San Diego Real Estate License: How to Get Your License

Dec 21, 2021
6 min

San Diego's real estate market is one of the most competitive in the country, with a Redfin Compete Score™ of 83. According to Redfin, the median home price in San Diego is $800,000, up 16.1% compared to last year. 

According to, San Diego County is a seller's real estate market right now, which means more buyers than active listings. 

If you've been thinking about obtaining your San Diego real estate license, there has never been a better time than right now, as these trends should continue in 2022. 

To become a real estate agent in San Diego, you'll need to get your California real estate license. The licensing process is relatively easy, affordable, and well worth the time, effort, and expense, especially considering the opportunity to build a lucrative career in the San Diego real estate market.

This article will explain, in detail, the steps you will need to take to obtain a San Diego real estate license. 

How Do You Get a Real Estate License in San Diego?

There are essentially four simple steps you need to take to obtain your San Diego real estate license. In most instances, the process will take approximately 6-months to complete.

The steps are as follows:

  1. Enroll in a San Diego real estate school.
  2. Complete all three required California real estate courses.
  3. Apply for your real estate license and exam.
  4. Pass the California real estate exam. 

Here are the steps in greater detail.

Enroll in a Real Estate School

To obtain a San Diego real estate license, the State of California requires candidates to complete 135 hours of college-level coursework before they can qualify to take the state's real estate agent exam. 

While there are some in-person real estate schools, most are offered online through live instructor-guided or self-guided instruction.

Complete All 3 Real Estate Courses

The DRE requires that candidates take the following courses:

  • Real Estate Principales (45 hours)
  • Real Estate Practice (45 hours)
  • One elective (45 hours)

Once you have completed all 135 hours of course material from a DRE-approved real estate school, you will receive a certificate of completion and a transcript of the courses taken that you can use to apply for your California real estate exam and license. 

Submit Your Real Estate Exam and License Application

Qualified applicants can submit their real estate exam and license application online, using the DRE's eLicensing portal, mail, or fax.  

You will be required to include the following:

  • transcripts that show your successful completion of approved real estate courses
  • a live scan service request form (live scan is a Federal and state fingerprint-based criminal background check that uses fingerprinting)
  • if applicable, name change documentation (if any submitted records have name discrepancies) 
  • If applicable, a reasonable accommodation request if special accommodations are needed to take the exam per the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)

Pass the Real Estate Exam

It typically takes the DRE six weeks to process the application. Once the DRE has processed your exam application, you are allowed to take your exam at one of the state's five examination locations, including a San Diego real estate licensing exam location. You will need a valid form of identification issued in the last five years. Due to the pandemic, all sites are currently administering the exam in electronic format. 

When you take the exam in electronic format, ​you will receive your results upon completion. If you take the exam in a paper format, results will be mailed to you within five business days from your exam date.

Although it is possible to apply to take the licensing exam and apply for the licensing separately, each application can take up to six weeks to process. So, you can save two and four weeks on the entire process by applying for both simultaneously.

How Much Money Do San Diego Real Estate Agents Make?

According to, the median yearly salary of a San Diego real estate agent is $94,776.

Agents with a San Diego real estate license earn their salary based on commission from sales. Based on the current housing market and the median price of a home in San Diego ($800,000), a selling agent can expect to make approximately $9,600 per home sale, which breaks down as follows:

  • 6% total commission on the sale ($48,000)
  • split between the listing agent and buyer's agent 50/50 ($24,000) 
  • 60/40 split between agent and broker ($9,600)

That means that to reach the median real estate agent salary in San Diego, an agent must sell at least ten houses in a year. But, since a significant number of homes sell at a higher price than the median average, and commission percentages will change in your favor as you gain experience, the ability to earn a bigger salary selling fewer homes is possible within the first couple of years. 

How Much Money Do Real Estate Agents in California Make?

According to Redfin, home prices statewide were up 14.6% this year, and the median home price in the state is $725,000, which slightly lower than the median home price in San Diego ($800,000). 

Also, indeed notes that the median salary for an agent in California is $99,550, although this is slightly higher than the median salary for a San Diego real estate agent ($94,776); both are near the national average for agents across the county, which is $95,193. 

What is the Real Estate Market in San Diego Like?

As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, the current real estate market is hot right now, according to Redfin, which also notes the following key facts about the San Diego real estate market:

  • Many homes for sale are getting multiple offers, including some with waived contingencies.
  • Average homes are selling for approximately 2% above their list price and have pending sales less than two weeks after they've been listed.
  • Some of the most competitive homes sell for 6% above list price and have pending sales in less than a week after hitting the market.

That makes for an incredible seller's market and is good news for San Diego real estate agents.

The real estate market in San Diego should remain active as the demand for housing continues. While we may not see a sharp rise in home prices, dramatic decreases are not anticipated. Even if there is an increase in availability due to additional foreclosures, the current demand should balance it out. 

But, nothing is a guarantee. Hyperinflation or recession could negatively affect the market. Prices could also increase so dramatically that buyers get cold feet. On the other hand, if San Diego experiences a significant surplus due to foreclosures, a flood in the market may cause a sharp price drop.

So many variables are at play, and so much is unforeseen, but now remains the best time to become a San Diego real estate agent.

Is it Worth it to Get a Real Estate License in San Diego?

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, overall employment for sales agents in California will grow by 4% in the next decade. Although that growth rate is considered slow across all occupations, the agency expects 47,500 job openings a year for both sales agents and brokers. 

Based on those statistics and the median salary for San Diego and California real estate agents, coupled with the low cost of obtaining and maintaining a real estate license, getting a license may be worth it. But, it would help if you still weighed the pros and cons.

Final Thoughts on Getting a License in San Diego

Only you can decide if obtaining a California real estate license and breaking into the San Diego market is right for you. 

There are many clear advantages to having a California real estate license which can bring incredible earning potential if you work at it. Based on the current market trends and future forecasts, there has never been a better time to break into the market and take advantage of all the benefits of being a licensed real estate agent.

How do you get a real estate license in San Diego and become a real estate agent? This article will show you the step-by-step process of becoming a San Diegan real estate agent, and tell you about the market in San Diego right now.

Dec 21, 2021
How To
6 min