For some real estate agents, obtaining their salesperson license is just the first stepping stone in growing a real estate career. With a salesperson’s license, you can represent clients as they buy and sell homes, become an appraiser or property inspector, or transfer your knowledge into a mortgage industry position.
Other agents choose to further their real estate careers by becoming a licensed real estate broker. This next-level of licensing allows agents to supervise other licensees conducting real estate transactions—and is the first step in building your own real estate team or brokerage.
Understanding the Different Licenses
In California, the Department of Real Estate (DRE) issues two types of real estate licenses: Real Estate Salesperson and Real Estate Broker. The basic process to earn either license is similar—you must complete required coursework and pass both the course exams and state licensing exam.
Whether you’re a salesperson or a broker, licensees are required to complete continuing education (CE) coursework and renew their real estate licenses every four years. Licensees are also expected to maintain ethical and professional standards in real estate, and be citizens in good standing under the law.
In practicing real estate, a licensed salesperson must be supervised by a broker when conducting business. This may be accomplished by working under the supervision of a broker-owner as an independent agent, or as a member of a real estate team. A licensed broker, on the other hand, has several options:
– Join a brokerage and work as an independent agent (much like a licensed salesperson)
– Join a brokerage and build a real estate team within that brokerage
– Start a new brokerage and hire agents to work under his or her supervision
Additional Requirements for Brokers
To become a licensed real estate broker, candidates must complete eight college-level courses required by the DRE. In addition, they must provide proof of two years’ full-time professional experience in real estate (or the equivalent). For example, qualified broker license applicants may have been employed:
– In the mortgage industry as a title, loan, or escrow officer
– As a builder or subdivider, performing duties related to real estate purchasing, financing, or development
– As a real estate appraiser or property inspector
– In real estate law or transactions as a member of the California Bar Association
Broker license candidates must submit proof of completed coursework and equivalent experience to the DRE for approval. Once approval is issued, you must schedule your broker licensing exam and obtain a passing score.
Career Options for Brokers
While not all real estate salespersons become brokers, doing so may provide a competitive advantage for your business. Clients may perceive licensed real estate brokers as having higher levels of expertise, which can increase demand for their services. Earning your broker’s license also opens up additional career options:
Work as an Independent Agent
Brokers who choose to work as independent agents effectively have the same roles and responsibilities as a licensed salesperson: Nurturing relationships, generating leads, managing real estate transactions, and managing their business.
Build Your Real Estate Team
These licensed brokers join an existing brokerage and, under the supervision of a broker-owner, build their own real estate team. As a team leader, brokers will need a plan for mentoring and managing the agents and staff they supervise, while meeting the requirements of their broker-owners. Team leaders take on many of the same roles as broker-owners, but on a smaller scale.
Start Your Own Brokerage
For real estate brokers who are ready to be leaders on a larger scale, becoming a broker-owner means you’ll likely spend more of your time managing other agents than handling real estate transactions. While broker-owners do earn a portion of each transaction completed by their agents, they also deal with daily concerns of running a business, such as:
– Legal and compliance requirements at the board, state, and national levels
– Payroll and compensation for agents and staff
– Marketing and advertising for the brokerage
– Office training, policies, and procedures
– Business planning and costs
Ready to Learn More?
If you’re already a licensed agent and ready to take your career to the next level, check out our self-paced broker license program. Not yet licensed, but thinking about becoming a real estate salesperson? Find out how to earn your license in just 100 days, and try a free class with us!