In some cases having a real estate license could be helpful, in other cases it may not be the best choice.
The pros of having a real estate license:
Access to the MLS for pulling comparables-Access to the MLS will allow you to be able to pull data of recently sold homes, as well a homes that are currently on the market.
Get to keep your buyer side commissions- If you are a licensed agent and you are purchasing other listed homes then you will be able to keep the buyers side commission. The buyers side commission will be given to your office and then split with you, or you may be able to keep 100% of it depending on you office fee schedule.
May have access to home before they hit the MLS- If you work at a larger office there is a good chance that other agents within your office will let you know about listings that they have coming up before they hit the MLS
Access to the MLS for pulling expired listings- Pulling expired listings is a great strategy for locating motivated sellers. Expired listings are listings that have ended prior to the home getting sold.
The cons of getting your real estate license:
Sellers could think that since you’re a Realtor that you must be taking advantage of them- I have run into many situations where sellers think that because I am a Realtor that I am going to have an unfair advantage and somehow try to rip them off.
Buyers could think that since you’re a Realtor that you must be taking advantage of them- I have had situations where buyers think that because I am a Realtor that I must have an unfair advantage and will somehow pull the wool over their eyes. Other buyers have thoughts that Realtors take the good properties for themselves and then try to pass on the mediocre deals to them.
Association Dues- These fees include MLS fees, National Association of Realtors fees, State Realtor associations fees, as well as local Realtor fees which vary by location.
Realtors may not be quite as willing to help you out- If you are getting your Realtor license to save on commissions then it is likely that you will want to keep the commissions on the homes that you buy. The problem is that if you want to keep your commission then other Realtors have no reason to bring you great deals. Even though I am a licensed Realtor, I often let other agents keep the full commission if they bring me a great deal.
Expensive office fees- Most real estate offices work on a split commission system where you keep a certain percentage of the commission and you pay the office the other part. Splits that I have seen vary from 50/50 splits all the way to 80/20 splits where you keep 80% of the commission and pay the office 20%. Other versions of the split system are graduated scales. Graduated scales allow you to keep a greater percentage of your commission as you generate more sales.
The other type of office split allows you to keep 100% of your commission in exchange for paying a monthly fee. I have seen these monthly fees start anywhere from $395 for a home office all the way up to $2000/mo for a space at the main office.
The other fees that are normally associated with doing business are your signs, closing fees (vary by area), and business cards.
More paper work to disclose everything- In many areas it may not be required by law to disclose that you are a Realtor, but it is still a good idea to let either the buyer or seller know that you are a licensed Realtor.
You may not be able to keep your commission anyway-Many of the REO’s (Real Estate Owned) that are listed in my area will not pay a commission to the buyers side if the buyer is a licensed Realtor.
I hope this helps a few of you out.