California Real Estate License Guide

Quick Facts

California Real Estate Governing Body:

California Department of Real Estate

PreLicensing Requirements:

135 Hours

СЕ Requirements:

45 Hours

Read more below

How to Get a California Real Estate License

To get your real estate license, you need to take a pre-licensing course, and pass the California real estate exam.

All courses must be completed through a “regionally accredited college or university” or an approved real estate school.  The good news is you going to physical classrooms isn’t required – you can take the course online through an approved real estate school.

Most real estate schools allow you to buy a single package with everything you need to become an agent.  As far as the official state requirements, you’ll need to take these courses:

  1. Real Estate Principles (mandatory)
  2. Real Estate Practice (mandatory)
  3. And one elective of the following courses:
    • Accounting
    • Business Law
    • Common Interest Developments
    • Escrows
    • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Mortgage Loan Brokering & Lending
    • Property Management
    • Real Estate Appraisal
    • Real Estate Economics
    • Real Estate Finance
    • Real Estate Office Administration

All applicants for a California real estate license must be 18 years of age and submit to mandatory electronic fingerprint identification.

Compare California Real Estate Schools

We’ve listed the best schools in California based on reader’s reviews here. Looking for our editor’s picks? See the best real estate schools in California.

SchoolReviewsEditor's ScorePricing
Hondros
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 3 reviews

B $$$
ca realty training logo
CA Realty Training
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star

based on 14 reviews

B $$$
Kaplan Real Estate Education
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 32 reviews

A- $$$
RealEstateU
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 48 reviews

B+ $
allied real estate school
Allied Real Estate Schools
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 44 reviews

B $$$
Real Estate Express
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 74 reviews

A- $$
The CE Shop
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 53 reviews

A $$
Aceable Agent
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 38 reviews

B+ $$
McKissock Learning
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star
  • full star

based on 5 reviews

B $$$
360 Training
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • half star
  • full star

based on 34 reviews

C- $$$
Rockwell Institute
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 7 reviews

B $$$
AYPO (At Your Pace Online)
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star

based on 3 reviews

B+ $$$
Mbition
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
  • full star
B $$$

Best Online Real Estate Schools in California

What is the best online real estate school in California? 

Becoming a real estate agent in California is a bit specific compared to other states. While you’re required to complete a set number of course hours with predefined topics, students in California are required to complete a total of 135 hours of licensing hours. 

As different real estate schools offer different elective courses and course content, it’s important to find one that has the structure and schedule fit for you and your educational needs. 

To help you find exactly that, we’ve assembled the most popular real estate schools in California based on their course content, student reviews, refunds, guarantees, and how their students feel about them. The state of California doesn’t require real estate schools to publicly disclose their pass rates, so for this guide we won’t disclose them. 

So, what is the best real estate course? Without further ado, here are the top six online real estate schools in California:

Real Estate Express

Real Estate Express is a leading online real estate school with thousands of students in their education history. They are also one of the oldest real estate schools in the US, opening their doors for students back in 1996. 

Their business relies on having state-approved, as well as ARELLO and IDECC accredited courses, so they provide reliable, proven educational services to all their students. To back up these claims, they provide a 100% satisfaction guarantee and a pass or don’t pay guarantee for their exam preps.

Course Content

Real Estate Express currently has four course packages in California: The Basics, Exam Preparation, Exam Preparation Plus, and Ultimate Learning. 

The Basics

According to Real Estate Express, The Basics package is intended for disciplined self-starters with some real estate experience behind them. This course includes the required 135-hour pre-licensing course, instructor support that is state approved. It also includes three real estate books that you can access at anytime online. 

Real Estate Express Ultimate Learning Package Homepage Screenshot

Exam Preparation

Exam Preparation comes with extra exam simulation and weekly real estate insights so students can get an extra boost while they’re studying. The course content includes everything that the basic package includes, but also throws in exam prep to help students feel better prepared. This package also comes with a student favorite – the Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee. Students can also become a Prep for Success Member to help them retain the information throughout the course. 

