Before you conduct business with a real estate broker, you can check with the real estate licensing bureau in your state or local area to determine the broker’s license status. Checking a real estate broker’s license is important because it can protect you from potential financial or property loss in the event you conduct business with a real estate broker who is unlicensed and demonstrates unethical business practices. If you do happen to work with an unlicensed real estate broker, you may be completely liable for any and all financial loss; as an unlicensed real estate broker is often considered out of the jurisdiction of your region’s real estate licensing bureau. By contacting the proper authority and using the correct resources, you can determine a legitimate real estate broker by checking their license. A license can be checked on the Internet, or by contacting the real estate licensing bureau directly.
- Search for the website of your real estate regulating bureau.
- Go to your search engine and use keywords such as “real estate licensing” with the name of your state or region. For example, to determine who the governing real estate licensing bureau is in California, type “California real estate licensing” into your search engine to locate the website for the California Department of Real Estate.
- Visit your state’s government website to locate a link to the state’s real estate licensing bureau. For example, use keywords such as “California state website” to find the state government website for California. Many of the state government websites will end in “.gov” or “.us.”
- Look on the real estate licensing bureau’s website to find a link that reads “check a license” or “verify a license.” Sometimes this link can be found within the “Consumer” section of the website.
- The license verification tool on each website will ask you to enter the real estate broker’s first and last name; however, in some cases, you may be required to enter their license number or the town or city they perform business in.
- Obtain contact information for your local real estate licensing bureau.
- Refer to your local phone directory to find government contact information for the Department of State (DOS). Usually, the DOS headquarters can provide you with contact information for your governing real estate licensing bureau.
- Call any real estate office in your local area to determine who regulates their real estate licenses.
- Although the National Association of Realtors does not regulate real estate licenses, you can call them at 1-800-874-6500 for information regarding who regulates the real estate licenses in your area.
- Provide the representative or hotline with your real estate broker’s information. You will be prompted for the broker’s name; although in some cases, you may be required to provide their license number and business address. You will then be given the status of that particular real estate broker’s license.
- If you learn that a real estate broker is practicing real estate, but does not have a valid license, you may want to file a complaint with your real estate licensing bureau to prevent the broker from performing unlawful business.