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Can You Put Your Real Estate License on Hold

Sometimes, you need a break, a moment to step away from the noise to rediscover yourself. Real estate is one of those industries that offer career flexibility.

As a real estate exam coach, I am often asked, can you put your real estate license on hold? Yes, you can. If, for some reason, you need to step away from the hustle of real estate, you can change your license status from active to inactive.

Today, we’ll explore how long you can put your real estate license on hold. We will dive into some benefits of pausing your license and a few drawbacks. By reading this article, not only will you discover when to put your license on hold, but also learn how to navigate the next chapters with peace of mind. Let’s explore whether you can put your career on hold when life calls.

How Long Can You Keep a Real Estate License on Hold?

Anywhere from one year to indefinitely. The duration you can make your license inactive depends solely on your licensing jurisdiction.

Several states permit agents to keep their licenses inactive for a year, while others go up to four years. We have seen a similarity between the state’s license renewal deadline and the time you can keep your license inactive. This means the gap between license renewals is often the same as the duration you can keep your license inactive.

For instance, in California, real estate agents renew their licenses every four years. The number is similar to the acceptable timeframe for agents to leave their licenses inactive.

But then there are jurisdictions like the Aloha State and Nebraska that allow agents to keep their licenses inactive indefinitely. The downside is that these states mandate agents to also keep up with continuing education requirements during the license renewal timeframe to avoid expiry.

When Putting a License on Hold Makes Sense

A four-week vacation is not enough reason to put your license on hold. As long as you and your broker have agreed on the brief hiatus, there should be no reason to worry about your license.

But some reasons for absence go beyond a 30-day expedition in the Bahamas. Their severity may require a lengthy time off that calls for you to put your license on hold.

Career Switch

You are sitting in your office with a cup of coffee forgotten on your table. Before you sit a stack of bills that refuse the same fate. A thought demands your attention: is real estate right for you?

At this time, you may be tempted to explore other career options. Pursuing a new career path is a good reason for deactivating your real estate license.

With your license inactive, your new venture wouldn’t be hampered by the demands and regulations of keeping an active license.

Inactivating also preserves your ability to return to real estate should you decide you were at home after all. It spares you from having to retake costly licensing courses and exams down the road if you leave the door open through a seamless inactive status switch.

Lifestyle Changes

Health issues are another reason agents may find themselves deactivating their licenses. Health battles come with substantial lifestyle changes that may require new schedules that cannot match the intensity of a real estate career.

Remember, your health is your wealth. The essayist and poet Ralph Emerson was on to something when he coined that quote. So ensure that you always prioritize your well-being.

Financial Demands

Life sometimes throws us curveballs that insist on flexibility and resilience in response. Whether you cannot complete the required continuing education or pay renewal fees, deactivating your license can give you a break until your finances are sorted. 

Military Service

Enrolling to serve your country is one of the best reasons to put your license on hold. By inactivating your license, you can resume where you left off when service is over. There may not be a special real estate license for veterans but most U.S states offer specific benefits to former military personnel like expedited licensing.

Benefits of Putting a Real Estate License on Hold

There’s a certain allure to the real estate industry. But let’s face it, the hustle can be taxing. With this in mind, many professionals consider putting their real estate license on hold as a strategic move. Here are some compelling reasons why:


The first and most tangible benefit is financial savings. Imagine not having to shell out for those recurring fees and dues that come with maintaining an active license. In several states, you’re exempt from these expenses when your license is on hold or inactive. It’s like pressing pause on your cable subscription when you’re away for an extended period; you keep what you have without the ongoing costs.

But this is not the case in every state. Other jurisdictions, like the state of Nevada, require agents to complete license renewal requirements even with an inactive license.

Keep the Option to Reactivate the License in the Future

Another advantage lies in flexibility for future endeavors. Just because today isn’t right doesn’t mean tomorrow won’t be perfect! By placing your real estate license on hold instead of surrendering it completely, you can reactivate it anytime should circumstances change or new opportunities arise.

Avoid Liabilities and Disciplinary Issues

Without your real estate salesperson license, there is a lot you cannot do. You are barred from many real estate activities. The limit in activity minimizes the probability of error in your transactions. This limits the number of negligence cases attached to your name.

Drawbacks of Putting a License on Hold

While putting a real estate license on hold might seem like an economical choice in certain situations, it does come with a fair share of drawbacks.

Lose Access to MLS and Other Resources

One significant disadvantage is losing access to Multiple Listing Services (MLS) and other essential agent resources. MLS is every agent’s secret weapon. They are compiled by different regional brokers and provide comprehensive data about properties for sale, which can be crucial when assisting buyers in making the right purchase.

Banned from Activities

Once your license status changes to inactive, you are officially prohibited from practicing real estate. This means no preparing, negotiating, or drafting contracts. You may not represent clients or even show homes.

No real estate activities mean no commission or income until your license gets reactivated.

Navigating Your Career with Flexibility

Life is a series of chapters, each meant to be explored. It’s okay to close one chapter temporarily to start another. Whether you’re considering a career switch or facing life changes that require your full attention, putting your real estate license on hold can be an option.

Remember, the goal here is not to abandon ship but rather to navigate through the stormy waters of change with grace and flexibility.

Next steps:

1. Evaluate all factors, present and future, before deciding to halt your license.
2. Speak with your broker about the possibility and implications of inactivating your license.
3. Research state-specific regulations regarding inactive licenses.

When you have decided that deactivation is the best choice for now, this isn’t a permanent goodbye to real estate; it’s a “see you later.”

Thoughts? Please share them in the comments below! If you’ve ever put your real estate license on hold or know someone who has done so successfully, we’d love to hear from you. Let us know how it went by dropping us a line below or sharing our post within your networks.

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