Should I get my real estate license?

18 Replies

Thinking about getting my real estate license. Just wanted to hear what other people think about it. Both active agents and investors alike. Is Grand Rapids/West Michigan area a good place to do it? My goals as an investor are to find deals (on and off market) and fix and flip to build capital to invest into buy and hold properties working toward multi family and commercial all in the Grand Rapids West Michigan area. It’s just seems that getting my license aligns with my goals as an investor and a great way to learn the ins and outs of the buy sell process. Let know what you think.

@Gage Westhouse , I say go for it. You seem to have a solid plan and getting a license will not only save you money in the future but it really gives you a better understanding of the market comps and the ins and outs of the business. By the way, I love the Grand Rapids area. I went to school at Calvin College in Grand Rapids! I am now in Los Angeles and am considering getting my license but there is a chance I might move to Chicago next year (hubby's job) and that is the ONLY thing that is stopping me from getting a license in Cali as of now. I don't want to waste my time and money getting a license here if I'm going to be in Chicago in 6 months and have to do it all over again. Best of luck to you!

By the way, I have talked to multiple RE investor friends who have their license and they have expressed to me that it has been worth it for them.

It can pay for itself in many ways. Some of my purchases were easier because the sellers felt more comfortable dealing with a licensee even though I was the principal and not representing others. If you get offered a property you cannot purchase, you have the option of listing it. Not so without a license. 

MLS data and ability to talk with agents directly are major plus's, the downside is the fees. Unless your doing regular buy or sells yourself or large transactions every few years, you need to sell for others to justify the expense.

My husband and I have similar goals and I have also been thinking about the benefits/costs of getting and maintaining my RE license to help us out.  I'm interested in the advice you get here.

@Gage Westhouse , Account Closed is right on the money!

Access to the MLS is huge, and networking and meeting brokers could be of a lot of help long term if you will go to broker network meetings. Keep in mind that taking the license will not teach you anything about Real Estate beside following the law!

Learning the skills will be on you, and if you join the right office, they will teach you a lot about pricing properties, learning to finance, selling skills, and of course, a lot of emphasizes will be on finding clients, writing contracts and negotiation skills.

If you intend to sell real estate full or part-time, it will be worth it. If you don't, and all you need if for you for 1-2 transactions a year, the fees and time involved might not be worth it.

While overall my license helps me, it doesn't if I want to wholesale, and when I negotiate deals, I am seen as an expert, and off the market, deals are sometimes harder to get done, as the sellers always are under the impression that I know something they don't know about the area and are hesitant about selling. Out of a sudden, they want to raise the prices on me. Most of my properties I bought from MSL I had to pay full price or close to it!

This year I lost two deals where I wanted to assume the mortgages, as the sellers thought that they will lose something if they sell, and decided to hold on their properties! It can be frustrating. 

If you are licensed you have to disclose in writing on every deal you do and if you sell your own property you can't sell it to someone that's not represented as the Error and Emission insurance won't cover you. 

Make sure you get a clear goal of why you want the license and understand all the costs involved to holding the license yearly and all the training required to have. In other words, weigh the time and money you want to invest in being licensed!

Good luck to you!

Interesting Lumi, if I was selling, your money would be as green to me as anyone else's. Sold my last house to a real estate agents brother in-law, the above average Co-op fee money staying in the family might not have mattered, will never know?  

@Gage Westhouse great question. I've been in REI for several years and finally got my license this past year. Mostly to sell some of the properties I have in Muskegon and Kalamazoo area. The goal was to pay myself commission. :) I believe Eunice and others mentioned the upside(s).

From my perspective:

  • If you plan on simply buying and holding, and you have a relationship with an agent that understands investor perspective, then the cost would perhaps outweigh the upside. (meaning your desk fees, etc... could cost you more than you would make in commission). 
    • At Berkshire Hathaway we have solid resources for setting up alerts, and market reports to track markets as seller sided as the Grand Rapids Market is. (Sellers market)
  • So far, I've been able to find more off market leads from my own marketing efforts, and/or my network (outside RE agents). 
  • However, if you'd like to flip, or have the funds to do larger volume of units, then there would be good upside.  

Hope this helps. Feel free to reach out with questions: 617  775    9352 (M)

Jacques or 

The office fee splitting and or monthly fees factor into all this as well, a lot of differences there. 

I have similar goals as well, and I've been weighing the benefits/costs of having an agent license.

From the general scope of what I've read, it can be both beneficial and not to getting better deals.

Sorry I haven’t responded, w-2 jobs sure get it the way sometime. Thank you everyone for your responses and info, it’s greatly appreciated. I will definitely be doing more research into getting and maintaining my license and how it could potentially affect my off market deals. What is a good brokerage in the Grand Rapids area? One that has a good training program or offers training to its agents and is investor friendly. I actually live in between hudsonville and zeeland, so a brokerage west of GR is preferred. Thanks again.

@Gage Westhouse I, as well as another fellow investor, selected Berkshire Hathaway out of the gate mainly for their resources (initial training, as well as social media tools and training, etc.). Frankly fees are a bit higher than other brokers, but again - initial resources are solid and they have a solid brand. We are able to do more robust searches and reporting (beyond just MLS) through our internal resources.

At a later date (next year) we may move to another brokerage. 

If you want to be in the business for a career I think it’s wise to spend the money and time to get the license. It will get you in the day to day and can really help you learn the market and connect with others in the industry.

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Check out some of the blogs at BiggerPockets.  Wendy Patton had a good blog giving you things to consider as you think about getting your license.  It looks like you have lots of others with their opinions as well.  Just giving you one more option to think about before you make your decision

@Gage Westhouse   hope the best, I have license in Virginia and Florida,  having the license is great for your business, the only bad thing are the  fees involve but you will cover it pretty easy with commissions,  sometimes the other agents want to play hard with you because you are an agent but you will learn to overcome that.  The other good thing is I offer my part of the commission to the listing agent and they normally are more willing to work with me after that 

If you do more than five per year, you'll have to be.  If you're doing seller financing, you'll also have to be a licensed mortgage originator or use one.  Check with a good real estate attorney to make sure you've got your bases covered.  (Always a great idea to take the licensing training--you'll learn a lot that you'll not found out in other ways.)

It really depends on what you're doing. For wholesaling no way I would do it. For investing and fix and flip definitely. 

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