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To become a real estate agent in Wisconsin, you need to complete the 72 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses and pass the real estate salesperson exam.
You’ll also need to register at the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS). It is the governing body that is responsible for issuing licenses to real estate salesperson and brokers.
If you are interested in knowing about a real estate career in Wisconsin, then this is the guide for you. Not only you’ll learn about the step-by-step process to become a real estate agent and broker, but you will also find helpful information such as the salary, career outlook, content of the real estate exam and a list of top WI brokerage firms.
How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Wisconsin?
Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement
- Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien
- At least 18 years of age
- Have a valid Social Security Number
Step 2: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education
You are required to take 72 hours of course which covers different real estate concept. It can be taken in a classroom setting or online, but it must from an approved education provider
When choosing a real estate school, I prefer one where you could take the courses online. This way, you could study at your own pace whenever and wherever. RealEstateExpress is a trustworthy real estate education provider. You may click here to see whether they offer pre-licensing course in your state. (**)
Step 3: Pass the WI Real Estate Salesperson Examination
The exam is to test your knowledge on the real estate topics that are covered in the pre-licensing education.
The test is administered by the Pearson Vue. To register, you need to complete their online exam registration and provide them with the required documents.
There is a $65 examination fee which could be paid by credit card, debit card, voucher, or electronic check. Keep in mind that the payment must be made at the time of the registration. The test center will not accept payment on the date of the exam.
It is a 4 hours exam, which consists of 140 questions. There will be n additional 5-to-10 pre-test questions which would not be scored. Since the exam is a computerized test, you will receive a score report that mark either “pass” or “fail”. The required passing score is 75.
PrepAgent is an exam prep that I highly recommend. Many students were able to pass the real estate exam after doing their practice questions. Over 97% of users provided a 5 out of 5 stars rating to them on Facebook. Click here to check out their package options. (**)
Here’s the Content Outline of the Wisconsin Salesperson Real Estate Exam
|Exam Content||# of Questions|
|Ownership and Transfer of Property||14|
|Land Use Controls and Regulations||5|
|Valuing and Financing Property; Calculations||20|
|Contract Law and Approved Forms||22|
|Federal Anti-Trust Law||2|
Step 4: Find a Sponsoring Real Estate Broker
You are one step closer in becoming a real estate agent. After you pass the exam, you must work with a managing broker who would sponsor your license.
But don’t rush into working for just any broker. Finding a good trainer is crucial at the initial stage of your real estate career. A thoughtful and experienced trainer could teach you a repeatable and systematic process in running your business profitably.
You will find some of the top producing WI real estate brokerages later in this guide.
Step 5: Register with the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services
Now, you may apply through the DPSP. Here’s their Online Licensure Application System (OLAS). In there, it may ask you to provide personal details, the completion info of pre-licensing education, exam, and other necessary documents. You are also required to provide the details of your real estate broker.
Although you could also apply through paper application, it greatly reduces the processing time through online submission. Not to mention, less papers usage is also good for the environment. Either way, the license fee is $75.
Keep in mind that you must apply within 1 year after you pass the real estate exam. Also, your pre-licensing education is only valid for 5 years.
Want to know whether being a real estate agent is a good career path? I connected with several real estate professionals, and they shared their thought and experience of this industry with me. You may read their valuable insight here.
How to Become a Real Estate Broker in Wisconsin?
Once you have established a solid client base and develop the necessary skills, then you could consider expanding your business to become a real estate broker.
There are different types of broker license you could apply for. They are the Individual Broker, Associate Broker, Real Estate Broker Company or Branch Office.
So what type of real estate broker license should you obtain? It really depends on what type of business structure you want to set up your business – for example, do you want the business to operate in your personal name or the brand of a company? Will this be a sole proprietorship or limited corporation? You should discuss with your accountant before applying.
This allows you to build a team of real estate agents, where your brokerage could be providing training, marketing, administrative support, office space, and a subscription to industry software. In return, you would get a share of the commission from the transactions that your real estate sales associates handle.
Step 1: Meet the Basic Requirement
You’ll need to be at least 18 years old, completed high school education, have a valid Social Security Number, Citizen of the United States or lawfully admitted alien.
Step 2: Fulfill the Work Experience Requirement
You have been a licensed real estate salesperson for at least two years within the last four preceding years. During the period, you must be actively in providing real estate brokerage services and work under the supervision of a licensed broker.
