Pulaski, WI asked in Real Estate Law for Wisconsin

Q: Is it a law in WI to sell others property without a real estate license and what can be the outcome if caught?

What is the fine or jail time per occurrence? Is it a felony?

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1 Lawyer Answer
Thomas B. Burton
Thomas B. Burton
  • Eau Claire, WI
  • Licensed in Wisconsin

A: Wis. Stat. 452.17 provides the penalties for selling real estate without a license and reads as follows:

452.17  Penalties.

(1)  Any person who engages in or follows the business or occupation of, or advertises or holds himself or herself out as or acts temporarily or otherwise as a broker or salesperson in this state without a license under this chapter shall be prosecuted by the district attorney in the county where the violation occurs or by the attorney general and may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned not more than 6 months or both.

(3) Any person who otherwise violates any provision of this chapter may be fined not more than $1,000 or imprisoned for not more than 6 months or both.

Chapter 452 of the Wisconsin statutes contains the rules regarding real estate practice in the State of Wisconsin. Wis. Stat. 452.03 provides the definition of a broker or salesperson under Wisconsin statutes.

452.03  Brokers and salespersons licensed.

(1)  Except as provided in s. 452.137, no person may engage in or follow the business or occupation of, or advertise or hold himself or herself out as, or act temporarily or otherwise as a broker or salesperson without a license issued under this chapter. The board may grant a license only to a person who is competent to transact that business or occupation in a manner that safeguards the interests of the public, and only after satisfactory proof of the person's competence has been presented to the board.

(2) No license under this chapter is required for an individual who, on behalf of and under the direction of a firm or one or more licensees associated with a firm, provides the firm or licensee with services that are limited to those that are purely administrative, clerical, or personal in nature.

Note that the above statutes do not prohibit someone from selling their own real estate as a For Sale by Owner property, they do however prevent someone without a real estate license from engaging in the business of acting as a broker or salesperson for others without a license. If you have further questions regarding the laws surrounding real estate practice, I suggest you consult with a real estate attorney in your area who can answer your specific questions.

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