Exam Preparation Plus

In the Exam Preparation Plus package, students get the chance to talk to an expert regularly and get additional audio and video learning resources besides the basic one. Other than that, the package content adds in an exam cram video, a real estate dictionary to help students brush up on the technology agents use in the industry, and provides them with time for instructor Q&A. 

Ultimate Learning

The Ultimate Learning package offers everything a person needs to pass the exam on the first try and become a real estate expert in California. It includes everything the other packages have, but throws in a printed textbook that students can take with them on the go and access at any time. It also allows students to go through a 90-day boot camp before taking the licensing exam to make sure they are ready to pass. 

Individual Courses

Besides these basic course packages, Real Estate Express gives you the option of getting the mandatory pre-licensing courses individually. Students can choose between classes related to real estate principles, or elect to take courses on real estate practice instead. 

As the California Department of Real Estate requires completion of the two mandatory courses and one of a specific selection of courses, Real Estate Express also offers individual courses that meet these requirements:

  • Real Estate Finance
  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Office Administration
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Property Management

Exam Prep

The exam prep is designed to help students pass the real estate licensing exam by providing digital flashcards to help student memorize key terms and phrases. It also has final exam examples to mimic taking the actual licensing exam. However, the student favorite is the Pass or Don’t Pay Guarantee, which helps give them a peace of mind going into the exam. 

Real Estate Express also allows students to customize their exam prep course and choose what they want from the features we listed above, so everyone can pick an exam prep course that will give them the best chance at passing the exam on the first attempt. 

Real Estate Express Progress Exam Screenshot

Ratings & Reviews 

According to Real Estate Express’ website, they have a 4.38 star rating based on a stunning number of over 24,000 reviews. According to Agent Advice real estate agents, the review score of Real Estate Express is slightly lower, currently standing at 4.15 stars based on 65 reviews, but as most reviews are 4-star and 5-star ones, we can still conclude that students have enjoyed the courses.

What are the best parts?

Studying with Real Estate Express gives you access to a whole library of study courses, books, guides, and other study aids. This makes it easy for students to find and enroll in a course that will help them prepare for the exam better and pass it on the first attempt. 

Real Estate Express Chapter 1.2 Screenshot

What are the worst parts?

Although there is the option of customizing the exam prep course, students have often criticized it in their reviews. The most common critique is oriented towards the content of the exam prep. Many students considered that the content doesn’t match the licensing exam, so they had to purchase an exam prep from another school additionally. 

Return policy/cancellation policy

Real Estate Express gives a full refund to students that aren’t satisfied with the course within one week of purchasing it. If you haven’t started the course, you can request a refund within one month.

Purchasing the exam prep grants you access to Real Estate Express’ “Pass or Don’t Pay” guarantee through which a student can refund the exam prep course cost if they:

  • Have at least 80% score on all the Progress Exams and the Final Exams
  • Request the refund within 30 days of purchasing the exam prep

Pros: 

  • Multiple study packages and individual courses offered
  • A lot of additional study aids offered
  • Pass or Don’t Pay guarantee

Cons:

  • Exam prep not matching the final exam
  • Overbearing course curriculum 

 

Allied Real Estate Schools

Allied Real Estate Schools is one of the most recognizable real estate schools in California with almost 30 years of education history in the state. They opened in 1992 and currently offer pre-licensing courses in California and Texas with a heavy focus on the California real estate market. As part of Colibri Group, a family of brands that offer education services for various industries, they have access to  a wide range of tools, study aids and professionals available for students. 

Course Content

Allied Real Estate Schools currently offers three course packages to real estate students in California: California Real Estate Fast Track Program, California Real Estate Fast Track PREMIUM Program, and California Fast Track Premium Plus Program. 

