If you’ve worked in real estate for a while, you know there are financial advantages to earning a California real estate broker license. Real estate brokers in California can still serve their own clients while simultaneously collecting desk fees and up to 50% of the commissions of the agents working for them.
They can also take on a leadership role at a brokerage or open their own, coaching and mentoring other agents and profiting from their success. Let us help you pursue your California real estate broker license by first walking you through the requirements and the steps you’ll need to follow.
What Are the California Real Estate Broker License Requirements?
For starters, you need to meet the following basic California real estate broker license requirements. You must be:
In addition, you must be either an experienced real estate agent or have related experience or education. The State of California requires broker applicants must:
Please note that an applicant who has not been active as a licensed real estate agent may be eligible for the broker exam, provided they have met the experience requirements.
Let’s explore the four steps, and then we’ll answer frequently asked questions about becoming a licensed real estate broker in the State of California.
How Much Does It Cost to Get a Real Estate Broker License in California?
It costs approximately $1,072 to obtain a real estate broker license in California. This is probably similar to what you paid to earn your real estate license when you first entered the profession.
California Real Estate Broker License Costs
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|California Real Estate License & Exam Fee|
How to Get a California Real Estate Broker License in 4 Steps
Becoming a California real estate broker shouldn’t be as intimidating of a process as becoming a real estate agent. After all, you have experience in the industry and know others who have taken this leap in their careers. Here’s a breakdown of each step in the process.
1. Complete California Real Estate Broker License Courses
Cost: As low as $429 with Allied Real Estate School
Time commitment: 5 months or 360 hours
To become a real estate broker in California, you need to complete 360 course hours through an institution of higher learning accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges OR a private real estate school approved by the California Real Estate commission (like Allied Real Estate School).
Please note that your prelicensing courses (or continuing education courses) that you took to earn and keep your California real estate license can’t be used toward your 360 hours to become a broker.
Your California real estate broker license courses are 45 hours in length and include the following college-level classes:
- Real Estate Practice
- Legal Aspects of Real Estate
- Real Estate Finance
- Real Estate Appraisal
- Real Estate Economics (or Accounting)
And any three of the following 45-hour classess:
- Real Estate Principles
- Business Law
- Property Management
- Real Estate Office Administration
- Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
- Advanced Legal Aspects of Real Estate
- Advanced Real Estate Finance
- Advanced Real Estate Appraisal
- Computer Applications in Real Estate
- Common Interest Developments
As you know from earning your agent license, learning this material won’t be a walk in the park. Choosing the right California real estate school will be crucial to your success. We recommend that you take your California real estate broker license courses through Allied Real Estate School.
Why? Allied Real Estate School is one of the only nationally ranked online schools to offer all 360 hours of classes you need to become a California broker. In addition, the online courses are expertly designed, and the company provides live support if you require additional explanation.
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2. Complete the California Broker Exam License Application
Time commitment: 1-2 hours
The next step to becoming a real estate broker in California is to complete the California Department of Real Estate’s Broker/Exam License Application. This application requires you to provide your personal contact details and answer a series of yes/no questions about any potential criminal history.
You’ll also be required to submit documentation to prove that you have completed your broker course and work experience requirements, along with a $395 fee with this application.
The fee covers the costs of both the real estate broker exam and your California real estate broker license. You can choose to have the government agency schedule the test for you, or you can check the box on the application allowing you to schedule it yourself.
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3. Pass the California Real Estate Broker License Exam
The cost of the real estate broker exam ($95) is included in the $395 fee mentioned above. On exam day, you should bring one of the following to the testing center:
The California real estate exam testing sites are located in the following cities:
- Los Angeles
- San Diego
We recommend that you arrive 30 minutes early to the testing site. Visit the State of California’s Department of Real Estate page to learn more about the exam and review the list of items that aren’t permitted in the exam room (including everyday items like calculators, pens, and cell phones).
You’ll learn whether you passed or failed immediately upon completing the broker exam. If you didn’t pass, you can retake the exam as many times as necessary, as long as you’re successful within two years of filing your initial application.
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4. Pass a Background Check
Time commitment: 1-2 hours
Processing time: Visit the state’s website
Once you’ve completed your application and passed your exam, you’ll need to submit your fingerprints at a Live Scan fingerprint location. Then, you must wait for the state to process your application and complete your background check.
Once you have your California broker license, you’ll be free to open your own real estate brokerage and grow your business. Are you excited? You should be!
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California Real Estate Broker License FAQs
Still have questions? We have the answers! Keep reading to learn more about the time commitment, financial benefits, and license reciprocity between California and other states. If you have other questions, we would love to hear them in the comments section of this article.
Is getting my California real estate broker license worth it?
There certainly may be a financial benefit to earning your California real estate broker license.
According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the average yearly income of a real estate broker in California is about $17,000 higher than that of a real estate agent. This additional income typically comes from having real estate agents work under you and collecting desk fees and a share of their commissions.
However, that additional income comes with additional business expenses and responsibilities. As a real estate broker in California, you’re responsible for operating a business that’ll support your staff. If you open your own brokerage, you’ll need to pay for rent and utilities as well as the training of your agents.
There are certainly pros and cons of upgrading your license. You have to decide whether increasing your responsibilities and expenses is worth the additional income.
Learn more about a broker’s income and expenses by reading Real Estate Broker vs Agent: A Head-to-Head Analysis.
How long does it take to become a real estate broker in California?
It takes six to nine months to become a real estate broker in California.
If you’re currently working as a real estate agent, you’ll have to take your classes in your spare time. As a busy agent in today’s booming market, we understand that it may be challenging to carve out the time.
That’s why we recommend that you complete your California real estate broker license requirements with an online school like Allied Real Estate School. You can complete the necessary class hours in the comfort of home, according to your busy schedule.
Do real estate brokers make good money in California?
According to Indeed, the average broker in California makes $92,995 (as of this writing).While a real estate agent only makes commissions when they assist with the purchase or sale of a property, a broker may have more sources of income.
A California real estate broker may collect desk fees and up to 50% of the commissions of the real estate sales agents working under them. Additionally, some real estate brokers receive income from the ownership of businesses like title companies or mortgage companies.
Finally, some real estate brokers enjoy an uptick in the number of clients because of their demonstrated experience and advanced licensure. Homeowners facing high-dollar real estate transactions may put more trust in a real estate broker to guide them through a home sale or purchase.
How difficult is the California real estate broker exam?
The California Department of Real Estate doesn’t currently publish the success rate of those taking the real estate broker exam. However, you will need to earn a grade of 75% or higher to pass the exam.
Increase the chances of passing your California broker exam on the first try when you sign up for the live, online Real Estate Broker Exam Prep Course with Kaplan. Kaplan has a long tradition of preparing students for a host of challenging exams.
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We hope you feel confident to take the first steps to advance your real estate career. Now that you’ve learned how to get a California real estate broker license, it’s time to become laser-focused on passing your California real estate broker license exam. We’re here to help you achieve your real estate career goals!
The Close offers plenty of career resources for new brokers and real estate professionals at every stage of their career. You can Subscribe to our newsletter to get our latest articles delivered directly to your inbox. The Close Pro helps you level up your skills and you can connect with real estate agents across the country in our Facebook Mastermind Group.