Real Estate License Exams For Dummies
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Real estate agents can work in a number of places after passing the Real Estate License Exam. In some cases real estate training can provide good background for jobs that may not require a real estate license.

Independent brokerages and national franchises

The vast majority of real estate agents are employed as salespersons working for independent brokers. An independent broker may have more than one office and be affiliated with a multiple listing system, which enables brokers to share information about properties that are for sale. Many independent brokers have chosen to affiliate themselves with national franchises.

These arrangements vary from a fair amount of control and standardization from the franchise’s headquarters to an extremely independent operation in which the local broker pays a fee paid to maintain an affiliation with the national franchise. The benefits of franchise affiliations often are related to the nationwide exposure they provide through major advertising. Franchises frequently provide access to the training programs they require their salespeople to complete.

Of course, you definitely need a real estate license to work at a brokerage.

Corporations (in and out of the real estate world)

The sole purpose of some companies is to buy properties and then lease them out. These are real estate investment companies working for themselves. They may build on and then hold their properties or buy properties with existing structures. These companies may need people to locate properties to invest in, or they may need property managers.

As long as you’re working for the company and managing properties it owns, you may not legally need a license to do the work; however, you need to find out whether any of your state’s regulations require a license under those circumstances. On the other hand, if the company provides real estate property management services to other people or companies, a license is more likely to be required.

In addition, large corporations, particularly those with significant space or location needs, sometimes hire in-house real estate people. These jobs can involve leasing office or retail space for the company or buying land to locate company facilities.

Depending on the company, you may find yourself leasing office space for a new company operation, buying a piece of property to locate a new gas station or fast-food restaurant, or negotiating with someone for an oil/gas lease. Although real estate training is good background for these jobs, a real estate license more than likely is unnecessary from a legal perspective, but may be desired as a job qualification.

Business with builders

When you’re working with a builder, your job may range from finding land for the builder to build on to selling the houses or other buildings the builder may construct. The main distinction that determines whether you need a license when working with a builder is whether you’re working for that one builder as an employee, in which case you most likely do not need a license.

You most likely need a license when working for one or more builders for a fee as an independent contractor.

When working with a builder you may find yourself working as an on-site salesperson. You may be spending plenty of time at the building site, showing people new homes or working with them as they select a design and special features or options for the new home the builder will build for them.


Local, county, and the federal government often hire people to perform real estate services. Typically, large governments employ people to maintain records, sell surplus property, buy property for various purposes, and obtain easements. As a government employee you are most likely exempt from needing a real estate license.

People directly employed by one owner to handle their real estate transactions are generally exempt from license requirements, just as you would be if you sold your own house. In this case the employer is the government. In some states there is a specific exemption in the license law for government employees doing real estate work as part of their job.

Note that government jobs that deal with real estate are fairly specialized and not widely available.

Real Estate appraisals

Appraising is a field that’s related to but distinct from a career in real estate brokerage. Although the knowledge you gain in coursework and experience as a broker or salesperson is useful in appraising, a separate license and education are required to become an appraiser. An appraiser’s job is to estimate the value of a piece of real estate in a variety of circumstances.

The vast majority of appraisals are done for mortgage-loan purposes. Lenders hire appraisers to estimate the values of properties as a basis for the loans that the lenders extend to buyers.

Check here for more information about the appraisal career field.

Home inspections

Many buyers have the homes they’re considering inspected by home inspectors before buying them. Although you don’t need a real estate license to be a home inspector, some states provide for the licensing of home inspectors. You can get more information about this career field at the National Association of Home Inspectors website.

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