Mortgage Essentials

Mortgage Career Resources

Can You Have a Real Estate and Mortgage License?

Can You Have a Real Estate and Mortgage License?

by The CE Shop Team

Can You Be a Real Estate Agent and Loan Officer at the Same Time?

If you’ve ever wondered whether or not you can be both a real estate agent and a Mortgage Loan Officer or Mortgage Broker, the short answer is yes. With the right education, testing, and licensure, most professionals — from either industry — can offer a streamlined, one-stop-shop experience by becoming both a real estate agent and Mortgage Loan Officer. 

Differences Between Real Estate Agents and Mortgage Loan Officers

It’s well known that the real estate and mortgage industries are closely related, and that one can’t really exist without the other. That said, it’s important to understand both the similarities and differences of real estate agents and Mortgage Loan Officers: 

Real Estate Agent and MLO Similarities 

In terms of similarities, both real estate agents and Mortgage Loan Officers must be at least 18 years of age, both have to complete Pre-Licensing education that’s specific to the state in which they wish to conduct business, and both must pass state-issued licensing exams. In terms of soft skills, both roles require an entrepreneurial mindset, and they’re pursued by those with a desire to help others. 

Real Estate Agent and MLO Differences 

Beyond the fact that real estate Brokers or agents specialize in homebuying/selling and mortgage lenders specialize in home loans, real estate agents and Mortgage Loan Officers have different Pre-Licensing education requirements. For example, in the state of Florida, real estate agents must complete at least 63 hours of Pre-Licensing education whereas Florida-based Mortgage Loan Officers must complete only 20 hours of Pre-Licensing education. 
Furthermore, Mortgage Brokers or Mortgage Loan Officers may have to prove that they have a certain net worth, are held to different regulations than real estate agents, and must register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS). 

Pro Tip: 

Regardless of where you begin, where you’ve been, or wherever you’re headed in your real estate or mortgage career, having a strong professional network is the fertile soil you need to truly blossom. Many choose to join the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) — the industry’s largest trade organization — to begin laying their professional foundation. 

Regulations and Guidelines for Real Estate Agents and MLOs 

Both real estate agents and Mortgage Brokers are held to their own respective laws and regulations, but there are additional restrictions and guidelines to be followed when an individual holds both licenses: 
While not technically illegal in some states, real estate professionals shouldn’t represent their clients as both a real estate agent and mortgage professional.
Mortgage Brokers can’t arrange FHA loans for a client if they are also their real estate agent.

Can You Act as a Real Estate Agent and a Mortgage Broker on the Same Transaction? 

When borrowers seek conventional loans, it’s not always illegal to act as both their real estate salesperson and Mortgage Broker, but it’s often avoided. Generally speaking, the practice is prohibited since most secondary mortgage buyers refuse to purchase these loans; they want to ensure the integrity of their financial products. However, if you network with other real estate agents who are also officers, you can direct referrals to those within your network instead of taking the role on yourself. 

Benefits of Having a Real Estate and Mortgage License 

Having both a mortgage license and a real estate license is beneficial for many reasons. Real estate clients tend to appreciate when their agents have a thorough understanding of the mortgage lending/loan application process and intricacies, like interest rates, credit scores, down payments, incentives for first-time homebuyers, and the preapproval process. Likewise, mortgage clients can be better served by an MLO who understands the real estate industry, especially when it comes to dealing with title companies and working with other real estate brokerages. Often, licensees of both disciplines will network and work together — sometimes as the real estate agent, and sometimes as the mortgage professional — to grow their business. 

How to Become a Real Estate Agent 

Becoming a real estate agent or Salesperson is one of the most empowering decisions a person can make. With a real estate career, you set your own schedule, reap the rewards of your efforts, and most importantly: help others find properties that enhance their lives. However, like your path to success, the path to getting a real estate license varies. Each state has its own stipulations in terms of prerequisite qualifications and education, but they’ll hold you to these licensing requirements more often than not: 

  • Be 18 years of age
  • Complete your state’s Pre-Licensing education and associated course exam 
  • Take and pass the state licensing exam
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED

Additionally, some applicants will have to:

  • Pass a background check 
  • Complete Post-Licensing education
  • Find a mentor or sponsor

How to Become a Mortgage Loan Officer 

A crucial player in the real estate process, the Mortgage Broker helps future homeowners get the financing they need to make their dreams become reality. Before an individual can get a Loan Originator License, though, they must meet or complete these requirements:

  • Be at least 18 years of age 
  • Hold a high school diploma or GED
  • Complete and pass your state’s Mortgage Pre-Licensing education
  • Register with the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System and Registry (NMLS)
  • Pass the SAFE MLO Test

Additionally, some applicants will have to:

  • Have a bachelor’s degree (sometimes required by mortgage companies)
  • Have a net worth of at least $50,000 for surety bond (check with your local state regulators)

Regardless of where you are in your career, acquiring both a real estate license and a Mortgage Loan Officer license is yet another way to distinguish yourself from the rest of the crowd while creating more opportunities for yourself. Most importantly, holding both licenses helps you offer more expertise, as well as more value, for the homebuyers and clients you serve. From loan origination to refinance options to referrals, working in both industries either part- or full-time can make you the trusted real estate and lending guru in your local market.