Realtor wearing white blazer smiling and speaking with her clients.

What Can Your Real Estate License Do For You?

Carla Ayers11 minute-read
September 29, 2022

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One of the benefits of working in real estate is having a variety of income-generating business models to choose from. Whether you’re a brand-new agent or an old dog interested in learning new tricks, your real estate license can unlock new opportunities for personal and financial growth. If you don’t have a license but you want to get started in real estate, don’t worry, we’ve covered some of those jobs too.

If you’re ready to try something new in real estate, read on to learn 21 things you can do in real estate to make money.

Jobs That Require A Real Estate License

If you have a real estate license and you’re thinking of trying something other than what you’re currently doing to make ends meet, you’re already ahead of the game. The following are jobs that require a real estate license to get started. 

1. Real Estate Agent

A real estate agent assists in the sale of real property. They maintain home listings, schedule property tours and help their clients negotiate the best deal for their transaction. Agents usually earn a commission or percentage of the sale price of the property being sold or purchased. To become a licensed real estate agent, you must complete your state’s required prelicensing course and take a state exam. In most states, real estate agents must be sponsored by a broker prior to taking the state exam.

In order to qualify to become a real estate agent, you must:

  1. Be at least 18 years old (In some states the minimum age requirement is 19)
  2. Have legal U.S. residency status
  3. Have a high school diploma or equivalency (GED) in most states
  4. Be of “good moral character” with no serious criminal record 

2. Showing Only Agent

Some people really shine when showing homes to potential buyers. Some agents prefer not to deal with the transaction all the way through to closing. They’re often referred to as a showing agent or showing assistant. A showing agent provides tours to prospective home buyers in a specific geographic region.

To help people buy and sell real estate, you are required to have a real estate license in the state you plan to show homes. If you’re just starting out, services like Showami connect available showing agents with potential clients to show property for a one-time fee. This is great way to get to know your market and make some quick cash in real estate. 

3. Real Estate Broker

Like real estate agents, real estate brokers help people buy, lease and sell real estate. Many brokers specialize in a certain type of real estate like residential, industrial or commercial. In many states, to become a broker, you’re required to work in the real estate industry for a minimum number of years before becoming a broker. You must take a broker level prelicensing course and pass the state exam to become a licensed real estate broker. Brokers can work independently, or they can choose to manage and mentor other agents.

4. Commercial And Retail Leasing

When a business needs to expand and grow, it relies on commercial leasing agents to find the right location. Your real estate license will come in handy if you decide to pursue commercial real estate leasing. As a commercial leasing agent, your clients are a business instead of an individual or family. Like residential, your commercial client will have specific needs that the property they choose must have for their business to thrive.

Commercial real estate lease negotiations can take much longer to finalize than a residential transaction, but the lease agreements are longer in length and more lucrative in most cases. To become familiar with common language and commercial landlord-tenant law, consider joining a commercial real estate organization and begin networking to build your commercial business. 

5. Trainer/Sales Coach

Your experience in real estate and in life can help and inspire others to achieve their own personal goals. A real estate coach helps their clients improve their business through encouragement and goal setting. To become a coach, you can train under an existing program and become a coach in their network. You can also develop your own coaching program and work independently, from anywhere in the world.

6. Consultant

Real estate consultants work in every part of the real estate industry, depending on their area of expertise. Real estate consultants provide professional advice on building and investment opportunities. Consultants can work with investors, banks, construction companies and property owners as an independent consultant or full-time employee. Job duties include researching property values, analyzing the real estate market for trends and forecasting potential pitfalls. There are no state requirements to become a real estate consultant, but having experience and a real estate license is a must.

7. Teach Real Estate Courses

If you’re an experienced real estate professional and you’re looking for new and exciting ways to earn income, teaching can be incredibly rewarding. Requirements will vary depending on where you intend to teach. To become a real estate instructor, you will likely need to have industry-specific experience as well as previous classroom experience instructing. Community colleges, universities and trade schools are a great place to inquire about teaching positions available in your area of expertise. 

