Real estate license now or later?

8 Replies

Good afternoon BP,

So I have been studying and researching real estate for close to a year now and have found my self getting more and more motivated every day but spinning my wheels trying to go in to many directions. Wholesaling is a great way to get started but requires a lot of expertise in property analysis and I live in San Diego where we have a plethora of investors driving good deals into a Bare bones situation. I've considered rentals but have reached the point where I will be leaving the area in the next year and moving to North Carolina. So my question is would it be advantageous getting a CA real estate license to familiarize my self with the process and laws then get another license in NC to gain access to the MLS and then build from there or wait for my move and just continue general studying until I can properly focus on my market and state specific laws? I appreciate any and all input thank you all!

Hello Chris,  The main purpose of obtaining a real estate license is to that you can lawfully recieve a commission when buying, selling or leasing real property for clients.  If you only want to obtain your license to know more about real estate then perhaps it is not worth the effort as you could learn by just working with an experienced realtor and paying professionals for their time when you have a specific question.  Your "go to" realtor can easily give you a good title rep to speak with as well as private money lenders, real estate attorneys etc.  A few hundred dollars in consultations can get you some priceless knowledge.  Now if you also want to earn commissions on your friends, family and network even when you just refer them to a local realtor then get your license.  Good Luck!

Hi Chris, 

Before I stumbled upon BP, I thought that getting my real estate license would be the best way to get into real estate investing. It was a fairly easy and quick process to get the license (a few months). One thing you should consider is that you have to pay a lot to maintain your license and memberships as a realtor (I'm not sure what it costs in your area, but here in CT it would cost me close to $1000/year to maintain an active license.) In the end, it never helped me because I don't invest locally.

My advice would be this: 

1) Continue educating yourself on all things real estate using the BP podcast and forums. You will learn way more here then in any real estate licensing course.

2) Once you go to NC, then reconsider the real estate license if you plan to invest locally. I do see value in that since you won't have to set up showings with another realtor and you'll have access to the MLS.

Either way, I don't think having a real estate license will be necessary, but it might make things more convenient if you invest locally.

If you have the time and energy, it wouldn't hurt to do both. Some people just want to learn for the fun of it, but having a NC and CA license isn't going to make you that much more marketable as a real-estate agent or increase your earning potential as a wholesaler.

If you're in it to be a good real-estate agent in either, you want to pick up real-estate sales books. If you want to learn how to be a good wholesaler, I'd focus on networking and reading books geared toward the topic.

For the situation you laid out in the OP, no need for a CA RE License. Unless you are listing properties, there's nothing you can't do with a real estate license that you can't without... unless you are looking for expired listings, confidential remarks etc.

If you need any of that, feel free to give me a call, I am happy to help. But, its not needed and costs money to obtain/keep the license.

I know plenty of wholesalers and investors that don't have one.

Hey Chris, 

I'm taking the class right now in Raleigh and would definitely encourage you to look up my instructor's YouTube videos (Travis Everette, Pan School of Real Estate).  If you decide to go that route and end up in this area I highly recommend him as an instructor! 

You need to maintain the license and hang your brokerage with a brokerage. Unless you plan to sell or buy it is costly to hang on to too many licenses. MLS is around $800 a year, lock box, finger print test. Brokerage fee can kill you also. Some brokerage wants you pay $2500 insurance in lump sum not to mention most have desk fee, technology fee, background checks.

Suggest wait til you move to NC.

@Chris A Godbolt Obtaining a real estate license can be an incredible tool for a real estate entrepreneur. If you have sales & marketing skills you can earn a ton of money while doing something that's vertically integrated in your investing.

Long story short being an agent makes you a better investor & vice versa. Don't wait any longer then necessary. The cost to get a license is irrelevant compared to the earning potential.

Chris, I'll add my thoughts to the others who have responded to this thread. First, it's hard for me to see how you can make a go of anew real estate investing career without being in North Carolina.  You'll need to identify the market, segment and product type you want to compete in, get to know the agents, the comps, inventory, etc. before you jump in making offers, offers you may regret later. That requires a physical presence.

Second, if you are new to this market, you will benefit from the guidance and advice of an experienced real estate agent. You can potentially get 10, 20 or 30 years of smart, objective advice to guide you to that offer. As they say, you make your money with the purchase, not the sale; good information is well worth the commission you'd give up. 

So I'd stay informed but relax and enjoy the awesome San Diego weather until you move to NC.

Free eBook from BiggerPockets!

Ultimate Beginner's Guide Book Cover

Join BiggerPockets and get The Ultimate Beginner's Guide to Real Estate Investing for FREE - read by more than 100,000 people - AND get exclusive real estate investing tips, tricks and techniques delivered straight to your inbox twice weekly!

  • Actionable advice for getting started,
  • Discover the 10 Most Lucrative Real Estate Niches,
  • Learn how to get started with or without money,
  • Explore Real-Life Strategies for Building Wealth,
  • And a LOT more.

Lock We hate spam just as much as you

Create Lasting Wealth Through Real Estate

Join the millions of people achieving financial freedom through the power of real estate investing

Start here