You have closed one chapter in your life. Behind you is time spent serving and protecting your country. But now, you are looking to start a new journey, a career in real estate.
You may be wondering, is there a special real estate license for veterans? Unfortunately, there is no special real estate license for veterans. Veterans hoping to join the real estate profession must complete the same licensing process as civilians.
But there are benefits veterans can enjoy. Some real estate licensing agencies even offer expedited licensing for veterans, while others provide fee waivers.
The benefits for veterans don’t end there. With the GI Bill still active, veterans can complete their licensing at no cost.
In this guide, I’ll outline requirements, explore expedited licensing states, and share tips for launching your real estate career. You’ll gain insights into leveraging your military experience and find resources to help you succeed as a veteran agent. Now, let’s dive into the licensing process and opportunities open to you as a veteran.
States with Expedited Licensing and Fee Waivers for Veterans
There may not be a special real estate license for those who have served our country, but several states have made an effort to support them as they transition into civilian roles. These states have taken proactive measures to expedite the process of obtaining a real estate license for veterans.
Take the Maryland Department of Labor as a prime example. Upon application, this state can fast-track the licensing process for veterans. The Maryland law gives the Commission only 60 days to process a veteran’s application.
This benefit cuts the time it takes to get a real estate license for veterans hoping to swap their backpacks for a briefcase and office shoes. But it’s not only about speed. Other states focus on financial assistance to express gratitude toward veterans.
Arizona Department of Real Estate stands out in this regard with its unique approach. It offers application fee waivers for veterans and their spouses seeking real estate licenses.
This thoughtful gesture helps alleviate some of the financial burden of starting a new career post-service. It makes it more accessible for those who’ve dedicated themselves to serving our nation.
How to Use the GI Bill to Pay for Your License
Beyond the state-specific benefits offered to veterans, eligible veterans can also take advantage of the GI Bill to pay for their licenses. Veterans may follow the same licensing process as civilians, but they don’t have to pay like they do.
The GI Bill is a piece of legislation first signed in 1944. In its early days, the Bill was designed to help post-World War II veterans adjust to civilian life. But today, the Bill supports honorably discharged veterans and their families.
A significant benefit of the GI Bill is that it can cover the costs of real estate education and exam fees.
Two key provisions under the GI Bill are:
- The Post-9/11 GI Bill
- Montgomery GI Bill
Each has its unique set of benefits tailored towards different service experiences.
The Post-9/11 GI Bill
The Post-9/11 GI Bill is designed for those who served on active duty after September 10th, 2001. It covers tuition for former military personnel and their children. The amount the Bill will fork out will vary depending on factors such as your licensing state, pre-licensing institution, and the type of real estate license you choose.
There are three eligibility requirements for the Post-9/11 aid. Veterans must meet at least one of the requirements before qualifying for aid:
- Veterans must have served at least 90 days on active duty
- Received the Purple Heart and discharged honorably
- Served for 30 days with no break and released on a service-related disability
The Montgomery GI Bill
The Montgomery GI Bill comes in two versions: one for active-duty members (MGIB-AD) and another for Selected Reserve members (MGIB-SR). Each program carries distinct eligibility requirements based on minimum service periods and specific benefit entitlements.
For MGIB-AD, you must meet one of the four eligibility categories.
Each eligibility criteria includes a set of requirements where all requirements must be true, plus a few others where at least one requirement must be true. It does sound a lot like programming. The second set of requirements usually involves your service timeframe.
For example, in Category I, the following requirements must all be true:
- Possess a high school diploma or equivalent or 12 hours of college credit
- Have been enrolled for duty for the first time past June 30, 1985
- Reduced your military pay by $100 every month for the first year of service
Concerning timeframes, at least one of the following must be true:
- Served for three consecutive years
- In service for two years if highlighted upon listing
- You are part of the 2 by 4 program
The MGIB-SR, on the other hand, requires a six-year commitment. This timeframe is its primary requirement. Additional requirements for this Montgomery GI Bill-SR are:
- Completed initial active duty training
- Hold a high diploma or equivalents
- Be in good standing
How to Find a Military-Friendly Real Estate Broker and Agency
Choosing the right real estate broker or agency is crucial for any aspiring real estate agent. But it becomes even more critical when you’ve been part of the military community. Veteran agents have unique needs and face distinct challenges that require understanding and expertise from their chosen broker or agency.
Joining such a brokerage helps set you up for success as an advisor, working with clients who share your distinguished background in military service. How do you find a military-friendly real estate broker and agency?
Ask for referrals
Your fellow service members may already know reliable professionals who specialize in partnering with veterans. Connect with these brokers.
Ask around your personal and professional networks for brokerage referrals focused on military and veteran clients. Research credentials of potential brokerages to confirm appropriate licensing, experience, and designations indicating military familiarity.
Brokers with Military Relocation Professional (MRP) certification show that they have received special training to address the unique needs of active duty or veteran members of the armed forces.
These brokers would be good partners since they have worked with military families. They may also understand how to help you hone your military skills for your real estate career.
Interview Potential Brokers
Interview potential agencies. Listen carefully to their responses. Are they familiar with VA loans? Do they understand PCS orders? Their answers will reveal whether they truly comprehend the intricacies of military life.
Find out the methods they use for addressing concerns common to veterans and active duty personnel.
Don’t neglect to look out for certain services indicative of a military-friendly broker or agency. Services like relocation assistance and military discounts can reveal an agency’s experience with veterans.
How to Succeed as a Veteran Real Estate Agent
Success as a veteran real estate agent is about more than just understanding the ins and outs of the housing market. It requires tapping into the unique skills you acquired during your time in service.
As an agent, you’re not only selling a property; you’re guiding clients through one of the most significant decisions of their lives. Your ability to take charge, provide clear direction, and make decisive choices can instill confidence in your clients.
Another key attribute that translates well in this profession is discipline. The world of real estate demands consistency.
You need to follow up on leads and stay updated with market trends. You must also carry the burden of meeting client expectations promptly. Having been trained to maintain high standards under pressure, military personnel often excel at these tasks.
Adaptability is a trait all too familiar to those who have served. It plays a pivotal role in succeeding as a real estate agent. Much like different missions require diverse strategies on the field, every client presents unique needs when finding their perfect home or investment property.
Take stock of the wide range of competencies you developed. Identify how to showcase these abilities as strengths that distinguish you in real estate. Your military experience equips you with unique expertise to set yourself apart and deliver exemplary service. Leverage it for a fulfilling and successful career, helping other veterans achieve their home dreams.
A New Chapter Awaits You
Transitioning from military service to civilian life can be challenging. But with the right resources and support, veterans can find rewarding careers in real estate.
Is there a special real estate license for veterans? There is no special real estate license for veterans. But many states offer expedited licensing and fee waivers to veterans.
Other provisions like the GI Bill also offer financial aid to licensing veterans, covering the costs of real estate education and exam fees.
To get started on your journey as a veteran real estate agent:
- Research: Find out which states offer expedited licensing or fee waivers for veterans.
- Apply: Use your GI Bill benefits to cover the cost of pre-licensing education and exam fees.
- Network: Connect with fellow service members who have transitioned into the field to gain insights into their experiences.
- Choose wisely: Select a broker/agency that understands your unique needs as a former servicemember.
Are you considering transitioning into real estate? What challenges do you anticipate facing during this career change? Share your thoughts, questions, or stories in the comments below.