Wisconsin Property Management License

9 Replies

Hi everyone!

I'm looking to get some information regarding property management and what is required to start a management company. I know you need to have Sales License as well as Brokers, but how does the Brokers license work? Do you need to take the classes as well as test for both licenses? Do I need to be appointed through a real estate company? Also, where is the best place to attain these license? I appreciate anyone's help!

I don't believe you need to have any special license in wisconsin but some counties might have specific and more rigid guidelines. 

I believe @Kyle Hipp  is correct, no license is required to operate a management company.

@Korey Enstad  to answer your questions regarding the salesperson and broker license they are two different classes and exams.  It used to be that you could take the class and exam for the salesperson and then turn around the next day and start the class for the brokers exam.  This is no longer the case.  The state has changed the requirements and now you have to meet certain sales requirements as a salesperson to be eligible for the brokers class. This means that you would need to work under an already existing brokerage before becoming a broker yourself.

I took both classes and text through the WRA.  The have a few different coarse options to help with flexibility.

@Korey Enstad  - do you do home insurance?  I am looking for coverage for some properties I am buying in Milwaukee

In WI, you must hold a broker's license in order to manage other people's property. "Holding a broker's license" is a relative term. You only need one person in the company or group who actually has a broker's license. You can manage as many of your own properties as you want, no license required.

"Holding a broker's license ->  is a relative term. 

You only need one person in the company or group who 

actually has a broker's license. You can manage as many of 

your own properties as you want, no license required. "

Just an example : 


Mike works for XYZ Realty and property managing for Ellen.

Mike broker company have internal property management 

division already in-place.

Every time Mike receives a monthly property management payment,

he must give check to XYZ Realty. 

In return XYZ Realty takes out _% fees and cut a separate check to Mike.

Mike has E&O insurance through his broker.

Opposite situations:


Mike and Jaime own 10 properties and self property managing.

No broker license or fees paid to XYZ Realty is need.

From what I'm understanding you need the brokers license to manage other properties which I do not own. If I want to start a management business than manages properties other than mine I need to be appointed by a realty company or get my brokers license. Corrrect? Is it reasonable to get my sales/brokers license or attainable? I would like to avoid the realty company if possible unless it is the only option. Has anyone had experience in starting a mgt company? I believe I would be offering customer service far superior than all of the very large mgt companies.

Thank you for everyone's input I really appreciate it!

In WI, a property owner is allowed to hire a non-licensed property manager, but the activities of that non-licensed individual are limited.

This is what the non-licensed individual CAN do:

  1. a) Show rental units
  2. b) Provide information
  3. c) Collect rents
  4. d) Transmit documents between the owner and renters

This is what the non-licensed individual CANNOT do:

  1. a) Negotiate lease terms
  2. b) Sign leases on behalf of the property owner

Source:  WI Realtors Association

Are property managers required to carry some sort of insurance?  Also, does the property management company have to have a broker? I looked it up on line and it seems like it is saying yes, you do. 

Must Wisconsin property management companies have a real estate broker's license?

YES. Key components of property management (leasing and renting) are considered real estate activities under existing Wisconsin real estate licensing laws. If a property manager is going to negotiate, or offer to negotiate the rental of an interest in real estate, or promote the rental or leasing of real estate, he or she will need a broker's license. A salesperson working under a broker may engage in such activities.

Are there any exceptions to the requirement that a Wisconsin property manager hold a real estate broker's license?

YES. For example, any custodian, janitor, employee or agent of the owner or manager of a residential building who exhibits a residential unit therein to prospective tenants, accepts applications for leases and furnishes such prospective tenants with information relative to the rental of such unit, terms and conditions of leases required by the owner or manager, and similar information, is exempt.

For more information about these and other Wisconsin property management requirements and exceptions, please contact the Wisconsin Real Estate Examining Board.

Before hiring a property manager to manage your Wisconsin rental property, you should always check that he or she is licensed appropriately. You can check the license status of Wisconsin property managers using the Wisconsin License Lookup Tool.

Has the advice turned out to be true?  I ask because my wife and I are interested in doing the same in Northwest Wisconsin. If not, and you discovered other options/requirement let me know, please. 

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