How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate License in Wisconsin?
This article is your guide for determining how much you’ll need to budget when getting a real estate license in the Badger State.
We walk through the different parts of the licensing process and explain the expenses you can expect to incur. We also cover your ongoing monetary investment as an active licensee.
So, look over the list below for a comprehensive answer to the question, “how much is a real estate license in Wisconsin?”
Getting Your License
Predetermination Application: $68, if Applicable
While it’s optional, it’s recommended that you submit an Application for Predetermination form if you have a criminal record and are concerned it may disqualify you from licensure.
By doing so, you’re asking the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services (DSPS) to review your background before you proceed with the licensing process.
There’s a $68 fee for the predetermination. However, DSPS will credit that amount against the application fee if you get a favorable predetermination decision and apply within one year.
Pre-Licensing School: $200-$400+
Meeting an education requirement is part of the Wisconsin real estate application process. And the most common way applicants do that is to take a pre-licensing course.
Your commitment is 72 hours of coursework for either a salesperson or broker’s license. You can complete that at any school approved by Wisconsin’s Real Estate Examining Board.
As you look at the different schools, you’ll see various prices. Access type can affect costs, too. For instance, online courses tend to cost less than those taught in a classroom or through livestream.
Prospective agents and brokers can find an online course for as little as $200. At that price, you typically get the required course only. It doesn’t include any add-ons like exam prep.
Other popular price points for self-paced classes are in the $300 to $350 range. Some of those are packages that do include exam prep.
You can anticipate paying at least $400 for live classes at a real estate school. The price will be even higher if you enroll at one of the technical schools. There, you’ll pay tuition.
Exam Prep: $60+ for Salesperson; $99+ for Broker
You can skip a prep course. It isn’t required to sit for the exam. However, if you want the extra practice to give you the best shot at passing the test, you’ll have to add this cost to your budget.
The amount you’ll spend will vary by school and whether or not the course is part of a package.
Some schools offer exam prep as an add-on to a salesperson’s pre-licensing course bundle. You’ll usually pay $60 to $80 over and above the course cost in those instances.
If you enroll in a separate salesperson prep program, you could have a price tag anywhere from $80 to $200. The cost for broker prep can be upwards of $99.
The higher-priced programs generally include national and state-specific topic reviews and features like dynamic practice exams, interactive flashcards, and vocabulary worksheets.
To give you an edge in passing the test, read my tips on studying for the real estate exam.
Exam Fee: $65
Whether you’re obtaining a salesperson or broker’s real estate license in Wisconsin, the cost to take the exam is $65.
This flat fee is due when you reserve your test slot with Pearson VUE, the company that administers Wisconsin’s licensing exams. No payments are accepted at the test center.
Also, the fee covers one attempt to pass the exam. If you fail it, you’ll have to register again and remit another $65.
Since retakes aren’t free, it pays financially to ensure you’re ready for the test. Read our guide on how to pass the Wisconsin exam the first time for expert advice on how and what to study.
Initial Licensing: $75 or Less
You can apply for your license once you pass the exam. That entails submitting the application and any other required paperwork and paying the credentialing fee.
Note that before submitting your license application, you should look for a licensed real estate broker to sponsor you. You can find one from our directory of the best real estate brokerages in Wisconsin.
Our guide on how to pick a broker to work for can help narrow down your choices.
The standard amount for an initial license is $75, no matter which one you’re applying for. However, you could pay less depending on your circumstances.
Wisconsin offers a fee reduction in the following instances:
- Qualified veterans who are state residents are allowed one initial license fee waiver.
- Applicants who meet specific income criteria can apply for a reduction that drops the fee to 10 percent of the initial amount.
- Those who received a favorable predetermination decision within the prior year will pay the difference between the predetermination and application fees.
CIB Review: $8, if Applicable
If you have an arrest (pending charges) or conviction record, you’re required to submit a Convictions and Pending Charges form when applying.
