After a nearly two-year vacancy in the post of California Real Estate Commissioner — during which the job was done by acting commissioner Daniel Sandri — Governor Gavin Newsom has appointed Doug McCauley to head the Department of Real Estate (DRE).

McCauley has a lengthy bureaucratic track record. He served as the acting director of the Department of Housing and Community Development since 2019, having previously been that department’s chief deputy director. Prior to that, he was an executive officer of the California Architects Board beginning in 2001.

This change in leadership is an opportunity for the DRE to develop a more proactive role in the real estate industry, a position we’ve long advocated. In particular, the DRE needs to step up its technology game, pushing its eLicensing system — among other online initiatives — to be sleeker, easier and more efficient.

Further, the DRE needs to enable renewal course sponsors to notify the DRE directly when a licensee completes their continuing education course. This will cut down on the fraudulent use of numbers by other licensees and streamline the renewal process. It will also limit the number of user-error mistakes committed by licensees, and enable the DRE to focus exclusively on other procedures required in the renewal process.

All this equals licensee enhancement and, in turn, improved consumer protection in mortgage, leasing and sales transactions as regulated by the DRE.

While it remains to be seen what this tangibly means for the DRE going forward, we at first tuesday are hopeful a sense of permanent, consistent leadership will spur the DRE in the right direction.