Just like your driver’s license or passport, your real estate license needs to be renewed every so often. States have different requirements that range from one year to every three years. For new real estate agents, the prospect of going through the license renewal process can seem daunting.
For first-time real estate license renewal applicants, most aren’t even sure where to start. If it is almost time to start thinking about renewing your real estate license, here are some essential tips to help make the process a little easier to navigate.
How to Renew Your Real Estate License
When it’s your first time renewing your real estate license, there are a few aspects that are standard in every state. You must go through counting education (CE) coursework, pay a renewal fee, and submit a renewal application.
The primary difference between first-time and subsequent license renewals is the mandatory CE hours. You typically spend less time on coursework after renewing your real estate license for the first time.
A good tip to follow is to check your state’s renewal deadlines, which is a deadline you do not want to miss. Not only are you prevented from performing your duties as a real estate agent with an expired license, but you may have to go through the entire real estate licensing process from the beginning. Some states treat an expired real estate license as if it never existed.
First Time Renewal CE Requirements
States have different CE requirements that determine the hours spent on coursework and the subjects. Along with the continuing education hours, you may also need to go through additional post-licensing classes.
Not all states require post-licensing education, and some will allow real estate agents to renew their licenses without additional coursework, even if it’s their first time going through the process.
Your fellow real estate agents or a friendly broker should be able to provide guidance on your state’s specific educational requirements. You can also ask your course instructor.
Collect Your Certificate and Current Real Estate License
The next step is to collect all of your documentation, which will include your CE certificate and a copy of your current real estate license. Make sure your real estate license is still valid. If it has expired, there may be additional steps to follow that can include additional coursework.
Place everything in an envelope addressed to your state’s real estate licensing agency. Don’t forget to include the renewal fee. The amount also varies by state but it is usually similar to what you pay to renew your driver’s license.
You may also be able to drop everything off in person, which can shorten the renewal process and be a good idea if your current license is close to its expiration date.
Sit Back and Wait for Your New License to Arrive
This is the easiest part of the renewal process. As long as your current license is still valid, you can perform your duties as a real estate agent while you wait for your new one to arrive in the mail.
How long does it take for your license to arrive? This depends on the licensing board and your local post office. Some post offices process, sort, and deliver mail faster than others. However, if you’re waiting longer than a few weeks, it’s a good idea to contact the licensing agency to see if there are any issues with your renewal application.
Frequently Asked Questions About First-Time Real Estate License Renewals
How does post-licensing education differ from continuing education (CE)?
Some states require both CE and post-licensing education for first-time real estate license renewals, and both types of coursework are relatively similar. Not all states require first-time renewal applicants to complete both. The primary difference between the two types of classes is the information covered.
Post-licensing education typically reviews the information you learned in your initial real estate classes. On the other hand, continuing education (CE) covers any changes to your state’s real estate laws and federal regulations.
Most real estate agents are only required to take post-licensing classes the first time they renew their licenses. After the first time, CE coursework is typically the only requirement.
Can I be an active real estate agent with an expired license?
Most states allow a short grace period to renew your license after it expires. The grace period can range from a few weeks to a couple of months. However, not all states allow real estate agents to renew an expired license. They will have to start from the beginning to get a valid license.
Renewing Your Real Estate License Is Surprisingly Easy
Other than going through the coursework, renewing your real estate license is relatively easy—even if it’s your first time navigating the process.
Just remember to keep an eye on your license expiration date; after all, you’ll find it is easier to renew a valid license over an expired one.
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