Frequently Asked Questions

    • Does Mt. SAC offer degrees and/or certificates for Real Estate Students?
      Yes. Mt. SAC offers an AS in Real Estate as well as a Real Estate Sales Certificate and a Real Estate Brokers Certificate.   Since the real estate profession is licensed driven, degrees and certificates are not necessarily valued in the industry.   Students are encouraged to seek the Real Estate Sales Certificate since the requirements are exactly the same as the educational requirements to sit for the California Real Estate Sales Exam.   For those students wishing to further their career and obtain a Real Estate Broker’s License, the Real Estate Broker’s Certificate awarded by Mt. SAC contains the exact same educational requirements as those needed to sit for the California Real Estate Broker’s Exam.
    • How do I obtain a California Real Estate Sales license?

      To obtain a real estate sales license, you must:

      1. Complete 3 college level classes:
      • Real Estate Principles (BUSR 50)
      • Real Estate Practice (BUSR 52)
      • A third advanced real estate class (any other “BUSR” class) or either of the following: Accounting (BUSA 7 or 11), Business Law (BUSL 18), Macro Economics (BUSC 1A), or Landlord Tenant Law (PLGL 40)
      1. Pass the State Sales Examination consisting of 150 multiple choice questions (passing score is 105 questions or 70%).
      2. Submit to a criminal background check (including fingerprints).
      3. Complete an application to the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) and pay the appropriate fees. This agency changed its name on July 1, 2013 from the Department of Real Estate (DRE) as a result of Governor Brown’s economic restructuring.
    • How do I obtain my real estate broker’s license?
      1. Complete 8 college level classes:
      • Real Estate Practice (BUSR 52)
      • Real Estate Finance (BUSR 53)
      • Real Estate Appraisal (BUSR 81)
      • Legal Aspects of Real Estate (BUSR 51)
      • Economics (BUSC 1A) or Accounting BUSA 7 or 11)
      • Plus 3 additional advanced real estate classes (any BUSR classes will qualify in addition to BUSC 1A, BUSA 7/11, BUSL 18 or PLGL 40)
      1. Have 2 years’ experience as a real estate salesperson or possess a university (4-year) degree with a major or minor in real estate.
      2. Pass the real estate broker’s exam (200 multiple choice questions with a 75% score).
      3. Submit to a criminal background check.
      4. Complete an application to the Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) and pay the appropriate fees.

      Note: there is no education or experience requirement for members of the State Bar, they only need to take the exam, show two years’ experience in real estate, submit to a background check, be fingerprinted, complete an application and pay the appropriate fees.

    • Can I take all three required classes in the same semester?

      Real Estate Principles is a prerequisite or co-requisite for all real estate (BUSR) classes (a co-requisite for Real Estate Practice), so you could take Principles and Practice at the same time, but you could not take any other real estate class until you completed Real Estate Principles with a grade of C or better.   You could take Appraisal, Escrow, Accounting, Business Law, Macro Economics or Landlord Tenant Law (which do not have prerequisites as a third class and fulfill your education requirements in one semester.

    • How do I prove to the Bureau of Real Estate that I completed the required classes?

      Your Mt. SAC official transcript showing grades of “C” or better will be accepted by the Bureau of Real Estate.

    • How much will it cost to complete the program?
      Tuition & Fees (Estimated)

      The following table provides an estimated student cost for enrolling in the Real Estate program. The tuition costs are based on the college’s current tuition rates of $46/unit for in-state students and $227/unit tuition + $46/unit enrollment fee for out-of-state/non-resident students.  

      Tuition (47 units)
      Estimated Total
      $ 2162.00
      $ 10,669.00
      $ 11,428.00



      Note: Tuition costs will be lower for students who may have already completed any course that is a part of the Real Estate Program.

    • What are the fees to take the exam and obtain a license?
      Due to the state’s budget situation, exam and license fees are subject to change.   For the most current information, please go to the Department of Real Estate (DRE) | Licensing Fees
    • Will I have opportunities to do applied/work-based learning or service learning?
      Yes. The Real Estate Program at Mt. SAC requires students to take BUSR 52D Real Estate Practice Work Experience. This class requires a minimum of 180 hours of on-site real estate office and/or field work experience under the supervision of a licensed California real estate professional and a college instructor/coordinator. The course is designed to satisfy the Department of Real Estate licensing requirements serving as an equivalent to BUSR 52. Students who repeat this course will improve their skills through further instruction and practice.  
    • How long will it take to complete the program? Full-time? Part-time?
      The Real Estate Program consists of a total of 31 - 47 units, depending on the courses the student wishes to take. Generally, full-time students are able to complete the program within 4 semesters.  Part-time students usually complete the program within 5 semesters. Students obtaining only a certificate can complete their certification in as little as 2 semesters.
    • Once I get my real estate license, can I open a real estate office?
      To open or operate a real estate office, you must have a real estate broker’s license.   Sales licensees may do anything a real estate broker can do, provided they are employed by a real estate broker.
    • How long is the real estate license good for?
      Both the real estate sales and broker’s licenses are good for 4 years.  
    • Do I need to take the state exam to renew my license?

      To renew a license, the student must take 45 hours of continuing education classes that are typically offered at a local association of REALTORS office (we do not offer such classes at Mt. SAC) and pay a license renewal fee.   The student does not have to retake the license exam unless their license expires (failure to renew).

