Is it beneficial to become a real estate agent before becoming an investor?

20 Replies

I am at a position right now where I have the time, energy, and motivation to get my real estate license, but is it truly worth it? I would like to start investing as soon as possible. From the bit of research I did on the subject of first obtaining my license, it seems the only huge benefit is access to MLS and perhaps representing yourself; are these two things really worth the time commitment though? Any opinions/advice would be greatly appreciated.

I don't have any plan on getting a real estate license even though I hope to acquire multi housing units. I heard that actually getting the license can work against you in some cases. I

@Shawn M. I am looking to get into renting properties for building wealth. My next step, after owning a few rental properties, is going to be focusing on wholesaling - this will only happen once I master my first goal though. I am taking it a step at a time.

@David Espinoza I am curious, how could it work against me?

I just remember reading it somewhere exact where? Who knows? I also read the opposite argument here in the article he also says he did not realize the importance of having insurance into well after he had several properties and myself I thought having insurance would just be an automatic necessity (he called it "seeing the light") maybe their is a pro to having a license.

@Ryan Florida - If you plan to do anything at all on the MLS (buy or sell) it is very much worth it. What time commitment do you speak of? If I remember correctly, there's a 60 hour course and a 30 hour course prior to taking the exam. And these can be done on-line.

@Ryan Florida the answer to getting you license is simple. If you intend to buy and sell enough real estate to cover your association fees and dues each year it is worth while. Having the ability to get in houses whenever you would like and not having to worry about another agents schedule is a great tool. But this tool is not cheap especially when your first starting out, you will find everything cost money ranging from the obvious e&o insurance to the not so obvious lock box key and desk dues (pending on your agency). My best suggestion for you is if you want your license go in with the plan of finding properties for others along with yourself. You will be educating yourself in certain markets so use what you learn to help others.

Is having your licensed needed? no. Will it make life easier?Yes. Is it worth while? In my opinion yes but only if you put it to use and buy/sell properties

@David Espinoza Thank you for the link, I will be sure to check it out.

@Bryan L. I have all the time in the world to do it right now, for I am in college and I have two part time jobs (I am a science/maths tutor during the school semesters and my year-round full time job only requires me to work Saturday, Sunday, and Monday). I have the time and drive to fully commit to getting this done before the next school semester starts in August even. I am taking summer classes, but they go from 7:30 A.M. to 11:45 A.M. so I pretty much have all day every day to work on this. Is there a difference between the 30 and 60 hour courses, aside from the obvious time difference, or is one just more spread out than the other?

@Shawn M. I am willing to spend the cost if it means giving me a solid stream of rainy day money and if it helps me reach my goal. I will do anything in my power, which I know is limitless, to achieve my dreams and what I have set out to do. I think, at this point, I have made up my mind and I am going to get it. Now, I must figure out which course to take.

It is extremely important that you know the basics of real estate as agents learn for their examinations with the exception of state real estate commission related materials.

70%, I'm sure after being here for years on this site, of the questions asked on BP have the answer in the basics of a formal education in RE.

Can you, as a newbie (or more most here with years in doing what they do) imagine being able to give an intelligent answer to 70% of all the questions asked on this site after receiving about 2 weeks of training? You'd be a super star here! You would need to remember a ton of information or you could open your text book and look at your notes and go to that subject material.

The MLS access is a big benefit, but not as much as the initial knowledge that you could gain. The education aspect will give you more deals than having access to any MLS!

Think not? Try this: Get with a Realtor and get them to let you scan the MLS with them. Looking at an inventory of properties for sale won't get you anywhere, it's information, to be able to use information you have to be educated. What you get on the agent's side of the MLS is really nothing that clues you in to any property being a deal. It's nothing more than agent's notes: Please do not call between 1-3, baby napping. Dog in backyard, do not let the cat out! Bathroom needs repairs, seller will pay for repairs with acceptable offer. Owner sleeps days, please show after 4 PM.

That's the kind of secret information you're likely missing out on!

Seller divorcing and motivated. Seller is taking a new out of state job. Motivated seller, bring all offers! Owner may carry! Foreclosure! Seller will accept cash or conventional, no FHA/VA. 1% Selling agent bonus! These are aspects that are usually listed on the public side of the MLS!!!!!

Confidential information about the seller is not listed on the agent's side of the MLS for a thousand agents to view! Or should not be.

You obtain details by speaking to your agent or the listing agent.....or the owner!

Allow me to tell you the benefits of being an astronaut and flying around the moon. Now, I'm not an astronaut and I've never been in space, but I've seen them on TV and in the movies and I have flown in the air, so I'm qualified to give you this advice.

