50-State Real Estate Broker Licensing Compliance Guide
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California Real Estate License

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Licensing requirements for California brokerage firms.

A business entity offering real estate brokerage services to the public typically must register with the real estate commission before conducting business activity. For assistance with licensing, please contact us to learn about our software and managed license services.

Company Licenses

California Real Estate Company Licenses

California Branch Office License

Agency:California Department of Consumer Affairs - Bureau of Real Estate
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:No
Ownership Requirements:
  • A broker/corporation is authorized to conduct business only at the address listed on his/her license. If the broker/corporation maintains more than one place of business within the State, he/she shall apply for and procure an additional license for each branch office so maintained. The application for a branch office license must state the name of the person and the location of the place or places of business for which the license is desired.
  • The branch office address must be a physical California address, not just a Post Office Box or a Private Mail Box, as the main office address.
Notes:
  • Branch office licenses and fictitiousbusiness namesare not associated with each other except through the broker or corporation officer license. Once added to an individual broker license or corporation
    officer license, a fictitious business name may be used at any or all locations that are currently licensed to this individual broker or corporation.  
  • Branch office licenses are automatically renewed when the license of the broker or designated officer of a corporation is renewed on an on-time basis.
Registered Agent (Special Agency) Required?No

California Corporation License

Agency:California Department of Consumer Affairs - Bureau of Real Estate
Eligible Entity Types:
  • Corporations 
Foreign Qualification is Prerequisite:Yes
Ownership Requirements:
  • At least one officer must be a California licensed real estate broker 
  • A corporation not currently licensed by the department must include a Certificate of Status from the California Secretary of State. 
    • The certificate must be executed no more than thirty days before the date the application is submitted. 
  • Articles of Incorporation will be accepted instead of the Certificate of Status provided in the Articles filed with the Secretary of State within six months preceding the application's submission date. 
  • If the firm is not incorporated in California, either a Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Foreign Corporation from the California Secretary of State is required. It must be executed no more than thirty days before the date the application is submitted. 
  • If the firm intends to use any name other than its own to conduct real estate business, submit a copy of the Fictitious Business Name Statement filed on behalf of the corporation. 
  • New and currently licensed corporations must assign a supervisory responsibility. The assignment of supervisory duties to licensed broker-officers other than the broker-officer si designated under Section 10211 B&P by resolution of the Board of Directors. 
    • Complete and Submit a RE210 and a copy of the resolution adopted by the Board of Directors to the department. 
    • Do not submit RE210 if the corporation has only one licensed broker-officer. 
Notes:
  • There are no provisions in the Business and Professions code that authorize a limited liability company to become licensed as a real estate broker. 
  • A license as an indvidiviual broker and a license as a broker-officer are separate entities and the status is not transferable from one to the other. The status as a broker-officer of one corporation is not transferable to being a broker-officer of another corporation. 
Qualifying Individual Requirements:
  • A corporation may be licensed as a real estate broker through one or more of its officers who are brokers or have qualified for a broker license by examination within the twelve months preceding receipt of application
  • The application must be completed by the designated broker-officer applicant and each broker-officer who is to act for and on behalf of the corporation. 
  • The designated officer who obtains the original corporation license or who substitutes in as a designated officer and is a new officer for an existing corporation must file a RE212 for any director, chief executive officer, president, first-level vice president, secretary, chief financial officer, and subordinate officers with responsibility for form policy of the corporation and all-natural persons owning or controlling more than ten percent of its shares, only if such as a person has been the subject of any of the items enumerated in Regulation 2746. If non of the officers have been the subject of any of the items enumerated in the regulation, then RE212 is not needed. In all instances, the broker-officer must complete and sign the certification in Section III of RE 201

Initial Registration

Exemption Eligible Organizations:

Honorably discharged veterans of the U.S. Armed Forces and spouses/ partners who meet the conditions under Business and Professions Code 10151.2 are eligible for expedited processing. 