California Real Estate Fast Track Program 

The basic package includes all prelicensing courses, eBooks that you can access online throughout the courses, practice exams, and access to live instructors if students have questions about the content. 

California Real Estate Fast Track PREMIUM Program

The next premium package includes everything the basic package includes. It also throws in an exam cram video, digital flash cards that can help you study to take the exam, a real estate dictionary only accessible online, and a student favorite, 100% money back guarantee. 

Individual courses

Allied Real Estate also offers the option of purchasing several of the courses (both mandatory and elective) separately, namely the following: 

  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate
  • Real Estate Appraisal
  • Real Estate Economics
  • Real Estate Escrow
  • Real Estate Finance
  • Real Estate Office Administration
  • Real Estate Practice
  • Real Estate Principles
  • Real Estate Property Management

home for sale

Exam Prep

The Exam Prep offered by Allied Real Estate has several features designed to help students pass the exam on the first try and with a higher pass score. It does this by offering ten progress exams to test your knowledge, digital flashcards, and custom exams where you can choose to be tested on the areas of content you may be struggling with. 

Ratings & Reviews 

Reviews on Agent Advice have brought Allied Real Estate Schools an average rating of 4.14 stars based on 35 reviews. Most reviews are positive and praise the convenience of studying at your own pace, with a few students complaining about having some difficulties with the user interface. Here is what one student had to say about the course:

“I like that the whole course was online, flexible and that I was able to work on it at my own time. They have wonderful customer service and were available whenever I needed them. They would also provide users with all the supplies and make sure to send any updated versions of the resources, which was outstanding. I think it would be beneficial if they would have someone like professor follow up on the progress of the courses. That way, you’ll be more engaged in completing it. All in all, I think it was a really great course, and I found it to be very effective.”

What are the best parts?

One of the best things about choosing Allied Real Estate Schools for your pre-licensing education is the option to choose from one of the widest range of individual courses and course packages. While many other real estate schools offer only one or two elective individual courses, Allied Real Estate School has seven elective courses students can choose to enroll in. 

What are the worst parts?

Allied Real Estate Schools was most commonly criticized for their exam prep and outdated curriculum. Some students have found the exam prep not matching the final licensing exam, while others thought that the content of the course is somewhat outdated and needs some newer and fresher information. 

Return policy/cancellation policy

Buying any of the California Real Estate Fast Track PREMIUM Program or California Fast Track Premium Plus Program grants you access to Allied Real Estate Schools’ 100% Money Guarantee through which you will receive 100% of your money back if you don’t pass the exam on the first try after purchasing  an Exam Prep. 

Pros: 

  • Multiple study packages and individual courses offered
  • A lot of additional study aids offered
  • 100% money back guarantee with course packages 

Cons:

  • Outdated course content
  • Complex user interface
  • Exam prep different from the licensing exam 

 

AceableAgent

AceableAgent is one of the biggest and most popular real estate schools in the US. It was just recently certified in California in 2020, so their courses are recent and up to date with the latest information. In addition to this, AceableAgent has a mobile app compatible with both Android and iOS devices to give students more flexibility and the freedom to study on the go. 

Besides their courses being approved by the state, AceableAgent is approved by both IDECC and ARELLO.

Course Content

AceableAgent was recently approved in California, so they currently offer only one course package. It’s taught through PDF documents that have the following content:

  • California Real Estate Principles – 45-hour course
  • California Real Estate Practice – 45-hour course
  • California Legal Aspects of Real Estate – 45-hour course

Students are given an open book final exam after each course so they can test their knowledge and receive the course certification which is later required to take the final California Real Estate Licensing Exam. 

AceableAgent Practice Exam Screenshot

Ratings & Reviews

According to their website, AceableAgent has a 4.7 star rating out of over 1,000 reviews, so their courses are reliable and help students pass the final exam easier. However, reviews on Agent Advice tell a different story for now. AceableAgent currently has a 4.06 star rating out of 35 stars, so there are still some areas where the school can improve on. 

