This article covers the enhanced continuing education (CE) required of California real estate licensees and provides an overview of firsttuesday’s upcoming Implicit Bias course and video line up presenting the newly legislated interactive participation component, Access for All: A Fair Housing Game™.

This article was originally published in April 2022. It has been updated as of July 15, 2022 with the DRE’s updated course approval timelines.

A California for all

 Real estate agents and brokers who expire after 2022 will soon find themselves studying some new and innovative course content.

Passed at the end of 2021, Senate Bill (SB) 263 requires two hours of implicit bias training to be incorporated into continuing education (CE) and pre-licensing courses. Further, the mandated three-hour Fair Housing (or Survey) renewal course and Legal Aspects of Real Estate pre-licensing course are to include an interactive participatory component.

The California Department of Real Estate (DRE) has recently clarified the new course requirements will apply to real estate agents and brokers with licenses expiring on or after January 1, 2023.

Further, late renewals — licensees with expiration dates prior to January 1, 2023, but who renew after the implementation date — will also need to take the additional Implicit Bias course and updated Fair Housing which includes the interactive participatory component.

Editor’s note – California’s legislature is currently considering SB 1495, to push back  implementation of implicit bias course requirements for pre-licensing courses until January 1, 2024, and modify how the content is to be divided across multiple pre-licensing courses. In a webinar with course providers on March 17th, 2022, the DRE gave the impression the passage of SB 1495 was likely, and has since limited all its commentary about the coming educational changes exclusively to the context of CE. 

Either way, SB 1495 has no bearing on the implicit bias continuing education course requirements, which remain in place for agents and brokers with licenses expiring on or after January 1, 2023.

What this means for real estate licensees

Rest assured – we’ve got you covered.

All firsttuesday students with license expiration dates after 2022 who complete their renewal prior to the approval of the new education will receive access to the additional material at no additional charge when approved by the DRE in early fall 2022. For current students, you will be notified when we add the courses to your student account.

For licenses expiring prior to 2023, you do not need to take this additional education until your next renewal.

When your license expires after 2022 and you’re currently enrolled in a renewal package, you may complete your enrollment now and return to complete the new education in early fall. However, it is recommended that you wait until the enhanced Fair Housing has been reapproved before completing this course.

If you’re not a firsttuesday student and need the updated CE, you may enroll in these new offerings separately after the early fall 2022 approval by the DRE. The new Implicit Bias and enhanced Fair Housing courses are priced as a combo at $17.50.

Implicit Bias course content – a look into the future

Implicit bias training is now taking place across industries — in healthcare, policing, and now real estate, thanks to 2021’s passage of SB 263.

Editor’s note — Bookmark our Legislative Gossip page for regular updates on new and pending laws affecting your California real estate practice.

The term implicit bias refers to discriminatory thoughts or attitudes of which a person is not fully aware. These thought patterns are subtle, subliminal, and below the level of direct consciousness. Think of the portion of an iceberg that rests beneath the surface of frigid water: not immediately apparent, but hugely impactful for those who run afoul of its reach.

Alternatively, explicit bias describes the same type of discriminatory thoughts or attitudes, but paired with an awareness of their existence and influence on behavior. Explicit bias is the craggy piece of the iceberg which juts out above the surface of the water, fully visible to all. For example, a real estate agent or landlord who consciously and deliberately refuses to show homes to or accept applications from members of a protected group is guilty of explicit discrimination.

This marks the difference between being aware of a stereotype and allowing it to color behavior, versus letting it motivate unconsciously — implicitly.

firsttuesday’s two-hour Implicit Bias training will prepare real estate professionals to identify and counteract elements of systemic racism — conscious and unconscious — in real estate transactions.

Specifically, the course will cover:

  • federal and state fair housing law in the context of explicit and implicit bias;
  • predatory lending and redlining both from a contemporary and historical perspective;
  • the wealth and homeownership gap between white, Black and Latinx households, and how it is perpetuated by discriminatory lending and real estate practices;
  • the proper implementation of fair hiring practices;
  • reporting discriminatory practices observed in the industry;
  • adherence to advertising guidelines in order to avoid discrimination in marketing; and
  • the need for greater financial literacy to create a more stable housing market.

Access for All: A Fair Housing Game™

SB 263 requires the Fair Housing course to include an “…interactive participatory component that allows the applicant to role play as both a consumer and real estate professional.”

To best fulfill the spirit of this law, firsttuesday has created Access for All: A Fair Housing Game™ for inclusion in the Fair Housing course.

Access for All™ presents a variety of interactive scenarios. In some, students will take the role of a real estate licensee. In others, students will take the role of a principal. Based on the decisions made by students, the scenarios change – poor choices yield negative outcomes, and virtuous choices yield positive outcomes.

Access for All™ blends video, animation, text, and voice in an engaging educational experience that puts the student directly into the shoes of transaction participants.

Access for All™ was created by firstuesday’s diverse team of staff writers, videographers, designers, programmers and voice actors, and is hosted by frequent collaborator, Summer Goralik. Summer was employed as a Special Investigator for the DRE for six years and worked closely with former Real Estate Commissioner Wayne Bell. Summer is a licensed real estate broker with extensive background in real estate which includes private sector, regulatory and law enforcement experience.

The ultimate purpose of Access for All™ is to illustrate how fair housing, discrimination and implicit bias play out in actual practice, so students can recognize it and take the appropriate actions to ensure California’s real estate market remains, well, golden.

As we await DRE approval for our new offerings, DRE licensees whose licenses expire in 2023 may continue to take their renewal courses as usual. Students who completed their CE with us for their upcoming renewal will not be charged for the Implicit Bias and Fair Housing combo needed to renew a DRE license expiring after 2022.