How To Get Your California Real Estate License

If you want to sell real estate in California, you need a California Real Estate License. Becoming a CA Realtor is relatively simple, as long as you’re at least 18 years old. It’s a matter of completing your education and then passing the exam. In this post, we’ll go through the process of applying for your California real estate license.

How Hard Is It To Get A Real Estate License In California?

You’re required to be at least 18 years old to apply for your California Real Estate License. You should also preferably have a clear criminal record to qualify for an estate license. If you meet those criteria, there’s also education to keep in mind. You must complete at least three college-level courses at an accredited institution before taking the exam.

Accredited institutions where you can get the necessary education include the California State University, University of California, and Community Colleges. There are also many accredited private institutions that you can study through. It’s crucial to confirm your chosen institution’s accreditation is recognized. You can check this on the California State Department of Real Estate website.

You have some options when it comes to choosing your education path. You may opt to study full-time, part-time, or through a correspondence course. The rules regarding correspondence courses are a little stricter. If you choose a distance learning course, you may not complete more than two courses in five weeks.

If you’re under the age of 18, you may start taking real estate California courses. You’ll just have to wait before taking the California real estate license exam.

What Should You Study?

Real Estate Principles and Real Estate Practice are compulsory courses for all real estate agents in the state of California. You must then select one of the following courses to complete your education:

  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Office Administration
  • Business Law
  • General Accounting
  • Escrows
  • Computer Applications in Real Estate
  • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
  • Common Interest Developments

If you’re willing to apply yourself, you’ll have your California real estate license within a few months. If you’d like, you may add more courses and work towards your Associate of Arts

Degree in real estate. Keep in mind that continuing education in real estate principles will be crucial as the industry is always evolving.

There’s just one thing before you make your final choice. Are you going to act as a real estate agent straight away? If so, you’ll need to find a sponsoring broker to mentor you. A newly qualified real estate salesperson must work under the supervision of a California broker with a valid license.

If you don’t intend to practice as an estate agent straight away, you may skip this step and apply for your California Real Estate license. You’ll still have to work with a broker when you intend to start practicing, though.

Find A Responsible Broker

Why’d we recommend that you not finalize your course selection until finding an estate broker? Different brokers may choose to specialize in various property types. As you’ll be working closely with them as a real estate agent, it makes sense to understand what is required before jumping into a program.

This list of brokers from the California State Department of Real Estate will make your choice simpler. The list includes the courses required for each broker.

You’ll need to earn your California real estate license before you can sign up with any realtors in California. Making your selection upfront is purely an exercise to help you streamline your course selection.

What Should You Look For In A Sponsor Broker?

Think of your sponsor as a mentor, they’re there to provide you with guidance and helpful insights. A great mentor will help you put your newly acquired real estate license to good use. A bad mentor might teach you bad habits.

To qualify as a real estate broker also means sitting for the California real estate exam. Brokers, however, must have a more extensive knowledge base.

Here are some of the things that you’ll want to check before deciding:

  • The broker’s reputation and whether or not their license is current
  • What type of real estate they sell and whether this matches your ambitions or not
  • If they’ve sponsored a real estate salesperson before or not
  • What support they give a new estate agent
  • The commission structure and benefits that they offer
  • Whether or not they provide support like marketing materials and leads.
  • If they’ve got room for one more agent

Get Out There And Study

Now you know what your optional course is, it’s up to complete your education. Once you’ve completed your basic course work, you can opt to add an extra course or two if you prefer.

Study hard, because you’ll need at least seventy percent to qualify for your license.

When you’re confident that you know the information well, it’s time to apply to take the license exam.

How To Apply To Take The License Exam

Step One

You’ll start by downloading the appropriate form. There are two options here. You can apply to write the license exam only. If that’s what you’d prefer, you’ll need to complete this form. This application will cost you $60.

If you’re confident that you’ll pass the exam, you can save time by applying for your license at the same time. You should be very sure about this as the fees are non-refundable. Applying for the license at the same time costs an extra $245. If you decide to go this route, you’ll need to complete this form.

You’ll need to include your payment with your application. You may use a check, money order, or credit card to pay. The department won’t accept cash through the mail. Make money orders and checks payable to the Department of Real Estate.

Should you have a disability, you’re required to complete this form in order to receive special provisions, such as extra time when taking the exam.

It’s crucial to complete these forms honestly. If you do have a criminal history, you should list your offenses. The state will perform a criminal records search anyway. Lying about your criminal history automatically disqualifies you from receiving your license.

Not all offenses will disqualify you automatically. Check the list of disqualifying offenses before you apply to make sure that you may apply for a license.

Step Two

You’ll need to supply copies of your transcripts to prove that you meet the requirements. You will get these from the educational institution when you complete your course.

Whether you need supporting documents to prove your disability depends on its nature. If it’s easily observable, you only need the application forms mentioned above. Needing a wheelchair is an example of an apparent disability.

You don’t need any other documents if your request is limited to equipment needs or seating arrangements.

If your disability is not apparent, you’ll need to add a professional verification from your doctor. Someone wanting to bring in an emotional support animal is an example here. You can learn more about what a professional verification must include here.

Step Three

Mail your application, along with the supporting documents, and the appropriate fee to:

Department of Real Estate

Examination Section

P.O. Box 137001

Sacramento, CA 95813-7001

It’ll take around six weeks to process the application. If you’re successful, you’ll receive an Examination Schedule Notice.

Step Four

Schedule your final exam using the eLicensing system online. You’ll need to choose the appropriate license exam date, time, and location. You have up to two years from your notice date to write your license exam.

Step Five

If you have not already done so, you may now apply for your California real estate license. To do so, you must complete this form and submit your license application to the address listed above.

How much does it cost to get a real estate license in California? The fee is $245. You’ll also need to pay to have your fingerprints taken. Fingerprints can be taken via a Livescan provider or in the department’s offices. If you choose the former, you’ll need to take this form with you.

Final Notes

That wraps up how to get your real estate license in California. It’s not an overly tedious process, but to have a smooth licensing process, you need to make sure you provide all the required information. Good luck with your exam and your new career as a real estate agent.

Keep in mind that you won’t be putting the books down after you pass the exam, being a competitive real estate agent means committing to continuing education to keep your real estate career focused.

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