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I want to invest in Real Estate - should I obtain a real estate license?
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Question:I want to invest in Real Estate - should I obtain a real estate license? Should I get a realtor's license to have access to MLS listings?
Answer:You may be able to find MLS listed homes on Realtor.com or similar sites but you don't have much in the way of search parameters. And of course you do not get access to all fields. With the complete MLS access you can search with keywords such as 'motivated seller', 'fixer', 'handyman special', 'TLC', REO, 'foreclosure' etc... this makes it a lot easier to find motivated sellers. You can also read "private" agent remarks wich can speak volumes about the seller's level of motivation.
Furtheron you will have access to tax rolls, lockbox combos. If you actually use the license to help others buy you will make connections with other realtors, gain experience with buying, selling and writing contracts and negotiating deals. You will eventually establish relationships with lenders, attorney's, title companies and inspectors. All very valueable.
On the other hand, having a real estate license puts you at a disadvantage in that you must disclose to any prospective seller or buyer that you are a licensed realtor, and you are also held to a higher standard and it is assumed that because you have a license you have far greater knowledge than the average seller or buyer and therefore run the risk of claims that you took advantage of someone.
Also notice that your license will be for one state only. You need a separate real estate license for each state you consider investing in.