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Are Changes Afoot With The New California Real Estate Commissioner?

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Are Changes Afoot With the New California Real Estate Commissioner?

Wayne Bell is the new Real Estate Commissioner for the State of California, appointed by Governor Jerry Brown on February 14, 2013. The Department of Real Estate (DRE) commissioner oversees the licensing and behavior of approximately 415,000 real estate licensees and is responsible for a staff of about 340.


Commissioner Bell holds a Juris Doctorate from Loyola Law School.  His experience in the industry includes:


  • 2006 – 2013: Chief Counsel and Assistant Commissioner for Legal Policy and Recovery at the DRE since 2006;
  • 2003 – 2006: Special Counsel and Director of Homeownership at the California Housing Finance Agency;
  • 1999 – 2003: Deputy Secretary and General Counsel at the California Business, Transportation and Housing Agency; and
  • 1989 – 1999: Ralphs Grocery Company in various positions, including Vice President.


Lots of change are afoot in the world of real estate! The current DRE will re-title itself as the Bureau of Real Estate (BRE) on July 1, 2013. This change offers the BRE a rare opportunity for a fresh start. 


The most exciting aspect is a real estate commissioner arriving just as the administrative restructuring is set to take place. Although the internal structure of the BRE will remain unchanged per Governor Jerry Brown’s reorganization plan, the real estate commissioner will now report to the Department of Consumer Affairs (DCA).


The DCA is a government agency meant to protect and serve California consumers while ensuring a fair marketplace. Assuming they do their job as their mission statement indicates, their oversight of the BRE is great news for observers of real estate licensee behavior with clients and other members of the public.


The question is, will Mr. Bell surprise Californians? Will he buck the trend of passive and ineffective real estate leadership and continue in the direction of behavioral corrections? Or, will we return to the loose policy enforcement seen during the Millennium Boom? It is hard to say, but it is certain things can only get better for conscientious licensees from here on out.

Real estate commissioners of years past were purely political appointees, catering to CAR endorsed behavior who offered no regulatory leadership.  And as such, they lost sight of their mission to safeguard and promote the public interests in real estate matters through licensure.


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