Requirements to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in California

Considering all the benefits of a career in real estate, the requirements to becoming a real estate agent in California are surprisingly minimal. You’ll need to meet some basic requirements, get a real estate education, pass an exam, find a broker, and pay your licensing fee. No college degree or work experience needed!  

Let’s look at the requirements to becoming a real estate agent in California 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 requirements for anyone looking to become a real estate agent in California. 

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

  2. Residency: You must be a lawful resident of the United States. You don’t have to be a resident of  California, but you’ll need to complete the required Out-of-State Forms if you aren’t living in California. 

  3. Honesty: You must be honest and truthful. If you have a criminal conviction on your record, you must disclose this in your real estate license application. A conviction won’t automatically prevent you from becoming a real estate agent in California, but the DRE will need to factor in your conviction before approving your application. Failing to truthfully disclose any conviction will result in the denial of your license application.

If you meet these three general requirements to becoming a real estate agent in California, you can move on to the next requirement: getting your real estate education.

Education requirements

To become a real estate agent in California, you must complete 135 hours of pre-licensing real estate education. Your education will consist of three college-level courses:

  1. Real Estate Principles (45 hours)

  2. Real Estate Practices (45 hours)

  3. A real estate elective, chosen from the following list (45 hours):

    • Real Estate Appraisal

    • Property Management

    • Real Estate Finance

    • Real Estate Economics

    • Legal Aspects of Real Estate

    • Real Estate Office Administration

    • General Accounting

    • Business Law

    • Escrows

    • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending

    • Computer Applications in Real Estate

    • Common Interest Developments

Choose your course provider carefully. While any state-approved provider can help you meet this requirement, some providers are better than others. You want to find a provider that offers engaging coursework (instead of a PDF textbook). And if you have a busy lifestyle, a provider that offers mobile-first design (so you can study on-the-go directly from your phone) is a major plus! 

The most important thing is that you find a real estate school that will prepare you for the next requirement to becoming a real estate agent in California: passing your California real estate exam. 

Exam requirements

You are required to pass the California real estate exam before you can get your California real estate license.  To pass the exam, you’ll need to score 70% or better. The three-hour exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. 

If you don’t pass the exam on your first try (which is common in California as the exam is considered to be fairly difficult), you can retake the exam. Just know that there is a $60 exam fee charged for each attempt.   

Supervision requirements

The state of California requires that all real estate agents be supervised by a licensed California broker. To meet this requirement, you simply need to choose a broker to work under. Invest some time in interviewing several brokers to find one that will be a good fit for you.  

License application and fee requirements

The final requirement to becoming a real estate agent in California is to complete your license application and pay your original licensing fee of $245.

If this list of requirements sounds difficult or expensive, just consider the alternative. Most careers that provide the prestige and income potential of real estate require college degrees. Compared to the time and expense of a four-year college education, these requirements are minimal. Instead of four years and tens of thousands of dollars, you’ll be ready to start your new career in just a few months with less than $1,000.

So get started on these requirements to becoming a real estate agent in California, and get ready to launch your new career!  

Kayla Zamora

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