What are the best parts?

AceableAgent is the most recently approved online real estate school in California, but their courses are all updated with the most recent and relevant information. In addition to this, the course is very affordable and can often be found on discounts, so it’s also a great option for students that want to stay on a budget with their pre-licensing education. 

What are the worst parts?

AceableAgent uses PDF documents to deliver their course materials, so it can sometimes get boring or tiring to keep reading through pages and pages of text. This has been a struggle for many students who have reported to have found it difficult to go through the whole material. 

AceableAgent Test Question Screenshot

Return policy/cancellation policy

AceableAgent’s courses are refundable if a student hasn’t completed the course and requests a refund within 30 days after purchase. Completion of a course is when the student has completed all three levels of the course, regardless if they have taken or passed the final exam.

In addition to this, AceableAgent also has a “Ace the Test” guarantee through which you can receive your money back if: 

  • you have taken at least three attempts at the State Exam within 90 days of completing the pre-license course
  • you have purchased the course directly through AceableAgent’s website

Pros:

  • Updated and relevant course content
  • Mobile app to study on the go
  • Simple and convenient courses
  • Affordable course cost

Cons:

  • One-dimensional materials
  • Only one course offered

 

woman working in coffee shopThe CE Shop

The CE Shop is a true leader among online real estate schools in California and the US in general. They are a relatively newer school that opened back in 2005, but they have quickly gained popularity due to their high pass rates and great reviews. Although their focus is mainly continuing education courses, they have expanded their education to every aspect of real estate licensing, from pre-licensing to business development and everything in between. 

They are accredited by ARELLO and have received many awards and recognitions for the short time they have been around, showing they are as reliable as the schools that have been around for decades. 

Course Content 

As in other states, the course packages offered by The CE Shop in California are: Courses Only, Standard Package, Value Package, and Premium Package. 

Courses Only

This basic package prepares students to pass the licensing exam and gives them the basic knowledge and tools to start a real estate career in California. It does this through the following:

  • 45-Hr. CA Real Estate Principles Course
  • 45-Hr. CA Real Estate Practice Course
  • 45-Hr. CA Real Estate Finance Course
  • California Exam Prep Edge

Standard Package

Similar to the basic Courses Only package, the Standard Package contains the mandatory pre-licensing courses and the exam prep edge, but has the added comfort of a pass guarantee which will refund the money paid by the student if they don’t pass the exam. This package also throws in a Pass Guarantee, which is great for students who aren’t sure how they will do on the licensing exam. 

Value Package

As its name suggests, the Value Package is CE Shop’s pick when it comes to a package that is the most cost efficient and brings the best value out of the four packages offered. Besides having all the features from the previous packages, the Value Package also comes with business building courses designed to help future real estate agents raise their business off the ground. Along with the Pass Guarantee, the Value Package also gives you three building business courses. You can test the waters of commercial real estate, build up your network, and learn tips to help build you real estate business. 

The CE Shop Unit 1 Exam Screenshot

Premium Package

The final package is the most comprehensive one that contains everything a future real estate agent needs to pass the exam and become an expert in the real estate sphere, as well as continuing education classes for the first renewal period. This includes everything the Value Package contains, but also throws in a 45-hour first renewal package with 18 mandatory hours and 27 hours of electives to help you figure out your path in real estate. 

Besides the main content, purchasing any of the offered packages will grant you access to business eBooks written by experts, a schedule to help find time to study, a real estate glossary to learn industry terms, digital flashcards, and career resources. 

Individual CoursesThe CE Shop Course Schedule Chart Screenshot

Students can also purchase each of the 45-hour mandatory courses separately through The CE Shop, specifically the following:

  • 45 Hour Real Estate Principles Course
  • 45 Hour Real Estate Practice Course
  • 45 Hour Real Estate Finance Course

Exam Prep Edge

The exam prep is designed to give students a study experience that will help them ace the exam by giving them an initial assessment with immediate feedback about which areas the student needs to focus on more. 

