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How To Become a Broker in California



How To Become a Broker in California

If you’re interested in a career as a real estate broker in California, understanding state-specific requirements can help you plan. Before obtaining a license, prospective brokers must meet certain conditions that align with state and federal housing regulations. Understanding California’s specific guidelines can help you start your career as a broker.

In this article, we discuss how to become a broker in California, with state-specific training and education requirements, salary and career outlook information.

What is a real estate broker?

A real estate broker helps clients buy, sell or rent real estate properties. They serve as intermediaries between buyers and sellers, using their local real estate market expertise to guide clients through the process. Brokers often work for real estate agencies and earn a commission on each transaction. They may also assist with property appraisals, negotiations and legal paperwork. They may also perform the following:

  • Market properties

  • Conduct property inspections

  • Prepare contracts and agreements

  • Advise clients on real estate matters

  • Stay informed about real estate trends and laws

How to become a broker in California

If you want to become a broker in California, take the following steps:

1. Meet California’s minimum requirements

Each state has its own requirements for real estate brokers. California’s basic requirements include the following:

  • Age: Be at least 18 years old

  • Experience: Have at least two years of full-time real estate salesperson experience within the last five years or the equivalent

  • Education: Have a high school education or equivalent

  • Background check: Pass a criminal history background check

  • Application and fee: Submit a completed application and pay the required fee

2. Complete college-level courses in real estate

California requires real estate brokers to complete at least eight college-level real estate courses before licensing. These courses consist of three required courses and five electives. Here’s a breakdown:

  • Real Estate Practice (required): This course focuses on the practical aspects of real estate, such as property valuation, financing and escrow.

  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate (required): This course covers real estate law, including contracts and property ownership.

  • Real Estate Finance (required): This course covers real estate finance, including mortgages, loans and financing options.

  • Real Estate Appraisal (required): This course focuses on property valuation, including appraisal methods and techniques.

  • Real Estate Economics (required): This course covers real estate economics, including market analysis, supply and demand and real estate cycles.

  • Property Management (elective): This course focuses on managing real estate properties, including tenant relations, leasing and maintenance.

  • Escrows (elective): This course covers the escrow process, including the roles of escrow agents, escrow instructions and closing statements.

  • Real Estate Principles (elective): This course covers basic principles and practices of real estate, including property ownership, contracts agency and real estate law.

The state of California requires that each college course be at least 45 hours of instruction provided by a school accredited by the California Department of Real Estate (DRE).

3. Apply for a licensing examination

To become a licensed broker, you first must pass the licensing exam. You can apply for the exam by submitting an application to the DRE by mail or online. Fees are due with the application and may vary, so check the DRE website for more information. Once your application is processed and approved, you receive an examination schedule notice that provides instructions on scheduling your exam.

4. Pass the California Real Estate Broker Examination

To earn your license, you’re required to pass the California Real Estate Broker Examination. The comprehensive exam covers a wide range of topics related to real estate. Here are some specifics about the exam:

  • It is divided into two parts, a national portion and a state portion.

  • The national portion covers general real estate principles and practices, including property ownership and land use controls, valuation, market analysis, financing, property transfer and contracts.

  • The state portion covers California-specific real estate laws and practices, including real estate regulations, agency relationships and contracts, homeowner and tenant laws and disclosures.

  • There are 200 multiple-choice questions.

  • You have five hours to complete the exam, split into two sessions lasting two and a half hours each.

  • A passing grade of 75% or higher is required.

The state allows anyone who doesn’t pass the examination to retake it as often as needed within two years. The exam is electronic, so results can be instant or arrive shortly after completion by email.

Salary and career outlook for real estate brokers in California

The average salary for a broker in California is around $72,852 per year. Salary may depend on location and years of experience. More experienced brokers or brokers with additional certifications may have higher earning potential. For the most up-to-date salary information, click on the link provided.

In addition, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) predicts around 5% growth, or an estimated 30,000 new jobs, by 2031.

California-specific laws brokers should consider

Here are some California-specific regulations that brokers must consider:

  • Agency disclosure: Real estate brokers in California must provide written disclosure to their clients about their agency relationships and any potential conflicts of interest.

  • Trust fund handling: Brokers must follow specific rules and regulations when handling client funds, including maintaining a separate trust fund account and providing regular accounting statements.

  • Advertising regulations: Real estate brokers in California must follow specific rules and regulations when advertising their services, such as including their license number in all advertising.

  • Fair housing laws: Brokers must comply with California’s fair housing laws, prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, sex, national origin, disability and other protected characteristics.

  • Disclosures: Brokers must disclose certain information to their clients, including any known material defects in the property, earthquake safety standards, and Megan’s Law disclosures.



How To Become a Broker in California

How To Become a Broker in California

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