What is the Cost of a Real Estate License in California?

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Getting a California real estate license will cost around $515 for agents and $880 for brokers. You’ll then need to spend $305-360 every four years to keep your license active.

Here’s how the numbers break down.

Required Real Estate Courses - $99-$375+

Becoming a licensed specialist requires special education. The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) requires that applicants take college-level courses before applying for a license.

All agents must take three DRE-approved courses and brokers must take eight courses.

The cost of these courses varies significantly depending on the provider. State universities tend to be the most expensive while correspondence courses from a private real estate school are usually the most cost-effective.

You can expect to pay at least $99 for a salesperson 3-course package and $375 for the eight broker courses.

Exam Fee - $60-$95

The first fee you’ll have to pay the DRE is for the exam. To reserve your spot on test day you’ll have to pay $60 for the salesperson exam and $95 for the broker exam.

Retaking and Rescheduling

It pays to cram before the exam. Re-examination will cost another $60 for the salesperson exam and $95 for the broker exam. Need to reschedule your test? That will cost you another $15-20 the first time you reschedule and another $30 if you have to reschedule again.

Application Fee - $245-$300

The application fee will be due either before or after you pass the exam. (It depends on whether you submitted the joint exam/license application form.)

Original license fees are:

  • $245 for salespersons
  • $300 for brokers

Fingerprinting Fee - $49

California requires that all real estate license applicants be fingerprinted by a participating live scan service provider prior to being approved for a license. The DRE doesn’t collect a fee for this service, but the live scan provider will.

The fee for live scan printing is currently $49.

Continuing Education Fee - $60+

All agents and brokers must take 45 hours of continuing education before they can renew their license. Just like the initial required courses, the cost of continuing education will be based on who you select as a provider.

California CE real estate courses generally have a low cost of at least $60 for a 45-hour package, $50 for the CA salesperson/broker survey and $5-20 for individual courses.

Renewal Fee - $245-450

License renewal fees are a bit pricey in California, but since you only have to renew every four years the price-per-year isn’t too bad. However, if you miss the expiration deadline for renewal it will cost you extra.

Current renewal fees are:

  • $245 for a timely salesperson license renewal
  • $300 for a timely broker renewal
  • $367 for a late salesperson renewal
  • $450 for a late broker renewal

Miscellaneous Fees

You may or may not have to cover a number of miscellaneous fees, including:

  • Certified License History fee - $20
  • Prepaid Rental Listing Service License fee - $125
  • California Association of Realtors annual fee - $184
  • National Association of Realtors annual fee - $150
  • MLS listing fee - $95

There you have it! To enjoy a lucrative real estate career in California you’ll need to invest around $515-880 up front and $245-300 every four years.