    • I took Business Law several years ago; will that qualify for my third class?

      Yes. The Bureau of Real Estate (CalBRE) will typically honor any classes taken previously from accredited colleges.

    • I took a home study course in Real Estate Principles, but did not pass the State Exam; do I have to take Real Estate Principles (BUSR 50) again to take Real Estate classes at Mt. SAC?
      Yes. Although the Real Estate Commissioner licenses private schools to offer real estate classes through home study and on-line, the quality of the education provided is unverifiable.   Many of these courses only require only 18 days completing the course and an open book, multiple choice exams. Mt. SAC will typically honor Real Estate Principles from an accredited college or university. If the student has passed the State Real Estate Exam and has been issued a real estate license, Mt. SAC will typically accept this as having met the Real Estate Principles requirement. The chief concern is will the student be able to understand the material in the advanced real estate courses. Successful completion of Real Estate Principles from an accredited college/university satisfies this concern.
    • I feel that I have the knowledge to take an advance real estate course without taking Real Estate Principles, can I challenge this requirement?
      The determination as to whether or not the Real Estate Principles requirement is to be waived is made by the Real Estate Coordinator (Prof. Edwin Estes).    In making this determination, the Coordinator will typically have the student take a 100 question comprehensive closed book Real Estate Principles final examination based on the textbook: California Real Estate Principles, 10th edition, Brady, Estes & McKenzie, (which is on reserve in the library and sold at the campus bookstore.   The resulting score will be used to determine if the student has the requisite knowledge to take advanced real estate classes.
    • How do I become an escrow officer?
      Typically escrows are handled by banks, title insurance companies and independent escrow companies licensed by the department of corporations.   In addition, attorneys and real estate brokers may handle escrows under certain situations.


      While there is not specific licensing requirement of an employee working for a company doing escrows (the company itself is licensed or regulated), most companies will require a minimum amount of education and experience to be an escrow officer.   It is recommended that a student complete Real Estate Principles (BUSR 50) as well as Escrow Procedures I (BUSR 76) prior to applying for a position in an escrow company or division.   The decision on whether or not someone is employed as an escrow assistant or as an escrow officer is made by the employer.   Typically, to become a senior escrow officer, you must have five years’ experience as an escrow officer.

    • How do I become an appraiser?

      Appraisers are regulated by the Bureau of Real Estate Appraisers (BREA).   Specific information can be obtained from their website:    


      Appraisal candidates must complete 150 hours of education to be eligible for the Trainee Licensee.   The following courses should be completed in the order below:

      • Real Estate Principles (BUSR 50)
      • Real Estate Finance (BUSR 53)
      • Appraisal: Principles and Procedures (BUSR 81)
      • Uniform Standards of Professional Appraisal Practice (BUSR 82)
      • Residential Appraisal (BUSR 83)
      • Residential Appraisal: Case Studies (BUSR 84)


      Due to lack of enrollment, Mt. SAC is not currently offering BUSR 82, 83 and 84; a student wishing to complete their appraisal education requirements will probably have to take these two courses at a private trade school.   Students are cautioned make sure that any class they take outside of Mt. SAC is approved by the OREA.   Upon completion of the educational requirements (a total of 150 hours of classroom education is required); a student may then apply to the OREA to be a Trainee Licensee.   As such, the Trainee Licensee must work under the supervision of a Certified Appraiser for 2,000 hours over a minimum of 12 months and complete an additional 150 hours of education.


      Because there is limited demand for Trainee Licensees (most appraisers work independently), students are cautioned not to embark on this field unless they have a prospective employer.   Good prospects for employment are large financial institutions (Banks and Credit Unions), Insurance Companies and county assessor’s offices.

    • I understand that some real estate companies also do loan, how does that work?

      A real estate broker or salesperson working for a broker may also make loans secured by real estate.   Typically the agent will “broker the loan” by putting a lender (a bank or other financial institution) together with the borrower and collect a commission for doing so.   Recent state and federal legislation (commonly known as the SAFE Act) require additional course work and licensing (NMLS licensing) to do mortgage lending. This is more fully explained in Real Estate Finance (BUSR 53) and Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending (BUSR 62).  

    • A few years ago, I was arrested for a minor crime; will that affect my ability to obtain a real estate license?
      Under our legal system, persons are considered innocent until proven guilty; therefore an arrest will not affect your ability to obtain a license.   However, a criminal conviction (which includes a plea of guilty in lieu of a trial) may affect a person’s ability to obtain a license.   Real estate license applicants are required to disclose any conviction (except for minor traffic infractions) to the Real Estate Commissioner (this includes out of state convictions).   Failure to do so is considered fraud in obtaining a license and will typically result in a lifetime ban on obtaining a license.   Of particular concern to the Commissioner are crimes involving honesty and moral turpitude or a disregard for the law such as repeated minor offences.   So it is possible that a minor shoplifting conviction may be viewed more seriously than vehicular manslaughter. Students concerned about past intercessions should contact the Real Estate Program Coordinator for a confidential counseling session.
    • Who should/can I talk to about more specific information?

      While Mt. SAC has many fine counselors, because of the specific technical nature of state licensing, it is recommended that you contact the Real Estate Coordinator, Professor Edwin Estes, at 909-274-6428 or   Professor Estes is a member of the California State Bar and has held a California Real Estate License for over 39 years.