Renew Me, Please!

Your real estate license renewal is essential

 Debbi Conrad, WRA senior attorney and director of legal affairs  |    October 31, 2022
Renew Me

Your real estate license renewal application and fee must be received by the Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) no later than midnight on Wednesday, December 14, 2022, to maintain your seamless authorization to practice real estate on Tuesday, December 15 and for the rest of the next biennium. Those who do not meet the December 14 deadline will wake up the next morning as non-licensees and will not be able to practice real estate per Wis. Stat. § 452.12(5)(b) until the license is renewed. 

You need your license to list a property, write an offer and collect a commission, so don’t let this crucial date slip by! Your license is the key to your real estate prosperity and success!

The basic steps for your license renewal are easy and straightforward:

  1. Take the six continuing education (CE) courses and pass the tests.
  2. Find your credential/license number and PIN number.
  3. Visit the DSPS renewal website, pay the renewal fee and renew your license.

The following discusses the details and related requirements of the license renewal process.

Learn your lessons well

The Real Estate Examining Board (REEB) requires all individual real estate licensees to complete six mandatory courses of three hours each for a total of 18 hours of CE per biennium (every two years). An individual must pass the respective course examinations: 70% correct is passing. This applies to persons with salesperson’s licenses and those with broker’s licenses. 

2021-22 CE courses (all six required):

  • Course 1: Wisconsin Listing Contracts
  • Course 2: Wisconsin Offers to Purchase
  • Course 3: Wisconsin New Developments
  • Course 4: Wisconsin Risk Reduction Through Professionalism (fulfills NAR Ethics)
  • Course 5: Wisconsin Real Estate Law and Practice
  • Course 6: Wisconsin Real Estate Transactions

A licensee must complete three 50-minute topics within each course to complete the course. For Courses 1-4, a licensee must complete one mandatory topic and then may choose two topics from the approved list. For Courses 5-6, a licensee must complete three topics selected from the list of eight approved topics. To review the specific topic choices within each course, visit

A person who receives an original salesperson’s or broker’s license is required to satisfy the CE requirement during the biennium in which the person receives that license; the exception is a person who receives an original salesperson’s license after October 1 of the even year of the biennium is not required to complete CE for that biennium as stated in Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 25.065(5). Thus, every individual with a real estate license must complete CE as part of the December 14, 2022, renewal, except for those who received an original salesperson’s license after October 1, 2022.

To complete CE courses, an individual licensee may attend live or virtual classes, work through self-study courses and/or use the CE On Demand web-based education format. Visit the WRA’s 2021-22 CE webpage at to order course materials, sign up for On Demand, or to view the live/virtual CE schedules. 

See the WRA’s CE FAQ webpage that includes real estate CE common questions and answers:

CE completion information and certificates

As part of the online renewal process, individual licensees must list the date, course title, course provider/school and the number of hours for each course completed to satisfy the CE requirements. Individuals who complete their CE with the WRA can see their completed WRA CE courses in their myWRA account at This is a handy way to track the CE course information required on the renewal application. 

If you took CE with the WRA, you can also print course completion certificates by accessing your education history in myWRA. Brokers can also use myWRA to verify the CE progress of the agents associated with their firm. Licensees need not submit course certificates with their renewal applications, but the REEB may perform a random audit to verify completion of CE courses, and completion certificates would be most useful if you are part of the audit. In addition, Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 25.065(10) says a licensee must retain evidence of completion issued by the school or organization for all CE programs for which the licensee claims credit for purposes of renewal of the license for a minimum period of five years and make it available to the REEB upon request. 

Discipline for the dishonest

If the DSPS discovers that a licensee falsified a renewal application, the licensee is subject to discipline. Making a false statement to the REEB in connection with a license application is grounds for revocation, suspension or denial of the license. In addition, if a complaint of any variety is made against a licensee, the DSPS may require the licensee to submit proof of CE completion along with the response to the complaint. Failure to do so will result in an investigation being opened against the licensee. 

Taking your CE alone is not enough to renew your license. To maintain your license, you must complete the required CE and renew your license with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) every two years by December 14 of the even-numbered year. That means Wednesday, December 14, 2022, is the deadline this year. Online renewal for the 2021-22 biennium is currently available.

