How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles, California

Aug 21, 2023
6 min.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles, California 

As the national real estate frenzy continues, many individuals are re-evaluating their career paths and considering real estate for their next job. 

Los Angeles is constantly ranked among one of the hottest housing markets and continues to be a top city for real estate agents. 

If you’re considering becoming a real estate agent in Los Angeles, read on to learn how to start the process.

5 Steps to Becoming a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles

Becoming a real estate agent in Los Angeles is a fairly straightforward process that involves five key steps.

Enroll in a Real Estate School

California requires all real estate applicants to attend an accredited real estate school and complete 135 hours of pre-licensing coursework. 

These educational institutions have been accredited by the state of California and are approved to teach the coursework required for your licensure. 

You can review all accredited schools on the California Department of Real Estate website.

Pass the 3 Required Courses

This features three fundamental classes:

  • 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 that covers how to build and grow a successful real estate business. From taxation to the appropriate property disclosures, you’ll learn about the key aspects involved in the day-to-day real estate industry.
  • One elective class (45 hours) -  There are a variety of course options that a student could pick as their elective, but it’s encouraged that students take the Real Estate Finance class, as it’s often heavily 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 completed your coursework, you’ll be able to apply for the California real estate exam. To do that, you’ll have to send in an application with:

  • A valid photo ID
  • Completed live scan form
  • Payment for the state exam fees
  • Certificate of course completion
  • Completed DRE forms

You can submit your application online, in the mail, or by faxing it to the DRE. Once submitted, it can take up to 6 weeks for your application to be approved. 

You can view their current processing times on their website here. Once approved, you’ll receive a notification that you’re eligible to schedule your exam. 

Pass the Exam

Once you’ve gotten approval on your application from the Department of Real Estate, you’ll be able to schedule your exam. 

There is a designated testing facility in the Los Angeles area that you’ll have to schedule your exam with, as walk-in testing is not allowed. 

You’ll have 3 hours to complete your salesperson exam and can opt to take it on paper or on a computer. 

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

In order to pass the exam, you must get 70% of the questions right. That means out of 150 questions, 105 must be correct to get a passing score. 

With a 50% passing rate, the California real estate exam is considered difficult and rigorous. If you don’t pass your exam on the first try, you’ll be able to retake the test another time.

Sign with a Brokerage

If you pass, the DRE will mail and email you a copy of your official real estate license. From there, you’ll have to find a brokerage that wants to sponsor you. 

It’s important to find a brokerage that fits your needs and supports your business goals as you start your real estate career in Los Angeles. 

This can involve reaching out to various brokerages, interviewing with brokers, and connecting with other agents who are looking to grow their team. 

Sometimes your real estate school can also help connect you with brokerages who are looking to add new agents.

Once a brokerage sponsors you, you can start selling and working with clients!

How Competitive is the Los Angeles Real Estate Market?

As with many major metro areas right now, the Los Angeles real estate market is incredibly competitive as inventory is at all-time lows and many are scrambling to find a home as rents and interest rates rise nationally. 

In 2021, home sales increased 26% in Los Angeles county but appear to have slowed in early 2022. 

These numbers can make breaking into the real estate industry difficult, as oftentimes seasoned agents are more prepared to deal with highly competitive markets. 

Keep this in mind as you look for a brokerage to sponsor you. And above all, don’t get discouraged if it takes some time to break into the market. 

How Much Money Do Los Angeles Agents Make?

Many people get into real estate because of the unlimited earning potential in sales. In Los Angeles, there are about 7,000 licensed real estate agents and the average income is about $73,000. 

While this is just an average, it’s important to remember that real estate agents incur several expenses in operating their business, and it can take several years to grow a lucrative career in the industry. 

However, agents in Los Angeles are top earners compared to other areas of the country thanks in part to the high property prices that are prevalent in Southern California.

The average property price in Los Angeles County in April 2022 was around $900,000. If an agent receives a 3% commission on a sale of a property, they’re poised to earn around $27,000 per transaction. 

This can easily add up over multiple transactions and equate to a high-earning potential. 

How Fast Can You Become a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles?

Between the coursework, application, and exam, there are several time-consuming aspects to becoming a real estate agent. You should plan to spend 3-5 months from start to finish to get your real estate license

With 135 hours of classes and a processing time of around 6 weeks for the application, the time it takes can vary greatly based on your own schedule availability and the DRE’s times. 

Should You Become a Real Estate Agent in Los Angeles?

Becoming a real estate agent can be an incredibly rewarding and lucrative career for many. You’re helping guide clients through one of the biggest purchases in their life while working as your own boss. 

In real estate, every day is different than the last. If you enjoy working with people, like a flexible working environment and want to be in control of your own business, real estate could be a great career for you to consider.

TL;DR: To become a real estate agent in Los Angeles, you first have to get a real estate license. You can get a real estate license by completing the requried pre-licensing education and passing the state exam. When you pass, your license is mailed to you and you can start interviewing at a brokerage.

Aug 21, 2023
How To
6 min.