Do I need a Real Estate License?

4 Replies

There seems to be conflicting opinions on this question so I'm throwing it out to the broader BP community. Do I need to have a real estate license to be a successful real estate investor? On on side I've heard that you need it in order to access the MLS and do comps. But with Zillow and I can see listings and get comps, right? Appreciate any and all input. Thanks!

I invest without a license, and I use those website for comps. That is often good enough.

There are a lot of benefits to having a license though - for example, if you're in a hot market and speed is important, you can go see a new listing straightaway without having to coordinate with your agent first. You also have access to a wealth of MLS data that isn't available to non-agents.

One drawback is that you have to do a lot of paperwork as an agent, whether it's for your deal or someone else's. I really value the fact that my agents handle that for me, along with dealing with the seller and title company and all that. Those tasks are no fun, but crucially important.

For some investors, being an agent brings a good source of side income each year. I have a full-time job, so that wouldn't be so helpful for me because I wouldn't have time to do both.

It also costs money each year to maintain your license, and a broker will take some of your earnings. 

Some investors swear by not being licensed, and others say they couldn't do what they do without it. It really depends on your personal circumstances.


@Gloria R Lowen Absolutely not, you can be very successful with or without the license. There are perks to the license such as being able to do things on your own time, mls access, and commission earnings from buying/selling. In my brokerage if the house im buying/selling is in my name, I do not need to pay them a broker fee. You can use redfin and those webites but I personally think its easier to use the mls to comp.

If you are without a license, I suggest you get a good investor friendly agent.

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Having a license is a huge boon in most cases, but it's not necessary to get started. Dip your toes in the industry first before you dedicate to getting a license.  Clark Kirkpatrick says it well.