Getting your Wisconsin real estate license is fairly straightforward as long as you know the process. You must complete 72 hours of Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS)-approved education, pass the exam, find a sponsoring brokerage, and submit your application. Read along our step-by-step guide to become a real estate agent in Wisconsin.
1. Meet the Legal Requirements for Your Wisconsin Real Estate License
Wisconsin requires all real estate license applicants to be at least 18 years of age, have a high school diploma or GED, and be lawfully eligible to work in the U.S. If you do not have a Social Security number, you must submit an Application and Affidavit for Professional/Occupational License (#1051). The form must be notarized, signed, and mailed to the DSPS and the Department of Children and Families.
Did you know?
Wisconsin has reciprocity agreements with Illinois and Indiana, which means you can bypass the education requirements. However, you must pass the Wisconsin exam and submit an application (#3166), Verification of Examination or Registration (#2688), and Irrevocable Consent for Nonresidents (#813) form.
If you are outside of Illinois or Indiana, and have had an active license for at least two years, you can apply for “licensure by endorsement.” You’ll be required to take only 13 hours of sales education before taking the exam and completing the same forms as above used by Indiana and Illinois licensees.
Also, Wisconsin is a physical state in terms of portability. A physical location state allows agents and brokers to conduct business in another state but doesn’t allow them to enter the state to conduct real estate business. To learn more about real estate license portability in Wisconsin, check out our guide on real estate license reciprocity and portability.
If you possess a criminal record, you may still be eligible to get your Wisconsin real estate license. It’s recommended you complete the optional Application for Predetermination form (#3085) and report all misdemeanors and felonies. There is a $68 fee that can be paid via check or money order made payable to DSPS or by using the credit card authorization form (#3071). The DSPS will review your background to let you know if you will be eligible to become a real estate agent in Wisconsin.
If you receive a decision letter that states your conviction record does not disqualify you from receiving your salesperson license, you will be able to move forward with the traditional process. However, when you do submit your application, you’ll also be required to submit the Conviction and Pending Charges form (#2252). There is an $8 fee for this form that can be paid via check made payable to DSPS or by credit card using the authorization form.
The predetermination form is optional though, so you can choose to complete prelicensing requirements and submit the Conviction and Pending Charges form to determine eligibility. Although if you choose this route, you do run the risk of being rejected after completing the entire prelicensing process.
2. Complete Required Prelicensing Courses
Once you’ve met the state’s legal requirements, you can begin your prelicensing coursework. Wisconsin real estate classes can be completed through any real estate school that is approved and accredited by the DSPS. Students can choose to complete traditional classroom courses in person or online from the comfort of their homes. Prices range from $199 to $399 and cover the following concepts:
- Ownership and transfer of property
- Land use controls and regulations
- Valuing and financing property
- Contract law and approved forms
- Business ethics
- Fair housing
- Federal antitrust law
- Trust accounts
- Fee splitting
- Responsibilities of firms and licensees
- Legal effects of leases as they pertain to approved forms
- Rental residential practices
Did you know?
If you have a law degree in Wisconsin or have completed 10 academic semester hour credits in real estate or real estate-related law, you can bypass the 72 hours of required education. Instead, submit your transcripts to the DSPS for approval.
For real estate agents who want to get started right away on their prelicensing education, consider courses from the Wisconsin Realtors Association. They offer a choice of learning formats to satisfy all learning styles, like self-paced study, on-demand video, and blended classes that combine self-paced and livestream courses. In addition, you’ll be learning from local Wisconsin real estate experts who have insight and familiarity with the market.
3. Take the Wisconsin Real Estate Exam
After you’ve completed your education hours, you have to pass your license exam to become a real estate agent in Wisconsin. The exam is administered on the computer, and you will receive your score report immediately following the exam. The score report will be marked as “pass” or “fail,” and a printed copy of the report will be given to you by the exam administrator.
