The Department of Real Estate (DRE) requires a fictitious business name to appear on your broker or corporation officer license before the name may be used in conducting activities for which a real estate license is required. [Calif. Business & Professional Code §10159.5(a)]

An employing broker may authorize a real estate salesperson they employ to file an application with the county clerk to obtain a fictitious business name, also known as a doing business as (DBA), under which the salesperson may conduct business.

The salesperson filing for the fictitious business name is required to:

  • deliver to the DRE an application signed by the broker requesting permission to use a county-approved fictitious business name identified with the broker’s license number;
  • pay any fees associated with filing an application with the county or DRE for a fictitious business name; and
  • maintain ownership of the fictitious business name subject to the control of the broker.

To reduce filing requirements, a team name is defined separately from a fictitious business name. A team name is not considered a fictitious business name triggering the above requirements if the team name:

  • is used by two or more real estate licensees who work together to provide licensed real estate services under an employing broker;
  • includes the surname of at least one of the licensees in conjunction with the term “associates,” “group” or “team;” and
  • does not include the term “real estate broker,” “real estate brokerage,” “broker” or “brokerage,” or any other term suggesting the licensees are offering real estate brokerage services independent of a broker.

Critically, any marketing materials — i.e., business cards, print or electronic media and “for sale” signs — using a fictitious business name or team name need to conspicuously display:

  • the licensees’ names and license numbers; and
  • the broker of record’s identity as prominently as the fictitious business name or team name.

Related article:

Frequently asked questions regarding “Fictitious Business Names”