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Securing A Real Estate License In California: Everything You Need To Know

One of the most popular career paths for a person to consider is real estate. With multiple different career options and earning potential that is truly what you make of it, real estate is a great option to consider.

However, launching a career in this field is not easy and will take quite a bit of work upfront, as well as after your journey begins. To that end, it’s worth learning everything there is to know about the first step you’ll need to take: securing a real estate license. 

What Is A Real Estate License?

For those who have never heard of this requirement before, a real estate license is a specialty license that allows a person to legally act as the middleman between a buyer and a seller in a real estate transaction.

Whether that real estate transaction is a commercial transaction or residential transaction (ie. office building vs. house) depends on the license and type of real estate professional a person is. 

Real Estate Agent vs. Real Estate Broker

Two of the most common career paths for a person to consider when launching a career in real estate are that of a real estate agent or a real estate broker. However, some people erroneously believe that these two career paths are one in the same, which is why breaking down the key differences is crucial.

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First and foremost, a real estate agent is essentially the basic entry-level real estate position. This individual works directly with a buyer or seller of property and helps facilitate the transaction.

Real estate agents work for themselves, meaning all of their business is their own, yet they technically work under a real estate brokerage which helps pass some business along.

On the other side of things, a real estate broker can also perform all of the duties as a real estate agent, but they also take on a managerial style in that they manage real estate agents working under them. They receive a percentage of the real estate agents commission as well.  

The Key Steps To Getting A Real Estate License

The specific educational requirements will vary from state-to-state depending on where you are, but generally speaking a person seeking a real estate license to become an agent will need to complete the following steps:

    • A person must be at least 18 years old and a resident of their state
    • A person must complete 135 hours of pre-licensing educational requirements including courses in:
  • Real Estate Principles
  • Real Estate Practice
  • One Course Ranging From:
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Property Management
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • General Accounting
  • Real Estate Office Administration
  • Business Law
  • Escrows
  • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
  • Computer Applications in Real Estate
  • A person must pass the real estate license final exam after providing proof that they passed all of the above courses
  • A person must complete their application and show proof of completing all educational requirements 

Those seeking to become a broker must take additional specific classes beyond the above. Once this has all been completed, a person may sit for the real estate exam. The exam to become a real estate agent is three hours long and 150 multiple choice questions, with a score of 70% being required to pass.

Those looking to become a real estate broker when pursuing their real estate license in California will need to sit through a four hour exam that has 200 multiple choice questions, and is substantially more difficult. However, a score of 70% is still required in order to pass the exam. 

Be aware that the entire timeline for securing a real estate license can take anywhere from a couple months to a few years depending on when a person takes the required classes and how fast they are planning to transition away from their current career path. 

The Bottom Line

While a career in real estate may not be an appealing option for everyone, it certainly can provide a person with a potential path. Be aware, though, that having success in this field requires a large amount of effort on behalf of the person pursuing their new career.

You will need to network with countless individuals in the field who can help guide you in finding which avenue of real estate is best for you. 

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