How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California


Planning to start a career as a real estate agent in California? Now's a great time as the California Real Estate market is sizzling hot!



Real estate agents can reap the benefits and earn a high income from the fast-appreciating real estate market and high real estate prices in California.

In fact, the median home price in California was over $500,000 in April 2005.

To get your real estate license in California, you will need to take classes at a real estate school and satisfy all the requirements set forth by the California Department of Real Estate.

There has been tremendous growth in real estate in the last few years in much of the U.S. and especially in California.

Because of this, the number of real estate agents has also increased. 

There are now almost 400,000 real estate licensees in California and about 2.5 million nationwide.

Here's what you need to know to become a real estate agent in California:

1) Licensing Requirements in California

2) Duties of a Real Estate Agent

3) What is a REALTOR®?

4) Income Potential

5) Real Estate Schools


How to Become a Real Estate Agent in California

1) Real Estate Agent Licensing Requirements in California

In California, real estate agents MUST be licensed by the California Department of Real Estate.

To obtain your real estate license, you must:

  1. Satisfy the minimum requirements to apply for the real estate exam:
  1. Apply to take the California State exam
  2. Pass the exam by answering at least 70% correctly
  3. Apply for the California Real Estate License
  4. Submit one set of fingerprints that is acceptable to the State Department of Justice (DOJ)

Licensed agents in California must work under the supervision of a licensed real estate broker.  Most new agents start out by working for one of the large brokerages in California like Coldwell-Banker, Century-21, Remax, etc.

If you would like to have your own business and work for yourself, you must have a real estate broker's license.



2) Duties of Real Estate Agents

A real estate agent's main job is to assist their clients in the process of buying and selling real estate.

Their list of duties include:


3) What is a REALTOR®?

A real estate agent becomes a REALTOR® when he or she pays an annual fee to be a member of the National Association of REALTORS® and subscribes to its Code of Ethics.

The agent generally joins through the local board or association.

For example, in Fresno CA, once you have obtained your real estate license, you may pay a fee to join the Fresno Association of REALTORS®.  This also makes you a member of the California Association of REALTORS® and the National Association of REALTORS®.

All REALTORS® are real estate agents but not all real estate agents are REALTORS®.


4) Income Potential in California

Real estate agents are generally paid based on a percentage of the sales price. The seller will generally pay 4-6% of the sales price as the fee and that will be split 50/50 between the seller and buyer's broker.

For example, if the fee for a $100,000 house is 6%, the buyer's broker will be paid 3% or $3000 and the seller's broker will be paid 3% or $3000 as well.  

The agent is paid by his or her broker, according to their previously agreed-upon commission split.  This is often 50/50 for beginning agents, so in that case the agent in our example would receive $1500. 

According to the California Employment Development Department, the earnings of a beginning real estate agent can vary from $10,000 to $50,000 a year.

An experienced agent's earnings can vary from $20,000 to $150,000 per year.


5) Real Estate Schools in California

Real estate classes in California are offered at most colleges, community colleges and even at the larger real estate brokerage companies such as Century 21.

Or if you prefer to take classes at your own pace and from the comfort of your home, check out these real estate schools instead:

School Phone #
Allied Schools 888.751.2286
Anthony Schools 800.373.7277
Chamberlin Real Estate School 800.672.4665

Also check out information on how to become a real estate appraiser in California


















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