What Happens if Your Real Estate License Expires?

Time flies when you’re having fun as a real estate agent. Your first year on the job quickly turns into two, two into three, and before you know it, four years have already gone by and it’s time to renew your license. Sometimes time really gets away from you, and by the time you realize your license’s expiration date may be near, it’s already in the rearview mirror. If you find yourself in this situation, have no fear! At Your Pace Online is here to answer any questions about expired California real estate licenses and how to renew them. 

What happens if your real estate license expires?

In California, a real estate license is active, or valid, for four years. If you fail to renew your license before the expiration date, it is no longer considered active. An expired license in it of itself is not cause for disciplinary action; however, keep in mind that once your license has expired, you are no longer legally able to perform the duties of a salesperson or broker. Section 10131 of the California Business and Professions Code outlines the duties for which a license is required, which includes, but isn’t limited to, the following actions:


  • Selling, buying or offering to sell or buy real property for others in expectation of compensation

  • Leasing, renting or soliciting listings for others in expectation of compensation

  • Assisting others in the filing of an application to lease or purchase government land

  • Negotiating loans, collecting payments, or performing services for borrowers or lenders 

Practicing real estate with an expired license can lead to some hefty penalties, so you can see how a sneaky expiration date could throw a wrench in business. Luckily, the California Department of Real Estate gives brokers and salespersons a two-year late renewal grace period where they can renew their license just by completing the required CE, application, and payment. All continuing education must be completed within 4 years of the filing of the late renewal application. Like on-time renewals, late renewals can be done by mail or online through the Department of Real Estate’s eLicensing system. Individuals who hold a conditionally suspended salesperson license are NOT permitted to renew their licenses on a late basis.


Unfortunately, there is a penalty for renewing your license late— the late fee total is 1.5x that of the on-time renewal. A salesperson's late renewal fee is $367 instead of the $245 on-time renewal price, and a broker’s renewal fee is $450 versus the on-time cost of $300. 


Note: If you successfully submit or send in all required materials and proof of CE completion on-time (before midnight on the day of expiration), you may continue to carry out the duties and responsibilities of a salesperson/broker past the expiration date while you wait to receive to renewed license certificate.

How do you renew your real estate license if the expiration date was more than 2 years ago?

Perhaps you’ve taken a long break from real estate and your license has been expired for more than two years. If this is the case, your license is null and void and you will likely need to start from the beginning if you wish to become licensed again unless otherwise instructed by the Department of Real Estate. This means completing the original education requirements, submitting a new application, and paying the initial licensing fees. Keep in mind that a salesperson is not able to practice real estate unless they have a sponsoring broker, so if you are no longer sponsored, you’ll need to get that squared away before you start helping others buy and sell a property.

Where can I check my license status?

Remember, you can always check the standing of your license on the California Department of Real Estate’s public license information database. Here, you can find information like license type, license ID number, expiration date,  your responsible broker’s license information, and more. You can also use this tool to check on the status of your renewal once you submit your application and payment.

How can I avoid late renewals?

The biggest tip that we can offer to avoid going past your license’s expiration date is to not wait until the last minute. The DRE allows you to renew your license up to 90 days before the expiration date. Take advantage of this time! Sometimes CE takes longer than you anticipate to complete. The state mandates that students be logged in to the provider’s platform for the specified time, meaning you can’t complete the CE courses any faster than 45 hours. Aside from making deadlines, giving yourself plenty of time to complete the courses also helps you take in, and truly learn the material instead of simply memorizing for the test.


Even if you complete your continuing education in time, waiting until the last minute to submit your application online can be risky. Websites go down, power goes out, your internet mysteriously stops working right when you need it most– it happens more often than you think. Give yourself a buffer to solve any technical difficulties should they arise.


Don’t wait around for the Department of Real Estate to remind you to renew, either. They do send a courtesy reminder in the mail 60 prior to your expiration date, but nonreceipt of the reminder does not exempt you from renewal. Things get lost in the mail, go to the wrong address, etc. so it’s always best to keep track of the expiration date on your own. Set a reminder on your computer, write in your calendar, or post a sticky note where you’re likely to see it. Do what you need to do to avoid paying late fees or temporarily halting business.

Need to complete your California real estate license renewal?

Is your California real estate license expired? At Your Pace Online provides the courses you need to renew your license so you can get back to work. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to reach out to talk or chat with our friendly staff.