Form:

Corporation License Application

Instructions:
  1.  Answer licensing question and complete 1B and 1C, if you answered YES.
  2. Corporation Name & ID — Enter the complete name of the corporation as shown on the Certificate of Status. If a foreign corporation, enter the name as the corporation will be licensed in California. Enter the California Secretary of State’s identification number (as shown on the Articles of Incorporation) in Item 2B, and enter the Federal Taxpayer identification number in Item 2C.
  3. Mailing Address — Enter the mailing address of the corporation. All mail sent by DRE will be delivered to this address. Note: Business and license mailing addresses are public information and as such are posted on the Internet and available from DRE via telephone and written requests. Please consider this when identifying a license mailing address.
  4. Main Office Address — Enter the primary place of business of the corporation (must be a physical California address).
  5. Fictitious Business Name — Enter the name exactly as it appears on the Fictitious Business Name Statement (FBNS) as filed with the county clerk. The DBA must be filed in the county of the corporation’s main office address.
    1. Submit a copy of the FBNS with the “filed stamp” from the county clerk’s office.
    2. The corporation’s name must appear as a registrant on the FBNS.
  6.  Answer licensing question and complete 6B–D, if you answered YES.
  7. Name of Broker-Officer — Enter the complete name of the broker-officer to be licensed.
  8. Social Security Number — Your SSN is mandatory. Refer to Privacy Notice on page 6.
  9. Birth Date — Enter your birth date
  10. Corporate Officer Title — Enter the official title (e.g., president, vice president, etc.) held within the corporation. “Broker of record” is not sufficient. The designated officer must be an official corporate officer.
  11. Type of Broker-Officer License Requested — Check the appropriate box. Note: If “additional broker-officer” is checked, submit the appropriate fee. If “substitution of currently designated broker-officer” is checked, attach resignation of former designated officer or Resolution of Board indicating that affiliation has been terminated
  12. California Residence — Check the appropriate response. Non-California Residents — If residing outside the State of California, a notarized Consent To Service of Process (RE 234) is required, if not already on file.
  13. Military Service — Mark the appropriate answers to these  questions. If answer to 14B is yes, provide proof of honorable discharge for expedited processing. See page 6 of this form for more information.
  14. 7 Business, Residence, & Cell Phone Telephone Numbers - Enter the area code and phone numbers.
  15. Email Address — Enter email address. 
  16. Questions 19-25 must be answered and fully explained. Insufficient or no explanations will result in a significant delay in processing your license application.
  17. Read Officer Certification; then sign item #26, date item #27, and type the name of the person signing on item #28.
  18. Read Regulation 2746; type the name of corporation on item #29, sign item #30, and date item #31.
Filing Method:

