12/16/2021 - California / Michigan

How Long Can a Real Estate License Be Inactive?

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Becoming a real estate agent may seem simple enough in theory, but the truth is that it requires work and dedication. A career as a real estate agent can be very fulfilling and can also bring in a substantial paycheck. However, in order to become a real estate agent, you will need to obtain and maintain the proper educational credentials and licensing. Receiving your real estate license is a significant accomplishment, but the license is not forever. Real estate licenses can become inactive or expire, and if they do, you would no longer be able to practice realty legally.

While the detailed laws and restrictions within real estate can differ from state to state, many of the credentials, exams, and classes are standardized for most realtors. However, every state within the U.S. requires real estate agents to continue education courses to maintain their real estate agent license.

How Do I Get and Maintain My Real Estate License?  

Becoming a real estate agent may take a lot of effort, but it does not necessarily take a significant amount of time. Depending on the state you reside in, you may be able to be a licensed real estate agent beginning a new career four to six months after enrolling in real estate school. The requirements can vary from state to state, but an aspiring real estate agent would enroll in a pre-licensing course and then take the exam. If they pass the exam, they need to activate the license, pay their licensing fees, and do a background check. Receiving your license can be fast and reasonably affordable, but what about maintaining it?

Every state in America requires their licensed real estate agents to continuously renew their licenses, typically every two to four years. To renew a license, there are required real estate educational courses to be completed and renewal fees to be paid. If a real estate agent fails to complete these continual educational courses before the allotted time, they risk having their real estate license become inactive. If a license is inactive long enough, it may not be eligible for renewal, and the real estate agent would need to start from scratch to reobtain their license. Hypothetically, if a real estate agent continued to practice realty without holding a proper real estate license, they would face considerable fines and possible jail time. 

How Do I Renew My Expired Real Estate License?

There are over 500k real estate agents in America, but not every real estate agent works full time in realty; some have other means of employment; others may prefer to flex their real estate muscle occasionally rather than full time. If being a real estate agent is not a full-time career, it can be even easier to let your real estate license lapse into inactivity. 

Different states carry different legal regulations when it comes to real estate agents, so you need to be up to date on what exactly your state requires for inactive licenses to be renewed. Despite the differing requirements, each state needs continual renewals for real estate agents to enforce standardized accountability within the realty market. The knowledge within the real estate market is constantly changing, and real estate agents need to continue their education as needed to provide the best service to property buyers and sellers. 

Typically, a real estate license lasts between two and four years, and the agent must complete a number of required classroom hours to renew. For instance, in California, 45 hours of continuing education must be completed within the four-year licensure time. 18 of those 45 hours need to be put towards consumer protection courses. Next, 15 hours are devoted to five three-hour-long class courses dealing with the following subjects:

  • Ethics
  • Agency
  • Trust Fund Handling
  • Fair Housing
  • Risk Management

The remaining 12 hours can be dedicated to consumer services or consumer protection classes. If a California real estate agent cannot finish these educational requirements during their four-year licensing period, their license will become inactive. Once inactive, their license can be reinstated if the real estate agent completes their educational requirements within two years. If the educational needs are not met within that time, the agent would need to start over and become licensed again by retaking all the beginning courses. For these reasons, it is a good idea for agents to keep up on their continuing education requirements, even if they are not full-time real estate agents.

How Do I Learn More?

Not yet licensed, but thinking about becoming a real estate salesperson? Find out more by attending our free Career Dayevent, or try a free class with us!  Our telephone number is (858) 704-2700, or you may email us at support@agentrealestateschools.com.