. For example, in Colorado and North Carolina, the entry-level status of real estate professionals is “provisional broker,” not “agent.” Real estate professionals, regardless of their title, must renew their real estate license by the deadline if they want to continue to practice real estate.
State-by-State Renewal Requirement Guides
2. Identify Continuing Education Courses
Many states have varying continuing education (CE) requirements if it is your first time renewing your real estate license. If your state does not have additional requirements for first-time renewals, you may have post-licensing course requirements. Subsequent real estate renewals for agents and brokers usually have a decreased number of credit requirements.
The four types of continuing education requirements are:
A few states, like North Carolina and Georgia, require post-licensing courses instead of having additional requirements for the first license renewal. Post-licensing courses, like those offered by the best continuing education providers in North Carolina, are designed to educate and prepare new real estate agents or brokers for success, and they must be completed within one to three years of receiving your real estate license.
First-time Renewal Courses
Some states, such as Texas and California, have additional requirements if you are a real estate agent or broker renewing your real estate license for the first time. For example, some of the best continuing education providers in Texas offer bundles to help you meet the 98 hours of Sales Agent Apprentice Education (SAE) coursework required before your first real estate license renewal.
In California, the first real estate agent or broker license renewal has a different number of mandatory courses than the subsequent renewals. Be sure to check your state’s continuing education (CE) requirements and leave plenty of time to complete additional coursework.
Subsequent Renewal Courses
After your first license renewal or post-licensing requirements, your real estate license renewal requirements will stay the same. The required number of continuing education hours will decrease, but you must complete them in time to receive the certificates and submit the additional paperwork and fees by the deadline.
State-specific Mandatory & Elective Courses
In most states, there are mandatory CE course topics for each real estate license renewal period. For example, in Texas, eight of the required CE hours must be legal updates. The remaining required hours can be made up of elective choices, which means you can take classes about topics of your choice.
Here are some elective topic examples from Kaplan, one of the best real estate CE course providers:
- Navigating Minefields: Preventing Real Estate Disaster
- Water: How It Affects Property
- Repurposing Property in Texas: Friend, Foe, or the American Dream?
- Good, Better, Best: When Price, Quality, and Value All Matter
- Understanding 1031 Tax-Free Exchanges
There are hundreds of other elective course topics from various online real estate schools. When you purchase continuing education courses online, make sure you consider the elective topics and how they will help you grow your real estate business.
Examples of Real Estate License Renewal Requirements
Every two years
$50 to $150
Every four years
$245 to $300
Every two years
$103 to $142
Every two years
$110 to $457
Every three years, Oct. 31, 2021 for all agents and brokers
3. Attend a Real Estate School
The CE courses you choose must be from a school that is approved by your state. You can take continuing education courses in-person or online, depending on your state’s requirements. Online CE classes are very common, and allow you to take courses affordably, independently, on your own schedule, and in a variety of formats.
Here are the top three online real estate school options around the country:
- Kaplan Real Estate Education: Kaplan Real Estate is the only online school to offer classes in reading formats, live instructor classes, webinars, on-demand videos, and even home study, where you receive a textbook.
- Real Estate Express: This school is partnered with McKissock Learning, and offers CE course packages in more states than any other online school. Its text-based lessons can be done on your own schedule and are highly rated by real estate professionals.
- Mbition—Learn Real Estate: Mbition offers many class packages completely online, without the need for instructors or professors. Students have rated their courses very well, and they have some of the most affordable courses of all online schools.
You can learn more about these and other high-quality course providers by visiting our article on the best online real estate schools.
4. Gain a Certificate of Completion
In order to renew your real estate license, you must complete all of your continuing education courses and receive a certificate or proof of completion. Some states, like Michigan, don’t require proof of CE at the time of your license renewal, but you still need a certificate in the case of an audit. Most states allow you to choose your CE course format, so you can take a live class or complete them online.
Continuing Education Course Formats
Some states, like North Carolina, require real estate professionals to take all CE courses in person. However, the majority of states allow real estate agents and brokers to choose their course format. When choosing your CE course format, consider the cost, your schedule, and your learning style.
These are the course formats in which you can find CE courses:
- In-person classes: If you learn best in a classroom setting, you may want to consider in-person courses. While they can be more difficult to schedule, it’s important to set yourself up for success, so consider whether this is your preferred learning style.
- Online reading lessons: Online courses are often the most affordable option to complete your CE credits, and the most convenient. You can complete each lesson on your own time. However, it can be difficult to digest large amounts of reading material.
- Live webinars online: Live webinars marry the convenience of online courses with the support of a live instructor. However, they are not offered frequently and only through a few real estate schools.
- On-demand video lessons: On-demand lessons can be taken at any time of the day and can help agents and brokers with various learning styles. However, they are not offered from most online schools and can be more costly.
- Home study: Home study courses are only offered by Kaplan. They allow you to read through a hard copy textbook and mail in your exam questions to prove course completion.
Pro tip: Online classes are convenient for busy real estate agents and brokers so they can complete the class on their own time. However, online schools only give students access to courses for a limited amount of time, usually between six and 12 months. Many schools also do not make extensions, so make sure you check the dates of your course validity in order to complete them on time.
5. Submit Paperwork & Complete License Renewal
The final step to renew your real estate license is to submit the necessary paperwork. If your license is expired, revoked, or inactive, you may have additional paperwork or necessary tasks to complete your license renewal.
All real estate sales agents and brokers will need to submit these documents:
- CE certificate of completion: It can take a school from a few days to a few weeks to process this certificate once you’ve completed your course. While some states do not require this for your license renewal, you must have it on file by the time you submit your renewal application.
- Renewal application: You can find your state’s application on its licensing board website. You may be able to complete and submit the application online, or you may need to print and mail it.
- Renewal fee: The renewal fee can be paid online or by mail, depending on your state. Some states charge extra if you do not pay by a preferred method. Renewal fee amounts differ by state and depend on your role as an agent or broker, or the status of your license.
All states charge a license fee when you renew your real estate license. Although the fees vary in each state, real estate agent fees range from $32 to $245, and real estate broker fees range from $36 to $300.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How often do I have to renew my real estate license?
Every state has its own renewal deadlines, but they most frequently range from two years to four years. To find your state’s renewal deadline, check the real estate department or licensing board’s website.
What if I miss the renewal deadline?
Each state has a different procedure for late real estate license renewals. In some states, your license will immediately expire, and you must retake the real estate exam and submit an application fee to receive a second license. Other states provide a grace period after the application deadline.
For example, in New York, if you miss the real estate license renewal deadline, your license is immediately expired. However, in Michigan, there is a grace period of 60 days. During this grace period, you can submit the necessary documents for an additional fee. Although you cannot continue practicing real estate during this grace period, you can continue conducting business as soon as your renewal application is submitted.
In other states, you can hold and renew a real estate license in an inactive status. Inactive real estate agents cannot complete transactions, but they can request reactivation of their license without retaking the real estate exam.
Can I renew my real estate license after it expires?
If your real estate license is expired and you want to make it active, you must determine your state’s requirements. Some states will automatically require you to retake the real estate exam and submit an application fee. If your license has been expired for less than three years, some states will allow you to renew your license by completing the CE credits you missed.
How do I check the status of my real estate license?
You can check the status of your real estate license on your state’s real estate commission website or through ARELLO. You can search with your first and last name or your license number to verify the state of your license.
To renew your real estate license, you start by determining your state’s renewal requirements. You’ll complete your license renewal by taking all continuing education hours and submitting the necessary paperwork. There may be additional steps required by your state, so make sure you check your state’s website for details.