In addition to this, the exam prep edge has dynamic practice exams that present the results in a way that will let you know which areas you should focus on more and how you have progressed on each topic. 

Ratings & Reviews 

The CE Shop has over 6,000 reviews on review websites with an impressive 4.7 star average rating. An impressive 84% of the reviews are clean, 5-star reviews, which shows The CE Shop is a reliable real estate school with a good reputation among students. 

Looking at Agent Advice, one of the most reliable websites to turn to for real estate school reviews, The CE Shop has an average rating of 4.13 stars based on 40 reviews. 

What are the best parts?

The best part about studying with The CE Shop is their high pass rate. They have one of the highest pass rates among online real estate schools across all of the US. This means that their courses have been proven to help students pass the exam, which shows in their reviews.

What are the worst parts?

Some complaints previous students have had about The CE Shop were about the exam prep materials which they often found didn’t match the final licensing exam, so a lot of them had to additionally purchase another exam prep. 

Return policy/cancellation policy

The CE Shop offers a full refund of the course’s cost if the student hasn’t gone through more than 50% of the content and they request the refund within 30 days of purchase. The Exam Prep Edge cost can also be refunded if no initial assessment was made and the refund is requested within 30 days of purchase. 

Pros: The CE Shop Unit 1 Exam Screenshot

  • Study at your own pace
  • Course bundles with exclusive features
  • Customer support 7 days a week

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of discipline
  • No pass guarantee with the basic package

 

CA Realty Training

CA Realty Training was founded by Robert Rico, a successful real estate agent and his wife, Carolee. Rico has been an agent and an educator in the Californian real estate sphere for years, so opening a real estate school was an ideal choice. Starting with a humble seven student class, CA Realty Training quickly spread to over 25 locations after seven years in business.

As you may guess from their name, CA Realty Training specializes in real estate training in California. Their main focus is providing students with the best training experience by working with experienced and proven instructors with knowledge from the real estate sphere, which shows in reviews and student satisfaction. 

CA Realty Training has a unique way of teaching – blended classes. Students are required to complete an online course or a textbook one and then attend in-person classes taught by instructors who work or have worked as real estate agents. They 

Course Content

Currently, CA Realty Training offers only one Salesperson course package, which includes: 

  • California Real Estate Practice 
  • California Real Estate Principles
  • California Real Estate Finance as the elective course

Individual courses

In addition to the Salesperson pre-licensing package, students can purchase each of the courses separately. Upon completion of each course, students receive a CalBRE course completion certificate.

Exam Prep & Crash Course

Aside from the individual and package courses, students can also choose a variety of exam preps and crash courses. The Crash Course and Online State Exam Preparation Course are designed to help students pass the real estate license exam on the first try. To do this, they currently offer four different packages:

Online State Exam Prep Course with the following content:

  • Over 1,000 Practice Test Questions
  • Unlimited Test Variations
  • Exams Per Category
  • Over 3,000 Flash Cards & Definitions

Video Crash Course + Online State Exam Prep Coursestudying at coffee shop

This option includes everything the Online State Exam Prep Course offers. It also gives you access to exam-taking hints, helps you learn the key terminology needed to communicate effectively in the real estate industry, it also provides tips and tricks to memorize certain concepts, and gives you 16-hours of crash course material to ensure you are able to pass the exam on the first try. 

Live Crash Course + Online State Exam Prep Course 

This option is very similar to the above option. It also provides more than 3,000 flash cards and definitions, unlimited test variations, student packets that you can take with you on the go. However, the most valuable part of this package is the live 2-day crash course that helps students make sure they are retaining the information necessary to pass the licensing exam.

Live Crash Course + Video Crash Course + Online State Exam Prep Course which is the most comprehensive exam prep and crash course package that helps students pass the licensing exam through combining the benefits, resources, and trainer mentorship opportunities of all three course selections.  

