What is the California DRE and What Do They Do?


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The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) is the governing body responsible for licensing and regulating real estate professionals operating in the state of California. 

If you’re interested in earning your California real estate license or your California broker license, the California DRE will review your license application and issue your license. They will also handle your real estate license renewals. 

How do I get my real estate license from the California DRE?

A California real estate license (also commonly called a salesperson license) authorizes you to represent buyers and sellers in real estate transactions. There are six basic steps for getting your California real estate license from the California DRE:

  1. Confirm that you meet the age, residency, and honesty requirements listed on the DRE website

  2. Complete your 135-hours of required real estate education from any state-approved real estate school.

  3. Apply to take your real estate exam through the DRE eLicensing portal. You have the option of applying for your real estate license at the same time if you’ve already chosen a supervising broker.

  4. Pass your California real estate exam.

  5. Choose a broker to supervise your work (if you haven’t already).

  6. Apply for your California real estate license (if you didn’t file a combination application in step three).

It can take the California DRE six to eight weeks to process your real estate license application, so if you’re able to choose a broker and apply for your license at the same time as you’re applying to tax your exam, you can save some serious processing time!

How do I get my broker license from the California DRE?

Having a California broker license allows you to work independently, to hire other agents to work under you, and even to launch your own real estate firm. Getting your California broker license from the California DBPR is very similar to the process for getting your real estate salesperson license. It just requires more education, some real estate experience, and a broker-specific state exam.  

  1. Confirm that you meet the age, residency, and honesty requirements listed on the DRE website

  2. Gain documented real estate experience in one of two ways:

    • Earn a four-year degree from an accredited college or university with a major or minor in real estate, or

    • Document two years’ experience as a real estate agent or equivalent experience. Equivalent experience could be work in fields like property management or real estate development.

  3. Whether you have a degree or not, you’ll be required to complete eight college-level real estate courses from any state-approved real estate school.

  4. Apply to take your broker exam through the DRE eLicensing portal. You have the option of applying for your broker license at the same time.

  5. Pass your California broker exam.

  6. Apply for your California real estate license (if you didn’t file a combination application in step four).

Again, it can take several weeks for the California DRE to process your broker license application, so if you’re in a hurry, it makes sense to apply for your license when you apply to take your exam. 

How do I renew my real estate license or broker license with the California DRE?

The California DRE makes it easy to renew your real estate license or broker license online. The DRE’s eLicensing system handles this process for you. Simply log in and renew your license before the deadline. 

Audrey Ference


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