According to Zippia.com, there are 1.53 million realtors in the US. Ask most realtors, and they will share my sentiments; real estate is a worthy place to call home.
But occasionally, there comes an event, or a new member joins your family. This may warrant extended time off. That may mean halting your professional pursuits.
How to make your real estate license inactive? There are three routes you can take to deactivate your real estate license.
The first is asking your real estate broker to remove you from their license, the second is to do it yourself online, and the third requires you to send a paper application to your real estate commission.
In this guide, I’ll outline step-by-step instructions on approved routes, paperwork, fees, and protocols for temporarily going inactive in your state. You’ll leave prepared to place your real estate license on hold compliantly while avoiding disciplinary actions or renewal hassles during your time away. Let’s explore how to successfully put a promising real estate career on hold if needed.
How to Make Your Real Estate License Inactive?
There are three steps to putting your license on hold. Granted, there is no national approach to deactivating your real estate license. Every state has a distinct route to pressing pause on your career.
Agents may need to check with their local licensing body to ensure they follow the right path. But the three outlined encompass the different avenues available in all states.
Step 1: Pick the Appropriate Deactivation Option
Step one is in the vein of our deactivation steps. Like the deactivation process, it also has three options for real estate agents to deactivate their licenses.
Most of these options are acceptable in every state. The only exception is the mailing option. States that no longer offer paper licenses may not have a mail-in option for real estate license deactivation requests.
To deactivate your real estate agent license, you can approach your broker for help. This is a viable step in most states and shouldn’t cost you or your broker anything. Licensing bodies like the Florida Department of Business and Professional Regulation accept this option.
Your broker will have to log into their licensing account. Once logged in, they can remove your record from their license. Like that, your license status will shift to inactive.
Complete it Online
The second choice to explore is a DIY approach. You can log into your account on your state’s licensing commission’s website. Here, change your license status by clicking on the inactive button.
The final option real estate agents can have is the good old post service. Visit your commission’s website and print out the appropriate form for inactivating your license.
Submit the form with the proof of payment enclosed. Instead of a form, other states, like Nebraska, need you to write a signed letter requesting that your license be inactivated. You must still mail it to your state’s real estate division.
Step 2: Submit Requested Documentation
Once your application to deactivate is accepted, you may be requested to submit various documentation, including an original copy of your license. This step is optional in some states, so you may need to verify its relevance with your real estate commission.
A state that has made this request explicitly clear is Nevada. The Silver State gives agents ten days to return the original copy of their real estate license to the Real Estate Division of the Department of Business and Industry Nevada.
Step 3: Pay Applicable Fees
The final seal in the deactivation excursion is paying your fees. Real estate license deactivation fees do not apply to every option.
In most states, agents who choose a paperless route may not face any fees. But, the mail option is often tied to a processing fee. In Texas, the fee is capped at $20.
We also advise agents to consider getting an extended reporting period or EPR insurance to cover them. While you may be inactive, suits from your time in real estate may rise. Having an EPR endorsement will protect you from these types of lawsuits.
Imagine you deactivated your license on December 1st, 2023. At this time, your E&O insurance may have lapsed. Two months later, on February 2nd, you receive a lawsuit from a client you represented on June 20, 2023.
Since your E&O insurance has lapsed, it cannot cover you. But the case will be covered if you have EPR insurance extending beyond the lawsuit and license deactivation date.
How to Reactivate Your License
When you are ready to restart your career, you only need to reactivate your license. Below, we have general reactivation steps. The exact license reactivation process will differ depending on your state.
Step 1: Complete Continuing Education
You will only be re-admitted into the industry with a certificate proving you have completed the required continuing education course. This is a fair requirement. Real estate is an everchanging industry, so ensuring agents are well-versed with current changes and regulations is one of the critical focuses of real estate commissions.
In most jurisdictions, continuing education requirements for reactivating your license are often similar to those demanded when you renew your license. For example, the California Department of Real Estate requires 45 hours for both renewals and reactivations.
But, some states go off the beaten track and offer different reactivation requirements. The Florida Real Estate Commission requires agents to complete a 28-hour course for license reactivation versus the 14-hour CE for renewal.
Contact your real estate commission to verify the specific CE requirements in your jurisdiction.
Step 2: Submit Your Application and Pay the Fees
Once you complete the CE course and possess your certificate, you can begin reactivation. Submit renewal forms or visit your portal to apply for licensing reactivation.
Most U.S. states require you to attach the CE completion certificate to complete your application.
Finally don’t forget to pay your fees. Your real estate license will remain inactive until you pay the reactivation fee.
Alternatives to Going Inactive
If you find yourself not actively practicing your profession but also not ready to freeze your license, you can take several alternative routes. As I often tell my students, now I tell you: ensure you pick an option that best suits you.
Leave It On
Even if you are not actively practicing real estate for a period, you can keep your license active. This option is perfect for agents who need a few months away but intend to continue practicing real estate.
With this option, you won’t need to reactivate your license. You can pick your career up where you left it. But the only downside is that you must keep up with the CE requirements.
Let it Lapse
The second option is to let it go. Agents who believe their break might extend indefinitely are the candidates for this alternative.
While this means losing immediate access and potentially going through a lengthy process should they choose to return, it eliminates any recurrent costs or responsibilities associated with holding an active license.
A Pause on Your Career
Regardless of how much you love your career, there are times when taking a break is necessary. Through license inactivation, you can freeze your license until you are ready to resume your career.
Want to get started? Here are some steps you can immediately apply:
1. Determine the best route for deactivating your license.
2. Check with your state’s licensing commission about any necessary documentation and fees for making a real estate license inactive.
Have you ever had to put a pause on your career? How did it go? What challenges did you face when trying to make a real estate license inactive?
If you’re considering this step now, what questions do you have? Share them in the comments below!