The DSPS has a 40 points system to document the work experience. It is defined as the following:
- Each completed/closed residential transaction: 5 points
- Each completed/closed commercial transaction: 10 points
- Each property management contract: .5 point/month
- Each completed/closed timeshare: 1 point
Step 3: Complete the Pre-Licensing Education
You must complete 20 hours of qualifying courses from an approved education provider.
Step 4: Pass the WI Real Estate Broker Examination
The exam is to make sure you have adequate real estate knowledge in becoming a broker. Similar to the salesperson exam, the broker exam is also administered by the Pearson Vue and you’ll register for it online. The fee is $65.
It is a 3.25 hours exam, which consists of 100 questions. There will be n additional 5-to-10 pre-test questions which would not be scored. Since the exam is a computerized test, you will receive a score report that mark either “pass” or “fail”. The required passing score is 75.
Here’s the Content Outline of the WI Real Estate Broker Exam
|Exam Content||# of Questions|
|Real Estate Practice||19|
|Conduct and Ethical Practices for Real Estate Licensees||22|
|Approved Forms and Legal Advice||6|
|Drafting and Supervision Knowledge||37|
Cramming for the exam is ineffective. Instead, you should study for 45 to 60 minutes, then take a break. Concentration tends to wander if you study for too long. If possible, focus on studying only one to two topics per day. But be really good at it.
Step 5: Register with the Wisconsin DSPS
Similar to the registration process of being a salesperson, once you pass the exam, you may apply for a broker license through the Wisconsin OLAS. The license fee is $75.
(Instead of studying randomly throughout the entire textbook, here’s a Real Estate Exam Study Hacks to increase your chance in passing the exam on the first attempt. Not only you’ll find tips and tricks about the exam, but I’ll also show you how to cope with the stress.)
Real Estate Career Outlook in Wisconsin
How Much do Real Estate Agent Make in Wisconsin?
Real estate agents in Wisconsin earn an average yearly salary of $49,360 typically range between $28,420 and $81,330. (*)
At the beginning phase in your real estate career, you probably would not make a lot, because you have not built up the client base and established trust with the prospects.
But as you continue to gain experience and sharpen your business skills, you should be able to notice a significant improvement to your earning.
Your earning potential as a real estate agent would depend on the price range of the properties that you work with, the number of transactions you could complete, the commission splitting schedule with the real estate brokerage and other factors.
There are 2220 real estate agents in Wisconsin, which works out to be 0.778 real estate agents per 1000 of workers. (*)
(*) Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics May 2018
Which Cities has the Most Real Estate Business Opportunities in Wisconsin?
Wisconsin has a population over 5.8 million. It is the 23rd biggest state in the country.
When you are deciding the regions to conduct your real estate business, you should target areas that have a high population. After all, transactions can only occur when there are people.
Also, consider working on properties that have decent value, as this is one of the major factors when calculating your commission. According to Zillow Home Value Index, the median home value in Wisconsin is $191,600 with median rent of $1,200.
Here are the home values and rent details in the top populated cities
|Cities||Population||Zilliow Home Value Index||Median Rent|
How to Choose a Real Estate Brokerage in Wisconsin?
When choosing a real estate brokerage, many people only focus on the commission split, but there are many other factors you also need to consider.
For example, what type of training will they provide? Will they equip you with the skills in finding qualify prospects and closing a sale? Is there a shared office space you could use? Can the brokerage provide you with adequate administrative and marketing support? Will they provide you with leads to work on? Do they utilize up-to-date technology (i.e.: CRM, software subscription) to streamline the daily workflow.
All these would be extremely important especially at the beginning phase of your career.
Below are the top real estate brokerage in Wisconsin based on their sales volume in 2018. The figures are obtained from RealTrends.com.
|Real Estate Brokerages||Cities||2018 Sales Volume|
|CENTURY 21 Affiliated||Madison||$3,693,417,387|
|Realty Executives Integrity||Hartland||$786,075,664|
|Stark Company Realtors||Madison||$730,787,411|
|RE/MAX Realty 100||Milwaukee||$703,768,683|
|Keller Williams Realty Green Bay||Green Bay||$567,803,492|
FAQ about the WI Real Estate Career
1) How often do I need to renew the WI real estate license?
