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Can You Have Both a Real Estate and MLO License?
December 1, 2021

Can You Have Both a Real Estate and MLO License?

by The CE Shop Team

Curious if You Can Hold Both a Real Estate License and a Mortgage License?

The mortgage and real estate industries are tightly intertwined, presenting the question: Is it possible for one person to hold both a real estate license and a mortgage license at the same time? The short answer is yes, you can. Let’s dive into the similarities and differences between the two professions, as well as what it looks like to hold both licenses.

Real Estate vs. Mortgage

The real estate and mortgage industries wouldn’t exist without each other, but what are some of the similarities and differences between the two verticals?

Similarities

Both real estate and mortgage professionals must be at least 18 years of age, both must complete specific Pre-Licensing requirements, both must pass state-issued licensing exams, and both are required to take annual or semi-annual Continuing Education to maintain their license. Real estate agents and Mortgage Loan Officers (MLOs) are generally paid through commissions, but this depends on the brokerage or financial institution for which they work. Beyond the hard qualifications, most real estate and mortgage professionals also share an entrepreneurial mindset and are driven to help others. Although you’ll see many similarities between the two careers, there are a few key differences that set them apart.

Differences

Real estate agents help clients navigate the homebuying process. They work with their clients to find and buy the perfect property, and bring extensive knowledge of the real estate industry and housing market to the table. Mortgage Loan Officers guide clients through the financial side of homebuying, such as finding the perfect home loan and helping their clients through the loan application process. Loan Officers offer extensive knowledge of the mortgage industry and will coach clients on what their down payment should be, what a favorable credit score is, and how to find the best interest rates.

Additionally, Mortgage Loan Officers may have to prove they have a certain net worth, are held to stricter regulations than real estate agents, and must register with the Nationwide Multistate Licensing System (NMLS).

Multiple Licenses

Holding Multiple Licenses

It is possible to hold both a mortgage license and a real estate license at the same time. Some agents simply hold their mortgage license, and others use it to supplement their real estate career. With that said, a single person does not usually act as the MLO and the real estate agent on a single transaction — and if they do, that fact must be disclosed. (Each state has its own regulations, so be sure to check with your state regulator.) Most mortgage companies will not allow licensed real estate agents to act as the Mortgage Loan Officer for the same client in any loan transaction. Additionally, mortgage professionals stick to using one license at a time because a majority of mortgage buyers on the secondary mortgage market will not purchase closed loans of borrowers who were represented by someone acting as the real estate agent and Mortgage Loan Officer on the same transaction.

These regulations were put into place along with rules that protect consumers and reduce fraud in the mortgage industry thanks to the SAFE Act of 2008

There are actually some instances where it is illegal to act as both an MLO and a real estate agent, including when the borrower is using a government-backed loan, such as an FHA loan. MLOs cannot originate FHA loans for their own real estate clients. Technically, an MLO is allowed to originate conventional, jumbo, or commercial loans, but you’ll have to disclose if you intend to act as both the MLO and the real estate agent on a single transaction. If your MLO company is separate from your real estate company, you’ll also need to provide affiliated business disclosure.

Benefits of Holding Both License Types

It’s beneficial to you as a professional to have both a mortgage license and a real estate license. Real estate clients appreciate when their agent has a thorough understanding of the mortgage process, including aspects like interest rates, credit scores, down payments, incentives for first-time homebuyers, and the preapproval process.

Likewise, mortgage clients find it helpful to have an MLO who understands the real estate industry, especially in terms of dealing with title companies and working with real estate brokerages. Networking with other MLOs who are also real estate agents offers referral opportunities for you and your peers alike.

No matter where you are in your career, having both a real estate and mortgage license is a key way to set yourself apart from other professionals in the industry. You’re able to offer more value to your clients and open up your network to those in neighboring industries. From loan origination to refinancing options and referrals, working in both verticals either part- or full-time can make you the trusted real estate and lending guru in your local market. If you’d like to pursue your real estate license, we can help! Check out our real estate Pre-Licensing offerings here.

Ready to Further Your Education With The CE Shop?

Our Continuing Education courses are written by mortgage experts with decades of experience. Stay up to date on your requirements with our 100% online curriculum that’s one of the most diverse and groundbreaking in the industry. And if you want to network with your peers, join our Facebook group and get connected!

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