Understanding the Real Estate Examining Board

Who, what and why?

 Wendy Hoang, WRA Staff Attorney  |    February 06, 2023

Who is the Real Estate Examining Board? 

The Real Estate Examining Board (REEB) is the body within the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) that regulates all Wisconsin real estate licensees. The REEB consists of seven members who are appointed to staggered four-year terms. Members of the REEB are appointed by the governor and confirmed by the Wisconsin Senate. See the current board members at dsps.wi.gov/Pages/BoardsCouncils/RealEstate/Default.aspx

No board member is allowed to serve more than two terms. However, board members whose terms have expired may continue to serve until their successor is confirmed by the Senate. 

The REEB is comprised of real estate brokers and salespersons as well as members of the public. Five of the members must be real estate brokers or salespersons licensed in Wisconsin, and two members must be public members. Every board at the DSPS has a public member on the board to ensure there is at least one representative from the public.  

What does the REEB do?

Because all licensees in the state are regulated by the REEB, the REEB is responsible for a wide range of matters related to real estate. Some of the REEB’s duties and responsibilities include the following

  • Grant and issue licenses to individuals and business entities to act as brokers and to individuals to act as salespersons
  • Approve forms for use in real estate practice, such as the WB forms
  • Approve education curriculum for sales and broker pre-license as well as continuing education.
  • Approve or deny the renewal of licenses.
  • Revoke, suspend or limit licenses, assess forfeitures, and/or assess other disciplinary actions for licensee violations of state laws or administrative rules.

Why does the REEB matter to you?   

As you can see, the REEB is charged with great responsibilities, from setting the curriculum to get a license, to approving the WB forms used in transactions, to the education to maintain a license, to the discipline of a license holder — which includes the power to revoke or suspend a license. For a full list of the duties and powers of the REEB, see Wis. Stat. § 452.05 and Wis. Stat. § 452.14. Due to the great responsibilities of the REEB, the WRA actively attends the REEB meetings and provides comments in the rulemaking process as well as in curriculum creation, WB forms approval and policy discussions of the REEB.  

Recent REEB disciplinary orders  

One of the many responsibilities of the REEB is overseeing the complaint process for real estate matters. Complaints regarding incompetent practice and violation of license law are filed and reviewed by the REEB. The following examples demonstrate the role of the REEB in the complaint process. These following scenarios are complaints filed by licensees and consumers from August 2022 through December 2022. 



  • The firm directed the title company to pay the firm’s agents directly at closing, explaining that the firm did not want to cut a second check
  • At closing, the licensee was paid commission directly by the title company.


  • Wis. Stat. § 452.19(2) for failing to ensure all fees or commissions for performing brokerage services were paid to the firm.


The firm was reprimanded, and the firm was required to pay costs in the amount of $650. 

Reporting convictions


  • On April 27, 2021, the agent was convicted of a second-offense OWI, a misdemeanor. The agent was sentenced to 40 days in jail, revocation of the agent’s license for 14 months, and an alcohol and other drug abuse (AODA) assessment, among other things
  • On May 27, 2021, the agent reported the conviction to the DSPS
  • On April 14, 2022, the DSPS emailed the agent and requested a copy of the AODA assessment. No response was received
  • On April 29, 2022, the DSPS emailed the agent again, requesting the AODA assessment. No response was received
  • On May 17, 2022, the DSPS emailed the agent to request the AODA assessment. The agent replied the same day stating that the agent had not been ordered to complete the assessment. The DSPS responded on the same day, informing the agent of the court order and asked for a response. No response was received.
  • The DSPS emailed the agent two more times, on May 24, 2022, and June 6, 2022, requesting the AODA assessment. Each time, no response was received. 


  • Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 24.17(1) for violating a law, the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practices of a real estate licensee, and for failing to report the conviction to the REEB within 48 hours after the judgment of conviction. 
  • Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 24.17(5) for failing to respond to the DSPS and the REEB regarding the request for information within 30 days of the request. 


The agent was reprimanded and was required to pay costs in the amount of $507. 

