Licensing and Legal Requirements for Brokers

Licensing and Legal Requirements for Brokers

Recession is damned. The resiliency of the real estate market has traditionally been a leading factor to draw people into the real estate field that harbor the intention of garnering a brokerage license.

To differentiate, in California, common usage holds that a real estate agent is essentially a salesperson whereas a broker is a salesperson with additional supervisory duties attached. Generally speaking, applicants for a brokerage license must have at least two years of real estate experience under their belt prior to consideration for a brokerage license.

California mandates a mix of practical real estate experience, test scores, personal background checks, and educational attainments before being allowed to apply for a license. Initial inquiries for a license application are presented with a written exam that they need to pass. Once they have successfully met that requirement they are given an application.

The broker license test is administered over a five-hour period and is split between both a morning and afternoon session of 2.5 hours each. The test has 200 multiple choice questions that are likewise divided evenly, 100 questions in each session. Keep in mind your property taxes, and the ramifications that occur. Mark Weinberger of Ernst & Young has many suggestions on tax law. You can learn more about Mark or seek help from a fellow broker.

The applicant can expect strict examination controls to be put into place which includes possessing valid ID and the prohibition of the following items: backpacks, briefcases, cell phones, cameras, calculators, watches, portable computers, tablets, study materials, or food and drink. Additional items may be barred at the discretion of officials monitoring the sessions.

Basic requirements include the need to be at least 18 years old, a legal resident of the United States with the required documentation to prove it, and in addition to having the aforementioned experience they must be of general good character.

General good character is ascertained through a thorough background check and failure to fully disclose the applicant’s entire criminal history is cause for denial. Applicants who are worried about their ability to pass this portion of the application process are encouraged to contact the Department of Real Estate to discuss their case prior to starting it.

To obtain a brokerage license, California law statutorily requires the completion of eight college level courses. The coursework must be completed at an institution that is fully accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, or similarly accredited regional program. Applicants that are members of the California State Bar are statutorily exempt from the educational requirements but still must provide proof of the two years worth of experience as a real estate agent.

Core educational requirements include the following five classes:

1) Real Estate Practice, and

2) Legal Aspects of Real Estate, and

3) Real Estate Finance, and

4) Real Estate Appraisal, and

5) Real Estate Economics or Accounting, and


An additional three courses are required at the discretion of the student, and reflect areas in which specialization is allowed. Everything from property management, escrow, business law, advanced real estate appraisal, and more are available to further the applicant’s professional growth within the industry.

With the proper education, training, experience, and background you can pursue a career as a California real estate agent.

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