8. Freelance Writer, Blogger, Influencer

If you have a background in real estate and a passion for writing, you might find success as a freelance writer or influencer. Real estate is an evolving industry with a lot of complicated subjects to cover and your expertise could bring clarity to your readers and some extra spending money to your pocket. There are a lot of freelance writers and content creators to compete with but with steady practice and good networking you can find work that pays.

If you’re thinking about writing content for real estate, do it. Practice is never a waste of time, and you’ll need to build a decent portfolio to get your foot in the door. If you’re an expert in a certain area, use that to your advantage and become the go-to creator for the niche. Real estate is more than houses, it’s a culture and way of life. Tell the world about what you love about it!

9. Referral Agent

A real estate referral agent is a licensed real estate agent or broker who works with people looking for a home to purchase and refers them to another licensed real estate agent to complete the transaction. The referral agent earns a fee if the person they referred buys a home with the real estate agent they referred to.

Referral agents can refer clients moving both near and far, so keep your referral network in mind as you’re prospecting for new business. If you can’t help someone in your area, maybe there is a referral connection you can make so you can collect a referral fee.

10. Transaction Coordinator

If buying and selling with clients isn’t your thing, maybe the administrative side of the deal is for you. A transaction coordinator is hired by a real estate agent or broker to assist in a real estate transaction. They coordinate the signing of documents, schedule inspections and communicate pertinent information to all parties. Many states require a specific certification to become a real estate transaction coordinator so be sure to check your state’s requirements.

Jobs in Real Estate That Don’t Require A Real Estate License

If you don’t have a real estate license but you want to throw your hat in the ring of real estate, we found 11 gigs that don’t require a real estate license upfront to start.

1. Notary

You won’t need a real estate license to become a notary, but it can be a unique selling point when you’re advertising your services. A notary public serves as an impartial witness to official acts called notarizations or notarial acts. When a lender closes a mortgage, a notary signing agent will verify the identity of all parties involved in the transaction, they’ll make sure that the loan documents are handled properly, and all necessary documents are in order.

Each state has specific requirements that must be met in order to become a notary. In most states you must be at least 18 years old and pass a criminal background check. Once licensed, a notary must purchase a surety bond required by state law and their stamp and supplies. Notaries can be full-time employees of banks or real estate firms. They can also work independently or part-time if they choose.

2. Property Management

Property managers oversee the day-to-day maintenance and operations for a property owner. Property managers can work for individuals, apartment communities, or third-party property management companies. Depending on the state you’re located in and the responsibilities of your position, a real estate license may not be required to manage property; however, it’s a good idea to have a license if you plan to advance in the industry. There are courses that can help you sharpen your skill set as a property manager and you can earn valuable designations to let employers know you are qualified to manage their assets.

Property managers are responsible for collecting rent, settling tenant disputes, leasing vacancies, and a wide variety of other tasks depending on the type, class and location of the property. If you’re someone who thinks quick on their feet, property management might be the right fit for you.

3. Leasing

With interest rates fluctuating, some people can’t stomach the roller coaster of real estate and prefer to lease a home. Licensed real estate agents who have access to the local MLS can show properties for lease to their clients. Leasing commission structures are different in every area so do your research and be sure compensation is clearly defined. You will need to have a real estate license to access the MLS independently.

If you’re looking for an opportunity with steady stable income, working for an apartment community might be for you. Apartment communities hire dedicated leasing agents to show apartments to potential renters, prepare move-in documents and answer questions about the property. Depending on the position’s responsibilities, a real estate license is not always required.

4. Appraiser

A real estate appraiser evaluates a property’s value based on the home’s features, location, land, and recent similar home sales in the area. While a real estate license isn’t required to become an appraiser, most states have a tiered licensing system for real estate appraisers. A trainee appraiser does not need experience to start but they must find a certified appraiser to oversee their experience hours.

The first step to becoming an appraiser in most states will typically involve 75 hours of education and 2,500 hours of experience. You’ll need to take an additional 75 hours of coursework before you can take the initial licensing exam.

Appraisers can upgrade their appraisal license as they gain experience. The most common upgrades include licensed appraiser, certified appraiser, and certified general appraiser. Each license level has varying requirements for qualified classes and experience hours. Appraisers with higher license levels typically have more control over their fees and subsequently make more money. 

