Can You Have Both Real Estate & And Mortgage License

By Ciprian Morariu Published: March 15, 2024

 Real Estate & And Mortgage License

Why would a real estate agent or broker want to simultaneously hold a mortgage loan originator’s license too? 

Let us first answer the question often asked in the real estate industry and that is can you be an MLO (Mortgage Loan Officer) and real estate agent simultaneously? 

The answer is yes you can legally hold both licenses and reap the rewards of two lucrative career paths.  

Since different states have their own set of rules for holding dual licenses, it is necessary to understand first how to do so. 

A real estate agent’s job is to carry out property deals with buyers and sellers. On the other hand, a mortgage loan originator helps clients to obtain financing to buy their homes. 

Since the end goal is to provide people with houses in both cases, an individual can fulfill the dual roles. 

Many home buyers prefer working with agents who can also assist them in obtaining a mortgage loan. This gives homeowners the convenience of working with one source for their different needs. 

In this article, we will explore the responsibilities and licensing requirements of real estate agents and mortgage loan originators. 

Plus, you will also learn about the advantages and challenges of having both agent and MLO licenses. 

Overview of Real Estate License and Mortgage License

A real estate agent helps clients in all types of real estate deals. Real estate agents generate leads, meet potential clients, and pitch properties to close deals. 

With a real estate license, an individual can legally engage in the sale, purchase, or lease of real estate. The licensing requirements vary depending on the state but they are all governed by the federal laws. 

The minimum educational qualification required of real estate agents is a high school diploma or equivalent. 

A licensed mortgage loan originator processes loan applications and secures financing for clients purchasing properties. MLOs work for lending institutions, evaluating the creditworthiness of borrowers, and recommending the best loan products. 

To work in this niche, you must hold a mortgage loan originator license. The license will be awarded to you after you complete a mortgage licensing course and pass a licensing exam. You can choose either a brick-and-mortar classroom environment or an MLO course online to fulfill the pre-licensing requirements.      

The Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System chalks out the licensing requirements of mortgage loan originators. Additionally, you should also get the latest and most updated licensing guidelines from your state’s real estate authority.   

Being Both A Mortgage Loan Originator and a Real Estate Agent?

Functioning simultaneously as a real estate agent and mortgage loan originator leads to increased earnings.   

Both professionals help their clients achieve their home ownership dreams quickly, securely, and smartly. 

Understanding the Roles of a Mortgage Loan Originator and Real Estate Agent

The goal of a mortgage loan originator is to assist borrowers get mortgage loans from banks and lending institutions.   

Let’s look at the key roles in detail below:

  • Acting as an intermediary between mortgage lenders and borrowers. 
  • Providing financial solutions to borrowers needing mortgage loans. 
  • Qualifying and processing loan applications required for financing.
  • Educating borrowers on the various payment plans, mortgage terms, and interest rates.
  • Validating documentation and paperwork submitted by borrowers.
  • Running background checks and criminal history checks.
  • Evaluating the credit history, taxes and analyzing various financial documents
  • Keep track of the financial news, laws, guidelines, and lending rates.

Requirements for Becoming a Mortgage Loan Originator

  • The minimum age to be a licensed MLO is 18 years
  • You must have a high school diploma or an equivalent education
  • You must also complete 20 hours of pre-licensing coursework from an NMLS-approved school or course provider. 
  • Pass the national licensing test by scoring at least 75% or above. 

If you do so, you will receive a state-approved license to work as a mortgage loan originator. 

How to Become A Licensed Real Estate Agent

Like a MLO, the minimum age to become a real estate agent is 18 years.

After a license is issued by your state’s real estate authority, you can sell, purchase, or rent property on behalf of clients.  

Having a college degree is not a mandatory requirement to become a real estate agent. However, you must have a high school diploma or equivalent to be eligible for the licensing process. 

Aspiring real estate agents must go through pre-licensing coursework and then pass a licensing exam. The minimum score to pass the state licensing test for agents is 75%. 

Lastly, you must find a sponsoring broker to work with and gain experience. 

Advantages of Having Both Licenses

Increased Job Opportunities and Potential Income

Working as a mortgage loan originator and real estate agent is a lucrative career with more earning opportunities. 

Since you will be performing a broader range of tasks and duties at the same time, you can generate more money for your services. 

By representing a home buyer as an agent and a mortgage loan officer, you can charge more. 

First, as a real estate agent representing the buyer, you will earn a commission on closing the deal 

Plus, you will gain additional commission on originating and closing the mortgage loan from the bank or lending  

This way, you can earn twice every time you close a real estate deal and help secure the mortgage loan.  

Better Understanding of the Real Estate Market

Although real estate agents and loan originators do share a few common responsibilities, they are two specific career paths. 

You gain knowledge of both the real estate market as well as the financing world. 

Being more well-rounded in your experience of the industry will give you more exposure and confidence. 

Having both licenses will give you more perspective on how the industry works and help you stand out from the competition. 

Improved Client Service and Satisfaction

Clients get more value for money if they have to work with one person who is both a salesperson and an MLO.  

Not only will they save time and effort by completing this important transaction from one source, but they might have the same money too. 

Disadvantages and Challenges of Holding Both Licenses

Increased Time and Effort for Maintaining and Renewing Licenses

Now imagine how thin you would spread yourself if you worked two careers simultaneously. Staying licensed and competitive in two areas of real estate is not easy and most dual-license holders are unable to do so.  

Potential Conflict of Interest

Overlapping job responsibilities of dual license holders often lead to conflict of interest. You might not fairly and transparently represent the interests of a buyer. Further, there might be legal issues in representing both a buyer and one who needs finance simultaneously.   

Additional Licensing Requirements

Dual license holders must go through continuing education courses to ensure that their licenses remain active. Further, holding dual licenses is stressful as it means completing extra certifications to stay relevant.