I see a lot of new investors asking this question. The answer seems quite easy to me. YES!!
The only major downside is you will be considered a professional in the industry and be expected to behave like one. If you know of issues with a property you own, or are selling, you must disclose them. If a legal battle does arise with one of your properties, you are acting as a professional and expected to behave like one.
- You can pay for access to the multiple-listing service (MLS). If you are licensed you can pay a fee to the local MLS association and get a list of all the properties for sale and how to get inside them. You can also get a list of all the properties recently sold and a treasure trove of other tools available to agents. I am still discovering more valuable tools in our MLS everyday.
- You can list and sell your properties yourself, and keep the selling side of the commission. When we get a property ready for sale, we simply put a lockbox on it, price it right and list it on the MLS. We typically offer the buyer’s agent 3% commission, but save on the typical 3% we’d pay. Sure we don’t have open houses, but sometimes rookie agents will call and have an open house at your property to get buyers. That’s a win-win!
- You can pay for access to thousands of stock real estate related forms. Purchase Agreement, Option Agreement, Commission Agreement, etc. This makes life so much easier.
- If you pay for MLS access, they typically offer other tools to their agents. Ours has a free legal help hot-line. I’ve used it a couple times already and it’s sure nice to have an expert real estate lawyer one call away (FOR FREE!!).
- Having a license puts you in the industry, even if you don’t have any property. You’ve made your first step of getting in the game and now it’s time to hunt for those deals.
I mentioned the main downside. There a couple others.
- The biggest one, as I mentioned at the beginning. If you are a trained professional, you are held to higher ethical and legal standard. You must disclose everything, you must not break real estate law. If you run your investments by the books this really isn’t that big of a deal in my eyes.
- Motivated sellers may treat you in a different light. If you are an “expert” in their mind they might think you are trying to take advantage of them more so though a traditional investor.
Overall, if you are serious about this business, and intent to be investing for a long-time you should get your license. The test (at least in California) is really not that difficult.