Steve Keefe Blog

Frequently Asked Questions About Getting A Real Estate License


Posted: December 10, 2015 by Steve Keefe

How do I get a California real estate salesperson’s license? If you want a California license, you will need to take an approved Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice and one more elective course. and pass the state examination.

Salesperson License Requirements Applying for the Real Estate Salespersons license will require you to take three courses prior to applying for the state exam. There are two courses that are specifically required: Real Estate Principles,  and Real Estate Practice. (The third course is an elective course that can be selected from the list below.

After completing the three courses, the applicant must pass a 150 question, multiple choice test, with a score of 70% or better.
The third course may be any of the other courses listed below. Real Estate Appraisal Real Estate Property Management Real Estate Finance Real Estate Economics Legal Aspects of Real Estate Mortgage Loan Brokerage & Lending

EXCEPTIONS: If Business, Law, Accounting or Economics was completed in college the student does not have to take the elective course.

Also, a person who is a member of the bar of any state or who is a graduate of a law school recognized by the California State Bar will not be required to meet these course requirements.

If you want a license in another state, you will need to contact the appropriate state agency in that state. It is usually the Real Estate Commission or Department of Real Estate for that state, but it may vary from one state to the next.

What is the cost to do the pre-requisite courses? If you need all 3 classes, we have options as low as $180… about $60 per class.  There are other options that include study materials, online testing and live test preparation that could be up to $360 so depending upon your specific need, there are options to chose from.

How do I get a California real estate broker’s license? If you want a California Real Estate Broker’s License, you will need 8 college-level real estate courses plus either 2 years’ full time real estate licensed sales experience or a 4 year college degree. See State Requirements.

If you want a broker’s license in any other state, contact the appropriate agency in that state. Usually this will be the Department of Real Estate, but it may vary from one state to the next.

Applications needed for the State Exam? SALES Sales Application: RE400A $60.00 fee, mail in w/”copies” of 3 certificates of completion. Sales Application $60.00 plus $245.00  fee for license: RE435 and RE435A

BROKER Broker Application: RE400B $95.00 fee mail in w/”copies” of 2-8 certificates of completion. Broker Application $95.00 plus $300.00 fee for license: RE436 and RE436A (Note: Allow 4-5 weeks to receive test date.)

What is the real estate test like? The California salesperson’s exam consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. It is a paper and pencil test, not on any computer system. The applicant is given 3¼ hours to complete the examination. A passing score is 70% or better, which works out to a minimum of 105 correct answers.

The California broker’s exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. It too is a paper and pencil test, not on any computer system. The test is administered in two parts, 100 questions in the morning and another 100 questions in the afternoon. The applicant is given 2½ hours for each session, for a total of 5 hours. A passing score is 75% or better, which works out to 150 correct answers.

When either test is administered, the applicant is given a phone number to call 48 hours later to learn about their test results. Written confirmation is usually received within a week.

What if I have already taken a real estate principles course? If you took a full-semester (or equivalent) Real Estate Principles Course in college, no matter how long ago, or a Real Estate Principles Course from a private vocational school in California after 1986, you still need to complete the Real Estate Practice and 1 elective course. Once all 3 courses are completed you are qualified to take the California state examination. Obtain an application for the state exam and include either a grade card, transcript, or certificate of completion as proof, and you will be issued a test date.  There are many review materials available such as live review courses, or online test practice.  Contact us and we can provide you with some options.

Is my certificate of completion still valid? If you took an approved Real Estate Principles course from a private vocational school, your Certificate of Completion is still valid. If you took a full semester (or equivalent) Real Estate Principles, Real Estate Practice and 1 elective Course in college at any time, your transcript or grade card will still be sufficient.

What if I took my courses out-of-state? If you took a full semester (or its equivalent) Real Estate Principles Course at an accredited college or university, it will probably be sufficient. If you took the courses at a private vocational school in another state, it may not be sufficient. In either case, the matter should be addressed to the California Department of Real Estate, as they are the only agency which can make the final determination.

What does a license cost? The first fee is to take the required examination. The salesperson’s examination costs $60. The broker’s examination costs $95.

If a person applies for a salesperson’s license having taken the 3 courses, the fee for the license is $245 plus $56 for fingerprint processing, for a total of $301.

The fee for the broker’s license is $300 plus $56 for fingerprint processing, for a total of $356. (California residents pay the fingerprint processing fee directly to the live fingerprint service provider. Non-residents pay this to the DRE.)

The salesperson’s license can be renewed after its four-year term for $245. The broker’s license can be renewed after its four-year term for $300.

How long does it take to schedule my state test? While there are no guarantees, most people find that they take their test about four to six weeks after they send in their application for the exam. If this is inconvenient, the application allows the person to specify a date after which the person wants to take the test.

When will I find out if I passed my state test? When you take your test, often you will recieve the results before you leave the facility.

How often is the state test administered? Ultimately, the test is offered as often as needed, depending upon demand. Both the broker’s exam and the salesperson’s exam are offered in Fresno, San Francisco, Sacramento, Los Angeles, and San Diego.

The Salespersons exam is offered during the week, usually Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, occasionally on Wednesdays. There are morning and afternoon start times for the Salespersons exam. The Brokers exam is usually offered on Wednesdays.

The admittance form the applicant receives which specifies the test date will also list the exact address and time of the test location.

How long is the license valid? Both the salesperson’s license and the broker’s license are good for a four year term, and can be renewed for additional four year terms. There is a two-year grace period after the license expires during which the license can be renewed for an additional fee. After the grace period expires, the person will be required to retake the appropriate California state examination.

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