How to Apply for the Real Estate Exam in California

By
Elias Magers
|
Nov 17, 2021
6 min

Real estate exams? Live Scans? Mailing addresses? How does any of this work?

Submitting your real estate exam application to the Department of Real Estate (DRE) can stress you out! There’s a lot to include in your application.

And getting your application rejected because you forgot to add something can feel devastating. Not to mention the time you have to wait to get it re-approved.

We want to give you all the information you need to send in an amazing real estate exam application that will get you accepted.

So, let’s start with the real estate exam requirements. What do you need to do to be eligible for the California real estate exam?

California Real Estate Exam Requirements

To be eligible to take the California real estate exam, you must first:

  • Be 18-years old or older
  • Collect 3-certificates from an accredited California real estate school
  • Ability to take the real estate exam in person
  • Eligible to work in the U.S.

The most important thing to remember is the 3-course certificates. You cannot take the California real estate exam without first completing your pre-licensing program.

Those certificates are proof that you completed your pre-licensing education and that you’re ready to take the next step.

What to Include in Your Real Estate Exam Application

To apply for the real estate exam, you must send in an application to the Department of Real Estate containing:

  • A valid photo ID
  • Completed Live Scan form
  • Associated Fees (State Exam & License)
  • 3 Course Certificates
  • Completed DRE Forms

The address to mail your real estate exam (and license) application is:

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

You can package your entire application in a large manilla envelope, which can be bought and shipped at any post office.

Now, let’s talk about the forms you should include in your real estate exam application.

Which Forms to Include in Your Real Estate Exam Application

If you want to get your real estate license, the best form to use is combo form RE 435. This form is a joint real estate exam application and license application.

The real estate exam only application is RE 400A. This application is for people who only want to take the real estate exam and do not want to have their real estate license mailed to them upon passing the real estate exam.

Credit card payments can be made using RE 909. This form lets you add in your credit card information for the DRE to process. An alternative way of paying is by cutting a check and including it in your application.

Finally, we have Live Scan Service Request RE 237. This one is important. This form must be given and completed by a Live Scan service provider. The service request form will start the Live Scan process.

How to Fill out the Live Scan Service Request Form

This part confuses a lot of people. So, we want to clear the air.

To properly fill out the Live Scan Service Request Form RE 237, you must make 3 copies. One copy is kept by the Live Scan service provider, one copy is kept by you, and one copy is added to your real state exam application.

That way, everyone has a copy and there is no confusion. The last thing you want in this application process is confusion!

How Much Does the Real Estate Exam Cost?

The original salesperson exam fee is $60 and the real estate license fee is $245. So, if you use RE Form 435, you should cut a check for $305.

But, if you want to know the total price, typically you can expect to pay $350 altogether. This is because the typical Live Scan service fee is $45. The final total price will come out a little higher if you include shipping fees.

Can You Apply to the California Real Estate Exam Online?

Recently, the Department of Real Estate has made it simple to apply for the California real estate exam online.

All you have to do is create your own eLicensing account and follow the instructions on your screen to complete this process. But, keep in mind, you can only do this if you collect all 3-certificates within 1-year of your pre-licensing school enrollment date.

If you received your 3-certificates over the course of more than 1-year, you will have to apply by mail.

A Final Look at What to Include

After explaining everything, here’s the final checklist of what you should include in your real estate exam application if you want to get your real estate license:

  • RE Form 435
  • Check or RE Form 909 for $305
  • Copies of Your 3-Course Certificates
  • Live Scan Form 237
  • A Valid Photo ID

Once you have this ready, you can submit it online or by mail to:

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

How to Schedule Your Real Estate Exam

Once you applied for the real estate exam, all you have to do is wait for your application to get accepted. Once it is, you will be eligible to schedule your real estate exam date.

This step is simple and takes only a few minutes. When ready, the DRE will send you an email informing you that you can schedule your real estate exam date. Then, all you have to do is follow the instructions in the email to reserve your date.

We recommend doing this as soon as possible when you get the email notification. Everyone is eager to get their real estate license, so seats fill up fast.

How Long Does it Take to Get Your Real Estate Exam Testing Date?

After you send in your application, it takes around 3-months for the DRE to accept or reject your real estate exam application.

A good indicator of when the DRE is about to email you is when they withdraw the application fee from your bank account.

At that point, you can expect an email within the next week to two weeks.

Where Do You Take the California Real Estate Exam?

When you schedule your testing date, you will notice that the DRE will give you a few location options for where you can take the real estate exam. These locations are:

  • Los Angeles
  • Fresno
  • Oakland
  • Sacramento
  • San Diego

Some people wonder if you can take the real estate exam online. Unfortunately, you cannot take the real estate exam online. It must be done at one of the approved locations throughout California.

Passing the Real Estate Exam in California

Now, that you have a date and location picked out, it’s time to pass the real estate exam.

Preparing for the real estate exam takes a lot of effort, but it can be done. The most important thing to remember is to not give up.

The California real estate exam has 150 questions with a time limit of 3 hours, as of January 2020. You must score a 70% or higher to pass the real estate exam.

The real estate exam will test you in the following categories:

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

According to the DRE Licensee/Examinee Statistics for Fiscal Year 2019/2020, there were 64,562 salesperson exams administered and 34,360 licenses issued, which can indicate a pass rate of about 53.2%

Final Thoughts Applying to the Real Estate Exam in California

There’s a lot to include in your real estate exam application. That’s why it’s important to keep a checklist when you’re assembling all the materials. By taking your time now, you can save yourself a headache and a lot of waiting in the future.

Best of luck studying! If you need additional studying help, remember that CA Realty Training is the #1 real estate school in California and offers crash courses and study prep to help you pass the real estate exam on your first attempt.

Every week, we release in-depth videos to help viewers become successful real estate agents on our CA Realty Training YouTube Channel. Also, if you enjoyed reading this article, we would love if you could share it with a friend who you think would get something out of it.

By
Elias Magers
|
Nov 17, 2021
How To
Planning
6 min