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How to Get Your Real
Estate License in

Have you ever wanted to sell luxury homes in Madison? What about selling houses in beautiful Milwaukee? If you’ve found your way here, you must be thinking about getting your real estate license in Wisconsin. Well, I have some great news for you. The best time to get into the real estate industry is right now!

Maybe it’s been your goal to get your real estate license for a while now, or maybe you’re considering it as a new career. I know I’ve been there. I wasn’t always the No. 1 real estate agent in New York City and starring in Bravo’s “Million Dollar Listing New York.” 

If you’re wondering how to get a real estate license in Wisconsin, you’ve come to the right place. Luckily, a good deal of the educational requirements and the licensing process are similar across the United States. Let’s start with a list of basic requirements you’ll need to meet to become a licensee in WI. 

  1. Meet the pre-qualifications. 
  2. Finish your pre-licensing education. 
  3. Pass your pre-licensing final exam. 
  4. Pass the WI state exam. 
  5. Find your sponsoring broker. 
  6. Complete your real estate license application. 

Let’s look at each of these steps in greater detail. 

1. Ensure you meet the pre-qualifications. 

The state of Wisconsin doesn’t require much in the way of qualifications before you can start your real estate education. The only thing that’s really required of you is to be at least 18 years of age. You don’t have to hold a high school diploma or GED. 

It is worth pointing out that any state in the U.S. will be performing a criminal history check on you before you can receive your real estate license. Having convictions on your record won’t necessarily bar you from getting your license. However, the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services will determine whether a candidate is a character of moral turpitude. If you’re concerned about your record, you may apply for a predetermination to see if you’ll be disqualified from becoming a licensee.  

2. Complete your licensing courses. 

In order to become licensed, you’ll need to complete a 72-hour real estate course from an approved education provider, like a real estate school or community college. The course will cover general real estate practices and laws. Topics may include fair housing information, as well as Wisconsin-specific regulations. 

You may complete your education requirements in person, or you can take an online course. 

3. Pass your course real estate exam. 

Before you can receive the course completion certificate, you’ll need to pass your final exam. The content of your course exam may depend on your instructor, real estate school, and other factors. However, all students must earn a grade of at least 75 percent to pass. This exam may be taken a maximum of two times during the same course attempt. 

It’s a great idea to look for real estate courses that provide practice exams along with their license education. This way, you’ll have some idea of how your course test will be structured, and you can gauge your likely performance. 

4. Pass the state real estate license exam. 

Once you’ve completed your coursework, your next step is to pass the WI license exam. This test is administered by Pearson Vue, so you’ll need to register for your state licensing exam through their website. You may choose to take the exam in person at a testing center, or you can register for an online exam with a virtual proctor. All exams must be completed in the presence of a proctor, and registering for a virtual proctor is a separate process from registering for the test. An exam fee of $65 must be paid at the time of reservation. 

The real estate license exam is comprised of 140 questions, which are divided into a national exam and a state exam. Most are multiple-choice questions, but there may also be scenario-based questions. You have four hours total to complete the salesperson examination. You’ll need to bring two valid forms of signature ID with you on the exam day, as well as some blank paper, a pencil, and a basic calculator. 

If you pass the test online, you’ll be given your results immediately. If you take the test in person, your results will be mailed to you within a few business days. In the event that you fail the state exam, you may retake it, but you’ll have to cover the fee again. For more information on the state exam, please see the Pearson Vue Real Estate Candidate Handbook. 

5. Select your sponsoring broker. 

Congratulations on passing your state exam and completing your required education! You’re almost there, but you’ll need to choose a sponsoring broker before you can submit your real estate license application. This is because a real estate salesperson doesn’t have the legal authority to carry out real estate transactions on their own. A real estate broker, on the other hand, is able to oversee salespeople during real estate activities. 

 Even if you weren’t required by the state to work for a real estate brokerage to become a salesperson, I would still highly recommend it. One of the biggest mistakes I made when I got into real estate sales was not joining a team. 