If you pass, you’ll receive a successful notification and information on how to apply for your license. If you fail, you will be given a numeric score with a diagnostic report that displays your strengths and weaknesses, so you can improve and prepare for your next exam attempt. Candidates can reschedule the exam within 24 hours of a failed attempt and may take the exam as many times as necessary.
Wisconsin Real Estate Exam Details
Items to Bring to the Exam
2 valid forms of identification (ID) with signatures:
75% to pass the Wisconsin Real Estate Salesperson Exam, with at least 105/140
Unfortunately, the DSPS does not provide the average pass rating for the Wisconsin exam.
Schedule Your Exam
The global testing company, Pearson VUE, is the official administrator of the Wyoming real estate exam. To begin scheduling, you’ll be required to create an account on the Pearson VUE website, which will then allow access to the scheduling portal.
You will receive a copy of the Wisconsin Real Estate Candidate Handbook with additional testing information. You can pay the $65 exam fee directly through the Pearson website using a credit card, debit card, or voucher.
Real estate agents who need extra study tools and preparation should consider using a program like PrepAgent. Choose from packages between $59 to $129, which provide up to one year of access to study resources. Listen on-the-go to recorded webinars and audio lessons or watch video lessons from your personal devices. You can also use tools like vocabulary worksheets, e-books, and flashcards to make sure you feel confident on exam day.
For extra guidance on passing your real estate exam, download our Exam Prep e-book. We include a pre-assessment to test your knowledge as well as helpful information about what’s included in the exam, the length and structure of the exam, study tips, and sample questions from PrepAgent.
4. Pick a Sponsoring Brokerage to Work For
To hold an active license in Wisconsin, you must find a sponsoring brokerage to affiliate your license. Your hiring broker must sign page 4 of the Real Estate Salesperson Application (#3166). To make your choice a little bit easier, check out our in-depth article explaining how to choose a real estate company to work for. Although there are many successful brokerages in the Badger State, below you’ll find the top five brokerages reported for 2022:
Tiffany Holtz Real Estate Group
Coldwell Banker Real Estate Group
Falk Ruvin Gallagher
Keller Williams Realty
JJ Hausmann Team
Lake Country Listings
Ferraro Real Estate Team
eXp Realty LLC
Stalle Realty Group, LLC
Keller Williams Realty
(Source: Real Trends)
5. Apply for Your Wisconsin License
Once you pass your Wisconsin exam, you’re ready to submit your license application. The Real Estate Salesperson Application (#3166) should be mailed to the DSPS and needs to be submitted with the following documents:
- $60 application fee by check or money order made payable to DSPS or credit card using the credit card authorization form (#3071)
- Proof of education completion (either a certificate of completion from the 72-hour course or transcript from your higher learning institution)
- Copy of a passing exam score from Pearson VUE
- Conviction and Pending Charges form (#2252) (if applicable)
According to the 2017 Wisconsin Act 319, certain applicants may be eligible for an initial application fee reduction. Qualification is based on the federal adjusted gross income of the applicant’s family household size. To determine if you’re eligible, review the Department of Health and Human Services website. If you do qualify, you can submit the Application for Initial Credential Fee Reduction form (#3217).
Typically, first-time applicants can apply using the Online Licensure Application System (OLAS), but in preparation for Wisconsin’s new system, LicensE, there will be a brief blackout period, where they will not be accepting applications. On May 16, 2022, all new licensees will be able to apply using the new system. Review the LicensE overview video for more information.
6. Start Your Real Estate Career
Now that you’ve learned how to become a real estate agent in Wisconsin, you’re ready to start your professional real estate journey. For more information, here are some of our articles with content that is perfect for new real estate agents:
- Our article with 14 real estate agent tips covers the basics that every agent should know when they are starting out, including how to write a real estate business plan.
- Learn how to generate real estate buyer leads.
- Get nine strategies to help with real estate seller lead generation.
- Jump-start your career with the top new real estate agent tips from the pros.
- Get the tools you need to build a strong real estate business out of the gate using the best real estate software and tools.