You are probably best with a large, no frills office. You will get no support or training but your costs will be low. If you need training or support consider joining a team of agents where the leader does some investment property.
I am not aware of any brokerage that does anything for the investor niche. Most investor realtors just cause headaches for brokers because they get into 'creative' deals where they have an interest. If you buy distressed property or try and work with motivated sellers you will find that the disclosure requirements for realtors will hamper your business as well.
You will have to show you have intelligence and a work ethic before you will find people that want to invest their time in you. From the outside looking in many think this business is easy, but the failure rate for newly licensed realtors is quite high.
After several years of being a REIN member, I decided to get my Realtor's license and chose Re/Max Real Estate.
Re/Max is more expensive, but it comes with instant credibility (in the eyes of the average consumer) and everything you need to get started. If you go to a minimalist brokerage, you'll need to figure out your own website, email, promotional materials etc, plus you'll be working mostly in the shadows of the larger brokerages such as Re/Max, C21, Maxwell, etc.
A comment above about creative deals - I put these through my brokerage regularly (AFS, assignments, vendor financing, etc.) and have not had any concerns from my brokerage.
If you're an investor hoping to market your own properties - it's true that the realtor disclosure form stalls many deals. And if you're looking to buy anything, you need to disclose that you are licensed as a Realtor and may use/sell the property for a profit. That also stalls/kills many opportunities.
If you have the drive, network and contacts to make this a viable business, then definitely get your license. If you're currently a full time investor, know that the focus to get your Realtor business off the ground will take time & attention away from whatever you're doing today.
If you're an investor looking to do a few personal transactions/year and collect just those comissions , I'd suggest finding a good realtor and setting up a business relationship for the purchases & sales in your portfolio.
I decided to get my license a few years ago as the volume of transactions I was doing and planning on doing justified it.
If you are doing it purely for your own transactions (won’t be listing working with buyers and sellers )as I did ( I actively work with clients on Commercial deals though)
You will need to do at the very least do half a dozen deals a year to make it worthwhile .
But if you will be doing it in conjunction with being a full time Realtor and not at that threshold it can definitely make sense.
My personal opinion if you goal is to work as Realtor it makes sense to go with a Nationally recognized brokerage (RE/MAX ect) for helping with your credibility and leads with clients who you have no history with you.
If you just want market access and save fees on your buys and sells a lower cost less recognizable brokerage will likely do.
Yes a stack of disclosures are always required when buying and selling as Realtor especially if no other agent is involved. I cant say that I have ever lost a deal over it but not trying to steal homes from uninformed sellers either( but have had buyers of my homes occasionally wanted another Realtor to act on there behalf which is fair)
There is some other advantages that I have found to being licensed that isn’t always considered.
I have had more success raising money on my deals from not only private investors but bankers as well who both seem to have more confidence in your abilities to pull off deals.
Being around other Realtors and being able to have a behind the scenes feel on transactions deals and will give you opportunity to quickly grow your knowledge and business .