A Quickstart Guide : How To Get A Real Estate License In California

Step 1: Make sure you meet the basic requirements

The requirements to get a California real estate license are straightforward. Like anything involving state licensing authorities, there are some hoops to jump through. This is a good place to start. Do you meet all of these requirements?

You are at least 18 years old

You can prove your legal residence in the US or foreign country if you are not a resident of California

You must demonstrate honesty on the California real estate application, specifically when it comes to your criminal record. A criminal record will not automatically disqualify you from getting a California real estate license, BUT lying about it and getting caught will certainly prevent you from getting licensed.

Three college-level courses must be completed before you can take the California salesperson’s exam. That includes:

    • Real estate principles (mandatory)
    • Real estate practice (mandatory)
    • ONE course from the following (your choice):
      • Real estate appraisal
      • Property management
      • Real estate finance
      • Real estate economics
      • Legal aspects of real estate
      • Real estate office administration
      • General accounting
      • Business law
      • Escrows
      • Mortgage loan brokering and lending
      • Computer applications in real estate
      • Common interest developments

Step 2: Register for real estate licensing classes


A real estate license is required for most real estate jobs. California has requirements you must fulfill before they will let you get a real estate license. None of them are difficult, but they must be completed before you can start your real estate career.

One exemption from the educational requirements is for members of the California State Bar. There are also exemptions if you have taken eight or more college-level real estate courses from an accredited school.


The best California real estate school we have found is this one.


Step 3: Apply to take the California real estate exam


You can apply to sit for the state exam after you pass your California pre-licensing course. The California real estate exam is offered in five locations:

  • Fresno
  • Los Angeles
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego

There can be extensive wait times to take the California real estate exam and many people choose to travel to the testing location in California far from home if that means they can accelerate the process.

The California real estate salesperson exam consists of 150 multiple choice questions and must be completed in three hours or less.

You must bring an approved form of identification to the exam. There is also a long list of items that are not allowed in the testing rooms due to security and exam integrity concerns:

  • Cell phones
  • Purses
  • Wallets
  • Smart glasses
  • Keys
  • Backpacks
  • Briefcases
  • Suitcases
  • Food
  • Drink
  • Gum
  • Study materials
  • Laptops
  • Tablets
  • PDAs
  • Calculators
  • Cameras
  • Video or digital recording devices
  • Watches
  • Pens
  • Lapel pins
  • Tie tacs
  • Hats or caps
  • Weapons
  • Anything else the exam proctors deem unnecessary or inappropriate, at their discretion

There are lockers available on-site for the exams for you to store your possessions. The best advice is to leave everything at home so you don’t have to fuss with the lockers or worry about your possessions while you are taking the exam.

Step 4: Complete the California real estate license application


You can apply for the California real estate exam and license at the same time. The total amount due is $305 ($60 for the exam and $245 for the license fee). You will have to submit your course completion paperwork along with the Live Scan fingerprint card if you are applying for both at the same time. The Live Scan fingerprints can be obtained at any of the locations found here.

Step 5: Choose a sponsoring broker


All new licensees must work under the supervision of a broker. Choosing a broker is an important decision and we can help you with that. Keller Williams training has been ranked the best in the business and we are committed to helping our agents succeed. Click here to be connected with the right person in charge of hiring at the Keller Williams nearest you.

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