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An unexpected illness, a new opportunity, a change in the market, or a change in your personal life: These are all common reasons why Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) license holders may take a break from the business.

Whether your break is planned or unexpected, setting your sales agent, broker, or inspector license to inactive status before your renewal or renewing as inactive is the best move if you want return to the real estate business in the future. Here’s why.

Inactive License Holders Have Fewer—and Easier—Renewal Steps

Inactive licenses are current licenses. Although you must still pay to renew your license every two years while on inactive status, you can do so without completing continuing education (CE). Keeping your license current—even on inactive status—means you won’t have to start over and re-take the licensing exam.

When you are ready to return to real estate brokerage activities, you will need to complete your required CE first and then submit a request to activate your license. If you’re a sales agent, you will need to request that a broker sponsor you. If you’re a real estate inspector or apprentice inspector, you will need to submit a Real Estate Apprentice and Inspector Sponsorship Form.

Couldn’t I Do Nothing?

If you take no action to renew your license as active or inactive, your license will eventually expire. An expired license is not a current license. Once your license has been expired for more than two years, you will have to re-apply for your license and follow any current requirements for education and examination. Essentially, you will undergo the license application process all over again, including a full background check, with whatever new rules are in place when you return.

Do’s and Don’ts for Going on Inactive Status

  • Do log in to Online Licensing Service Portal to manage your status. Sales agents should terminate sponsorship and inactivate your license under Manage My Sponsorships (Sales), while brokers and inspectors can use the portal to request inactive status. If you prefer, you can email the Application for Inactive Broker or Sales Agent Status form or Application for Inactive Inspector Status.
  • Don’t go inactive if you need to earn SAE. SAE requirements cannot be deferred. You cannot renew as active or inactive until you complete the required education.
  • Do keep your contact information up to date with TREC, even if you are inactive.
  • Don’t engage in real estate brokerage activities while you are on inactive status. Don’t negotiate a real estate transaction between third parties or you could be subject to disciplinary action by TREC.
  • Don’t collect referral fees or commissions unless these fees were earned while you were on active status.