Why look for just another job, when you can embark upon a whole new career? Learn about the latest developments in careers for military spouses. With your mobile lifestyle, there are certain portable careers that can offer you and your family stability and future growth. If you have any topics that you would like to see us write about, feel free to email the editor:
Mobile Careers 101: Real Estate Agent; Keeping Clients Buying and Selling While You Move

Editor’s note: This is a monthly column addressing the specific requirements many spouses will have to follow to move their professional licenses as they PCS.

Real estate agents can make a family’s dreams come true. What is more rewarding than helping someone purchase their dream home? How about earning a commission in addition to feeling warm and fuzzy?

Military spouses who enter the world of real estate have an exciting career ahead of them.

Lisa Fenner, a licensed Realtor and military spouse, has been in the business for six years. We asked her for tips other military spouses need to know as they move their realty career from state to state or are considering becoming an agent.

The Basics

Although there are many real estate organizations with which to be affiliated — profit or not for profit — The National Association of Realtors is the governing group for all states. Whether you’ve graduated from college or taken online courses to obtain your real estate license, you’ve become licensed in the state where you currently live and are a member of that state’s real estate association. You also should be listed under a real estate broker in a company for your license to be active. The term “Realtor” is trademarked, and you must belong to the National Association of Realtors to use it in any advertising.

PCSing? How to Move Your Career

Your service member receives orders, so what’s the first thing you do? “Contact your new state’s real estate association to find out about their licensing law requirements as quickly as possible,” Fenner said. Some states are reciprocal states and have similar requirements for licensing laws, meaning less paperwork and class requirements for you.

For example, Alabama and Florida are reciprocal states. If you are licensed in Florida and move to Alabama, you would only have to take the Alabama License real estate law exam to earn your license to sell property. In states that are not reciprocal, you may have to retake the entire real estate course to become licensed. Although it can be costly, agents are allowed to be licensed in more than one state at a time, but an agent does have to be listed under a broker in each state for her license to remain active.

Once you’ve learned your new state’s laws and requirements, Fenner has several suggestions to get your business on track before you even arrive.

1.       Find a broker in your new area.

2.       Research the market for home trends, pricing and learn the common types of homes for the area.

3.       Study maps to and become familiar with that area.

4.       Build local relationships through the chamber of commerce, Facebook and LinkedIn.

Watch Your Bottom Line

Real estate agents are independent contractors, and moving can mean big bills for agents, Fenner warns.

Agents must arrange to pay their own state and federal taxes, rather than having it taken out of each paycheck by an employer. Agents are also responsible for purchasing their own name signs, business cards and advertising items and with each PCS move, that can equal a huge expense. Fenner’s advice for saving a little money: Consider affiliating yourself with a large, nationwide brokerage and stay with them throughout your military travels.

“It is easiest and may save you some money, because the colors and branding remain the same. And, although each office is independently operated, they carry the same corporate laws for uses of their logos and advertising,” Fenner said.

Each brokerage also already has a referral network in place, meaning you may have clients quicker than if you tried to advertise on your own. Fenner believes a positive attitude is the best thing military spouse realtors can carry with them to each duty station.

“The most important thing is to go in with a positive outlook and realize that not all economies are the same. Not all real estate agents think or do business the same. And what may have been the norm in your previous market may be foreign in your new market,” she said.

“Take some time when you arrive to sit back and watch, and always remember what my broker tells me … We have two ears and one mouth. It’s the best advice for any real estate agent,” she said.



For Military Spouses
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