Keep you Ontario real estate license – park your license with an Ontario real estate broker

Updated August 2017 with this piece of “real estate career advice“:

As the post referenced in the above tweet suggests, those intending to earn an Ontario real estate license should do so BEFORE the new Ontario real estate licensing process takes effect!


The rules governing your registration as an Ontario real estate salesperson or Ontario real estate broker are found in two sources:

A. The Ontario Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA) ; and

B. The regulations made pursuant to the Real Estate and Business Brokers Act (REBBA).

Those who are seeking to become or maintain their license as a salesperson or broker should read the statute and the rules. In addition, you must understand the REBBA code of ethics (they are the source of many OREA exam questions).

Your Ontario real estate is  valuable. You worked hard to get it. You have worked hard to provide value to your real estate clients. It has been the key to your real estate career. It takes money and time (in the form of continuing education) to maintain it. In order to maintain your registration with RECO you must:

1. Complete the RECO continuing education requirements every two years. These requirements are under the control and jurisdiction of RECO. The cost is $44 every two years.

2. Maintain your employment with an Ontario Real Estate Brokerage. (Agents must find a brokerage to employ them. Brokers are free to employ themselves as long as they have an existing brokerage).

Neither of these two requirements is particularly onerous. That said, they do cost time and money.

If your registration lapses and you don’t reactivate your registration within a prescribed period (I’ll leave it to you to check the exact number of days) you will have to start “all over”. When I say “all over”, I mean that you are given NO credit for your years as an agent or broker.

Therefore,  DO NOT let your registration lapse. Why would you let your registration lapse anyway?

How to keep your RECO Ontario “real estate license” active …

You are taking a break from working in the real estate industry you will NOT want to pay the fees to maintain your registration/employment with a broker that is part of Organized real estate. You should “keep your real estate license active” or (“park your real estate license”) with a “non-board” – a broker that is NOT part of “organized real estate. You will still maintain your RECO registration.

What’s the difference between these two kinds of brokerages?

Brokers that are part of “organized real estate”:  These are part of the TREB, OREA, CREA (or your local) network. They give you access to the MLS system. They are where you want to be when you are building your “real estate brand and business”. But, it will cost you money to be with these brokerages.

Understanding your RECO real estate fees that are mandatory regardless of your choice of broker:

Your license comes from RECO.  Once licensed, you are required to be employed by an Ontario real estate broker.

1. Fees mandated by RECO that are necessary to maintain your license. Remember that your license comes from RECO. RECO requires you to pay three kinds of fees:

A. Your registration fee which is renewed every two years – currently $390

B. Your RECO continuing education fee – currently $44

C. Your RECO insurance fee – currently $440 annually.

These fees are mandatory for you to maintain your real estate license.

(RECO updated their fee schedule effective January 1, 2017. You will find a list of current RECO fees here.)

2. Fees that are mandated by your broker (remember that you must be “employed by a broker” to maintain your license).

The fees will depend on the kind of broker.

A. For Brokers who ARE members of “Organized Real Estate“:

– TREB (or other local board), OREA and CREA fees

– possible desk fees, etc.

The fees to be with “organized real brokers” can add up. In fact, a large number of licensed real estate professions do NOT generate enough commissions to pay these fees. If you are “taking a break” from real estate, you will CERTAINLY NOT want to pay these fees.

B. For brokers that are NOT part of organized real estate

A broker that is NOT part of “organized real estate” is NOT a member of the TREB, OREA, CREA network. They may or may not actively carry on the business of helping the public buy and sell real estate. Often they don’t, because they exist for one purpose only:

The purpose is to allow you to “park your license”, “keep your license”, “store your license”, “hang your license” (all these terms mean the same thing) at a brokerage.

The benefits are:

1. You will pay a nominal fee (only the fees payable to RECO) to maintain your registration;

2. As an “active member” you are still entitled to “referral fees“.

This is preferable to allowing your registration to lapse!

Remember that you must still pay your RECO fees (including insurance and continuing education).

Please note that: Only those who are part of “organized real estate” – the TREB,OREA, CREA network can use the term “Realtor”. If you “park your license” with a broker that is NOT part of organized real estate you are prohibited by law from using the world “Realtor” in conjunction with your advertising. The word “realtor” is a trademark owned by “organized real estate”.

This means that if your broker is NOT part of the TREB, OREA, CREA network (“organized real estate”) you cannot use the term “Realtor” (or use the “.realtor” email address).

A final thought …

What if you have just finished the “pre-registration stage” of the licensing program. You must now complete the two year articling period and complete your final exams. This is the process to becoming a real estate agent in Ontario.

Question: Can you complete the “articling period” with a broker that is NOT part of “organized real estate”? The answer appears to be yes. This option would appeal to those who want to earn their real estate license BEFORE using the license to make a living!

Food for thought!

If you would like a referral for a reputable Ontario Real Estate Broker to “Park your license” please contact us with the following form:

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