California Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) sales agents and brokers are required to renew their licenses every four years. Here are the top ten questions we get asked about license renewal, with tips for making your renewal speedy and efficient.

#1: What are the continuing education requirements for license renewal?

As a licensed sales agent or broker, you are required to complete 45 hours of continuing education (CE) every four years as part of your license renewal. [Bus & P C §§10153.6, 10153.7]

Per CalBRE requirements, the 45-hour continuing education needs to include:

  • 18 hours of consumer protection material;
  • 15 hours of Agency, Fair Housing, Trust Funds, Ethics and Risk Management (AFTER);
  • (for licenses expiring on or after January 1, 2016) 3 hours of Office Management and Supervision (OM&S); and
  • the remaining 9 hours of either consumer protection or consumer service material. [Calif. Business and Professions Code §10170.5]

Editor’s note — first tuesday is a CalBRE-approved continuing education course provider. We offer eight different packages that meet the above requirements for 45-hour CE.

The new OM&S course material has been approved by CalBRE and will be available online by mid-October, with hard copies of the course material available at the end of October. If your broker or sales agent license expires on or after January 1, 2016 and you have already enrolled or completed your CE, first tuesday will provide your OM&S course material FREE. We’ll email you when the course is ready!

TIP: If you’ve held a CalBRE license in good standing for 30 years and are 70 years of age on your license expiration date, you may file for a continuing education exemption using form RE 213. [Bus & P C §10170.8]

#2: How often do I have to renew my CalBRE license?

CalBRE licenses need to be renewed every four years. You may submit your renewal up to 90 days prior to your expiration date. [Bus & P C §10200] But what happens if your license expires?

CalBRE allows a two-year grace period for license renewal. This means that if you reach your expiration date, you still have two years to file a renewal before you lose your license altogether. However, you may not practice while in your two-year grace period, and if you renew, you will be charged an additional late renewal fee. [Bus & P C §10201]

To return to real estate once the two-year grace period passes, you need to reapply for your license and retake the state exam. [Bus & P C §§10210(b), 10215(b)]

TIP: If you find yourself in a time crunch and want to renew quickly, first tuesday offers 45-hour CE in an online-only format. Online-only CE requires you log in all mandated 45-hours of continuing education study time online, but you will be able to complete the CE in as little as three days.

#3: Does CalBRE allow me to repeat the same CE course topics each time I renew?

CalBRE does not require you to take different CE course topics each time you renew. In fact, you have to repeat some of the core requirements every time you take CE.

That means you’re able to repeat the same 45-hour CE topics every time you renew, if you choose. As long as the courses meet the specific hour requirements above, you are able to use them to renew.

Editor’s note — Mortgage loan originators (MLOs) have to complete eight hours of Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS)-approved continuing education every year. This requirement is separate from the CalBRE’s 45-hour requirement. MLOs may not take the same 8-hour course two years in a row.

TIP: Want to get ahead for your next renewal? Take your next set of CE courses right after you renew your license, while your course material is still fresh in your mind. Then, hold on to the course certificates until it’s ready to renew in four years!

#4: How do I study for the CE course exams?

Each 45-hour course includes multiple quizzes. Quizzes are the best way to practice for the course exams. Quizzes are mandatory to complete before you are able to take the course exams.

Once you’ve read and reviewed the material in the textbooks, you may take the quizzes as many times as you like to help you study. After you complete the quizzes, schools are required to give you feedback on your progress. When you are comfortable with the quiz questions and feel confident in the material, then you are ready to take the course exams.

TIP: If you take the quizzes online with first tuesday, your feedback includes the quiz questions, the quiz answers, and the specific questions you missed. Print your feedback and study that to get prepared for the exams.

#5: What’s the timeline for taking the CE course exams?

Before you can take the exams, CalBRE requires you to meet a state-regulated study period (which varies depending on whether you’re studying online or with a book) and complete your quizzes. [CalBRE Regulations §3007.3(j)]

You’re also limited to testing on 15 hours of continuing education per 24-hour period. That means the exams for your 45-hour CE courses will take at least three days. [CalBRE Regs §3007.3(c)]

TIP: You can complete the courses in as little as 3 days, but why stress? Enroll in your CE course with enough time to comfortably complete the material – at least a month. Although it may be tempting to try to skip the study time, courses from schools found to be out of compliance with CalBRE regs will be denied.

#6: Where do I find my course verification information?

Once you have completed your 45-hour CE course, you will be able to download and print your course completion certificate. This certificate verifies that you have taken your 45-hour course requirement and includes a series of course verification numbers. You will need to enter these numbers into CalBRE’s online renewal system, or on the printed CalBRE renewal forms.

