Real Estate License Transferring in California: How Does it Work?

Nov 22, 2021
4 min

If you have a California real estate license can you transfer it to another state? What about if you have an out-of-state real estate license and want to transfer it to California?

Does this mean you have to go through an accredited real estate school, pass the state exam, and sign with a real estate brokerage?

Not entirely.

Let’s explore California’s reciprocity laws so you can learn about how to transfer your real estate license. 

What is Real Estate License Reciprocity?

So, what is a real estate license reciprocity? Real estate license reciprocity allows people, with active real estate licenses, to skip the education step of another state they wish to get their real estate license in.

In other words, you are eligible to take another state’s real estate exam to get a real estate license, given they have reciprocity.

For example, if you’re an active real estate agent moving from Alabama to Louisiana, you are eligible for a Louisiana real estate license exam, which means you don’t have to complete an accredited Louisiana real estate school.

You still have to take the state exam, pass, and hang your license with a brokerage!

Keep in mind, that your license must not have any suspensions or revocations. Before you get a real estate license in another state, you should resolve all issues with your current license.

Reciprocity rules are different from state to state and some states don’t offer any reciprocity.

Can You Transfer an Out of State Real Estate License to California?

Speaking of states that don’t offer any reciprocity, let’s talk about California’s real estate license reciprocity.

You cannot transfer an out-of-state real estate license to California. That’s right. California is one of the few states that do not offer any reciprocity.

That means, if you have an active license in another state, you still have to complete a California-accredited real estate school, pass the state exam, and sign with a brokerage.


But, there’s some good news...

Can Your Transfer Your California Real Estate License to Another State?

If you have a California real estate license, you can transfer it to another state. Some states offer full reciprocity. That means no matter which state you have your license in, you are eligible for the real estate exam.

The states with full reciprocity are:

  • Alabama
  • Colorado
  • Maine
  • Mississippi
  • Virginia

Also, Massachusetts offers real estate license reciprocity for good-standing license holders from California.

Do You Need to Live in California to Practice Real Estate?

You don’t need to live in California to practice real estate. Although, it certainly helps.

You can get a California real estate license and still live outside of the state. That’s the case with other states as well.

Typically, real estate agents will weigh the pros and cons of getting a real estate license in California to see if it’s a worthwhile investment. If you foresee future clients who are interested in buying or selling California real estate, then it could be smart to get your real estate license.

What if You Have a Client Who Wants to Move to California But You Don’t Have a California Real Estate License?

If you have a client interested in purchasing a California property, but you don’t have a California real estate license, you can still help. As a real estate agent, you can refer your client to a trusted agent in California and still get a referral fee.

This is an effective way to bring value to your client, connect them with a trusted agent, and collect some money along the way.

This works great if you have one client moving to California, but if you foresee more clients doing deals in the Golden State, then consider getting a real estate license.

Final Thoughts on the Real Estate License Reciprocity

Real estate license reciprocity makes practicing real estate in other states easy. But, you have to remember that some states don’t offer reciprocity. 

Also, if you choose to use reciprocity, then you need to guarantee your license is in good standing with your current state.

One last thing, if you can go the reciprocity route, then remember that you still have to pass the state exam! So, freshen up on those exam topics and don’t get discouraged.

TL;DR: In California, you cannot transfer a real estate license from another state. You will have to take the required pre-licensing education and pass the state exam to get a real estate license.

Nov 22, 2021
How To
4 min