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CA BRE Licenses
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BRE Licenses

CA BRE Licenses

California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) regulates the issuance, granting, and renewal of licensing of mortgage and real estate activity. It issues Salesperson license, Broker license, and Corporation license. Below is a brief overview of various types of DLS licenses.

Real Estate Salesperson License

BRE Salesperson is a licensed professional who works under the supervision of a BRE licensed Broker as an agent of the Broker.

Real Estate Broker License

BRE Broker is a licensed professional that can engage in the business of real estate and mortgage brokering. With this license you can work independently, work with other brokers, or act as the supervising broker for a corporation. This license allows both commercial and residential mortgage activities.

Real Estate Corporation License

BRE Corporation license is given to a corporate entity that can engage in the business of real estate and mortgage brokering. At least one BRE broker must act as a designated officer.


Scope of BRE Licenses

A Real Estate license allows you engage in the activities of sale, exchange, negotiation, or solicitation of real estate, mortgage loans, leases, and real estate sales contracts for compensation. "Brokering", "Originating", "Sourcing", and "Negotiating" mortgage loans or real estate would require a license. Therefore, you will need a BRE license if you intend to solicit borrowers or lenders to negotiate loans or collect payments on loans that are secured by liens on real property.

The activities that require a license are the same for a Broker or a Salesperson. The distinction between a Salesperson and Broker license is that the Broker license requires greater level of knowledge and experience as compared to a Salesperson. The Salesperson licensee is required to be employed under a broker before engaging in any activity that requires a license. He/she always acts as an agent of the broker and always represents the broker.

Don’t forget to explore California Finance Lender (CFL) License or license issued under California Residential Mortgage Lender Law (RML), which are alternative to BRE licenses for mortgage activities.

Residential Mortgage Loan Originators

With a BRE Real Estate license you can perform both residential and commercial mortgage related activities. However, for residential (1 to 4 units) mortgage activities, you are also required to obtain Mortgage Loan Originator (MLO) endorsement through Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System (NMLS) registration.

Therefore, in order to perform residential mortgage related activities, you need to complete two licensing steps:

  1. Obtain BRE License (Salesperson or Broker)
  2. Obtain MLO Endorsement through NMLS

Exemptions from BRE Licensing

Real Estate license is not required by following entities:

  1. Resident managers of apartment buildings and complexes or their employees
  2. Short-term (vacation – only if under 30 days) rental agents
  3. Employees of certain lending institutions
  4. Employees of real estate brokers for specific, limited functions
  5. Certain agricultural associations
  6. Residential mortgage lenders licensed by the Department of Business Oversight. RML and CFL license holders are exempt.
  7. Cemetery authorities
  8. Certain collectors of payments for lenders or on notes for owners in connection with loans secured directly or collaterally by liens on real property, provided such collectors annually meet exemption criteria
  9. Clerical help

Legal Basis

The authority of BRE to regulate the licensing and regulation of Brokers and Salespersons is based on the requirements in Business and Professions Code Sections 10000, et seq. The Real Estate Commissioner promulgates regulations to implement the statute.


Updated: Sep 14, 2013


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