The accompanying fee is $8, which covers the cost of a Criminal Information Bureau review.
If you requested a predetermination and got the green light on eligibility, the fee you paid will be applied against application costs. You’ll pay any difference.
You’ll owe the fee if you choose to submit this form to determine eligibility after you apply, or if a subsequent review is required.
Keeping Your License Active
Continuing Education Classes: $150-$390 Every Renewal Term
To accurately calculate your investment for a real estate license in WI, your cost list necessarily includes expenditures for maintaining active status.
That means you’ll need to factor in the price of continuing education (CE).
The CE requirement for all Wisconsin real estate agents is a minimum of 18 hours of classes completed every 2-year renewal term (biennium). There is one exception.
If you receive your salesperson’s license after October 1 of the even year of the renewal period, you’re off the hook for the expense of CE until the next biennium.
When you enroll, be prepared to shell out between $150 and $390 for 18 CE hours. Exactly how much you’ll pay depends on a couple of things.
One is the school you choose. You’ll find that the prices for online education providers hover around the lower end of that range. Technical colleges are typically the more expensive option.
You’ll also likely pay slightly more per course than you would for a package that includes all 18 hours. Individual courses run about $30 each, on average.
License Renewal: $75+
The real estate licensing term for Wisconsin is two years. That biennium runs from December 15 of an even-numbered year to December 14 of the next even-numbered year.
When you pay on time, the renewal fee is $75. Brokers and agents pay the same amount.
Wisconsin DSPS does not give a grace period. So, you must renew and remit the fee by midnight on the due date to avoid having your license expire and owing more.
A late fee of $25 kicks in on December 15 and raises the total owed to $100.
You can renew at that amount up to five years after license expiration. Following that, you will also incur the expense of required licensing education, the exam, plus applicable CE.
How to Reduce Real Estate License Education Costs
With pre-licensing and continuing education costing hundreds of dollars, you’re likely looking for ways to stretch your budget.
Here are some practical tips on how you can save on education expenses.
- Study virtually. Generally, online courses are less expensive than in-person ones, especially if you’re attending on-campus classes at a post-secondary school. It’s important, though, to weigh the pros and cons of real estate classes online vs. classroom courses to know which format will be more cost-effective for you in the end.
- Snag a sale. Schools often have seasonal or other sales promotions that can save you up to 25 percent off the regular price.
- Opt for bundle pricing. Many providers offer pre-licensing and exam prep courses in one package at a discounted price. You can find discounted CE packages as well.
- Get a special discount. Take advantage of other discounts you qualify for, such as those for military personnel or members of professional real estate associations.
- Shop around and recoup costs. Comparison shop on the front end for the best-priced Wisconsin real estate course that fits your needs. And take an allowable tax write-off for the CE you complete.
Now that you have answers to your questions about the outlay for a Wisconsin real estate license, are you ready for the next step?
You can start with our article on how to get a Wisconsin real estate license. It covers the process from A to Z for aspiring agents and brokers.
We also have a guide that gives an estimate of the time you need to dedicate to complete the licensing process — How Long Does It Take to Get a Real Estate License in Wisconsin?
If you worry that a past criminal offense may ruin your chances of getting licensed, know what to do by reading our guide on getting a Wisconsin real estate license with violations on the record.
Take the time to find a good real estate team in your area as this is where you can get a good start in your career. Our guide on joining a real estate team can show you how.
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About the Author
Kristina Morales is a REALTOR® with over 20 years of professional experience. She actively practices real estate in Ohio but also has practiced real estate in California and Texas. Conducting her real estate business in three states has allowed her to gain unique experiences that make her a well-rounded realtor. She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Business Management and her MBA with a concentration in Banking and Finance. Prior to real estate, Kristina had an extensive corporate career in banking and treasury. She ended her finance career as an Assistant Treasurer at a publicly traded oil & gas company in Houston, TX.