woman reads about renewing an expired real estate license

Renewing an Expired License: What to Do If Your Real Estate License Expires?

A real estate license is required to participate in most real estate transactions. Most states require real estate professionals to apply for licensure, demonstrate aptitude by taking pre-licensing courses and passing a real estate exam, and show that they are of good character to earn a real estate license.

However, a real estate license is by no means permanent. Real estate licensing departments in every state require that licensees continuously renew their licenses and impose additional requirements—namely,  real estate continuing education courses—in order for professionals to stay licensed. Those who do not complete these courses or otherwise fail to complete the renewal process risk having their real estate license declared inactive or forfeited altogether.

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Here’s some advice if you are a real estate agent or broker who grew leery of the industry but would like to get re-licensed now that the real estate market is recovering. Are you wondering, “How do I get my real estate license back?” Here are the answers for you.

What Happens if Your Real Estate License Expires?

One of the most immediate effects of an expired real estate license is the inability to legally conduct any real estate activities. This includes representing clients, negotiating transactions, showing properties, and earning commissions. 

If you continue performing the duties of a real estate agent after your license expires, you may suffer from fines, penalties, or disciplinary actions from regulatory authorities. Operating without a valid license also poses risks to client’s transactions.

Renewing Your Expired Real Estate License

Each state has unique real estate license requirements for maintaining a license. For example, some states have post-licensing education requirements that real estate agents must complete soon after obtaining their license. Other states may have different continuing education requirements for first-time renewals. 

While the specific requirements vary, they are all imposed for the same reasons. State real estate commissions have a duty to ensure that industry professionals maintain the knowledge of real estate they demonstrated when initially applying for licensure, as well as continuously learn more about industry practices to serve their customers ethically and responsibly. Imposing license maintenance requirements is the best way for state commissions to fulfill their responsibilities.

Did you let your real estate license expire? Some states allow a grace period during which you can renew it, but this window of opportunity varies. Contact your state’s real estate licensing agency to learn the steps you need to complete to renew an expired license. Keep reading if your real estate license has expired in Florida, California, New York, New Jersey, or Texas.

Example 1: Getting Back Your Expired Real Estate License in Florida

A Florida real estate license lasts for 24 months. A licensee must complete at least 14 credit hours of continuing education during this period, as the Florida Real Estate Commission (FREC) prescribes. Those who fail to meet this real estate continuing education requirement are ineligible to renew their licenses, and any license not renewed at the end of a license period is deemed involuntarily inactive.

If you have an expired real estate license in Florida, you face one of three possible scenarios:

  • Those with a license deemed involuntarily inactive for 12 months or less can reactivate it by completing at least 14 continuing education credit hours and paying renewal and late fees. 
  • Those with a license deemed involuntarily inactive for more than 12 months can reactivate it by completing at least 28 continuing education credit hours and paying all fees due on your renewal application. This renewal must be completed by mail. 
  • Any license deemed involuntarily inactive for more than 24 months is considered expired and cannot be reactivated. Those looking to regain licensure will have to begin the process again or request a hearing before FREC.

Example 2: Getting Back Your Expired Real Estate License in California

California requires that 45 hours of continuing education be completed within 48 months: 27 hours must be devoted to mandatory courses, and 18 hours can be dedicated to elective subjects.

If you fail to renew your license on time, you may renew it during the two-year late renewal period immediately following your license expiration date. However, you can only perform activities requiring a real estate license once your license has been renewed. And, like Florida, a license that is not reinstated during the late renewal period becomes null and void, and licensees will have to start all over if they want to become licensed again.

Example 3: Getting Back Your Expired Real Estate License in New York

New York requires 22.5 hours of continuing education every 24 months. About half, 11.5 hours, are spent on required courses. The other 11 hours of courses can be taken on elective subjects.

If your license has been expired for less than two years, you only need to complete the 22.5 hours of continuing education to renew it. If your license has been expired for more than 24 months, you may only have to retake the state exam.

Example 4: Getting Back Your Expired Real Estate License in New Jersey

New Jersey requires 12 hours of continuing education courses every 24 months. 

To reinstate a salesperson license, you must complete the 12 hours of continuing education and answer the qualifying questions on the NJ Real Estate Commission website. In addition, the salesperson’s active broker of record must apply for the reinstatement of a license using the “Hire / Reinstate Licensees” process, and there is a $150 reinstatement of unrenewed license fee. 

If more than two years have passed since your license was active, you must go through the application process again.

Example 5: Getting Back Your Expired Real Estate License in Texas

Real estate sales agents in Texas must take 18 continuing education courses every 24 months. Eleven of those hours are mandatory courses; 7 hours are elective.

Here’s a link to the required form if your Texas real estate license has been expired more than six months and less than two years. You must meet the CE requirements and pay a $150 fee to reinstate your license. After two years, you must re-do the licensing process and follow the pre-licensing education and exam requirements. 

As you can see, requirements for reinstating an expired real estate license can vary significantly from state to state. If you’re hoping to regain licensure, visit the website of your home state’s real estate department to learn more about the exact requirements for reinstatement.

How to Prevent Your Real Estate License From Expiring

Prevent your license from expiring by partnering with a trusted real estate school – Colibri Real Estate. Colibri closely follows the continuing education requirements for real estate agents in every state. Check out our continuing education course packages and contact our licensing experts if you have any additional questions on how to prevent your real estate license from expiring. 


“NJDOBI: NJ Real Estate Commission – Licensing and Education.” The State of New Jersey. Accessed May 16, 2024. https://www.nj.gov/dobi/division_rec/licensing/reclic_menu.htm. 

“Renew or Update Real Estate Broker License.” Department of State. Accessed May 16, 2024. https://dos.ny.gov/renew-or-update-real-estate-broker-license. 

“Texas Real Estate Commission.” TREC. Accessed May 16, 2024. https://www.trec.texas.gov/article/what-difference-between-inactive-and-expired#:~:text=Once%20your%20license%20has%20been%20expired%20for%20more,new%20rules%20are%20in%20place%20when%20you%20return.