Ratings & Reviews 

On Agent Advice, CA Realty Training currently has a stunning 4.86-star average rating out of 14 reviews. 

What are the best parts?

The CA Realty Training is constantly praised for the amazing teachers it has. they have been praised for constantly being dedicated to helping students and creating a friendly atmosphere where it’s easy to learn and grow. In addition to that, most instructors have experience from the real estate world which they can share with students and expand their knowledge with real-life scenarios. 

What are the worst parts?

The best part about studying with CA Realty Training is also its worst part. Students get to enjoy the expertise of professional real estate agents, but they only get it by attending in-person classes. However, a lot of people aren’t able to attend in-person classes and get the expertise offered, so it may be the reason for some to opt for another school. 

Return policy/cancellation policy

If a student is not happy with their regular courses or course package, they can receive a refund only if :

  • They haven’t completed more than ⅔ of the course
  • Send a written request
  • Pay a $25 registration, shipping, and handling fee

Video purchases aren’t eligible for refunds.

Supplemental training purchases have different conditions for refunds, which is as follows: 

  • If you have completed between the first week and the first month of training, 33% of the refundable tuition will be deducted.
  • If you have completed between the first month and second month of training, 66% of the refundable tuition will be deducted.
  • If you have completed between the second month and third month of training, no refund will be provided.

Live Crash Course Refund:

  • Live Crash Courses can be rescheduled more than 48 hours prior to the training. If the student is rescheduling the course less than 48 hours before start, there is a $50 fee. 
  • There is no refund for the Online Exam Prep 
  • There is a partial refund of $125 for the Live Crash Course, but it has to be requested 48 hours in advance of the scheduled exam crash course date.

Pros: 

  • Great teachers
  • A lot of exam prep and crash course packages
  • Free career events and resources

Cons:

  • Not everyone can attend in-person classes
  • Only available in California
  • No free refund 

 

RealEstateU

Although RealEstateU opened in 2013 for New York State students only, quite later than most real estate schools, they have quickly gained popularity among real estate students and expanded to California, Texas, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Georgia. As of date, they have had over 60,000 students, more than some long-standing real estate schools. 

According to them “The mission of RealEstateU is to provide practical, innovative, and quality online education for those seeking to enter into the real estate industry, and for existing practitioners seeking to renew their real estate licence.” 

Course Content

RealEstateU’s courses are taught through audio recordings. Similar to most other California online real estate schools, the content of the course has the state-required courses:

  • 45 Hour Real Estate Principles Course
  • 45 Hour Real Estate Practice Course
  • 45 Hour Legal Aspects of Real Estate

Exam Prep

The exam prep filters out all the important information found on the final licensing exam, a summarization of the key concepts, practice exams, and other tools and study aids. By going through the exam prep, students can be prepared better for the licensing exam and pass it faster and with a higher grade.  

Ratings & Reviews RealEstateU Lesson 1.1 Mini-Quiz

RealEstateU currently has a 4.16 star average rating based on 49 reviews. Although this may seem like a lower grade than other schools, RealEstateU currently has no 1-star or 2-star rating, so it only has some areas where students consider they can improve in. 

Most reviews are similar to the following: “Being able to do it remotely from home was awesome. I would suggest redoing the quizzes before taking the actual exam. The one thing that was a bit tedious was having to look at a blank screen while listening to audio. I think it would make it more entertaining with a visual of anything, like maybe key points or vocabulary words.”

What are the best parts?

The best aspect about studying with RealEstateU is the ability to study at your own pace. All courses are taught through audio classes without tracking, so students can study whenever they want and wherever they want. This makes RealEstateU’s courses perfect for people with a busy schedule or those that don’t want to have the pressure of a scheduled class.

What are the worst parts?

As you see from the review quoted above, the most common complaint about RealEstateU is targeted at their one-dimensional delivery method. Listening to hours of audio classes was often a challenge for many students, so a lot of them would like to see a bit more interactivity in the courses. 