Renewal reminder

Every biennium, the DSPS sends an email and/or postcard to credential holders to notify them about the opening of online license renewal. In October, the DSPS sent an email blast to credential holders with known email addresses and sent postcards to credential holders without known email addresses. The email and/or postcard should have included your license number along with other valuable information about the renewal process. In other words, a licensee should have received either an email or a postcard in October, announcing the DSPS is ready to receive real estate license renewals online.

However, not receiving a renewal notice by email or postcard does not excuse you from the renewal requirement! “But I didn’t receive a postcard!” will not save you if you do not renew your license and a disciplinary proceeding is brought against you for practicing real estate without a current license. In addition, if you realize after December 14 that you forgot to renew your license, the fact that you didn’t receive an email or postcard will not give you a pass. You should renew your license online as soon as you can, and you will need to pay the $25 late fee along with the $60 renewal fee. No excuses! 

License and pin number 

If you do not know your license number, you can look it up online at using your name and type 
of real estate license, whether salesperson or broker. 

If you do not know your PIN number, you can look it up online at using your license number and other personal information. 

Renewal fee

A $60 license renewal fee applies to real estate salespersons, real estate brokers, and real estate licensed broker business entities such as corporations, partnerships and LLCs. The late fee for any license renewal after December 14 is an additional $25. 

Be prepared to have a credit card or electronic check ready when you renew online to pay the license renewal fee. VISA, MasterCard, Discover, American Express and electronic checks are accepted payment types. A 2% convenience fee is assessed on all credit and debit card transactions, and it will show as a separate charge on your statement. 

Renew online

Licensees may renew their real estate licenses at Licensees need their license number, PIN number and a means to pay the $60 renewal fee. If you are unable to renew online, contact the DSPS at least 15 business days prior to the expiration date of your license to request a paper renewal form. To request this form, contact the DSPS at or call 608-266-2112. 

The REEB may grant an extension of time for completing CE and renewing a license if the REEB receives a written request from the licensee and a physician’s statement that verifies that a licensee’s health prevented the licensee from attending CE. 

Renewal confirmation

The DSPS advises to generally allow two business days for the processing of online renewals. Waiting until the last day may also be unwise because there can be computer issues or other reasons for an outage of the online service. If a renewal application and payment is received on time and the CE has been completed, the credential holder is eligible to practice while the license is being processed. The DSPS website at indicates, “ATTENTION: If a renewal payment is received on time, the credential/license holder is eligible to practice while the credential/license is being processed.” The DSPS considers a license renewed as soon as the DSPS website shows that the renewal requirements have been completed. Emails are sent to licensees to confirm completion of renewal. 

Renewal status may be checked online by using the licensee lookup feature at This database generally is refreshed hourly. As long as the license appears on the DSPS website as active, the licensee may practice. The reverse also is true: if the website shows the license is expired, then the salesperson, broker or business entity, as the case may be, is not authorized to practice real estate in Wisconsin until and unless the license is renewed. 

Business entity renewals

Along with individual licenses, it is also necessary to renew any broker business entity license for any business entity involved in or related to a licensee’s practice. If an individual licensee is the “business representative” for a licensed broker business entity, that individual, as the director, manager, member, officer, owner or partner of the business entity, must make sure their broker’s license is renewed and the license for the business entity also is renewed if that company will continue to act as a licensed broker business entity during the upcoming biennium. 

Under Wis. Stat. § 452.12(5)(bm), if the firm or business entity broker’s license is not renewed, the firm cannot engage in brokerage activities until the license is renewed. Furthermore, licensees associated with the firm may not provide brokerage services until the firm’s license is renewed or they associate with another licensed firm. In addition, the business representative for the firm must notify each licensee associated with the firm if the firm’s license was not renewed and file a Form 766 Notice of Termination of Licensee Associated with Firm, available at, with the REEB for each licensee associated with the firm within 10 days after providing the notice. 

Sometimes the individual broker may receive an email or postcard regarding their license renewal but does not receive an email or postcard for the business entity. Once again, that is not a valid defense for failure to renew the broker business entity license. The business representative should be sure to also submit the renewal form and fee for the broker business entity when the business representative renews their license if the brokerage firm is going to continue practice.

Reporting criminal convictions

Wis. Stat. § 452.12(5)(d) requires that a person applying for renewal of a broker’s or salesperson’s license indicate whether they have been convicted of a crime since they last renewed the license or, for the first renewal, since they initially applied for the license. If the answer is yes, the renewal applicant will be asked for the date of conviction and a description of the nature and circumstances of the crime. The applicant must sign to attest to the accuracy and truthfulness of the information provided and acknowledge the DSPS has the authority to investigate the applicant’s criminal convictions, assess forfeitures up to $1,000 against an applicant who is not truthful, and revoke the license of a person who fails to pay such forfeitures. 