If I can give you one piece of advice, it’s to just make sure that the broker is a good fit for your needs and not the other way around. Conduct some research into each brokerage you’re considering before you commit to anything. 

For starters, it’s a good idea to investigate a broker’s reputation. Are they well regarded in your state and beyond (if applicable)? Ask them about their educational approach and how their training works. You’ll also want to study their real estate commission package to make sure you like it. Ask them how much room you’ll have to grow while working on behalf of the brokerage as well. Once you’ve found a principal broker who matches your needs, you’ll nearly be ready to go. 

6. Submit your license application. 

You’re nearly there! All that’s left to do is to submit your real estate license application. You’ll need to provide evidence that you’ve completed your education requirements and cover the $75 application fee. Assuming your application is accepted, there will also be a $60 fee for an initial credential. 

You can mail a paper application form to the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services office location or complete the form online. This is also where you’ll send your application for renewal when the time comes. Congratulations on getting your new license! 

It’s important to note that completing these steps just gets you your salesperson’s license. If you want to get your broker license or become a property manager, there are separate licensure processes. You also need to know that securing your real estate salesperson license does not make you a Realtor. This is because “Realtor” is a copyrighted term owned by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR), and they have their own requirements for entry. Each member of NAR is also bound by specific ethical standards. 


Does Wisconsin have license reciprocity with other states? 

The state of Wisconsin does not have a reciprocal agreement for any licensed attorney looking to waive educational requirements for licensure. However, Wisconsin does have reciprocity agreements with Illinois and Indiana, as long as the applicant has held an active license in one of those states for the last two years. In that case, the applicant will only need to take a 13-hour pre-licensing education program before becoming eligible to take the real estate examination. 

How long does it take to get your real estate license? 

That’s really a question that you can answer better than anyone else. Driven students who treat the education requirements like a job may be able to obtain their license in just a few weeks, but it’s not uncommon for the entire licensing process to take months. The only things I can tell you for sure are that the best time to get started on your real estate sales license requirements is right now, and you have total control over when you start and your own pace with the requirements.  

Is there anything that aspiring real estate professionals can do to gain an advantage? 

Yes, there absolutely is! I’ve designed the training program that I wish I had when I was first starting out in real estate. The Sell It Like Serhant: Pre-Licensing Accelerator course has everything you’ll need to both get your license and kickstart a successful career selling real estate. 

This is a state-qualifying course that I’ve combined with my own sales system that my team and I use at my brokerage in New York City. This course includes the full 72 course hours you’ll need to qualify for your state exam. You’ll have the best online support available from expert instructors, three important real estate textbooks, as well as my “Quick-Start Guide” to help you with exam preparation. 

This package also gives you access to 10 progress exams as you take your course, and you’ll have five practice final exams to help you pass on your first attempt. Three of these practice tests are for the state portion, and two of them cover the national portion. Our Wisconsin students even get our Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee. If you use our exam prep materials and don’t pass your license exam on your first try, we’ll give you your money back! As if all of these materials weren’t enough, this package also comes with a membership for additional resources, including my Sell It Like Serhant: Real Estate Core video course. 

You already have everything you need to get your Wisconsin real estate license and succeed as a salesperson right now. You may just need a little help unlocking it. Schedule your pre-licensing education, and get started on your path to success today! 

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  • Ryan Serhant is a founder, entrepreneur, producer, public speaker, bestselling author, star of multiple TV shows, and Chief Executive Officer of SERHANT., the rapidly growing tech-forward real estate organization comprised of two core businesses: brokerage and education. Founded in 2020, SERHANT. is a content-to-commerce technology ecosystem revolutionizing the sales industry. SERHANT. is home to the first ever full-service, award-winning, in-house film studio solely dedicated to real estate content, and its digital education platform is comprised of more than 14,000 members across 110 countries.