RealEstateU Lesson 1.1 Mini-Quiz

Return policy/cancellation policy

All courses purchased on RealEstateU’s website are eligible for a refund within 30 days of purchase if the student hasn’t completed more than 50% of the course and they pay a $20 administrative fee. Books are not eligible for a refund.

Pros: 

  • Self-paced course
  • Affordable course prices
  • Great customer support

Cons:

  • Minimal number of study materials
  • One-dimensional delivery method
  • No free refund 

Final Thoughts

In the end, it’s important to find a school that will meet your pre-licensing educational needs and your budgets. Each school excels at one thing and is criticized for another one, so before you make a final choice, make sure you have considered all your options. 

 

 

Sample

 

This information was reviewed and approved by Chris Heller in March 2021. Chris serves on the Agent Advice Editorial Board and is the Chief Real Estate Officer at OJO Labs. Chris brings deep expertise having held influential industry positions including CEO of mellohome and former CEO of Keller Williams Realty International.

California Real Estate Licensing FAQs

California pre-licensing courses are required by the state real estate commission to be 135 hours of “credit.”  The preliminary three-semester units should take approximately 135 hours. The exam itself is made up of 150 multiple choice questions given over three hours.

Keep in mind that the length of time is entirely contingent on passing a minimum 70 percent of the examination itself – so it’d be wise to pay attention to the course content to make sure you’ll pass.

The cost per license for a real estate agent in California is $245 annually, as well as a $60 examination fee in addition to the cost of the preliminary course requirements as listed above.  The pre-licensing courses range wildly in price – from $99 to $500 if you’re taking the course online. When you’re budgeting for the new career, be sure to include the cost of a test prep course – it can significantly improve your chance of passing the state real estate exam.

There are some things on the test your courses may not have prepared you for. There may be tricky questions that you are not sure how to answer. You may become lost and stressed out which will set the tone for the entire test taking session.

So, we’ve made a list of the top California real estate exam prep providers:

  1. PrepAgent – Gives you access to live online group webinars, e-books, online training tools, and thousands of state-specific practice questions.
  2. Kaplan – This is the highest rated, and most popular test prep in the state.
  3. Mbition – Known to help prepare students for the math portion of the licensing exam.
  4. Real Estate Exam Scholar – Provides affordable tests to help simulate the exam-taking. experience
  5. AceableAgent – This is the most convenient test prep. Students can access it on the go using a mobile app.
  6. Real Estate Express – Students can prepare for the exam by talking to agents who are already licensed and experienced.

The average real estate agent in California makes $74,140. The top 90% can earn as much as $123,700. However, there are many agents who are earning more than this amount because of the competitive real estate market across the state.

There are 422,496 total licensed agents in California (including both Salespersons and Brokers) as of 10/27/2020.

For starting a brand new career, it’s not that hard.

California has one of the most rigorous requirements to become a real estate agent in the country. Depending on how fast of a learner you are, the 135 hours of courses can be taxing.  That said – you can complete the courses on your own schedule, which helps make it a bit easier than being on someone else’s course schedule.

The state real estate exam is relatively difficult if you don’t take a test prep course first, but if you’re prepared, it isn’t too bad. One requirement of becoming an agent is finding a brokerage – but it’s not too hard to find one willing to take on new licensees isn’t particularly difficult.  In general, students who take a prep course before the final exam have a higher chance of passing on the first try.

No, a college degree is not required to become a California real estate agent – you just need to make sure you’ve met all of the other requirements described on this page.

The California Department of Real Estate requires at least three college-level courses as part of your preliminary training for a real estate license. However, they do not need to be from an accredited college or university. Any of the schools listed on this page will be able to help you fulfill this requirement.

Acceptable forms of ID for the real estate examination in California include a driver’s license or DMV identification card, a government-issued passport (including your country of birth), or a U.S. military-issued identification card.

