Do you need to be employed by a broker if you use your license?

6 Replies

I'm in Washington State. I'm an investor looking to fix/flip. What benefits will I have if I get my license but do not work out of a brokerage? I've been researching and sounds like I can't even get access to the MLS without being a part of a real estate office.

Can someone with knowledge of Washington laws share some knowledge on this? What can/can't I do? Regarding finding, buying, wholesaling, etc.


Yup. Not sure about Washington, but everywhere I know of you're 'license' is to work as an agent for a broker and you can't become a broker until you've been an agent for a couple of years.

You should be able to find a broker that'll hold your license and not do much for you for minimal split and cost. You don't need Re/Max or Keller Williams or whoever if you aren't hustling up clients and using their branding and training.

@Brian McWethy

Same situation here in Missouri (yea, not Washington but I'd be surprised if it's different). You will get no benefit by having your license and not working under a broker. It'd actually be more of a hindrance since you would (I'm assuming) be required to disclose that you're licensed and provide disclosure forms when appropriate, which a "normal" investor wouldn't have to do.

Getting your broker's license is a lengthy process, and it of course costs money, and MLS access also costs money... so the real question becomes whether or not your time is best utilized pursuing that license for MLS access or using an agent and eating the commission costs on the selling side. Personal call. I got my broker's license and acting as an investor-friendly agent in addition to my investing is a nice synergy since you can't buy everything on the market anyways, plus I enjoy helping others. But your path is your own.

Best of luck!

Brian McWethy

In Washington State you have to be under a broker for at least 3 years (or 2 years with higher education that counts towards certificate) before you can take your Managing Brokers test. Once you pass that, you could theoretically start your own company.  Or you could start a realty company and hire managing broker to act as your designated broker (but that involves payroll and a lot of paperwork).

There are varying degrees of commission splits amongst the brokerages. The more established companies are going to take a bigger split until you cap (You pay for the education basically, great places for new agents to cut their teeth in). There are a ton of brokerages that charge flat fee's on your closings (cheapest I have seen is $275 per closing). But, I do not know how much assistance these places have or in-house education.

If you have any more questions, my phone number is on my profile... Call anytime

The idea of being a realtor is like an apprenticeship to prove that you know how to navigate real estate for a certain period of time.  To do this you need Sponsorship by someone who will be your guide and mentor.  This is where the broker comes in - they take a level of accountability for your actions if you screw up with the State's Real Estate Commission.

Even if you have been an investor for 40 years and decided to get your real estate license you have to follow these rules.  After you have met your experience requirement and another test you can become a broker - and then you can have all sorts of realtor newbies at your disposal to help make you money too.

The good news is that you can do all of the things you mentioned above without a license.  You are just an investor who can fill out the same real estate templates that the realtors do.  Yes some commercial realtors have access to expensive software like CoStar, but is that really needed to do what you're talking about?  No.


You would not be a licensed real estate agent until someone sponsors you. Just passing the test gets you part of the way there, but as a salesperson, you will need a sponsoring broker. As a licensee, you will most likely pay licensing fees, realtor dues, MLS dues, and continuing education. It is not cheap.