Question for investors w/ real estate license

I’ve read endless debates about whether it is a good thing or a liability to have a real estate license if you primarily want to be a real estate investor but I have a question I’ve never seen asked specifically:

Is there anyone out there who has or had a real estate license who regrets getting it or who let it go inactive because you found it caused more problems than benefits?

I’m asking because it really, really bothers me to rely on real estate agents to get comps. I find something almost every day that I want to look up on the MLS. I’m a total data person and I want the details unavailable on the free public Web sites.

Personal experiences are welcome and appreciated…thanks!


Hot topic! Some say never get your license because of disclosure issues. I say whatever. It has totally helped us with our investing and given us all that access that public websites won’t. Plus you actually learn alot by taking the course.

I wonder if we can just create a sticky post at the top on this one. The question is raised every few months. Did you already use the search function?

Yes, DeeinAustin, I spent a LOT of time reading old posts. But I still asked the question because the previous posts are either real estate agents who are glad they have a license or investors who said they didn’t want/need one. I specifically want to know if anyone put in the money and energy to obtain the license and then REGRETTED it. Anyone bored or annoyed by this thread can always skip it.

The main thing you’ll have to consider are the fees associated with having a license – MLS fees, the fee to join the National Association of Realtors, and the office fees for whichever broker you sign with. Those kind of fees can add up pretty quick, so unless you have unlimited resources to pay for all that, you’d have to rack up some sales commissions to cover your costs.

Originally I got my license to learn the business of real estate with the eventual goal of being a full-time investor. Along the way, I would save up money from my sales to build up an account, while also being able to spot deals on the MLS right away. Only problem is, just about everything that comes up on the MLS is market value. And as we all know, it’s hard to be a successful investor when you buy properties at market value.

At the present, my wife is a realtor. She got her license for the sole purpose of us investing. The broker she signed on with will not allow us to sell real estate unless everything goes through the broker. We were going to do lease options, but the fees would wipe out any profit…so yes, at the present (until she finds a local broker that will allow lease options done privately), she / we regret that she has her license. the only positive is the fact she can now do commercial, as she passed her CCIM exam, so if we do purchase large multi units (like we want to do eventually), besides owning a nice piece of real estate, she will get a pretty nice commission check as the buyers rep.

If you want to invest, you do not need it.

Jared and mw - thank you - those are exactly the type of personal experiences I was seeking.

Beemnseven, I don’t so much want to find deals on the MLS as have access to the data to do comparative analysis. For instance, the house a block away from my house just sold in one week, which is amazing in this awful Colorado real estate market. I am dying to know the sales price and I hate having to wait until it reaches County records. Nor do I like depending on realtors when I may never have the opportunity to give something back if I don’t do a deal with them.

I’m moving to Portland this summer and as soon as I get there, I’ll figure out the best way to get my data fix, whether it be becoming licensed and affiliating with a broker or some other option. I wish there was some fee-based arrangment where you could access history and just be limited from entering or editing information - that would be perfect.

Thanks for the feedback!


I can only say that the one with the most toys / tools / Real Estate whatever, WINS. I am still kicking myself in the A@% because I waited so long to get my license. I’m a diehard investor and if you are playing on the top of the table instead of under it, get your license and Rock and Roll.

I vote for having the license… if you are an investor and buying property… not if you are new and PLAN to buy property. It costs me about 945.00 per year to maintain my license, MLS and board association. I make over ten times that just in commissions of my own deals part time in addition to all my other investing activities.

As far as the disclosure issue… so much DRAMA it is annoying. The disclosure is necessary because you have to let the other party know you have an unfair advantage as an agent. So you sign your forms John Smith, agent instead of John Smith. Check a box on some purchase agreements that say you are an agent or broker. That’s about it.

A lot of people say that the other party may think they’re getting screwed because you’re an agent. It has been the opposite for me. The broker on the other end of the transaction has usually said "He’s an agent so the deal will probably go through. Agency has been a 100% positive experience for me.

Also, if you want the MLS comps quickly you gotta join the club and pay the price. … or you could become a licensed appraiser and get access that way.

As far as paying my broker… my agreement with him is that any deal I find outside the MLS does not go through his office. All these things can be negotiated with your broker. There are some smaller agencies that like to have agents on their roster to appear largerso they are more flexible. I don’t even have to do office time with my broker.


I was a broker in CA and let it lapse. My profession is real estate investor. I have been at this long enough that I hire very good agents to help me buy and sell and they are happy to help me fo my research. Find agents who understand what you want and develop loyal relationships. I have no more than 2 agents in each area in which I work. They have proven themselves to me and they earn their fees. Yet I still prefer negotiating with buyers myself, so I ask them for help with MLS, owner database, etc. I don’t think having the license is a huge liability if you are an ethical person, but the help of good professionals is also valuable and worth paying for.