How To Renew Your Real Estate License In California

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You took the required real estate courses, passed the license exam and have been working as a real estate agent in California for several years. Congratulations!

But if you want to keep handling transactions you’ll need to renew your license. California agents are lucky in that they only have to renew their license every four years instead of every two years like agents in some other states. It’s not as involved as getting a license, but it takes a little bit more work than filling out a form.

Required Continuing Education Before Renewal

Before you reach the expiration date on your license, you’ll need to complete 45 hours of continuing education that’s been approved by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE). The courses you have to take depend on the type of license you have and whether you’re renewing for the first time.

First-Time Salespersons

The 45 hours of continuing education for first-time salespersons must include:

  • Five 3-hour courses in agency, ethics, fair housing, risk management, and trust fund handling
  • 18 hours of consumer protection courses
  • 12 hours of consumer service courses or consumer protection courses

First-Time Brokers

The 45 hours of continuing education for first-time brokers must include:

  • Six 3-hour courses in agency, ethics, fair housing, management and supervision, risk management and trust fund handling
  • 18 hours of consumer protection courses
  • 12 hours of consumer service courses or consumer protection courses

Salespersons and Brokers Seeking a Subsequent Renewal

The 45 hours of continuing education for salespersons and brokers seeking a subsequent renewal must include:

  • An 8-hour survey course or individual courses in agency, ethics, fair housing, management and supervision, risk management, and trust fund handling
  • 18 hours of consumer protection courses
  • 12 hours of consumer service courses or consumer protection courses

Submit the Renewal Application Online

Once you’ve knocked out the DRE-approved continuing education courses you can submit a renewal application. You can fill out paper forms and mail them in, but the quickest and easiest way to submit is online through the eLicensing system.

You’ll be asked for some basic information as well as the course numbers and completion dates of your continuing education courses. Pay the renewal fee ($245 for salespersons/$300 for brokers) and you’re done.

Submitting Early Versus Submitting Late

It pays to submit your renewal early - literally. The DRE allows agents and brokers to renew up to 90 days before a license expires. Get your renewal in before the expiration date and you can keep using your existing license like normal.

Did you forget to renew on time? You’ll have up to two years after the expiration date to renew, but if you miss the expiration deadline it will cost you. The late renewal fees jump up to $367 for salespersons and $450 for brokers. You also can’t practice real estate until the renewal is complete, which could cause problems for your clients.

Play it safe. Take your continuing education well in advance and renew early to keep your transactions on track.