TIP: You do not need to mail in the certificate. Either fill out the course verification form (RE 251) or enter the verification numbers online through eLicensing. Note that the “Example” portion of the RE 251 is meant to be there: CalBRE uses it to show you how to complete the form. Enter your own verification numbers under the example lines. Keep copies of your certificate for your records.

Editor’s note – first tuesday allows you to print a pre-filled copy of the course verification form with your course information already added. All you need to do is fill out your contact information, sign and date at the bottom.

#7: Who submits my renewal?

Course providers can’t directly submit students’ renewal information to CalBRE. You are responsible for submitting your own renewal to CalBRE.

#8: I’m a sales agent. Do I need an employing broker to renew?

You don’t need an employing broker to renew. The renewal application – online or on paper – will ask you “On renewal date, will you be engaged in real estate activities for which a California Real Estate License is required in the employ of a broker or corporation?” If you’re renewing your sales agent license and you don’t have a broker, answer “No.” Your license will be renewed, but you may not practice until you are employed by a broker.

On the other hand, if you are a sales agent employed by a broker at the time of your renewal, you will need the broker to verify your employment when submitting your renewal application. Broker associates do not need to certify employment for their broker license renewal – this applies only to sales agents.

If you renew by mail, your broker will need to fill out the section in the RE 209 form titled “Employing Broker Information.”

If you renew online, you will need your employing broker to certify your employment. You do this by:

  • entering your broker’s license number if they are available to certify, so they may log in to their eLicensing account and certify you immediately; or
  • entering your broker’s email address so they may log in and certify your employment within seven days.

Your broker will be notified by mail if they do not certify your employment within seven days. If your broker does not certify your employment within 30 days, your license will be renewed as inactive.

Editor’s note – Licensees whose licenses are not in good standing and have been declared restricted or suspended need to check their renewal eligibility before submitting their renewal application. [10 Cal Regs §3012.3]

TIP: Let your broker know ahead of time when you plan to submit your renewal, so they will be prepared to certify your employment quickly.

#9: How do I complete my renewal?

There are two ways to submit your license renewal:

  • online through CalBRE’s free eLicensing system; or
  • the old-fashioned way: snail mail.

eLicensing is fast and allows you to print out your new license certificate immediately after you complete your renewal.

If it is your first time using eLicensing, you will need to register. The system will then direct you to enter your personal information, the information required by the forms listed above and the course verification numbers from your course completion certificate. You will also be able to pay your renewal fee with a credit card number. Enter all the required information and submit.

TIP: Corporations, restricted licensees and licensees meeting the 70/30 exemption may not file online. If you meet the 70/30 exemption, you need to file for exemption by mail the first time; then you may file online for subsequent renewals.

Once you have all of the information required by the forms listed above, as well as your course completion certificate, you are ready to submit your renewal.

Alternatively, you renew by mail.

If you are a sales agent renewing by mail, you will need:

  • an application for renewal (RE 209);
  • a continuing education course verification form (RE 251); and
  • a renewal fee by check or credit card form (RE 909).

If you are renewing on time, you will need to include a $245 renewal fee. Late renewals will require a $367 renewal fee.

If you are a broker renewing by mail, you will need:

  • an application for individual broker license renewal (RE 208);
  • a continuing education course verification form (RE 251); and
  • a renewal fee by check or credit card form (RE 909).

The renewal fee for your on-time broker renewal is $300. Late renewals will require a $450 renewal fee.

Then, send the completed forms, your renewal fee and your course completion certificate to CalBRE at the address below.

Bureau of Real Estate
P.O. Box 137003
Sacramento, CA 95813-7003

TIP: Download the forms ahead of time to see what information you will need to renew. That way, you won’t be scrambling to get organized at the last minute.

#10: How long will it take CalBRE to renew my license?

Renewals are immediate when you use eLicensing.

In contrast, CalBRE takes a while to respond to license renewals if they are submitted by mail. (Online renewals are processed immediately.) See if CalBRE has received your renewal application by checking:

  • the CalBRE response schedule;
  • your bank account to see if your check has been cashed; and
  • your license status online.

CalBRE’s response schedule tells you when you may expect to receive confirmation and your license pocket card in the mail. Delivery of your license pocket card may be delayed several weeks, but your license certificate will be available to print through eLicensing when your renewal has been processed.

If your check has been cashed, your renewal application has been received by CalBRE and is processing.

If your license status has been renewed, showing a new expiration date, you are cleared by CalBRE and ready to practice.

TIP: If you are renewing by mail, be sure your renewal is postmarked no later than your date of expiration. As long as it is postmarked by your expiration date, your renewal will be considered on time.

Still have questions? Check out first tuesday’s step-by-step renewal instructions for sales agents and brokers.