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How to get your license: Real estate firms

Who needs a license?

Any business that conducts real estate brokerage services.


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)
    Send the letter by fax to 360.570.4982 or by email to reregulatory@dol.wa.gov.
  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. Apply for your firm license.

What you'll need

  • A SecureAccess Washington (SAW) account to apply online.
  • A Unified Business Identification (UBI).
  • Business license from Business Licensing Service. This document must show your DBA and all assumed names as registered trade names.
    • Business formation documents:
      • 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 broke

How to apply

You can apply online.

  • Prepare your documents for upload
  • Create your SAW account to apply and pay your fees online

Apply online

Next steps

To complete your application you must:

  • Add the firm’s designated broker.
  • Add the firm’s controlling interests. Your designated broker must be added as a controlling interest.
  • Submit your assumed name approval to Real Estate Regulatory at reregulatory@dol.wa.gov.
    • The request must be submitted by the person who is endorsed as the Designated Broker.

After you're approved

  • Register firm's new assumed name by filing a Business License Application with the Department of Revenue.
  • Log in to submit a copy of your Washington Business License showing the desired assumed name and pay the fee.

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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