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How To Become A Real Estate Agent In California

To become a real estate agent in California, there are several steps that you have to complete. When it comes to learning how to become a real estate agent in California, it is imperative that you do all of these steps in the proper order. Not only is this necessary, but it makes it much easier to ensure that you do not miss any of the important information you need to work through this process.

As you learn more about how to become a real estate agent in California, you will want to start thinking toward the future. This means exploring the typical salary of a real estate agent in this state to help you better understand your earning potential once you become a real estate agent in California. The average median salary for those in this field in California is $47,118.

You will have to decide what you want your earning potential to be. For example, if you sell expensive homes in Beverly Hills, the income potential is much higher compared to working in a smaller town in Northern California.

Due to the population of California, people are always buying and selling homes. Because of this, there will always be a need for qualified real estate agents that can help both buyers and sellers to navigate the market.

The Basics

Aspiring California real estate agents need to meet certain criteria to take pre-licensing courses and apply for their license. These include:

  • Before you can take the courses needed to sit for your examination, you must be at least 18 years old
  • If you have any crime convictions, these must be disclosed or else the state could deny your license
  • You must be able to prove that you are a legal US resident, or at least a permanent resident alien in order to apply for a real estate license in this state

Step One: Your Prelicensure Courses

Before you can apply to sit for your licensure examination, you have to take a pre-licensing course. In the state of California, the course must consist of 135 hours of coursework. There are three primary courses that you will take as you complete this part of the process. These include:

  • Real estate practices
  • Real estate principles
  • Real estate finance

These are the three main classes, but they are generally broken down into a variety of topics. Once you finish these, you will have all of the knowledge that you need to sit for your licensure examination.

There are several options to utilize that will allow you to complete the required coursework. This includes schools with a physical campus and online programs, such as Real Estate Express.

As you are checking out the programs that are approved by the state of California, think about your schedule and the way that allows you to learn the easiest. Some people prefer a course that is self-paced, allowing them to learn the material according to their own schedule. These are usually online or correspondence courses, so they can be an ideal option if you have a busy schedule and need to study in between your responsibilities.

A physical school may be a good option if you tend to do well in a group environment. This also gives you a physical instructor to talk to in person when you need help.

After you finish all of the coursework in your pre-licensing program, it is important that you get a copy of your transcripts because you will need to show these when you apply to take your real estate agent examination. You should also keep the certificate of completion you will get from the program as this will prove that you finished all of the program requirements. In most cases, you will have to also present this to apply for your examination.

Step Two: Complete Your Pre-licensing Course Final Examination

In California, you will have a final examination to test you on what you learned during your pre-licensing coursework. You must achieve at least a 70 percent on this examination to fully complete the pre-licensing element of your real estate agent journey. For the final exam, you are allowed to have two attempts to pass it. There is a final examination for each of the pre-licensing coursework primary categories.

When you are taking the examinations, you are allowed one minute for each question. For example, if there are 60 questions, you will be given 60 minutes to complete the examination. It is very important to practice before you take these exams so that you can make sure that you are staying within the allotted timeframe.

If you enrolled in your pre-licensing program after or on 09/25/19, a proctored examination is not necessary for you. However, if you enrolled prior to this date, your final examination, must be done in the presence of a proctor. You will be responsible for scheduling the appointment for the proctor, so make sure that you do this in advance.

Step Three: Take Your Licensure Examination

The California licensing examination for real estate agents is the next step after completing all of your pre-licensing requirements. In order to pass this examination, you must achieve a score of at least 70 percent.

You will find a variety of national and local information on this examination. It is important that when you are studying that you focus on all of the elements that you learned in your prelicensing course to ensure that you pass.

This examination has 150 questions, so make sure that you are prepared to sit for at least a couple of hours when you are taking the test. You are given three hours and 15 minutes to answer all of the questions. The questions on this test are all multiple-choice style, so you will not have to deal with things like writing short answers.

It is best to take some practice tests prior to sitting for this examination. This will help to ensure that you are prepared to answer the types of questions that you will see when you are taking this exam. You also do not want to wait too long after you finish your pre-licensing requirements so that you do not forget the important information that you will need to know when you are taking this test.

Step Four: Find a Broker to Sponsor You

Once you pass the test to become a licensed real estate agent, the next step is finding a place to work. As an agent, you must work under the supervision of a broker. Because of this, you will want to find a broker who is willing to sponsor you.

During your time here, you will get a chance to learn how to work in real estate as part of the process. It is important to know that you are not likely to get a listing on your first day. You will need to ask the broker if they require a training period prior to you taking on your own listings. In some cases, you might shadow a broker or another agent for a specific amount of time before being allowed to work on your own.

As you are looking at brokerages in your area, make sure that you find one that matches up with your goals and values. They should also be in an area where you want to work and sell the type of real estate that you want to deal with during your career.

Check out the reputation of the broker too. They should be respected by both employees and clients to ensure that you chose a good place to start your career.

Step Five: Finish Your Licensing Application

Once you pass your licensing examination in California, you still have to apply for your license, referred to as the Salesperson License Application. When you submit the application for your license, you will also be expected to pay the fee. As of March 2020, the fee for a salesperson in real estate is $245.

Within 12 months of successfully passing your examination, you will need to submit the fee and your application for your license. You will need to take the examination again if you do not take care of this within the allotted timeframe.

Part of the process to get your license is to have your fingerprints taken and sent to the DRE. You must also make sure that you have proof that you successfully completed all of the pre-licensing coursework by submitting your transcripts and certificate of completion. Once all of this is done and your application is reviewed, you will receive your license to sell real estate in California.

If you are coming from another state and want to work in California. There is an extra step. You will need to complete the Consent to Service of Process and have it notarized.

Now you know how to become a real estate agent in California. With this information, you can see what it takes to get your license and start working in this industry. Make sure that you follow all of the steps in the correct order so that as you work to become a real estate agent in California, you experience no delays.

The first step is to ensure that you meet the minimum qualifications. Once you do this, find a good pre-licensing program and make sure to put a lot of focus on it so that you learn everything that you need to pass your licensing examination.