Then comes the RE investor: Let me advise you on the benefits of taking the RE class and getting a license, I've never been through the class, never had a license, but I have bought and sold RE and can tell you all about it!

Ignorance is bliss.

Do you want to follow a professional path in the RE industry or do you just want to be another clown in the parade jumping off the guru wagon?

To be an investor you don't need a license (too bad IMO) you could take the training and save hundreds of dollars not getting a license and joining the MLS, joining the NAR, Board of Realtors, contributing to office expenses and parties or baby showers, you can skip the continuing education requirements too.

What do you get going through a class? You get the principles of RE, legal aspects of general business/contract and RE law, local customs, math needed, appraisal techniques and valuations, contract reviews and the basic flow of a transaction (any transaction), you get standards of ethical conduct, an understanding of what others do, title searches, laws of agency relationships and how others involved in a transaction must operate. You'll understand how land is laid out, surveyed, types of properties, what makes RE valuable, zoning requirements, appreciation over time and forced into a property. You'll get financing aspects, deeds, types of deeds and when, why and how they are used. You'll know the difference between an encumbrance and an easement. Yes, you should even touch on options, rights of first refusal, leases, required disclosures and what rights are actually conveyed under different types of transactions.

Like I said, at least 70% of every question asked here can be answered from these basic areas of RE.

That is what you get with a real RE education, knowledge that, by a prudent person and more than a half-wit can apply in any type of RE transaction that gives you the real advantage over clowns to your left and jokers to your right.

It is absolutely not about access to the "secret" side of the MLS! If you know the aspects I just mentioned you don't need access to the agent's side of any listing!

Now, the question was to going the Realtor route to be an investor, there you go, if you want to sell retail to Harry Homeowner, get a license and look at the notes on the agent's side of the homes they want to see. :)

@Bill Gulley Thank you for your reply, it has definitely opened my eyes to even more benefits of getting the RE education. I see what you mean about the MLS not being as glamorous as it is made out to be, I was thinking of it more as just a slight advantage over the competition. I have made up my mind to go through with the training, mainly because I love learning and a challenge, but also because I would like for everyone to think of me as a well-informed professional and always know they are doing quality business when doing business with me. Again, thank you for your eye-opening opinion.

@Ryan Florida the education you will get from taking the class was extremely useless in my state. My states class will not teach you how to be a good agent or sell houses. My guess is your state is similar (thats the impression I get from most out of state agents) so if you are looking to learn about RE interview with brokers to see what they will do to teach you. If you are looking to learn about REI find members from BP or local REI meet up and see if you can work with them. From my experience very few RE agents understand REI.

@Shawn M. I was reading reviews on my state's classes and most people said the same. They said if you think studying law is fun, then you would probably find this interesting, but it is very dry. I am a very dedicated and motivated person and, oddly enough, I enjoy reading textbooks and other dry material, so I do not think it will be too bad. I was assuming this would be more of a "learn through experience" sort of job than something you can just learn from reading a book. And I will definitely find and meet up with some REIs as soon as possible; the only people I have gotten to talk to so far on the subject are successful small business owners and the market sales leader of the Marriott hotels in the Southern region. They are all great for the business and marketing aspect, but I really just need someone who has experience investing and flipping houses.

Really glad to hear your attitude!

My mother told me a very long time ago "Son, I don't care what you do, just do your very best and you'll be successful".

It's probably every mother's advice to their kids and it is absolutely true. I gave the same advice to my kids! I added something else too;

If making a lot of money is your goal in life, you'll be a failure in life.

No matter how much you make there will always be others who make more than you do, you'll never really win that race, you'll always have some degree of failure if money is your ultimate goal.

Education gives you a much better opportunity to be successful in life.

The education you select determines the opportunities presented.

I have to admit, the barrier into real estate is rather low as most anyone of average intelligence can obtain a rather limited amount of formal education and add to that some "controlled creativity" and determination and succeed in life working in real estate, you can become very comfortable financially and succeed in other aspects of life.

Not trying to be philosophical here, but compared to similar professions or trades of similar financial opportunities, RE requires much less formal education than other options. A CPA needs an accounting degree, a lawyer must have a JD, a dentist must have a medical degree, a banker will most likely have a bachelor's degree, so will a teacher. But in RE you could exceed the average earnings of any of these professions with less than a year's specialized formal education and a lot of dedication and work along with some social graces and, well, okay, a dash of common luck that most will encounter.

People are only cheating themselves trying to avoid learning the basics of the real estate business and trying to follow short cuts.

