California Real Estate Broker License Requirements

Are you considering getting your California real estate broker license? 

The California real estate broker license requirements are naturally more challenging than the requirements for  California real estate sales agents. But the rewards may be well worth the extra effort. Especially for business-minded, self-starters! You’ll need to meet some of the same basic requirements met to get your salesperson license, get some real estate experience, add some extra real estate education, pass an exam, and pay your licensing fee. 

Let’s look at the California real estate broker license requirements in more detail.

General requirements

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE), which is the state board responsible for licensing real estate professionals, has three key California real estate broker license requirements. 

  1. Age: You must be at least 18 years old.

  2. Residency: You must be a lawful resident of the United States. If you’re not a California resident, you’ll need to complete the required Out-of-State Forms

  3. Honesty: The DRE wants to know that you are truthful, and they need to be aware of any criminal record. Lying on your broker application is grounds for denial. 

As long as you meet these general requirements, you can proceed to the real estate experience requirements.

Experience requirements

To meet the California real estate broker license requirements for experience, you have two options:

  1. Earn a Bachelor’s Degree from an accredited college or university with a major or minor in real estate.

  2. Gain two years’ real estate sales experience or equivalent (documented via Form RE 226). Equivalent experience includes careers in fields like property management, real estate development, escrow processing, and mortgage lending (documented via Form RE 227).

To reiterate, as long as you have real-world real estate experience, you do not need a college degree to get your California broker’s license.

Education requirements

Of course you will still need a broker-specific education to prepare you for your new career as a broker. This education requirement is met with eight college-level courses, which include:

  1. Real Estate Practices

  2. Legal Aspects of Real Estate

  3. Real Estate Finance

  4. Real Estate Appraisal

  5. Real Estate Economics or Accounting

  6. Three electives from the following list:

    • Real Estate Principles

    • Business Law

    • Property Management

    • Escrow

    • Real Estate Office Administration

    • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending

    • Advanced Legal Aspects of Real Estate

    • Advanced Real Estate Finance

    • Advanced Real Estate Appraisal

    • Computer Applications in Real Estate

    • Common Interest Developments

Special exception: if you take both real estate economics and accounting, you’ll need only two electives instead of three.

You can use any state-approved provider to meet your education requirement, but some providers are better than others. To make your education as enjoyable and memorable as possible, focus on schools that provide engaging curriculum (instead of just textbooks). And if you’re in a rush, prioritize online real estate schools, especially those that offer mobile-first design so you can study directly from your phone!   

License/exam application and fee requirements

You’ll need to apply to take your California broker exam. The good news is that you can apply for your broker license at the same time. Since broker license applications take six to eight weeks to process, you can have the DRE working through that process while you focus on your exam. You also have the option to submit these applications separately (to avoid paying both fees at once), but that can easily add several weeks or longer to the process. 

To meet this application and fee requirement, you’ll need to submit:

Heads up: fingerprints are also part of your exam requirement. If you haven’t already been fingerprinted by the DRE, now’s the time. 

Exam requirements

Before you officially qualify for your California real estate broker license, you need to pass the California real estate broker exam. The five-hour exam (with a break in the middle) consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. To pass, you’ll need to score 75% or better.   

Considering the many benefits of a career as a broker, including unlimited income potential and the power to run your own business, the California real estate broker license requirements are perfectly manageable. 

So what are you waiting for? Get started on the path to your new career today! 

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