How to Apply for the Real Estate Exam in California
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 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.
How to Apply for the Real Estate Exam
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.
What You Need for 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
How to Fill out the Live Scan Service Request Form
This part confuses a lot of people. So, we want to clear the air.
Live Scan is a digital fingerprinting process that replaces traditional ink fingerprinting in states where it's available. An applicant's fingerprints are securely transmitted to a government agency, which performs a criminal history background check using an Automated Fingerprint Identification System (AFIS).
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 estate 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.
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 2-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
- 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
- Transfer of Property
- Practice of Real Estate and Disclosures
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.
TL;DR: You can apply for the California real estate exam through the Department of Real Estate's online portal. Don't forget to include your live scan form and payment of your exam fees.