How to Look Up a Real Estate License Number

Karen D. Friedman
Dec 13, 2021
4 min

You may be asking yourself, “Why would I need to know how to do this?”

Well, there is valuable information that is linked to a real estate license number. If you are a consumer looking to work with an agent, it is important to know how to access this information.

First and foremost, you can make sure that the agent you’re about to work with is legitimate. There are other pertinent details that you can also find out about the agent simply by looking up their license number. 

We’ll go more into detail in a moment. 

First, let’s talk about where you can find the real estate license number.

Department of Real Estate Website

Every agent receives a real estate license number when they are licensed and it’s issued by the Department of Real Estate.

Because the Department of Real Estate, also known as the DRE, wants to make sure that the information is easy to locate, you will find access to it right on the homepage.

You can look up a real estate license number in California by following the steps below:

  1. Visit the Department of Real Estate’s website
  2. Click “CONSUMERS”
  3. Select “Verify a License”
  4. Enter agent’s legal name in “Licensee/Company Name” or their License ID number. (If searching by name, enter the legal name. If the agent goes by a derivative of their name like “Mike,” be sure to put “Michael” in the search.)

Now that you know how to find the DRE license number, let's talk about the other pertinent information that you can learn about the agent or broker you are researching. 

Access to License Information

Of course, verifying that the agent is legitimate may be the initial reason you may be looking up an agent’s license number. Here is some of the other information that you will find on the Public License Information page:

Real Estate License ID and Expiration Date

Along with the license number you can also check the expiration date. While it’s important to verify that the agent can legally practice real estate, it’s just as important to make sure their license hasn’t lapsed. 

Real Estate License Status

If the agent is licensed and active you will see “LICENSED” under this area. Here are a few common real estate license status types you’ll find, although the DRE has even more listed on their website:

  • Licensed NBA: “The license is in a non-working status. The licensee may not perform acts for which a real estate license is required in California. Salesperson reference for NBA is equivalent to 'No Broker Affiliation' and the broker/corporation reference to NBA is equivalent to 'No Business (current main office) Address.”
  • Expired: “The license is expired. The licensee may not perform acts for which a California real estate license is required.”
  • Restricted: “The license is restricted as a result of an administrative action rendered by the Department of Real Estate. A restricted license is a probationary type license. “

An agent holding a “Restricted License” is still allowed to practice real estate. Although, because the license is probationary, they are more at risk of it being revoked if another disciplinary action is filed.

Former Name(s)

Occasionally, an agent may have practiced under a different name before legally changing it. This can verify the validity of the agent.

Responsible Broker

All agents are required to “hang” their license with a brokerage. This confirms what office they are affiliated with. This does not apply to agents that have their broker licenses.

Access to any Disciplinary Actions

Another valuable piece of information that you can get from the DRE license number is disciplinary actions taken against the agent. 

This is also found on the Public License Information page. It is listed as “Comment” and it is usually the last item on the page.  

Agents are held to a Code of Ethics and standards by the Department of Real Estate. If an agent has broken any of these Ethics or basic rules and regulations, they can be subject to disciplinary actions.

If the agent is in good standing you will see it as: 


Final Thoughts on the Real Estate License Number Lookups

There are many practicing real estate agents in the field. There is nothing wrong with doing some due diligence before you decide to enter into a legal contract with an agent.

When you are ready to work with a real estate professional, looking up their license number is a good start. This resource is an easy and convenient way to confirm that they are licensed and in good standing.

How do you look up a real estate license in California? This article shows you the 4 easy steps to looking up a real estate agent's license in the state of California using the Department of Real Estate's website. Also, you can find more information on what you can find out about their license.

Karen D. Friedman
Dec 13, 2021
How To
4 min