New investor thinking of getting a license, a couple questions

7 Replies

I am thinking getting a license to help me see the MLS and access to the property faster. My questions is: 1. if I am planning buy/sell property only for myself, do I need to be affiliated with a broker? what is the pros and cons? Don't know how much benefit I get from them and how much it costs me. 2. would I be able to access MLS once I passed the exam?

Thanks in advance!

@Matt James you have to hang your license with a broker to practice real estate. If you want to minimize fees you can do that one of a few ways:

  • Go to a 100% commission broker and pay a per transaction fee instead.  Expect little to no support (and getting your license does NOT give you everything you need to go out and transact well on your own).  
  • Go to a higher support but still investor friendly brokerage that allows you to do some personal transactions (including investments) at 100% commission each year.  
  • Go to a traditional brokerage... which are not typically set up for investors, though there are small niche investor friendly ones around. 

And yes you can get MLS access which does give you an advantage. You'll be able to see deals faster, set up your own searches anytime and be notified immediately, access properties faster (like digital lock box access), you won't have to wait on a buyer's agent for anything, you'll be able to submit an offer faster, AND you'll be able to earn commission on your deals, accelerating your investing. Cons are some expenses (everyone worries about this, but if you're doing more than one transaction a year, you shouldn't) and that getting licensed can be a distraction from investing. Hope this helps!

Hey there @Matt James ,

Yes it is required that you are affiliated with a brokerage. And if you are getting this license to solely access the MLS and to represent yourself in your future transactions, I would highly recommend the highest possible commission plan you can find out there.

Secondly, No you will have to hang your license with a brokerage, and THEN you get in contact with your local association of realtors, and get your MLS access through that association. This process can seem more complicated than it really is. This can be as simple as making a phone call into the association, with your broker next to you guiding you!

Hopefully you can find a brokerage that has low fees. These storing/printing/technology fees will range anywhere from $100-$500 per month. This is the reason people often encourage new agents to have a "burn account" saved up and set aside for these type of fees!

Good luck sir,

Charlie, Thanks a lot! 

Sounds like the second category of broker would be a good fit for me. I happen to be in FL (Jacksonville), do you have a recommended broker in this category?

Just to be clear, did you mean that one should have MLS access once passed the exam even not affiliated with a broker?

Austin, Thank you!

So even for those 100% commission type broker, the monthly charge to park a license is at least $100/m? One really has to sell at least one property a year to be financially making sense. 

@Matt James Here's my two cents. If you want to be a Realtor and make that your job, get your license. If you want to be an investor, simply get to know the best investor-friendly Realtors in your area. They can give you access to the MLS for free and help you find properties quickly. Instead of spending your time trying to get your license, study contracts, continuing education, broker compliance, etc, you could spend your time getting great at scouting an analyzing deals and leave the realty work to your agent. Good luck!

@Matt James So my total expenses, including MLS fees, digital lockboxes, REALTOR fees, and brokerage fees come out to about $190 a month if I average it. That's to be a licensed national/state/local REALTOR as well. But I use my license for more than investing (mostly helping investors since I know how to do that!), so I can cover this fee for a 2-3 years with one closing. That's why I said I don't really worry about the cost. Yep, I chose the second broker category too mostly because I needed support and training outside of regular work hours as I'm still making the transition.