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What is the Difference Between a Real Estate Broker and Real Estate Agents License

Real estate is a popular career path for many professionals in California. Currently, there are more than 425,000 real estate licensees in the state. The Department of Real Estate (DRE) is in charge of distributing new licenses and monitoring currently licensed professionals. The two most prominent licensing issues are those for real estate agents and real estate brokers. Although these real estate positions fall under the same licensing board, their requirements and responsibilities may vary. Here’s what you need to know about applying for your agent or broker license and the differences between the two.

Related Article: 2021 Real Estate Licensing Laws

Real Estate Broker License

The biggest benefit behind obtaining your real estate broker license is the ability to work independently. Many brokers have their own firms that they can run on their own. Within their firm are real estate agents, who directly handle the sales of homes and commercial spaces. Since the DRE requires brokers to have a minimum of two years of real estate experience, many brokers also have the same experiences as agents. However, they must pass an additional broker exam from the DRE and complete college-level courses or obtain a degree in order to obtain this license. 

With such high standards for brokers, you need to also be fully aware of any rules and regulations set by the board specifically for brokers and the agents below you. Here are the most common violations.

  • Activities by unlicensed staff
  • Trust fund violations
  • Failure to supervise real estate activities
  • Misrepresentation of material facts
  • Criminal convictions 

Although these are the most common reasons for discipline from the DRE, this is not an extensive list. Any other issues that are substantially related to your license can result in disciplinary action such as suspension, fines, and even revocation

Even if you’re applying for your real estate broker license, it’s still important to also understand the responsibilities and regulations of real estate agents.

Real Estate Agent License

A real estate agent is a licensed salesperson that is employed by a real estate broker. Agents can represent any party involved in a real estate contract such as the seller or buyer. Alongside the broker they work with, agents help show residential and commercial property and manage the heavy lifting for their clients. 

Applying for your real estate license is a little different than applying for your broker license. The DRE requires real estate agent applicants to be at least 18 years of age and be honest and truthful. This includes disclosing any of your criminal convictions. Applicants will also be required to pass a grueling salesperson examination and submit fingerprints for a background check. You must receive at least 70% on your exam to pass. The final steps in obtaining your real estate agent license is getting a sponsorship from a broker you will be working with and officially applying for your license with DRE. 

Although this process appears to be a simple plan to follow, many things can go wrong when finally applying to the DRE. Even if you pass your exam with flying colors, other obstacles may be standing in your way. The most common reasons the DRE could deny your real estate agent license application are:

  • Failure to disclose criminal charges
  • Convictions substantially related to your license
  • Administrative action taken from another board, agency or state

Additionally, the DRE could find something in your background check that may flag a denial. These are usually handled on a case-by-case basis and are based on the severity or nature of the act.

Related Article: ​​Do Past Convictions Affect My Real Estate License?

Whether you’re applying for your real estate broker or agent license, it’s important to understand their differences and what challenges you may be facing. This is why a professional license defense lawyer can help. A professional license attorney has experience facing the DRE and knows exactly what they are looking for on their license applications. And in the event that your license is denied, your attorney can then help petition this denial and unlock your real estate career. 

Applying for Your License

Are you worried that the DRE will deny your real estate broker or real estate agent license? Or did you already receive a statement of issues? Contact us immediately. 

Only 43% of real estate applicants pass the first time.

At Unlock Legal, we have decades of experience helping real estate agents like you obtain their licenses and overcome their past mistakes. We can help unlock your real estate career.

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Unlock Legal provides focused representation in criminal defense and defense for California licensed professionals. Contact Unlock Legal today or give us a call at 949-268-2857 to speak with a professional about your case and your unique needs. You’ll find we are compassionate, easy to talk to, and willing to help in any capacity we can.

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