Providing brokerage services honestly and record retention


  • On November 10, 2020, the seller entered into a listing contract with the agent.
  • On June 1, 2021, the seller canceled the listing contract with the agent and requested a protected buyers list for the property
  • On June 1, 2021, the agent provided the seller with a protected buyers list containing 98 names
  • On June 7, 2021, the seller objected to the agent’s protected buyers list.
  • The agent told the DSPS that the agent sent an email to over 3,000 potential buyers regarding the property and directly called or emailed 98 individuals, who ended up the protected buyers list
  • On July 16, 2021, the seller sent a letter to the agent, providing an affidavit from an individual on the protected buyers list who stated the individual was not contacted by the agent or the agent’s firm and was not aware the property was for sale. The letter also included an obituary of an individual on the protected buyers list who had been deceased when the listing contract was signed.
  • On July 26, 2021, the agent updated the protected buyers list, including only 18 individuals
  • On March 9, 2022, the agent sent the DSPS a spreadsheet detailing the contact between the agent and the 98 individuals on the original protected buyers list. Only seven individuals viewed or toured the property, according to the spreadsheet
  • The agent stated that the agent reached out to every individual on the list, but there was no record of the communications. 


  • Wis. Stat. § 452.133(1)(a) for failing to provide brokerage services honestly and fairly.
  • Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 15.04 for failing to retain all documents and correspondence utilized, received or prepared in connection with a transaction.


The broker was reprimanded. The broker’s license was limited and was required to complete an education course about consumer protection and an education course about office management within 60 days. The broker also was required to pay costs in the amount of $1,001. 

Expiration of license


  • On December 15, 2020, the real estate business entity’s credential expired. 
  • On September 27, 2021, an employee of the real estate business entity stated that they had accidentally missed processing the payment for the license renewal
  • On September 30, 2021, an employee of the real estate business entity stated that the license had expired due to an oversight.
  • On October 1, 2021, the real estate business entity renewed its credential.
  • The responsible licensee emailed the DSPS documentation for 58 real estate transactions that the licensee and real estate business entity worked on while the real estate business entity’s license was expired.


  • Wis. Stat. § 452.03(1) for engaging in the business of a broker without a license
  • Wis. Stat. § 452.12(5)(bm)1. for the firm engaging in activities covered by the firm license while the license was expired
  • Wis. Stat. § 452.12(5)(bm)2. for licensees associated with the firm engaging in activities covered by the firm’s license on behalf of the firm while the firm’s license was expired.


The responsible licensee and the real estate business entity were both reprimanded. The responsible licensee and the real estate business entity each were required to pay a forfeiture of $500 and one-half costs of this matter for a total of $819, within 90 days. 

Trust funds and property management


  • In 2009, the licensee and a business partner began operating a rental property management company. The company was registered with the Department of Financial Institutions by the licensee in 2009 and administratively dissolved in March 2021
  • The company never held a real estate business entity license
  • From September 30, 2019, until September 21, 2021, the licensee had not made rent deposits in Owner A’s account.
  • The licensee ignored requests from Owner A to return security deposits and ignored requests for copies of leases. Additionally, the licensee failed to pay for a new furnace provided in October 2019 and failed to provide requested accounting reports for Owner A’s properties
  • The licensee failed to transfer rent payments to Owner B for January 2020 and February 2020. The licensee also failed to return security deposits to tenants.
  • The licensee withheld from Owner B $5,500 in rent and $2,700 in security deposits to which the licensee was not entitled
  • The licensee ignored Owner B’s request to return keys, leases and other documents
  • On July 8, 2021, the licensee’s attorney stated that the licensee was responsible for the company’s day-to-day operations and that “several missteps and errors” and “accounting discrepancies” occurred under the licensee’s management.
  • On September 21, 2021, the licensee’s attorney stated that the licensee returned all funds owed to Owner A and Owner B. 


  • Wis. Stat. § 452.133(1)(f) for failing to safeguard trust funds and other property held as required
  • Wis. Stat. § 452.133(1)(b) for failing to provide brokerage services with reasonable skill and care
  • Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 24.03(2)(b) for failing to act to protect the public against fraud, misrepresentation and unethical practices.


The broker was reprimanded, and the broker’s license was limited. The broker was prohibited from holding client funds, including funds from a property management business. Additionally, the broker was required to practice under the supervision of an approved Wisconsin licensed real estate broker, who must submit quarterly monitoring reports for one year. The broker was required to notify the supervising broker of the broker’s disciplinary history with the REEB and provide a copy of the order. Further, the broker was required to pay a forfeiture of $500 and costs of this matter in the amount of $672, for a total of $1,172.

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