By: Sharon Hiebing

Should a Real Estate Investor have a real estate license in order to be successful? Often new investors will ask themselves this question.

What is the answer? Well, it depends on the person asking the question. There is no right or wrong answer. First, each investor must look at their goal in real estate investing. Do they want to purchase one property a year, or twenty?

If they’re taking the “slow and steady” approach, then access to a lot of property will not be a high priority. This investor can take their time in locating profitable markets, performing market research, acquiring team members, and making offers that are accepted. They basically can accumulate their resources and leads through methods other than being a real estate professional.

If, however, they want to invest at a consistent pace, with a goal of one to two properties a month, and they want to do it in their own backyard, then perhaps having a license would be beneficial. This would give them access to all inventory on the market, in addition to “insider tips” on new or upcoming listings.

In fact, in a buyer’s market, they may turn a potential listing into an investment purchase, creating a win-win for the seller and the agent, since in a buyer’s market it can take many months to sell a home, and they’ve just saved the seller the realtor commission.

If an agent operates in an area that does not meet their investment criteria (i.e. cash flow, appreciation, etc.), then there obviously is no benefit to becoming an agent in the first place if one of their primary goals is to find investment property.

As many realtors will tell you, it is not an easy job. You have to work when everyone else doesn’t, which means a lot of nights and weekends. People will want to negotiate your salary. You may play tour guide instead of agent if you’re not good at pre-screening clients. And in a down economy, you may find yourself with very little to no income.

So should you become a realtor just because you’re investing – not unless it’s a job you really want to do and finding viable property is simply a perk!

People generally think they need to have an extensive education in real estate before they can invest. This is simply not true. There are so many ways to get experience without taking risks that it would be silly to spend six months to a year getting a real estate license before you made your first investment.

Yet, many people do exactly that. They feel they must read a ton of books or attend a bunch of seminars before they can “pull the trigger.” Don’t misunderstand. Education is very important. But when it is sought after to the point of preventing you from taking action, it can become a liability.

Usually people have a lack of confidence in their abilities when it comes to doing something new for the first time. If this is the case, then hire a coach, or find a mentor. In fact, many successful people feel when it becomes time to try something new, they need to have guidance from someone with experience.

After all, why should anyone re-create the wheel when there is always someone out there who has been there, done that. If they’ve already attended the “School of Hard Knocks,” why should you become one of its alumni? Finding a Coach or Mentor can save a lot of time, a ton of money, and a great deal of heartache in the long run.

So, do you need a real estate license to be a successful investor? It depends…..