Real Estate in California

The State of California Department of Real Estate oversees the real estate industry in California. Their focus is on protecting the public The five district offices are located in Sacramento, Fresno, Los Angeles, Oakland and San Diego. 127,000 people holding are licensed real estate brokers and over 321,900 people are licensed real estate salespeople in California.

Background for Potential Real Estate Agents

In order to become a real estate agent in California you must be at least 18 years old. As an applicant for a real estate salesperson license you must provide proof that you are a legal resident of the United States. You do not need to be a resident of California. California does not have a reciprocity agreement for any other state, so if you are licensed elsewhere it won't count in California. If you have been convicted of a crime, you may be denied a license. You must be fingerprinted and pay a $56 fingerprinting fee in order to take the exam. No experience is necessary, however.

Education Required to Sell Real Estate

You must complete three real estate courses, as specified by the Department of Real Estate before taking the examination or within 18 months of taking it. Three semester-units or four quarter-units at college level from an accredited school or college, or a class from a private real estate school approved by the Department of Real Estate can be used to meet these pre-licensure requirements.

Requirements for Becoming a Broker

You must be a full-time real estate salesperson for at least two years out of the last five in order to qualify to be a real estate broker. Equivalent experience may be relevant. Eight approved college-level courses are necessary in order to apply for a broker license in California. Continuing education courses won't count, and these courses must be completed before scheduling the exam.

Examination Fees

You may file your application for either the real estate salesperson license or the broker license online. The salesperson license has an exam fee of $25, the broker exam, $50. The actual license fee for a salesperson is $120, or $145 if you've not completed your coursework. The license fee for a broker is  $165.

If you hold a California real estate broker license, you must maintain a California business address if you intend to do business in California. If you are not engaging in business in California, you must file an Out-Of-State Broker Acknowledgment, form RE-235. Many of the forms required by the state of California are available online.

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