Real Estate Reciprocity and Portability in California

Making a move to California as a real estate agent can bring a lot of opportunities. The higher home prices might make things a little less affordable than where you live now, but it also means bigger commission checks. Yes!

As you probably already know, real estate licensing is on a state-by-state basis, so it is important to consider California’s reciprocity status. But in some cases, agents can leverage their current experience to fast-track the process of getting a real estate license in California. You may even be able to orchestrate deals from out-of-state without getting a California license.

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Reciprocity: What Is It and Does California Have It?

Reciprocity refers to an agreement that allows out-of-state agents to bypass part of the licensing requirements when seeking a real estate license in another state.

Unfortunately, California doesn’t have a reciprocity agreement with any other state. Although there isn’t any California real estate license reciprocity, there are options so you may not have to start from scratch.

Agents don’t have to be a resident to get a California real estate license, but they do have to meet all the education requirements and pass the state exam. Before you can take the exam you have to pass three college-level real estate courses. The good news is if you have already taken equivalent courses at an accredited California or out-of-state higher learning institution you may already meet the education requirement.

If the California Real Estate Commissioner has approved a real estate school in your home state you can also use those courses to qualify for the state licensing exam. Worst case scenario, you can take the required courses remotely via an approved private real estate school within California.

As far as getting a broker license is concerned, out-of-state agents have to complete eight required courses to take the exam. The same rules apply in regards to whether your past education can count towards meeting the requirement.

The silver lining is that your work as an agent can be counted towards the experience requirement for getting a broker license in California. So that’s one less hoop you have to jump through. But you will need to have a California business address to become a licensed broker.

Just keep in mind that if you’re trying to get a salesperson license and are still currently out-of-state you’ll have to file a Consent to Service of Process form along with an application to take the exam.

What About Portability in California?

Another way that out-of-state agents get deals done in California is through portability. Each state creates portability laws that regulate the real estate activities out-of-state agents can take part in during a transaction.

There are three types of portability: physical location state, cooperative state and turf state. California is a physical location state. That means out-of-state agents help facilitate a deal in California by acting as a referring agent. In short, an out-of-state agent can refer a homebuyer to a licensed California real estate agent and, in turn, the out-of-state agent would receive a referral fee once a transaction is made. Entering the state to do real estate business is a definite no-no, and you can’t get paid for that work.

Luckily, with today’s technology you can find homes, set up showings, take part in virtual tours and negotiate deals on California property from just about anywhere in the world.

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