5. Photographer

When scrolling through home listings you can tell which agents hired a professional and who’s using their smartphone. Listings with professional photography attract more potential home buyers. If you’re an agent with an eye, exploring real estate photography could be a path to new beginnings in real estate.

There is no formal training for real estate photographers. Many start by taking a class at their local community college or community center. Learning more about composition, focus and light balance can be incredibly useful when dealing with a variety of environments. You’ll need to invest in the proper equipment and learn to use it efficiently in the field. If you’re ready to join the ranks of the professionals, consider joining the Real Estate Photographers of American & International (REPAI) to network and learn more about your craft.

6. Lease Analyst

Lease analysts coordinate lease agreements for the company providing the lease and the lessee. In both residential and commercial real estate, a lease analyst will keep track of expiring lease agreements, handle disputes with tenants, and ensure payments are made according to the lease. A real estate license isn’t required to become to a lease analyst, but having real estate experience reviewing documents and understanding the general language used is a big advantage when looking for a job in the field.

7. Real Estate Investor

A real estate investor makes money by purchasing a property for the purpose of leasing or selling it for a profit. Investors look for good deals so they can purchase property at a low price and make a good profit from their efforts. If this sounds like something you want to try, a real estate license can come in handy, but it’s not required.

As an investor of real estate, you’re not limited to a geographic area, so you’re free to explore opportunities across the country. Working with an active agent can give you valuable insight into a local market you’re interested in investing in but you won’t need to be licensed in that state to do so.

8. Home Inspector

Home inspections are a vital piece of the home sale transaction process. A home inspector identifies a home or building’s structure, systems, and appliances and notes any defects or concerns. If you’re a licensed agent who’s attended a home inspection, you know how in-depth these inspections can be and how important their findings are to the deal. If you enjoy exploring new spaces and problem solving, home inspection is an ideal job for you.

There is no national standard for certification, each state has its own requirements to become a home inspector. Some will require a national exam to be passed, while others require approved coursework be completed in person or online. You don’t need to be an expert building engineer to be a successful home inspector, but you will need to spend time fine tuning your skills and learning as much as you can, so you’re prepared for the unexpected in the field.

9. Licensed Language Interpreter

If you speak one of more languages fluently, you might be able to help others grow their business, while expanding your own. Online services like the Language Doctors connect skilled interpreters with those who need translation services. Look for professional interpreter training courses to help develop your skills and fluency. Once you’re confident in your skills, tell everyone you’re available to help them help their clients. 

10. Loan Officer

A loan officer or mortgage loan originator is one of the first points of contact for a first-time home buyer. It’s an incredibly important step in purchasing a home. A loan originator helps buyers find the right home loan for their unique financial circumstances. A loan officer collects information from potential borrowers to submit to lenders for mortgage loan approval. Being organized and presenting information accurate and timely are key to being a successful mortgage loan originator.

To become a mortgage loan officer, you must be of good financial character and stability. You’ll also need to do the following:

  • Obtain licensing from and take the required classes required by the state
  • Register with the NMLS
  • Provide authorization to obtain a credit report
  • Provide a variety of identifying information
  • Provide fingerprints for a criminal background check
  • Provide a financial services employment history for the past 10 years
  • Disclose any financial regulatory body charges against them
  • Attest to the completeness and accuracy of the information provided

In addition to the previous requirements, each state has specific requirements for continuing education as you progress in your career as a loan officer.

11. Real Estate Paralegal

A real estate paralegal works alongside a real estate attorney to help the firm’s clients complete their real estate transaction efficiently. Real estate law can be very complex and a paralegal’s eye for detail can be invaluable in the intricate legal process. A real estate license is helpful but not required to become a paralegal. The majority of paralegals start their career by completing a 2-year associates degree paralegal program or another American Bar Association (ABA) approved paralegal program. Many paralegals get started with real world experience through an internship as well.

Carla Ayers

Carla is a Realtor® with a background in commercial and residential property management, leasing  and arts management. She has a Bachelors in Arts Marketing and Masters in Integrated Marketing & Communications from Eastern Michigan University.