As a California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) broker, you renew your license every four years to remain in business – but you also need your sales agents to renew to stay on the job. Here are the steps to take for you and your agents to comply with renewal requirements.

License renewals for brokers and their agents

As a broker licensed by the California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE), you have responsibilities regarding license renewals. First, you renew your broker license every four years as a requisite to remaining ready to represent members of the public. [Calif. Business & Professions Code §10153.6]

Second, when you employ other licensees, you have the additional need to make sure each licensee you employ – sales agent or broker – renews their license. [Bus & P C §10153.7]

As part of your four-year CalBRE renewal of your broker license, you need to complete 45 hours of continuing education (CE) which includes:

  • 18 hours of consumer service or consumer protection material;
  • three hours each of Agency, Fair Housing, Trust Funds, Ethics, Risk Management and Office Management and Supervision; and
  • any remaining hours in either consumer service or consumer protection material. [Bus & P C §10170.5]

Editor’s note – first tuesday is a CalBRE-approved continuing education course provider. We offer eight different study packages for you to meet the 45-hour renewal CE requirement.

Once you have completed your CE requirements, fill out and submit your renewal application, course verification and renewal fee payment to the CalBRE. [See RE 207; RE 208; RE 251; RE 909]

You may process your renewal online through the CalBRE’s eLicensing system.

If you have both a corporate officer license and an individual broker license, you renew your corporation officer license separately. You may use the same CE course for your corporation officer license renewal that you use for your individual broker license. However, corporation officers may only renew by mail.

An employing broker’s role in their agent’s renewal

Each time a sales agent renews their license, they need to verify employment with their broker – you.

Encourage sales agents you employ to renew as soon as possible – 90 days before the date their license expires. The CalBRE lags in processing license renewals by more than a month. Agents submitting renewals at the earliest possible date give you plenty of time to certify their renewal and update your records of their license.

When an agent renews by mail, as their employing broker you need to fill out the “Employing Broker Information” section of their license renewal application. [See RE 209]

When the agent renews online using the CalBRE’s eLicensing system, you may verify their employment in one of two ways. Instruct your agent to either:

  • enter your license number so you may sign in and certify them at that moment; or
  • enter your email address so you may certify them within seven days.

Only instruct your agent to enter your license number if you are present with them when they enter the number. Otherwise, the agent may not continue with their online renewal until you sign in and verify their employment.

If you choose the email address option and do not certify your agent’s employment within seven days, the CalBRE will notify you by mail that you need to certify before 30 days have passed. After 30 days, your agent’s license will be renewed and placed on inactive status.

Inactive licensees, though renewed, may not perform any licensed activities until the broker verifies their employment. Delaying your responsibility to verify an agent’s employment also delays their ability to work – limiting the operations and income of both their services and your business.

Employment verification is simple to manage. If you did not verify your agent’s employment in time, you and your agent may update their employment information through eLicensing. Your agent may also correct this verification by submitting a salesperson change application by mail to the CalBRE. The salesperson change application requires you to fill out your broker information and verify the agent’s dates of employment. [See RE 214]

But what happens if one of your agents lets their license lapse?

Expiring during a transaction

Consider a sales agent whose license expires within a month. Despite encouragement and reminders from the employing broker, the agent continues to ignore their license expiration date while negotiating a sales transaction for a client. Before the transaction closes, the agent’s license expires.
Here, the agent may not perform any licensed activities to complete the transaction since their individual license has expired. [Bus & P C §10130]

On expiration of their license, the agent employed by a broker essentially becomes an unlicensed assistant to the broker until their license is renewed. In the meantime, the broker needs to either take over the transaction personally or assign another licensed agent to complete it.

Either way, the agent’s lapse is an inconvenience which interrupts the workflow of the broker and their office. The agent, too, will likely lose all or part of their fee on the transaction – which will be used to pay the agent assigned to the transaction who was licensed and ready.

Avoid these failures by ensuring your oversight provides for policing compliance by your agents.

Broker supervision of the licensees they employ

The CalBRE requires you to maintain and implement procedures for monitoring the licensed activities of your sales agents and broker associates. Part of this supervision includes having a method for regularly checking the status of agents whose licenses are coming up for renewal. [BRE Regs §2725; CalBRE Broker Compliance Evaluation Manual, August 2010]

You need to retain the paper licenses of any sales agents or broker associates working for your company. The license documents need to be available for inspection upon request by the CalBRE. [Bus & P C §10160]

Use the CalBRE’s public license lookup to monitor the status of your agents’ licenses. The license lookup displays any administrative or disciplinary actions taken against licensees. [BRE Regs §2725.5]

Consequences for supervisory failures

If you fail to properly supervise your agents or to report violations to the CalBRE, you expose yourself to potential disciplinary action against your broker license. Depending on the severity and frequency of such violations, the CalBRE may elect to suspend or revoke not only the agent’s license, but your broker license, too. [Bus & P C §10177(h)]

Disciplinary actions against your license may be accompanied with other consequences particular to the violation. For example, if you pay your agent for a transaction they performed while not properly licensed, you are required to pay a $100 fine for each offense. [Bus & P C §10138]

Instead of putting yourself in the difficult position of having to report a violation, make sure your company is foolproof by tracking agent compliance with the CalBRE’s licensing regulations.

Tracking agent compliance with renewal requirements

To make the renewal process easier, California brokers who employ 16 or more agents may enroll in first tuesday’s free broker appreciation program, CalPaces. CalPaces provides employing brokers with monthly reports, which include details about:

  • which of their sales agents are enrolled in courses under the broker’s CalPaces code; and
  • which sales agents have licenses expiring in the next six months and their expiration dates.

Using these reports, you may take steps to ensure your sales agents renew their licenses in plenty of time to remain in compliance with the CalBRE’s regulations – keeping your supervision duties fulfilled and your broker license intact.

Editor’s note — CalPaces offers a number of additional benefits for both brokers and their agents, including:

  • monthly reports for brokers to keep track of their agents’ renewals;
  • recruitment tools of licensee lists for brokers seeking to hire more agents and broker-associates;
  • bulk discounts for agents enrolling in CE courses; and
  • a direct link to a customized CalPaces ordering screen for the broker.

Interested in signing up for CalPaces? Call 951-781-7300 and ask to speak to a CalPaces representative.

This article was previously posted in 2015, and has been updated.