How to get your license: Real estate firms

Who needs a license?

Any business that conducts real estate brokerage services.

Requirements

The real estate firm must appoint one managing broker as the designated broker who has controlling interest in the firm. “Controlling interest” means the designated broker has the ability to control the operational and/or financial decisions in the firm.

Before you apply

You must take the following steps in this order:

  1. Check with us to see if the firm name and other business names you want to use are available by sending a brief cover letter including:
    • Your name
    • Contact information
    • Desired firm name
    • Desired doing business as (DBA) name (optional – this name will appear on your real estate firm license)
    • Any desired assumed names for your business other than your DBA (optional)
    • You may send the letter by fax to 360.570.4982 or by email to reregulatory@dol.wa.gov. You will receive notification within 5–7 business days.
  2. Wait for a name approval email from us before continuing.
  3. After your business names are approved:
    • Sole proprietors and general partnerships, go to step 4.
    • Corporations, limited partnerships (LP/LLLP) and limited liability companies/partnerships (LLCs/LLPs) must file appropriate business formation paperwork (sos.wa.gov) with the Washington Secretary of State. Then go to step 4.
  4. File a business license application with Business Licensing Service of the Department of Revenue to get a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number and to register your DBA and any assumed names as trade names.
  5. You are now ready to apply for your firm license.

How to apply

  1. Login to apply. You’ll need:
    • Your UBI number, Business ID, and Location (all found on your business license from Business Licensing Service).
    • The following documents, ready for upload. See Uploading Document Instructions.
      • Business license from Business Licensing Service. This document must show your DBA and all assumed names as registered trade names.
      • Business formation document, if applicable:
        • Corporation – Articles of Incorporation
        • Limited liability companies or partnerships (LLC or LLP) – Certificate of Formation
        • Limited partnerships (LP or LLLP) – Certificate of Limited Partnership
        • General Partnership – Partnership Agreement
      • The name and license number of your designated broker
      • Visa, MasterCard, or American Express credit or debit card to pay license fee.
  2. After you’ve completed the online process, you’ll see your Initial Application dashboard. To complete your application, you must:
    • Add the firm’s controlling interests. Click Add on the Controlling Interest row of the dashboard and follow the on-screen instructions. Your designated broker must be added as a controlling interest.
    • Add the firm’s designated broker. Click Add on the Designated broker row of the dashboard and follow the on-screen instructions. This process requires the designated broker to respond to an email invitation automatically sent from the system.
  3. If you want to license assumed names, submit by mail a separate Assumed Name Application for each assumed name you want to use. You don’t need to submit an Assumed Name Application for the DBA that appears on your firm license.

Branch offices

If you plan to open branch offices, you must get a branch office license for each location in addition to the firm license.

Questions? Need help?

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