For those who dream of a real estate career in the sun, read on to quickly learn how to become a real estate agent in California. There are a few basic steps that you need to take in order to become a licensed real estate agent in California, but they are relatively straight forward, and the process is quite simple. The first thing that you need to be aware of is the requirement, as in other jurisdictions, to complete a criminal history check, including supplying fingerprints. This is just one way that the California Department of Real Estate maintains the regulation of a professional real estate sector.
How to become a real estate agent in California: Step 1
Do a few short courses. These must be college level courses, but don’t let that scare you – there are people around who you’d be surprised that they even passed! You don’t need to go to college either to qualify to sit the exam, there are accredited schools that offer the level of education needed to qualify. The classes you must take are ‘Real Estate Principles’, ‘Real Estate Practice’, plus one other related course which will depend on your area of interest.
Of course you will have to know your stuff before you attempt the exam, but that’s not really much of an issue. There are publications around that are specifically designed to help you pass the exam, I would not worry yourself about it too much. Plenty of people have passed it before you, so the odds are good. I encourage you to find a good, reliable source of information though, do not rely on information where you are unsure where it has come from.
Alternatively, consider enrolling in an additional course, which incorporates materials plus a system of instruction. Some that I have seen even offer a “no pass, no pay” system of enrolments. This seems very ambitious, but if you are in the position where you need a little assistance or confidence to ensure that you pass, then consider those courses – keep in mind that they will cost you a little extra, most come in at about $300.
Please also note that if you are currently a member of the California State Bar you are exempt from providing evidence of completion of these required courses. If you are one of these lucky people, go straight to the top of the class and start studying for the exam.
Step 2: schedule your real estate exam
Once you feel you know your stuff, you will be ready to schedule a time to sit the exam. To do so you will need to complete the application form, and pay the application fee, which is $60 at present. The time frame for the scheduling of your real estate exam for the state of California will depend on the current processing time. The usual wait time from the date of submission of the application for to the scheduled exam is usually around 6 weeks though.
Step 3: complete your license application
Once you have passed your exam you will be sent a license application form. It is at this point that you must provide your fingerprints for identification verification and criminal history checks. You must also provide proof of your residence in the state of California, or alternatively complete of the applicable reciprocal recognition forms for out of state residents.
It is most important to remember that the greatest barrier to becoming a real estate agent in California is being dishonest in your application. What regulators are striving to achieve and maintain is the creation of a body of professionals with integrity. Once you have satisfied the educational requirements and have passed the exam, the beginning of a career in real estate in California is just around the corner. If you have any other questions about getting your real estate licence, California Department of Real Estate staff are well trained and happy to help. Good luck!