This quarter, the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) focuses on the progress it made during this last fiscal year. For those who didn’t know, CalBRE’s fiscal year runs from July 1st to June 30th.
In 2015-2016, its total revenue from all sources was $51,471,166. Expenditures totaled $50,694, 933.
CalBRE employs around 326 people in seven different sections:
- Education and Research;
- Information Technology Systems;
- Licensing; and
- Mortgage Loan Activities.
Let’s see what each section does, and highlight things that may impact your practice.
As you’d expect, this section audits licensees and subdividers to ensure they comply with existing law.
CalBRE’s audit team is small relative to the number of licensees, so they focus their audits mainly on brokerages that handle a high volume of trust funds. Last year, the Audit Section performed 590 audits. The vast majority of those audited were in property management.
Nearly 80% of the audits uncovered at least minor violations. In total, CalBRE auditors found nearly $13 million in trust fund shortages.
The takeaway: trust funds. Make sure you know your stuff.
Education and Research
This section reviews and approves licensing and continuing education course offerings.
Last fiscal year, CalBRE reviewed and approved 473 applications for licensing and continuing education courses, a 43% increase from the prior year. Some of this increase is the result of the new Office Management and Supervision course requirement which went into effect in January.
The Enforcement Section investigates complaints of violations of the Real Estate or Subdivided Lands Laws.
In 2015-2016, CalBRE received 6,207 complaints. 1,144 complaints resulted in disciplinary action against a licensee or subdivider. Another 753 complaints resulted in minor fines.
For more information on the kinds of complaints which CalBRE will take action on, read this article.
Information Technology Systems Section
CalBRE’s Information Technology Systems Section (IT Section) is CalBRE’s programming backbone.
The IT Section’s highlights during 2015-2016 include:
- enabling email notifications of State Exam eligibility to applicants in lieu of mailed notifications; and
- a program to fast track licensing applications for honorably discharged military applicants (see this for more details).
85% of license applicants and 74% of renewing licensees use CalBRE’s online licensing portal, eLicensing to schedule exams or renew their licenses. Here’s an article on what you can do on eLicensing.
If you need help, check out our tutorials here:
Among other things, this section processes license application denials and disciplinary actions. Last year, CalBRE revoked 411 licenses, suspended 120 and denied 173 license applications.
For more on what to do if you’re involved in a disciplinary action, see this article.
The Licensing Section administers the sales agent and broker State Exams, original CalBRE licenses, renewals and mortgage loan originator (MLO) endorsements.
It also handles calls from licensees about licensing matters. Last year, the Licensing Section took 249,042 calls – an average of 1,037 calls a day! Many inquiries can be answered by visiting CalBRE’s website, or using eLicensing. We can also help you with most questions about the licensing or renewal process.
Mortgage Loan Activities Section
Finally, the Mortgage Loan Activities Section provides additional administrative support for MLO endorsements and reports.
Did you know you can submit your mortgage advertisements for review before you use them? Here’s how.
Finally, the CalBRE discusses when brokers who engage in escrow activities are required to file the Escrow Activity Report with the CalBRE. The report is due within 60 days of the end of the calendar year if you escrow:
- five or more transactions during the prior calendar year; or
- $1 million or more during the prior calendar year.
Read the full Fall 2016 CalBRE Bulletin here.