California Real Estate Salesperson Licensing: Requirements, Renewal & Maintenance

Instructor: Tara Schofield

Tara has a PhD in Marketing & Management

Getting your real estate license is a simple process that can give you the right to represent clients and earn a commission from your work. Learn how to get your license, keep it active, and change the status, if necessary.

Becoming a Real Estate Agent in California

Helping a family find their dream home or working with a seller to get their home sold is a rewarding career. You may have been interested in real estate for a long time but aren't sure how to get started. Let's look at what it takes to jump into this exciting industry.

Licensing Requirements

There are several licensing requirements, steps you must take to get a real estate license, in California. Before you can get a license, you must be at least 18 years old.

Let's assume you are over 18 and want to move forward with your license. First, you must complete 135 hours of required real estate courses. Of these hours, 45 credits are needed in real estate principles, 45 hours in real estate practices, and 45 hours of other state approved classes, such as real estate finance.

You may spend many months completing the education requirements. When you have finished the courses and studied for the test, you must pass the exam. The exam will cover state and national concepts, ensuring you understand the laws and practices relating to real estate principles.

After you successfully pass the test, you have one year to submit your application for your license, including getting fingerprinted and paying the application fee. You also need to find a broker to work with. Once these steps are done, you are ready to get to work!

Activities Requiring a License

After you have your license, you can participate in many activities that you couldn't do prior to being licensed. Some of the activities that require a license include:

  • Showing a property to potential buyers
  • Discussing or negotiating the terms of a sale for your client
  • Sharing the features of a property with a potential buyer, such as location, neighborhoods, and schools in an effort to sell a property
  • Marketing and trying to attract new clients in regards to a specific home or property in exchange for some form of payment
  • Offer MLS information to clients or the public
  • Offer information or contents of confidential transactions, documents, and contracts
  • Represent a buyer or seller in a real estate transaction and receive commission or other compensation for your work

License Renewal and Maintenance

After you have received your real estate license, you must renew your license every four years in California. The process can be very simple if you choose to renew online. You can fill out the online form and pay the fee anytime within the 90 days prior to your license expiration date. If you choose, you can mail in your renewal forms and payment. It must be postmarked no later than the day of your license expiration to ensure you do not have a lapse in licensing.

There are continuing education classes you must take prior to renewing your license. Each time you renew, you must have 45 hours of approved courses in subjects including ethics, fair housing, risk management, and others. Eighteen hours of the courses must be in consumer protection topics.

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