Working with a real estate broker is not an option. If you are to hold and wield your real estate agent license in any jurisdiction, then you must partner with a broker. A licensed, active real estate broker.
How do you check if a real estate broker license is still active? Or how can you check if a real estate broker is licensed? You can verify the license status of the broker through two methods.
The first method is by visiting your real estate licensing body’s website. Using the search lookup feature, you can uncover the broker’s license status. The second method is contacting the licensing body and inquiring about the particular broker.
In this article, we’ll dive into how you can verify if your chosen real estate broker is licensed. By reading on, you’ll gain valuable insights that could save you from pitfalls and guide you toward smarter decisions in your career.
Step 1: Find the Broker’s Information
There is a set of information you will need in order to verify a real estate broker’s license. Each licensing agency has a different set of data requirements for verifying agents. But, the general requirements are often the broker’s name, license number, and address. Depending on the state, it could be one of these or a combination.
For example, the Missouri Division of Professional Registration accepts either the broker’s last and first names, in that order, or the business name, or the license number.
You can also verify a license with a broker’s names in Pennsylvania. But PA takes it a step further, allowing aspiring agents to complete the search with a type of real estate license. The website also has room for more targeted information like the broker’s address, license number, and city.
Should you choose to use the broker’s license number, you may have to ask them for it. If you are hoping for discretion, an option would be reviewing the broker’s social media profiles to uncover their ID.
Broker license numbers are not generic. They might look different depending on your jurisdiction.
A real estate broker’s license number in California may appear as ‘01234567’, an eight-digit numerical sequence. On the other hand, the state of Pennsylvania uses both alphabetical and numerical characters in its licensing system.
The number starts with the type of license. In our case, the license will start with RB for a real estate broker. A six-digit numerical sequence then follows the letters.
A Pennsylvania broker license might look like this: RB065555.
Step 2: Search for the License Number
Once you are armed with the appropriate broker information, it is time to put that information to
work. You’ll need to visit the relevant websites to conduct a license lookup. This website can either belong to your state’s real estate licensing agency or other authorized platforms, such as the licensing regulator within your state.
Upon reaching these sites, locate their search bar or function. Enter the specific licensee name, or brokerage, or license number you’re looking for. When done correctly, this should lead you to a comprehensive record associated with that license broker.
What should you expect in these records? Well, while each state may present its data differently, there are some common elements: The name of the licensee (individual or company), address details, type of licensed activity permitted under that number, and possibly any disciplinary action taken against them if applicable.
Step 3: Review the Broker’s License Status and History
Step three involves a crucial yet often overlooked aspect: examining the license status and history of your potential real estate broker. The license status, typically classified as active, inactive, suspended, or revoked, indicates the broker’s current standing within their profession.
- An active status means they’re currently authorized to practice
- An inactive status signifies they aren’t practicing at present but could resume after meeting specific requirements.
- A suspended status implies temporary cessation due to some irregularities.
- A revoked status indicates that their right to practice has been permanently withdrawn.
Delving into the license history can reveal significant insights about past behaviors and practices. This record may include disciplinary actions taken against them by regulatory bodies, complaints lodged by clients or colleagues, or violations of professional standards and laws.
These details might seem scary to grasp. But here are a few tips on how to approach it:
- Look for patterns rather than isolated incidents: everyone makes mistakes, but repeated misconduct should raise red flags.
- Consider the seriousness and relevance of any violation: minor infractions from years ago might not be relevant today. But recent serious breaches should warrant concern.
If there are any red flags or concerns based on what you find out about the license status and history, don’t hesitate to ask questions before making your decision.
Step 4: Contact the Licensing Body
The last step is for those who prefer a more direct approach. You can also verify a broker’s license by reaching out to the relevant licensing body in your state. This is an effective way to verify the license status of any professional.
However, it’s important to remember that this method will restrict your detective work to regular office hours.
To get started with this process, ensure you have all the necessary details at hand. Much like conducting the review yourself, contacting your state’s licensing body requires specific information about the agent in question. This includes their full or business names and known license numbers.
Warning Signs of an Unlicensed Broker
As a newly licensed real estate agent, knowing who you’re dealing with is crucial. Partnering with an unlicensed broker can destroy your career before it even takes off. Several red flags could signal an unlicensed broker.
Vague about Their License
Pay attention to how open the broker is about their professional background. A legitimate and trustworthy broker will have no problem sharing details about their work history, qualifications, and experience in the field.
On the other hand, if a broker seems vague or evasive when asked about these topics, it might indicate that they don’t have a license.
Hesitant to Provide License Number
Every licensed real estate agent has a unique license number issued by the state where they operate. This serves as proof of their legitimacy in conducting business transactions. Consider it a significant warning sign if a broker hesitates or outright refuses to provide this information upon request.
No Company Affiliation
Look at who they’re affiliated with. Most reputable brokers work under recognized real estate companies that adhere to industry regulations for professionalism and integrity. An absence of such affiliation can raise questions regarding their authenticity and credibility.
If the broker is out on the solo, then request company registration. You could also contact past agents and clients partnered with the broker to verify their legal right to operate.
Identifying Licensed Brokers
Every new agent needs to be under the guiding eye of a licensed real estate broker. Unfortunately, not every broker offering open doors is licensed. It’s up to you to ensure that you are working under a licensed broker.
How do you check if a real estate broker is licensed? You can use your state’s licensing body’s lookup feature or call the licensing regulator within your jurisdiction.
Now that you have this knowledge, it’s time to implement it! Here are some steps you can take right away:
1. Identify potential brokers or brokerage firms you want to work with.
2. Gather their information.
3. Visit your state’s Department of Licensing website or other authorized platforms.
4. Enter the specific information in the search bar/function.
5. Review the comprehensive record associated with that particular broker.
6. Examine the broker’s current standing within their profession by looking at their status.
If there are red flags based on what you find out about a broker’s licensure status and history, ask questions before moving forward.
We hope this guide has been helpful as you navigate your journey in real estate! We’d love to hear about your experiences using these tips. Share them in the comments below or reach out directly if there’s something more specific you’d like us to cover next time!