You are correct - there are about 500,000 licensees in CA (only about 170,000 Realtor members) and although many may not be qualified to handle short sales, they are ALL legally licensed to do so. That is far different from someone who is NOT licensed who cannot legally negotiate a short sale or the postponement of a foreclosure on behalf of the borrower.
An excerpt from the CAR legal team:
Make sure a SSN is properly licensed. A SSN must be a licensed real estate broker or a licensed
salesperson who is working under a broker. If the SSN works from outside the state of California,
DRE enforcement officers have advised that the out of state SSN must still hold a California license
if they wish to assist a California client.
An attorney is exempt from the real estate license requirement if certain conditions are met, such as
the attorney is not using or attempting to use the exemption for the purpose of evading the licensing
laws (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Â§ 10133(a)(3)), and the attorney is not actively and principally engaged
in the business of negotiating mortgage loans (Cal. Bus. & Prof. Code Â§ 10133.1(a)(5)).
An indication that a SSN is not properly licensed is when the short sale negotiation entity is an LLC.
In California, an LLC cannot get a real estate brokerâ€™s license and therefore, should not be doing
short sale negotiation. It is illegal to pay an unlicensed individual or entity for doing licensed work.
Even if it is technically your client who pays the SSN, as the person who effectively arranged the
transaction, you may expose yourself to both criminal and civil liability, and you could have your
license revoked or suspended by the DRE.