To have or not to have a realtor license, that is the question. Before I answer this question, I need to put a disclaimer in here. There really isn’t any such thing as a “realtor license”. In order to become a realtor, you must first have your real estate license, then you can apply to become a realtor. It isn’t necessary to become a realtor after you have your real estate license, because you will already be able to operate as a licensed real estate agent. I know this may seem a bit hard to understand because most people use the terms “realtor” and “real estate agent” interchangeably, but there is a difference. So when I say “realtor license” on this page, I really mean “real estate license”. Is that ok?
Ok, on to answering the question. The logical answer really depends on your situation, mainly:
- Do I live in a market where homes are valued very highly (average sale price is $200,000 or greater)?
- Do I intend to live in the same house for many years, or will I be moving often?
- Do I have the need and/or the desire to obtain additional income?
- Do I want to mess with the hassle, and how much trouble would it be to get a realtor license?
- Does it cost an exorbitant amount of money to take the classes and pass the test?
Question #1 is probably the most important question to answer. With the typical realtor cost of 6% per sale of a home, a $200,000 house will cost you $12,000 just in realtor fees. Compared with the $1000-$2000 cost of obtaining a realtor license, logic says to take the classes and get licensed, even if just to sell your own home. But beyond the cost savings, what does a realtor really do you for you? Mainly they just list the house in the MLS, put a sign in the yard, and wait for the buyer to show up. Then they fill in the blanks on a simple promulgated real estate contract form, and collect their fee.
Question #2 has its roots in Question #1, cost savings. For the continual mover, it only makes to defray as much of the cost of selling real estate as possible. But if you are planning on selling just one more time, then staying in the new house for many years, it may not be worth the hassle to get a realtor license.
Question #3 is where the ambitious person lives. The desire to gain additional income and/or to get free of a job. If this is your goal, definitely consider getting a realtor license.
Question #4 is for the procrastinator. It really does not take that much to obtain a realtor license. One could do an online course in as little as a few weeks, take the exam, pay the fees, and become a realtor. So it really comes down to just taking action. If you want the cost savings of selling your own house, additional income or to be free from your job, getting a realtor license is a great start.
Question #5 is directed at the skeptic. The costs of getting a realtor license are not high, maybe $1000-$2000 or less in many states, and there are almost always online schools as well as instructor lead courses available. It is just simply a matter of wanting to go further in life, and taking steps to get there.
So unless you just want to sell your house once, buy another house, and live there until you drop dead, it makes sense to have a realtor license. Especially in the high housing cost areas like California, New York, Florida, Chicago, and others. Realtor licenses just aren’t that difficult to obtain, and really can make an amazing difference in your life. So think about your own realtor license as you peruse through Real Estate License .org.