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Real Estate General Information

The Department of Business Administration and Real Estate at West Valley College offers all of the courses you need to obtain a California Real Estate Salesperson or Broker license.

See the class schedule.

Our courses offer the following benefits:

  • We cover all the topics you need to know to pass the state licensing exams for both the Salesperson and Broker licenses
  • Our courses will give you a realistic sense of what career options there are in real estate
  • Our teachers have years of diverse experience
  • We provide practical advice for anyone who wants to invest in real estate
  • Our classes are offered in the evenings and online to accommodate those with full time jobs
  • Each class is very affordable because we charge community college tuition

Career paths that you can pursue with a real estate license:

  • Residential real estate sales
  • Property management
  • Title insurance and/or the escrow industries
  • Managing a real estate sales office as a broker
  • Commercial real estate
  • Lending and mortgage brokering
  • Investing in real estate as a landlord
  • Staging
  • Real estate office administration

Real Estate Program Video

Watch our program overview video


Read an interview with Department Chair Lance Shoemaker about how to be a successful real estate agent

Real Estate Faculty

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West Valley College's Real Estate Program is approved by:

Bureau of Real Estate
1651 Exposition Blvd.
Sacramento, CA 95815
Telephone: 1-877-373-4542

Submit complaints at: enforcement.bre.ca.gov/eocs/

Real Estate Salesperson License

West Valley College offers all of the required courses that a student needs to take in order to obtain a Real Estate Salesperson’s license. The California Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) requires that an individual take three real estate-oriented classes and pass a state licensing exam before obtaining a renewable Real Estate Salesperson’s license.  A Salesperson’s license is necessary in California for a person to be able to represent buyers and sellers of real estate.

Required Courses

In order to qualify to take the Real Estate Salesperson exam an individual must take the following two classes:

Course Name Course Title Units
RLEST 90 Principles of Real Estate 3 units
RLEST 91 Real Estate Practice 3 units

And one of the following

Course Name Course Title Units
BUS 28 Business Law 3 units
RLEST 92 Real Estate Economics 3 units
RLEST 93A Legal Aspects of Real Estate 3 units
RLEST 94C Real Estate Appraisal Principles & Procedures 3 units
RLEST 95A Real Estate Finance 3 units
RLEST 96A Real Estate Investment 3 units
RLEST 99 Property Management 3 units

When a student passes the two required classes and one of the electives, the student will be eligible to take the Real Estate Salesperson exam. The BRE will allow the student to take the exam upon showing completion of the required coursework.

West Valley Broker License Education

West Valley College in Saratoga offers a variety of real estate courses to those seeking to obtain a California Real Estate Salesperson license, a Real Estate Broker license, or a Real Estate Appraiser license.

Individuals seeking a California Real Estate Broker license must have successfully completed the following five state-required courses, all of which are offered at West Valley College:

Course Name Course Title Units
RLEST 91 Real Estate Practices 3 units
RLEST 92 Real Estate Economics 3 units
RLEST 93A Legal Aspects of Real Estate 3 units
RLEST 94C Real Estate Appraisal Principles and Procedures 3 units
RLEST 95A Real Estate Finance 3 units

Broker license applicants must also successfully complete three additional courses. The following classes meet this additional educational requirement, and all of these courses are offered at West Valley College:

Course Name Course Title Units
BUS 28 Business Law 3 units
RLEST 90 Principles of Real Estate 3 units
RLEST 96A Real Estate Investment 3 units
RLEST 99 Property Management 3 units


West Valley’s Real Estate courses are offered on weeknights and online. Our classes are designed to help working professionals attain their educational objectives without disrupting their professional careers.

For more information about all of the requirements to obtain a California Real Estate Broker license, consult the Bureau of Real Estate.

In the Media

Should real estate agents feel threatened by new apps and other online tools offering services to potential homebuyers?

To some extent yes, but ultimately real estate is a customer service profession. There will always be a need for professionals to help unexperienced buyers and sellers walk through the process. Real estate is the most complicated and scary purchase people will make, so it's understandable that people will not want to rely solely on technology to walk them through that process.

On the other hand, real estate agents must adjust to new realities. Today's real estate consumers (both buyers and sellers) are much more informed than they ever were 30 years ago. Therefore, real estate agents no longer control information about the market, what homes are for sale, etc. Additionally sometimes potential clients get the wrong idea by doing research on sites such as Zillow or Trulia. These are websites that are helpful but often not accurate. It can sometimes be difficult for real estate agents to explain to potential clients why the information they find online isn't always accurate.

How can real estate agents protect themselves from the boom-bust cycle housing market?

At a most basic level, save money! But also keep in touch with prior clients, and continue to develop relationships with people who may turn out to be future clients. Even though you may have professional contacts that are not financially able to conduct real estate transactions now that doesn't mean they won't be in the future. It's important to maintain relationships with previous clients so they don't feel like you are just using them to make money. Continuing to develop new professional networks is the best way to ensure future success. It takes perseverance to keep putting yourself out there while no income is coming in, but you have to keep yourself motivated and keep going. Self-confidence and a positive attitude are important, but also it's important to have savings to get yourself through lean times.

What tips do you have for a young real-estate agent? What does she/he needs to do to get ahead in the current marketplace?

Don't spend a lot of money on advertising. The best way to develop business for yourself is to go out there and put yourself into the community and to develop networks that can lead to future business. So for example become active in community organizations, charities, religious institutions, etc. The more people you meet the more likely it is that you will develop future clients. Almost everyone who is searching for a real estate agent does not select a real estate agent based upon an add on the back of the bus or the newspaper. They ask friends for referrals. So developing relationships of trust with people helps you develop your own referral network.

Finally, any new agent should realistically expect to not make any money for approximately six months. So they should have at least six months of living expenses set aside to get them through the time it will take to develop relationships and future business contacts.

In evaluating the best cities for real estate agents, what are the top five indicators?

If your are asking about career opportunities, that's a tough one. On the one hand you might think the cities with the highest home values (areas like New York, San Francisco, Seattle, LA, Silicon Valley) would be the best because the commissions will be much, much higher given the real estate values. However nothing attracts competition like lots of money and there are many, many agents trying to get a piece of the action of these areas. Additionally, because the cost of living is so high in such areas, it can be difficult for you to start out if you don't have a lot of living expenses in the bank. Therefore, it may be more difficult to develop clients.

What I would look for is how saturated is the market? If there are many, many real estate agents it's going to be hard to set yourself apart. Working in cities where there is less competition is a way for you to develop your own network. But you may want to start out where you live because that's where you have the most networks from either growing up there or from working in the area. I don't think one city is much better than another in terms of real estate opportunities, it often depends upon your own circumstances.

How likely is it that the Federal Reserve will increase again interest rates in the coming months? How will this impact real estate agents?

I think because of the election there's a lot of uncertainty now about how the market is going to behave. I think eventually the Fed will raise interest rates, particularly if the economic indicators continue to remain the same as they are or improve slightly. It will depend upon the strength of the economy and inflationary pressures. But I think everything is on hold probably for another six months until the Fed sees how the market reacts to the Trump administration.

The Fed has been sending out many indications for over a year that they would like to raise interest rates but they are a little hesitant to do so. Once interest rates are raised it will definitely have an impact on the real estate market because nothing affects the affordability of homes like financing. Real estate agents today should anticipate that the market will cool off, but how much depends upon the market in which you are operating. There's a big difference between Silicon Valley and rural North Dakota real estate markets.


See the full WalletHub.com interview

last published: 3/30/17