How to Become a Real Estate Agent in San Jose, California

Jun 6, 2022
5 min.

Located in the heart of Silicon Valley, San Jose offers rolling hills and scenic homes nestled in the Bay area. 

Real estate agents know the beauty and value of the San Jose region, which is why they spend their time helping clients find a home there. 

If you want to become a real estate agent in San Jose, consider the following.

5 Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in San Jose

If you’re ready to become a real estate agent in San Jose, there are five key steps to follow. 

  1. Confirm you’re eligible to get a real estate license in California
  2. Complete your educational requirement at an accredited school 
  3. Apply for the real estate exam
  4. Pass the exam
  5. Sign with a brokerage

We’ll walk through what is required to get your license and start working with clients. 

Enroll in a Real Estate School

Before you can schedule your real estate licensing exam in California, you’ll have to complete 135 hours of pre-licensing coursework. 

These classes must be taken at a state-approved accredited school and cover all the information covered on your exam. Programs are offered both in-person and online, depending on your preferred learning style. 

Head to the Department of Real Estate’s website to see a complete list of accredited programs you can choose from. 

Pass the 3 Required Courses

No matter where you decide to enroll, all pre-licensing programs in California are required to teach three main courses: 

  • Real Estate Principles (45 hours) - In this course, you’ll have a comprehensive introduction to the real estate business and what is involved with being an agent. You’ll also learn about how to interact with escrow and title companies. 
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours) - This course is a high-level overview covering how to build and grow a successful real estate business. From taxation to the appropriate property disclosures, you’ll learn about the critical aspects involved in the day-to-day real estate industry.
  • One elective class (45 hours) -  Students will get to pick their a class as an elective, but it’s encouraged to take the Real Estate Finance class since it’s prominently featured on the final exam. If you opt to take a different course, classes are offered in property management, appraisal, real estate economics, office administration, and real estate law. 

Apply for the Real Estate Exam

Once you’ve successfully finished your real estate courses, you’ll be eligible to apply to take the California real estate exam. In your application, you’ll have to submit: 

  • A copy of your valid photo ID
  • Completed live scan form
  • Transcripts and certificate of completion of your coursework
  • The appropriate DRE forms
  • Fees associated with your exam and license, usually around $305

While it’s recommended you submit all your documents and information online, applicants can also apply to mail or fax their application to:

Department of Real Estate
Examination Section
P.O. Box 137001
Sacramento, CA 95813-7001

The DRE will process your application and determine if you’re approved to schedule your exam. 

The current application processing times are listed online, so you can know what to expect after submitting your application. 

Generally, there is a 6-8 week processing time, so review processing times and plan accordingly.

Once approved, you’ll receive a notification that you’re approved to schedule your exam. 

Pass the Exam

While the real estate exam is done in person at a testing facility, the exams are taken electronically. They must be scheduled ahead of time via the DRE’s website. 

On the day of your exam, you’ll have three hours to complete the exam consisting of 150 questions. The exam is broken down into the following categories:

  • Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures
  • Laws of Agency and Fiduciary Duty
  • Property Ownership and Land Use Controls and Regulation
  • Contracts
  • Financing
  • Transfer of Property

Since you take the test electronically, you’ll know that day - before leaving the testing facility - if you have passed or failed the exam. 

You’ll need to score 70% or higher to pass, meaning you’ll need to answer 105 out of 150 questions correctly. The California real estate exam has a 50% passing rate and is considered difficult, requiring proper preparation and study. 

The good news is that If you don’t pass your exam on the first try, you’ll be able to retake the test later.

Sign with a Brokerage

Once you’ve passed the exam, the last step you’ll need to complete before becoming a real estate agent is signing with a brokerage. 

You’ll have to interview or reach out to brokerages to see if they’ll sponsor you and hang your license with them. If you’re unsure where to start, your real estate school can often connect you with brokerages looking to add additional agents. 

During the interview process, you should find a brokerage that will help you grow as an agent and get you started in your career. In addition, finding the right brokerage will help you get a foundation in the industry and develop your skills.

How Competitive is the San Jose Real Estate Market?

In San Jose, and California as a whole, the real estate market is highly competitive. The average home sales price is up 20% year over year, with a shallow inventory. 

This means that buyers have to pay more for the limited homes on the market. 

As a real estate agent in San Jose, you’ll have to help your clients navigate the competition, ensuring they make smart choices when buying or selling a home. 

It’s also important to note that there are over 11,000 licensed real estate agents in San Jose. 

You’ll be joining a large group of licensees working to contend for the limited number of listings on the market. Keep this in mind when considering how competitive the market is. 

How Much Money Do San Jose Agents Make?

One of the benefits of becoming a real estate agent is the limitless earning potential. Since you’re working off commission, every sale or transaction is more money than taking home as a salary. 

In California, the average real estate agent earns around $76,400 per year, according to the Department of Labor. 

With median home sales for April 2022 in San Jose being $1,300,000, real estate agents could make around $39,000 per transaction at that price point. 

Of course, your earning potential depends on how many transactions you’re completing in a year and your commission rate. 

How Fast Can You Become a Real Estate Agent in San Jose?

Becoming a real estate agent doesn’t happen overnight. Considering your coursework, application, and exam, there are some time-consuming aspects to becoming a real estate agent. 

With 135 hours of classes and a processing time of around 8 weeks for the application, you should plan to spend 3-5 months from start to finish to get your real estate license.

Should You Become a Real Estate Agent in San Jose?

With a high media price point and competitive market, the real estate industry in San Jose is increasingly active right now. 

If you are excited by the opportunity to help clients find their homes in this Bay Area enclave, becoming a real estate agent is a great career move.

TL;DR: To become a real estate agent in San Jose, you need to complete a pre-licensing education, pass the state exam, and find a brokerage when your license is delivered to you. Remember that San Jose has high land value, so the commission checks for closing a deal will big huge.

Jun 6, 2022
How To
5 min.