10 ways to use a real estate license
These days, it’s easier than ever to get your real estate license. Though exact requirements vary by state, in most areas, you can take real estate classes online, study for your exam, and possibly qualify for your license via online testing. The process will cost a bit of money and take some time (usually many weeks), but ultimately, you’ll end up with a certification and a set of skills that can help you forge a new career.
That said, most people underestimate just how useful a real estate license is. Let’s take a look at some of the most common (and most impressive) ways you can use a real estate license.
Ways to Use a Real Estate License
These are just some of the career and investment opportunities afforded to you by a real estate license:
- Real estate agent with an agency. Most agents, when first starting out, try to work for a real estate agency—a brokerage company where they can learn from other, more experienced agents and take home a stable salary. Your pay may be partially commission-based, but you’ll get a solid foundation on which you can build your career.
- Independent real estate agent. For some people, this isn’t enough—in fact, it’s somewhat limiting. Instead, they may want to work independently. Depending on your goals, you could work as an independent broker, securing your own deals and earning your own income, or you could try to start a brokerage of your own.
- Real estate investor. If you like the idea of making money with real estate, but you don’t merely want to enable the deals made by others, you could use your license to become a better real estate investor. Here, you’ll use your license to find better property deals, buy them yourself, and manage those properties in a way that generates income for you. In many cases, this means finding tenants for rental properties or “flipping” your properties for a profit.
- Residential appraiser. Your real estate license may also be useful in your path to become a residential real estate appraiser. Appraisers often work for financial institutions to judge the appropriate value of a property. You’ll also gain skills you can use to evaluate the value of your own home and potential investments.
- Commercial appraiser. Your work as a commercial property appraiser will be quite similar to your work as a residential property appraiser; the difference is who you’re working for and what types of properties you’re studying.
- Property investment consultant. You could also work with businesses or individuals interested in property investments, helping them find the right properties for their portfolio and/or helping them manage their current inventory. As a consultant, your job could take many forms.
- Property manager. If you like the idea of taking care of properties, but you don’t like the financial risk or burden of responsibility that falls on you as the owner, you could become a property manager. Here, you could be in charge of maintaining properties, finding good tenants, and/or buying and selling properties to keep the owner’s portfolio healthy.
- Real estate law. If you want to take a slightly different path in the world of real estate, you could use your license as a stepping stone to get into real estate law. If you don’t mind attending more school, you could eventually become a real estate lawyer, capable of handling more complex cases and deals.
- Foreclosure specialist. Banks often need to work with foreclosure specialists, who can handle the complex processes of managing and finalizing foreclosures. This could also lead to promising investment opportunities.
- Personal bonus—finding the perfect home. As an added bonus to whichever career path you choose, you’ll be able to use your skills as a real estate agent in your personal life. When you’re looking for a new home, you’ll have a much better understanding of what you should be looking for—and in many cases, you’ll have a much wider range of options to choose from. In many cases, you’ll be able to find a better deal, and in almost every case, you’ll be able to find a better fit.
Finding the Right Career Path
If any or all of these career paths and bonuses sound good to you, you’ll want to get started studying for your real estate license. And if you’re not sure exactly which path you want to take, don’t worry—you’ll have plenty of time to think through your decision, and even then, you can switch paths later on in your career. Many real estate agents end up changing their field of specialty once they become more familiar with the industry—and some do it just for a change of pace.