Learn how to apply for a license to operate a real estate firm.
Who needs a license?
Any business that conducts real estate brokerage services.
How to apply
Follow the steps below to apply for a real estate firm license.
1. Get firm name approval
Get your firm name approved by the Department of Licensing (DOL) prior to applying for the Firm with DOL and the Office of the Secretary of State or obtaining the Business License through Department of Revenue by emailing Real Estate Regulatory or faxing a brief cover letter with:
- Your name
- Contact information
- Designated Broker's name
- Desired firm name
- Any doing business as (DBA) names (If you're a Sole Proprietorship, we recommend having a DBA name. There is no fee for the DBA name.)
- Any assumed names you wish to use
You'll receive a reply within 5-7 business days.
2. File with the Secretary of State, if applicable
Corporations, limited partnerships (LP), limited liability limited partnerships (LLLP), and limited liability companies/partnerships (LLC/LLP) must file appropriate business formation paperwork with the Office of the Secretary of State (OSOS).
Sole proprietorships and general partnerships don't need to file with OSOS.
3. File with the Department of Revenue
File a business license application with the Department of Revenue (DOR) to get a Unified Business Identifier (UBI) number. You can also register your DBA and any assumed names as trade names.
4. Appoint your designated broker
Complete a Real Estate Endorsement Application to appoint a managing broker as the designated broker who has controlling interest in the firm. Controlling interest means that the designated broker has the ability to control the operational and/or financial decisions in the firm.
5. Gather the required documents
Prepare these documents to upload:
- Business license (must show your DBA and all assumed names as trade names)
- Business formation documents, if applicable:
- Articles of Incorporation (corporation)
- Certificate of Formation (LLC or LLP)
- Certificate of Limited Partnership (LP or LLLP)
- Partnership Agreement (general partnership)
- Real Estate Endorsement Application
- Name approval email from Real Estate Regulatory, and if applicable, a completed Assumed Name application
Have this information ready to be entered online:
- Name of managing broker who will be the Designated Broker
- License number of the Designated Broker
List of all owners and persons with a controlling interest in this firm. The Designated Broker must be granted controlling interest, whether or not they have ownership interest
6. Submit your application
You can submit your application online or by mail.
Submit your application online
You'll receive your license faster by applying and paying online.
Don't have a SAW account? Learn how to create a SAW account.
Submit your application by mail
Real Estate Licensing
Department of Licensing
PO Box 3856
Olympia, WA 98507-3856
1. Get an assumed name endorsement
If your firm will use assumed names, you must have an assumed name endorsement for each name in addition to your firm license. See Assumed names: Real estate firms.
2. Get a branch office license
If you plan to open branch offices, you must get a branch office license for each location in addition to your firm license. See Get your license: Real estate branch office.
3. Change the business structure of the firm
If you change the business structure of your firm (e.g. from a Sole Proprietorship to a LLP), you will need to submit a new Firm Application as instructed above including getting name approval. In addition, the Designated Broker will need to include a Designated Broker Closing Firm/Branch Affidavit form to close the old firm the day the new firm application is approved.