What is the California DRE?

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Even real estate agents who have had a license for a few years may be wondering what the California DRE is. That’s because on July 1, 2018 the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) was renamed the California Department of Real Estate (DRE) - a title that was previously used before the name was switched to Bureau.

Confusing - yes. Frustrating due to all the marketing material changes - yes. But the DRE isn’t just in the business of name changes. It does a lot to keep California real estate on track.

Regulation of Real Estate Licenses

In 1917 California became the first state to create laws that regulated real estate licensing. The DRE was formed to act as the entity that administers the regulations and oversees the licensing process. The department is in charge of:

  • Granting real estate salesperson licenses
  • Granting real estate broker licenses
  • Renewing salesperson and broker licenses

Regulating Real Estate Education

The DRE requires that three college-level real estate courses be taken before you can apply for a license and take the licensing exam. The department decides which courses must be taken, which elective courses are acceptable and who is approved to provide the courses.

Processing Exam and License Applications

The DRE is responsible for reviewing and approving all salesperson and broker applications. That means they’re the gatekeepers in terms of who gets to take the California real estate exam. You’ll need to make sure you pass all of their requirements before applying or the application will be denied.

Administering Real Estate Licensing Exams

Before you get a California real estate license you have to pass the licensing exam. The DRE is charged with choosing what questions end up on the exam, scheduling candidates to take the test and administering it at one of five exam centers.

Collecting Fees

The fees you pay for a license are collected by the California DRE and used to fund the department’s operations.

Protecting Real Estate Consumers

The Real Estate Law that the DRE upholds is meant to regulate real estate licensing and also protect real estate consumers in the state of California. The department has resources for:

  • Verifying an agent or broker’s license
  • Requesting dispute resolution assistance
  • Finding consumer alerts
  • Avoiding real estate identity fraud
  • Learning about local subdivisions

The DRE also handles consumer complaints. If a person submits a complaint with the department they’ll investigate the matter and determine what actions need to be taken to rectify the situation.

California DRE Members and District Locations

The busy worker bees at the five California DRE district locations are the people who actually carry out the department’s responsibilities. However, the Real Estate Commissioner is the person in charge of the department.

The commissioner is appointed by the Governor and has the authority to issue department regulations. He or she can also hold hearings to determine if an application should be denied and whether a real estate license should be revoked or suspended.

You can find DRE district locations at:

Fresno 2550 Mariposa Mall, Room 3070 Fresno, CA 93721-2273

Los Angeles 320 West 4th Street, Suite 350 Los Angeles, CA 90013-1105

Oakland 1515 Clay Street, Suite 702 Oakland, CA 94612-1462

Sacramento 1651 Exposition Blvd. Sacramento, CA 95815

San Diego 1350 Front Street, Suite 1063 San Diego, CA 92101-3608