You are required to renewal the WI real estate license for every two years. You may do so through their online portal. The renewal fee is $75.
Make sure you renew it before the expiry date. Else, not only there will be a late fee of $100, but most importantly, it could result in an interruption to your real estate business.
2) What is the continuing education requirement to renew the WI real estate license?
You must complete 18 hours of CE courses for each renewal period from an approved education provider. The curriculum must consist the following 6 courses. (3-hours modules each)
- Course #1: Listing Contracts
- Course #2: Offers to Purchase
- Course #3: New Development
- Course #4: Real Estate Ethnics and Consumer Protection
- Course #5: Real Estate Law and Practice
- Course #6: Real Estate Transactions
3) I have a real estate license in another state. Can I become licensed in Wisconsin by applying through reciprocity?
Yes, Wisconsin has a reciprocity agreement with Illinois and Indiana.
4) Can the WI pre-licensing education requirement be waived?
There are some situations where the pre-licensing education can be waived. For example, if you can provide proof that you have received 10 academic credits in real estate or real estate related law courses from an accredited institution of higher education.
But to my understanding, you would still be required to write the real estate exam. However, the decision is still based on the discretion of the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services.
5) Can a felon be a real estate agent in Wisconsin?
The DSPS would put into consideration of the applicant’s honesty, trustworthiness, character and integrity. I’m reviewing the Salesperson application. On question #4, it asks:
Have you ever been convicted of a misdemeanor, felony, or other violation of federal, state, or local law or do you have any felony, misdemeanor or other violation of federal, state, or local law charges pending against you in this state or any other? This includes municipal ordinances resulting only in monetary fines or forfeitures and convictions resulting from a plea of no contest, a guilty plea, or verdict…Quote from
If you answer “yes”, then you would need to fill out the Convictions and Pending Charges (Form #2252).
Whether a felon can be a real estate agent is subjected to how the licensing commission evaluates the case. Don’t get discouraged as everyone has a past. The most important is that you can demonstrate that you will serve the public in a fair, honest, and open manner.
However, you should confirm with the Licensing Department before you invest heavily into this career.
6) How to Become a Commercial Real Estate Agent in Wisconsin?
To become a commercial real estate agent in Wisconsin, you need to complete the 72 hours of pre-licensing real estate courses and pass the real estate salesperson exam.
Basically, it is the same requirement as we just went through because WI does not issue separate licenses for residential and commercial agents. However, if you are going to pursue a career as a CRE agent, you should look for a brokerage that could give you the right support and resources.
Here’s a “Complete Guide to a Commercial Real Estate Agent Career“, where you’ll find the career outlook, earning potential, and response from actual CRE agents. Be sure to check it out.
7) I have more questions about the WI real estate license, whom should I contact?
You could contact the WI Department of Safety and Professional Services:
- Mail To: P.O. Box 8935, Madison, WI 53708-8935
- Office Location: 4822 Madison Yards Way Madison, WI 53705
- FAX #: (608) 251-3036
- E-Mail: [email protected]
- Phone #: (608) 266-2112
- Website: http://dsps.wi.gov
The Bottom Line
Becoming a real estate agent could be a rewarding career. Not only in terms of financial sense, but you also get the chance of meeting many people and working on different properties every day.
It is very fulfilling when you can help out your clients in finding their dream home or locate the right buyers for their property. Honesty, hard work, and always putting your client’s interest first are the key components to your long-term success.
If you decide real estate is the career that you want to explore further, your first step is to complete the qualifying courses. However, don’t select just from any school that comes along the way.
You should find one that has an excellent reputation and long-term track record of satisfying students. I prefer schools that provide online-courses so that you could take them anytime and anywhere that is convenient for you. Feel free to check out our education resources page for more info.
So do you find this guide helpful? If so, please share it!
Disclaimer: The information in this post is for general information only, and not intend to provide any advice. They are subjected to change without any notice, and not guaranteed to be error-free. For full and exact details, please contact the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services.
- Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (Source)
- Wisconsin REALTOR Association (Source)
- Wisconsin Real Estate Candidate Handbook (Source)
- Bureau of Labor Statistics – Real Estate Agents (May 2018) (Source)
- Real Trends: 2018 Real Trends 500 by Volume (Source)
- Zillow.com – Wisconsin Home Prices & Values (Source)
- World Population Review- Population of Cities in Wisconsin (Source)