Interview With DRE Executives
Dan Sandri, Acting DRE Commissioner, and Sandra Knau, Assistant Commissioner for Licensing and Administration: It was a sincere pleasure recently to interview these two long-time executives at the California Department of Real Estate. They were gracious with their time and were so informative. There were so many important items that should be passed on to anyone in California interested in Real Estate including licensees, MLO’s, homeowners, investors, and the general public.
Dan became Acting Commissioner in July of 2018 so he has been El Jefe of the Agency for over 13 months. At the moment no new Commissioner has been appointed by Governor Newsom and he will serve in this capacity until that happens. Sandra said that the average time for this to happen is approximately 13 months. However, in the last session Governor Brown appointed Wayne Bell as Commissioner in February 2013 after taking office in January 2011. That would be about 25 months.
During my years of watching California Real Estate there has been many changes of governors and hence, many changes of DRE Commissioners. John Liberator for many years was Chief Deputy. I believe that John served more days as Acting Commissioner at DRE than any commissioner has served. John was one of the good ones. So on to the interview.
“How has your first year gone?” I believe that we are making great progress. I became the Acting Real Estate Commissioner shortly after the BRE changed back to the DRE. This increased the workload significantly. We had to rebuild our Fiscal/Budgeting, Human Resources, and other sections. So far we have not had any major problems.
“Any disappointments?” It has been disappointing that it is taking longer than we hoped. There are many differences between operating a Bureau and a Department.
“How many licensees are there at this time?” The maximum number was around 548K in 2008-2009. The number of all brokers, salespersons, corporations, and officers has been around 420K for a period of time now. There have been no large changes in recent months. The number of brokers has dropped because of the recent regulations on college degrees being used for experience.
“What about fees?” At the moment the fees are at the maximum as allowed by statute. An increase would require approval by the State Legislature and none is expected at this time.
“What about licensing requirements and exams?” There is no plan to change the qualifying requirements at this time. We are constantly working to improve the exams but no major changes are pending.
“Anything new?” Yes, starting in April licensees with disciplinary actions on their license that are ten years or older can request the disciplinary actions be removed. Many licensees are starting the procedure to do this. There is a cost involved, and the petitioner’s background must be investigated. To get more information go to www.DRE.ca.gov and search for Petition for Removal of Disciplinary Actions.
“Anything else?” For many years DRE sold lists of licensees. Now, the lists can be downloaded from our website. The lists include Examinee List, MLO List, Broker Associates List, Licensee List (all 420K), and New Licensee List. (Special notes: Pursuant to Civil Code Section 1798.61(b) the lists may only be used for the sole purpose of providing informational materials relating to professional education materials or courses. And DRE is not available to offer assistance in helping you import or process the lists). For more information go to www.DRE.ca.gov and search for Examinee List/Licensee List Data Files. Also, DRE form RE776 gives complete list details.
“And?” Using our Virtual Call Center and eLicensing, waiting times have been reduced and we expect even faster customer service in the future. Plus, we are performing proactive Enforcement visits to licensees with restricted licenses and with other issues.
“Final Question, what is happening with the Reference Book as the latest edition is dated 2010?” That is now under active consideration, and things are going to happen. This is badly needed and is the topic of one of our upcoming Education & Research Fund expenditures. The Reference Book needs updating and we have just received authorization to make expenditures from this fund for such purposes.
My final comment. First, I again want to thank Dan and Sandra for allowing me to ask these candid questions and for their answers. One of the final objectives of DRE at the moment is to increase their outreach. Their associates are reaching out to Associations, Trade Groups, Consumers, Townhalls, and others. Well, I sure feel “reached out to”. Good luck, Dan and Sandra. If Newsom takes as long as Brown, you will be there another 18 months.