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Real estate agents often hire assistants to help with the myriad of tasks they face each day.

The world of real estate is complex, filled with overlapping laws, regulations, and rules, not to mention handling contracts and disclosures.

Therefore, many real estate agents ask, “Do I have to hire a licensed real estate assistant?”

The answer, like many things in real estate, may surprise you.  

In this blog post, we’ll explore the issue of licensed real estate assistants and ask if licensing is really necessary. 

But first, let’s look at the different roles real estate assistants often play.

Understanding the Real Estate Assistant Landscape

Real estate agents, brokers, and firms rely heavily on assistants to manage administrative tasks, coordinate schedules, and ensure smooth operations. 

However, real estate assistants come in all shapes and sizes. Some work directly for a single agent, while others support a whole team or brokerage. 

Further, their duties can range from basic administrative tasks to more complex activities. Here’s a breakdown of the most common roles and uses for a real estate assistant:

Transaction Coordinator – This person assists with paperwork, manages contracts, gathers signatures, and ensures deadlines are met throughout the buying or selling process. They also tend to have additional training. 

Marketing Assistant – Creates marketing materials, manages social media presence, qualifies leads, and helps with online advertising campaigns for listings.

Client Communication Assistant – Respond to inquiries, schedule property viewings, and provide client updates.

Administrative Assistant – This person handles calendar management, scheduling appointments, answering phones, and ensuring the smooth flow of daily office operations.

Often, the same real estate assistant can perform any of the above roles. 

Now that we understand some of the various roles an assistant can play let’s focus on whether they need to be licensed real estate assistants. 

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Licensed Real Estate Assistants: A State-By-State Affair

Individual states regulate real estate licensing. Each state has licensing laws that outline the specific activities requiring a license and the educational requirements for licensure.

But that’s not the end of the matter. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) also provides guidance and rules. Let’s examine those in more detail.

While not directly binding, many states use NAR’s licensing guidelines as a foundation for their real estate licensing frameworks.

Generally, NAR advises that unlicensed assistants should not perform the following tasks:

  • Negotiate on behalf of a client
  • Advise on property valuation and prices
  • Directly initiate a contract
  • And show properties to buyers

Whether a non-licensed real estate assistant can access the MLS is another issue, but it tends to vary according to the local professional association. 

Moreover, it’s important to note that boundaries between licensed and unlicensed activities can sometimes be blurry. 

Given the state-specific nature of licensing requirements, it’s crucial to consult your state’s real estate regulatory body for the most up-to-date information.

Now, take a moment to reread the above requirements. What should stand out is the tasks that a licensed real estate assistant can perform that an unlicensed assistant can’t, which are few in number and tasks most agents would likely prefer to do themselves. 

So, this raises an interesting question: Is working with a licensed real estate assistant really necessary, or does an assistant’s level of training matter more?

Let’s go ahead and answer that question. 

Licensed Real Estate Assistant vs Highly-Trained Assistant

While a licensed real estate assistant can be a valuable asset in today’s fast-paced market, extensive training often proves more crucial to success than simply holding a license.

The real estate industry is dynamic. Market trends shift, technology evolves, and client needs constantly change. A highly trained assistant has the adaptability and efficiency to navigate these ever-changing waters. 

Let’s be honest: many individuals get their license through online programs that aren’t very good. And just because they’re licensed doesn’t mean they have any actual experience. 

Having a license is certainly a good thing. But being a licensed real estate assistant doesn’t mean the person actually has any usable business skills.

A license primarily certifies a basic understanding of legal principles and practices. It doesn’t necessarily guarantee the ability to provide quality support to the specific agent or brokerage they work for.

Further, a license demonstrates a foundational understanding of the industry. Still, it doesn’t guarantee in-depth knowledge of standard market practices, marketing tactics, or hands-on experience with real estate transactions.

Agents and their clients appreciate an assistant who can navigate these intricacies, fostering trust and confidence in the overall experience – whether that assistant is licensed or not doesn’t really matter. 

In today’s competitive real estate market, a real estate license can be valuable in certain situations. However, a license doesn’t make an assistant indispensable and beneficial to their agent or broker, whereas extensive training and skill development do. 

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We appreciate your taking the time to read this article on whether a real estate assistant has to be licensed. If you liked this post, take a look at these other related articles:

Gregory Gronbacher

Real Estate Sales Agent / Professional Blogger

Gregory is a real estate sales agent and a state-certified instructor of real estate licensing and law. Originally from New York City, he's called Grand Rapids, Michigan home since 1995.

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