Beginner’s guide on getting your real estate license in California


California is the land of opportunity, success and dreams for countless people in the country.

Be it San Francisco, Los Angeles, San Diego or Oxnard, the real estate market is one of the hottest with a steady demand post pandemic.

Getting a state issued license is the first step towards starting a real estate career as an agent or a broker in most of the states in the country.

Even in California, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) has mandated that every aspiring real estate professional must obtain their license from the state’s real estate licensing authority, which is the Department of Real Estate (DRE).

Anyone who wants to participate in the sale, purchase, lease or renting of commercial and residential real estate must comply with the state laws and obtain an official license first.

For many aspirants, navigating the complex world of real estate can be a daunting task. This is where you need guidance and support to make sure you are on the right path.

If you are ready to embark on this exciting journey, we have put together this step-by-step guide to help you get started.

We want to share the entire process including all the steps you need to take to get your real estate license in California quickly and easily.

What are the Real Estate Licensing Requirements in California

The Department of Real Estate in California establishes and enforces a set of laws, rules and guidelines related to the issuance of licenses and their renewal.

Be it a real estate agent or a broker, if you want to obtain your state issued license in California, you have to meet the basic requirements to become eligible for the same.

Here’s a quick summary of the basic eligibility requirements:

  • Every individual must be above the legal age of 18 years of older. They are required to submit the legal proof of their age through a birth certificate or a state or federal document.
  • Every individual must have a valid proof of being a legal California native resident or a lawfully admitted alien. Note that for non-residents, there might be additional eligibility requirements.
  • Every applicant must be willing to disclose their background and undergo an identity verification process to disclose any criminal convictions or charges of felony.

Only if you can fulfill the above criteria, you will be eligible to proceed further in the journey of getting your real estate license.

Simple Steps to obtain a Real Estate License in California

Many first time applicants find the journey to becoming a licensed agent difficult and complicated.

However, we have put together all the steps in a structured way to help you get started.

Step 1: Complete your pre-licensing education

Education is paramount to get started in any career. Similarly, to get your California agent license, you must first complete pre-licensing education.

Completing the pre-licensing education requires completion of 135 hours of coursework from a state approved education provider.

To understand the laws, regulations, rules and operating principles of the real estate industry, completing your pre-licensing education is a must.

California requires every aspiring real estate professional to learn about the guiding principles, laws, rules and regulations of the industry.

Listed below are the two mandatory courses you will have to complete:

  • Principles of Real Estate (45 hours)
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)

In addition to the above, you will be required to complete one elective course during your pre-licensing training (45 houses).

Choosing an elective should be based on your area of interest or specialization. You can choose from a list of electives, some of them including:

  • Real estate appraisal
  • Real estate finance
  • Property Management
  • Escrows
  • Business Law
  • Real Estate Economics
  • General Accounting

When it comes to completing the pre-licensing education, you have many options from joining a real estate college or school in California to enrolling in an online course.

Many students prefer to join online course providers like RealEstateU to complete their pre-licensing education. Click here to learn more.

This gives students the time and flexibility to complete the coursework at their own pace and flexibility.

Another advantage of online courses is the option to seek the assistance and guidance of trainers as per your convenience. This means you can prepare without any obstructions.

Step 2 : Clear the State Licensing Exam

After your pre-licensing education is completed, you can proceed to the next step of the licensing journey i.e. the California licensing exam.

The licensing exam is a test which evaluates your preparation for the industry and assesses whether you understand the laws and guidelines or not.

To schedule your exam day and date, you can book an online appointment using the official website of the Department of Real Estate California.

It is a comprehensive assessment test to gauge how well you know the industry, the state and federal laws and the principles of real estate.

You will face 150 multiple choice questions in total and you will have to attempt them in a duration of 3 hours. The passing score for the exam is 70% or above.

Step 3: Find a Sponsoring Broker

After clearing the state licensing exam, you will obtain your California real estate license within a few weeks.

However, to start working in the industry, you will need to find a sponsoring broker with an active license.

This is a mandatory step to start working in the industry and helping clients buy, sell or lease properties.

Working under the supervision of a senior broker will give you real-world experience and knowledge of California’s real estate market.

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