Monday, May 15, 2017

My Journey using My West Virginia Real Estate License to get a Virginia License through Reciprocity

Why is it so hard to get this question answered?  Well, hopefully after reading this, your question will be answered, AND you'll be able to use this knowledge to your advantage in your advancing Real Estate career.

Recently, I came sprinting into Real Estate hoping to help find people homes, and help others understand what there is to know about Real Estate.   As a new Real Estate agent and living in the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia, I wanted to optimize the community that I would work in.  I started with obtaining my West Virginia State License.   My broker, Mike Cooper, suggested I use Spruce School of Real Estate for my coursework, and exam prep.   I'd like to give a shout out to Billy Zwiener for his informational and repetitive teaching method used in his class like "mooovable" (You understand that or will if you take his course).  The course is online and consists of the full 90 hour requirements needed for WV.  

After completing the course and test, I received a letter in the mail saying I had passed the test (Yes you have to wait unlike Virginia).  Next step was to get licensed in Virginia.  After having completed so many hours of coursework, I aimed to get my Virginia license through reciprocity.  After many hours of searching online I found site after site of claiming how to get reciprocity for a West Virginia license, but "almost" nothing having a discernible answer.   What I did find was on the DPOR website, found in the PDF file hyperlinked, under 18 VAC 135-20-60.  It talked about the age requirement, education requirement, fingerprint requirement, passing the test, having a good reputation, and be in good standing with a real estate broker.  From this source there was an answer, but a vague answer.  

It said, "At the time of application for a salesperson's license, the applicant must have met educational requirements that are substantially equivalent to those required in Virginia."  Well, in West Virginia the education requirements are a total of 90 hours.  Information for that is found here.  Now, Virginia only has a 60 hour requirement.  Information for that is found hereAwesome!  I've got the requirement. What's next?  Is the course work I've done accepted?  What else do I need to provide with my application?  So I called Spruce School of Real Estate to find out.  Which led me to ask if their course work is accepted for reciprocity with Virginia. 
No, it's not. Virginia does not accept reciprocity with West Virginia.  WHAT?  So I asked again, rephrasing my question.  In disbelief that the 90 hours completed wasn't accepted for 60.  

The response I got this time was that Virginia will not accept reciprocity from West Virginia until they review the education and approve.  So I decided I'd make the call to the Virginia Real Estate Board.  I contacted the Board and asked the question I had asked everywhere else,  “How do I apply for reciprocity through West Virginia License for a Virginia License.”  I was met again with a statement that there is no reciprocity with West Virginia.  I proceeded once again!  “Can I use my education from West Virginia to apply to take the test?” I asked.   I was told that you can apply, "you must submit your transcript from the school, signature from your Broker, a certification of licensure from West Virginia's Real Estate Commission, fingerprints, and have completed the Virginia State portion of the test." 

All of that must be included in the application.  I would advise you to secure your certificate of licensure before taking the test or getting your fingerprints done.  Then schedule  the test.  I scheduled my test at a PSI center where I was also able to have the fingerprinting done.  Be sure to fill out the form on PSI for reciprocity, which will require you to mail the form in with a copy of your real estate license.  Lastly, you will receive the return letter with your test date.  Now it's time to take the test!  After passing the test you must fill out the Virginia Real Estate application.  YOU MUST HAVE EVERYTHING LISTED ABOVE.  After all is said and done, the wait begins.  Check the DPOR website about 1 week after the payment has been processed.  You will see you're a licensed Virginia Real Estate Agent.  

Everything above is the steps I took to use my West Virginia License to become licensed in Virginia.
I am not aware of other schooling from West Virginia having the same outcome.  Though I would assume it should.  Best of luck, and if you have any questions, feel free to ask!

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

What drives me to want to sell Real Estate and the "American Dream"

Hello, this is the beginning of my journey through the vast forest that we all tread through to reach the "American Dream".

I recently moved from Illinois hoping to start anew, and to begin my path toward the "American Dream".  So what is the "American Dream?"  Well, I've never really found any indication that there is only one dream.  Which leads to what the "American Dream" is to me. I believe it is having a family, owning my own home, growing in the community and finding meaningful work that I can take pride and joy in.  So where do I start? Is it possible to even accomplish one of these things, let alone all of them?  And so it began...

I didn't know where to start, or even what starting looked like.  In Illinois, I began by finding what I liked to do. I struggled a bit after returning home from the military. I needed a job.  Having a military background, I thought it would be easy.  Well, it turned out finding a job was harder to do than before I had entered the military.  But during my search I had a caring family and fianceĆ© that provided support and aid in my quest. I set my employment searches to include positions having to do with security to capitalize on the military experience I had. I finally found a position with Transitional Living Services (TLS) in Hebron, Illinois.  At TLS I worked as a Quartermaster for veterans who were transitioning from a rough patch in their own life. It was a part-time position, and was 3 days a week, from midnight till 8am.  Ouch!  But I knew that part time hours weren’t enough, so my search continued. 

I made friends at TLS, and also met many who, like me, just wanted to move forward with their lives and find and do something better.  Soon, an old friend heard of an opening for a full time Security Officer position in my local area. I applied for the position and was hired.  I continued my work as a Quartermaster and Security Officer until I was married.  I'm married! After the wedding, I left the Quartermaster position, which freed up my nights and allowed me to be home with my wife. I finally had completed a step in my journey.  But I knew security was a job that I understood and was good at, but not what I was proud of. It also didn’t start that opening conversation with someone new. This led me to want to move somewhere I could grow. Where better than toward my family—toward a foundation that has aided in my journey's beginning and the beautiful mountains of West Virginia.

Upon moving from Illinois I fell in love with the area and settled in Inwood, WV.  After 8 months, my wife and I had found our first home and were elated to begin the process of buying.  I knew a realtor, who is now my broker Mike Cooper, from my father who also had moved in the area a few years before me.  This is where it all begins for me and my journey to the "American Dream".  Of which the journey has only just begun.