The Pros and Cons of Wholesaling With a Real Estate License

The Pros and Cons of Wholesaling With a Real Estate License

3 min read
Marcus Maloney

Marcus Maloney is a value investor and portfolio holder of residential and commercial units. Marcus has been named the “Equity King” for his impressive ability to find real estate opportunities with massive amounts of equity.

Marcus, a high school dropout, went from G.E.D. to M.B.A. Although his education has a major impact on his investment philosophy, the real impact came from his upbringing.

Marcus thrives on completing successful transactions. As a young kid, his parents and grandparents faced many challenges; as a result, it made him think of ways he could help. His mother and grandmother were avid investors—not in the market but in people. Marcus was a recipient of those investments. And his early years were hard work growing up on a farm.

Marcus was a strategist at an early age. To relieve the burden of his family buying him clothes when it was time to return to school, he decided to make a small investment that paid big dividends. Marcus decided to purchase a small piglet at the beginning of summer, feed it until it became fat, and then sell it to a local farmers’ auction before the school year started. This was one of his first transactions and the beginning of his adventure of finding equity in every opportunity.

Marcus’ hard work continues today: He has completed over $3.3 million in wholesale transactions. Currently, Marcus is a licensed agent who wholesales virtually in multiple states while building his investment portfolio. Although wholesaling provides great money, he saw the opportunity to buy some of the deals he found and convert them into cash flowing rentals.

Marcus currently holds seven rentals, two of which are commercial units. He’s also done the unimaginable and purchased a school, which was converted to a daycare center. Again, he turns what is a marginal profit into a significant equity position. He leverages the equity by using the BRRRR (Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance, Repeat) strategy to increase his portfolio without any money out of pocket.

Marcus has been featured on numerous podcasts, such as the Louisville Gal Podcast, the Best Real Estate Investing Advice Ever podcast, FlippingJunkie, and many others. He’s currently a featured blogger for BiggerPockets, the largest community of real estate investors in the world.

Along with completing transactions and working to build his portfolio, he provides mentorship to aspiring investors. This is done through one-on-one interactions and through his successful YouTube channel and blog.

Marcus does utilize his M.B.A. for more than real estate. As a consultant for a successful non-profit institution south of Chicago, he uses his expertise in the development of human capital. His philanthropic efforts help existing stakeholders develop in their capacity to serve those in need of assistance.

Marcus completed his M.B.A. in 2011 from Olivet Nazarene University.


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Lets discuss the pros and cons of wholesaling with and without a license.

It’s safe to say this question has been circulating around the BiggerPockets community for years: Should I get my license? Some people comment “Sure,” and others say “Heck no.” As a wholesaler, I’ve been on both sides of this debate. When I started, I did not have a license. While I quickly saw the benefit of having it, I’ve also seen some of the limitations it brings.

As we begin, I will lay the ground work. I’ll discuss a pro and follow up with a con. This way, you’ll clearly see the advantages and disadvantages side by side.

Another question I see all the time is, Is wholesaling illegal? I’m sure you’ve seen this question tossed around as well. We can minimize the complexity of this question by answering: It doesn’t matter if you have a license.

Pros and Cons of Wholesaling As A Real Estate Agent

Pro #1

You don’t have to worry about doing something illegal. This a good thing to know. For those of you who want to wholesale and can’t acquire a license based on your history, finances, or whatever, then it’s safe to say you’re taking a gamble.

Con #1

The cost of acquiring a license. It will cost you close to (if not more than) $1,000 to get your license. By the time you pay for classes, the test, and membership fees, you could be starting in the red. So for those on a limited budget (as most newbies are) you have to stack some coins before starting.

Related: Answered: Should You Get Your Real Estate License?

Pro #2

I refer to the ethics of doing real estate transactions. We know there are some greedy and grimy people in this industry, and that’s fine (not really) as long as they don’t cross the line. If you’re licensed, you have to do everything according to the department of real estate standards. That includes submitting to a criminal background check. In some cases, real estate investors already have a bad name, and we want to make sure those operating in the space are not doing business illegally.

Con #2

If you did something incriminating 30 years ago, should you still be judged for something you did when you were 19? Our society is quick to say we believe in rehabilitation, but do we honestly believe that? I’m definitely not saying anyone and everyone should have an opportunity to handle a transaction, but there needs to be a little more discretion used in the decision-making process.


Pro #3

When you’re at the table with the seller, encouraging them to sign with you instead of the guy that’s not licensed, you may have the upper hand. You can make the argument that you are licensed and have to do everything according to the department of real estate standards. This gives you credibility.

Con #3

To that point, if you do acquire the deal, you have to pay your broker. Yes, this makes your assignment fee smaller. Less money in your pocket.

Pro #4

Proximity. Agents like to do business with other agents. (What I refer to as proximity.) If agents in your brokerage know you have investors or properties, they will look to you for the deals. You will not have to do too much work to find either. Unless your in a market like today’s — definitely a sellers market.

Related: What Exactly is Real Estate Wholesaling (& What Does a Wholesaler Do Every Day)?

Con #4

As a non-licensed wholesaler, you don’t have to use that 15-page book as a contract. You can create (or have an attorney create) something short and sweet. The contract that agents have to use provides a lot of protection for the seller and the buyer, but it’s so dang long that a lot of sellers get intimidated. You can lose a deal because the seller will say, “I need to review all of this before signing.” While they’re reviewing it, a non-licensed wholesaler can offer the same price on a one-page contract and the deal is done. While your book is sitting on the nightstand.


I could go on and on about the pros and cons of both options, but you have to decide whether you’re vested in this for the long haul or just looking to get in and get out. In my opinion, if you’re making real estate investing a career, get your license. It will be a benefit for you in the end.

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I’m sure you have some other awesome pros and cons for wholesaling with and without a license, right?

Share them below so we can get an open debate going!