Real estate licensees with criminal convictions should not wait until the time of license renewal to report a conviction. Rather they are to report to the REEB within 48 hours of a judgment if they are convicted of a crime, in accordance with Wis. Admin. Code § REEB 24.17. The REEB then decides whether the circumstances of that crime are substantially related to the practice of real estate. A crime is conduct that is prohibited by state law and punishable by fine or imprisonment or both. A crime punishable by imprisonment in the Wisconsin state prisons is a felony; every other crime is a misdemeanor. Conduct punishable only by forfeiture is not a crime — for example, a no-call violation or several traffic offenses — according to Wis. Stat. § 939.12 & § 939.60. If there is a first offense OWI, for instance, check with legal counsel because it may be a forfeiture not subject to REEB reporting. Licensees who do not report the conviction to the REEB within 48 hours will likely be treated more firmly by the REEB.

The REEB determines whether the circumstances of the crime are substantially related to the practice of real estate and makes a case-by-case decision upon consideration of the factors listed in Wis. Stat. § 425.25(1)(c). The REEB may discipline a licensee on the basis of a conviction of any crime, the circumstances of which substantially relate to the practice of real estate. The REEB may revoke the license or impose other discipline if the licensee was convicted of a felony. 

Delinquent tax and support obligations

As part of the renewal process, the DSPS uses a licensee’s Social Security number or a business entity’s FEIN to check for any delinquent state tax or family support obligations or delinquent unemployment insurance contributions and to see if a licensee has failed to comply with a warrant or subpoena related to paternity or support proceedings. If left unresolved, these issues are grounds for the denial or restriction of a license as laid out in Wis. Stat. §§ 440.12-440.13.

The Department of Revenue (DOR) is willing to make reasonable arrangements for payment of delinquent taxes. To request such an arrangement, you can contact the DOR’s nearest office; call the Madison Central Collection Unit at 608-266-7879; or contact the Occupational License Specialist at 608-267-0833 and choose option 1 to discuss the available options. See the DOR credential renewal information at and the Department of Children and Families information regarding Denying, Restricting, Suspending, or Not Renewing a License at  

Firm supervision oversight

Wis. Stat. § 452.132(2)(c) requires each firm to confirm that each agent associated with the firm has renewed their real estate license at the beginning of each biennium and is properly licensed. If an individual’s renewal application has not been timely filed, a firm may not permit the person to engage in real estate practice after December 14 until the license is renewed. If there are any agents who do not renew their licenses or who are no longer with the company, the firm should file a Form 766 Notice of Termination of Licensee Associated with Firm, available at, with the DSPS within 10 days. Firms that allow unlicensed persons to practice real estate on behalf of the firm can be subject to REEB discipline.

Service members extension

If the license of a service member expires while they are on active duty, their license is extended until 180 days from the date of discharge. The same applies to a spouse of a service member if the spouse does not practice under their license while the service member is on active duty and does not practice because the service member is on active duty.

Service members and their spouses may request extensions of their licenses beyond 180 days from discharge and may request a waiver or extension of time to complete CE requirements due to hardship. For more information, see the DSPS form, “Active Duty/Discharge Renewal Extension Form R210” at

The WRA is not the DSPS!

Please don’t be confused! This article is about renewing your real estate license with the state. This needs to be done every two years. Your license authorizes you to practice real estate in Wisconsin. 

The Wisconsin REALTORS® Association, on the other hand, is your REALTOR® organization. REALTOR® membership is renewed every year and requires payment of annual REALTOR® dues. The two are entirely different! You must, however, have a current, valid real estate license to be eligible for REALTOR® membership.

Privacy concerns

  • All licensees should be aware that the name and address information submitted during renewal is available to the public, so consider substituting a business address in place of a home address. 
  • Individuals and sole proprietors have the opportunity to opt out of the disclosure of their address on lists of 10 or more credential holders furnished to third parties. 
  • As part of the renewal application, each individual applicant must certify that the applicant is a U.S. citizen or a legal alien qualified to receive a credential. If a licensee’s legal status as a qualified alien or nonimmigrant lawfully present in the United States has changed since the issuance of the original license, the licensee should contact the DSPS at 608-266-2112 or
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