The California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) can be difficult to navigate. So we asked them some of your most common questions so you don’t have to!  While not all reader questions were addressed, stay tuned – we’ll write more detailed responses to some of your questions in the coming weeks.

What’s the best way for a licensee to contact the BRE with a question?

The best way to contact us is to use the toll free Interactive Voice Response (IVR) number at 877-373-4542.  Calls are distributed to Licensing or to a District Office through this IVR system.

When is the best time to call the BRE to speak to a live representative?

The best time to call is early morning between 8:00 am and 9:00 am.

Are there any self-help options the BRE recommends based on common issues licensees call about? 

Yes, our eLicensing system is available to renew salesperson and broker licenses, as well as process changes of mailing or main office addresses, and salesperson employment changes.  Licensees can also use the IVR system to find out the status of their renewal application and any application deficiencies through the IVR system provided the licensee authenticates through the system, that is enters their license number and other identifying information.

What are some helpful services the BRE provides that you think agents are unaware of?

Some licensees are still unaware that licensees can print their license certificate at anytime using the eLicensing system.

With the automated phone system, it can take a very long time to speak with a live representative.  Is CalBRE planning to address these wait times?

BRE is aware that call wait times periodically exceed 30 minutes and we monitor the situation on a daily basis.  BRE licensing managers have real time access to wait times and routinely pull staff from other programs to answer phones when wait times reach 30 minutes.

Many calls these days involve how to obtain a license or inquiries on a license application status.  Answers to the most commonly asked questions can be found on our website so we recommend licensees view our website before contacting us by phone. We have expanded our FAQs and posted a video on how to apply for a license and how to avoid delays. More videos are planned.  We are also looking at adding more online services to our eLicensing system, which hopefully will reduce the number of calls licensing receives.

To get additional staff, we would need to ask for a budget change, which we will do if the current trend continues.

Editor’s note — first tuesday staff are available to answer general licensing and renewal questions. If you’re not able to reach CalBRE, call us at 951-781-7300, 8:30 AM to 5:00 PM PST, Monday through Friday.

What options are available to a licensee who has a legal question? 

CalBRE cannot provide legal advice, as such questions of a legal nature should be addressed by the licensees own legal counsel. That said, CalBRE has posted on its Website numerous FAQs on a variety of topics – and these FAQs may contain the answers to the questions a licensee may have.  In addition, CalBRE has a Business resource page on its website intended to help licensees with compliance issues.  See:

Are there plans to bifurcate the real estate license between residential and commercial?

The CA Bureau of Appraisers has two different licenses, and some readers believe the BRE should, as well. A furcation by licensed activity specialties would take legislative change. Currently, we are not aware of any legislative bills that would create specialty licensing.

How often are the state exams updated?

New exam series are created on a continuous basis.  Exam studies are conducted every 5 to 7 years.

How does the testing department determine which items are most important to test on?

The Exam Administration and Development unit conducts a job analysis survey every 5 to 7 years to determine if the exam subject categories should change.

Related article:

An interview with real estate commissioner Wayne Bell