Mail 

Agency Fee:
  • When officer applicant is currently licensed by the DRE:  $300 license fee
  • When officer applicant has never been licensed by the DRE or applicant license expired more than two years ago: $300 license fee + $49 figerprint fee
  • When corporation has expired or when the officer applicant’s broker license has expired during the past two years: $450 license fee
  • When the corporation is currently licensed and a substitution of a currently licensed
    additional officer is requested: $0
Notes:
  • Required for corporations that act as real estate brokers.
  • This application may be used to license: a corporation with a designated broker-officer, an additional broker-officer with a new or currently licensed corporation, or a new officer as a substitute (replacement) for the existing designated broker-officer.
  • Read sections III and IV before completing the application. 
Before you Apply:
  • Unless currently licensed either as a real estate broker or as a real estate broker-officer, your application and license fee are to be filed within one year from the date you successfully
    completed your examination. (Section 10201.6 of the Business and Professions Code.)
  • A corporation not currently licensed by this Department must include a Certificate of Status from the California Secretary of State.
  • Articles of Incorporation will be accepted in lieu of the Certificate of Status provided the Articles were filed with the Secretary of State within six months preceding the date the application is submitted to the office.
  • If the firm is not incorporated in California, either a Certificate of Qualification or Certificate of Foreign Corporation from the California Secretary of State is required.
  • If a Certificate of Status, Certificate of Qualification, or Certificate of Foreign Corporation is submitted, the certificate must be executed no more than thirty days prior to the date the application is submitted to the office.
  • Regulation 2746 requires the designated officer who obtains the original corporation license to file an RE 212 for any director, chief executive officer, president, first-level vice president, secretary, chief financial officer, and subordinate officers with responsibility for forming policy of the corporation and all-natural persons owning or controlling more than ten percent of its shares if such a person has been subjected of any of the items enumerated in the regulation.
    • If none of the officers have been a subject of any of the items enumerated in the regulation, then an RE 212 is not needed. In all instances, the broker-officer must complete and sign the certification in Part III of this application. 
  • Evidence of continuing education (completed within the previous four years) will be required for the issuance of an officer license if the officer-applicant does not have current individual broker status. For more details/information, refer to the Instructions to License Applicants pamphlet or Section 10171.5 of the Business and Professions Code.
  • All DRE licensees must report to the Department of Real Estate if they make, arrange, or service loans secured by residential property, 1 to 4 units, under the authority of the Real Estate Law. The report must be made within 30 days of commencing such activity and must be completed online using Form RE 866 – Mortgage Loan Activity Notification. Penalty fees can apply for failure to submit this required notification. 
How to Apply:
  • This application must be completed and signed on lines 26 and 30 by the broker-officer applicant.
  • A Certificate of Status or Articles of Incorporation and the appropriate fee must accompany this form. Refer to Section IV.
  • Any changes (addresses, DBA, etc.) to a currently licensed corporation must be submitted on a Corporation Change Application (RE 204A).
  • If the corporation currently holds or has previously held a real estate license in California, comeplete items 1B-4D.
  • If the corporation has not held a real estate license in California, complete items 2A-4D. 
Required Attachments:
  • One set of classifiable electronic fingerprints is required from every real estate license applicant. Fingerprints must be submitted through the California Department of Justice (DOJ) Live Scan Program. A Live Scan Service Request (RE 237) may be obtained online at www.dre.ca.gov.
    • After you have your fingerprints taken by the live scan service provider, submit a completed copy of the RE 237 with this application. Your license will not be issued until a report from the Department of Justice is received stating that there is no criminal history, or disclosing the existence of criminal history information. If prior criminal information is disclosed in the report, further background inquiry may be required before your license is issued.
    • Out-of-state residents either need to make arrangements to get their fingerprints taken at a live scan service provider in California or get fingerprinted out of state using the FBI Applicant Fingerprint Card (FD-258 Rev. 5/99). A fingerprint card can be obtained by contacting the Licensing Section at 877-373-4542. It should be taken to a local law enforcement agency for completion and submitted directly to DRE with the completed exam/license application, exam/license application fee, and $49 fingerprint processing fee. 

Registration Renewal

Form:

Online

Agency Fee:

$300

Due:

Biennially

Individual Licenses

California Individual Real Estate Licenses

California Real Estate Broker License

Initial Registration

Form:

Broker Exam/License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$95 exam fee + $300 license fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Broker Renewal Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$300

Due:

Every 4 years.

California Real Estate Salesperson License

Agency:California Department of Consumer Affairs - Bureau of Real Estate

Initial Registration

Form:

Salesperson Exam/License Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$60 exam fee + $245 license fee

Registration Renewal

Form:

Salesperson Renewal Application

Filing Method:

Mail or online.

Agency Fee:

$245

Due:

Every 4 years.

Learn about real estate licensing in other states:

Associate Broker - Associate brokers are qualified to work independently as a broker, but choose to work under the authority of a designated broker.

On-Site Manager - A broker or salesperson who oversees the operations of a branch office under the authority of the designated broker.

Qualifying Broker/Designated Broker - An experienced and licensed real estate broker responsible for management and operation of a real estate firm.

Real Estate - Land, buildings, and their permanent improvements and fixtures. Also called "real property" in contrast to personal property.

Real Estate Agent - This term refers generally to any licensed real estate professional.

Reciprocity - Reciprocity makes it easier for out-of-state real estate firms to gain approval to operate in a foreign state by streamlining some licensing requirements.

Association of Real Estate License Law Officials (ARELLO)
Offers a license verification database accross 43 jurisdictions.

NAIOP Commercial Real Estate Development Association Agencies
Aid education, research, and advocacy efforts in the real estate industry.

National Association of Realtors
Real estate trade organization that provides information and resources for development of the real estate industry.

Urban Land Institute
Research and education association concerned with responsible land use and creating sustainable communities.

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