It depends. California state law requires you to disclose any previous criminal conviction to the Department of Real Estate including, both misdemeanors and felonies. Failure to do so may result in the forfeiture of your real estate license. That said – a previous criminal conviction is not necessarily a bar to obtaining your real estate license. The California Department of Real Estate is your best resource to let you know if you’re eligible or not.

Thankfully, there’s no hard limit on the number of times you can take the California real estate license exam during a two year period, but a good recommendation is to wait at least 18 days between each exam. Each attempt must be accompanied by a new application and a non-refundable fee of $60. 

While some agents indicate that it can take up to four times to pass the sales agent exam on average, much of it will depend on how prepared you are and how thorough your understanding is of the required preliminary courses. It’s certainly not unheard of for agents to have passed after having taken the exam only once.

There are seven areas covered during the exam. Your pre-licensing course, along with a simple test prep course, should prepare you to succeed on the state real state exam. The seven pieces of the real estate exam are:

  • Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulations,
  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duties
  • Property Valuation and Financial Analysis
  • Financing
  • Transfer of Property
  • Real Estate Practice and Disclosure
  • Contracts

Roughly fifty percent of all people who take the California real estate examination complete it with a passing grade of 70 percent or more. That said, don’t let the state pass rate dissuade you. Many people don’t even prepare with a prep course – which of course, is highly recommended. If you’re prepared through a prep course, you’ll be in much better shape to pass the state exam.

Yes – and the difference is very important to understand.  A real estate agent is someone who is licensed to help people buy, sell, or rent properties, both commercial and residential. A broker, on the other hand, is as much responsible for the oversight for the day to day operations of an agency as they are for sales. It requires more of an understanding and experience of the real estate industry than just a standard real estate sales license.

However, becoming a real estate broker associate with a qualified brokerage firm is generally considered to be one of the most thorough and quickest ways to gain experience in property sales. This doesn’t necessarily mean it will be easy.  But it will give you the confidence, knowledge, and tools necessary for success in real estate.

Finding a real estate brokerage to sponsor you as a recent licensee isn’t very difficult. In other words – most brokerages are “qualified” to sponsor you. 

Think of this process of one where you are interviewing the broker to decide if you want to work there – not the other way around.  Use third-party informational resources like those available on AgentAdvice.com to help you make the right decision.

As you’re selecting a qualified real estate brokerage, make sure you choose one who excels in training new agents, and who will be happy to show you the ropes of real estate sales.

It’s a common misconception that a real estate agent is the same as a licensed Realtor. They aren’t. Only an official membership in the National Association of Realtors gives you the right to call yourself a Realtor. Why is this designation so prestigious? It’s simple.

An agent is 100% licensed to sell properties – and if you earn a real estate license, this is entirely your right.  That said, most brokerages in California insist on the Realtor designation. A licensed Realtor has sworn a professional oath to put their clients’ interests first. This doesn’t mean a licensed real estate agent is unqualified or not professional– far from it. But the official license of a Realtor grants an agent the added qualification that home buyers actively look for. 

There are portions of the exam you’ll need to take that are more broad national questions, as well as testing your state-specific knowledge of California real estate.  Real estate law is particularly stringent in California and requires that a successful agent will have a fair understanding of California-specific obligations, including conveyance, contracts, transactions, and deeds.

No. Only an official license in the state of California grants you the right to act as either an agent or broker in the real estate industry.

The only exception: If you’re an attorney who is barred in California, you may be able to just sit directly for the exam – no pre-licensing course needed.  However, to be sure – it’s a good idea to double-check with the California Department of Real Estate.

Being licensed as an employing broker in California indicates that you can choose to work independently or for a full-scale brokerage firm. Employing brokers typically don’t tend to be salaried. Instead, each successful close will result in a commission-based fee—sometimes more than thirty percent of closing costs.  If you don’t have your license yet, you should be focusing on becoming a sales agent first.