Good luck, you're on the right course! :)

@Ryan Florida

The short answer is you want someone on your team as an agent, it just doesn't have to be you. You could take the training and not become licensed just for the education.

Consider supplying student housing. Line up students for beds and profit. A buddy filled a 3 family 10 beds takes $100 a month off the top per bed, making a $1,000 a month on a prop she doesn't nor manage.


@Ryan Florida - If I remember correctly, there's a 60 hour course, and a 30 hour course required in TN (not "or").

@Bill Gulley Money, although not my main goal in life, is something I respect the concept of and I know how and where to get it. I see it as a necessity and I like to live comfortably and never in fear of debt, so I would rather have an over abundance of it than not enough. With that said, I do value education more than anything else and I am actually planning on going to medical school and becoming an anesthesiologist. I have a 4.0 as of right now and I am not planning on losing it.

I would like to learn the ropes of RE and REI, and become proficient at them, so as to provide cushion and a great early retirement. Life is too short to be spent worrying about if I have enough money or not, so I just see this as a way to have quite a bit of extra income, and if I honestly do enjoy it, then I will make it a career. I was told by my mentor, who is in his residency now, and by quite a few doctors that I have shadowed: "If you can see yourself doing anything other than becoming a doctor, do it." At this point, I cannot see myself doing anything other than being a doctor, it is what I was made for; however, after getting into the RE business, my mind could change and I am perfectly okay with that.

I would just like to leave my mark on the world. And I do agree with you that people taking "short-cuts" for a quick buck are destined to fail and will never be successful in what they do. I am not looking for quick cash, I am looking for long-term investments that will give me and my wife (and perhaps children one day) a very comfortable and relaxed future. I believe, without a solid foundation for anything, one can not be successful no matter what their profession or end goal. Cutting corners is not an option to me, I want to understand things from the most basic point and expand my knowledge of them from there. I strive to be an expert in every field I apply myself to and I will accept nothing less.

Thank you for the words of inspiration and the good wishes! I hope you the best in your future endeavors as well, I very much respect that - after leading a successful life of investing - you have decided to come here and share your knowledge with newcomers to the field.

Account Closed I see what you are saying, but I do think I would like to get the license and do that part myself.

That is also a really great idea, not a bad income at all.

@Ryan Florida - I could type for hours on the benefits of being your own Realtor. Most of it is already here on BP. There's a lot of intangibles that many people never consider. For example, I have one of my rental house up for sale right now. Whenever another agent wants to show it, I can talk directly with them since I am also a Realtor. The networking with other Realtors is priceless alone. I can much better control my time, and I can get into the MLS and customize it and search it in special ways as I see fit. Most Realtors probably don't even know the various ways that they can customize their MLS. I also get free access to CRS (Courthouse Retrieval System) as part of my MLS. I could go on forever.

I really hope you get @Bill Gulley's message! You need to

develop a " mainframe" on the" mechanics" of a variety of issues

affecting Sales ,Ownership and Development of Real Property! All

this is given "life" through a Body of Laws and operated through

Regulation and structures. Then there is a whole body of knowledge

on the interface with the " Playing -Field " Environment: Building Codes

to Fair Housing to a variety of technological trends to Government and

Legislation. and more. Rules and Limitations are the "markers" for

sustained achievement.

What others do does not itself equip you with the recipe for success!

Reality is that there is no one "source" that will give you everything

you need to know - you continue to acquire and hopefully

innovate- passing the competition! Forums, on-line research, formal

courses are valuable for the content not the credentials. A good deal

of preliminary preparation is advised before jumping in. There is

no one perfect seamless route. Your Best and adopting " Fair -Dealing"

as a standard to measure by will head you in the right directions- constant

study will sustain your "footing"! Best for Success!

@Bryan L. That is what I am starting to find out through further research. It definitely sounds, to me, the best way to go. But I have also heard of a few drawbacks of being your own realtor, but no one seems to give solid examples, do you know of any drawbacks of it? I

@Ryan Florida - The only "drawbacks" are the costs and the required disclosures. The disclosure part is EASY in TN. On all of your advertising, put "owner/agent" if you are selling your own properties, and put "buyer/agent" if you are doing "I Buy Houses" ads or letters. If you are listing your properties for sale through the brokerage firm, there will be other requirements, but that's the same for any agent, whether they are a combo investor/agent or not. There's also a couple of forms to fill out for disclosures when you actually get to the point of making or receiving offers. You will learn about all of this in the classes. The costs can easily be recouped by doing 1 or 2 deals per year. You can probably get started in TN for about $2000 - $3000 per year if you do no advertising.

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