Real estate is a flexible career for military spouses

April Johns shares her experience

By Marguerite Cleveland on October 17, 2019

For many military spouses, the constant moves and fluctuations of the military life can wreak havoc on their career goals, and military spouse April Johns is all too familiar with that scenario.

"Being a military spouse for the last 13 years, we have moved to four different duty stations. I have packed and unpacked houses, re-registered kids for eight different schools, and have had several different jobs, from direct sales, cake decorating, retail sales, night stocking at the commissary, working at the child development center, and being a stay-at-home mom.

"I have always looked for anything I could find, that would allow me to work around my husband's unpredictable schedule and the schedule of three kids in school, and after school activities, " Johns continued. "I truly just wanted a career that was mine, not just a career for now, but one I can take with me when we get those dreaded orders."

Johns recently finished her first year as a real estate professional, and she has found it to be a perfect fit.

"Real estate is a great career for military spouses who are passionate about meeting new people and working with other military families to buy or sell their house," she explained. "It is what I love to do. I understand what these families are dealing with because I have been through it myself, a few times.

"I know the lingo and the stresses of not having both spouses in the same state because of a TDY or deployment. I understand that your time is precious and that often we are told to move to our next duty station with no real accommodations in place. Getting you into your new home and out of that way-too-tiny hotel room is the most stressful thing you are doing this week."

According to Johns, to become a real estate agent in Washington state you need to pass a 90-hour class. She said the class is available online through Rockwell and there are several classes in person available around Joint Base Lewis-McChord.

The 90-hour course costs around $500 and covers the education for your state and national requirements. After you complete the course, you can take the certification test. This test is two parts: state and national. Once you pass, you are now able to "hang" your license at a brokerage and help people with their home-buying and selling needs.

Johns said in Washington you need to complete another 90-hour course within your first two years to keep your license. Once you are a real estate broker or agent, there are other annual fees required to stay certified as an agent. These fees can include those paid to meet brokerage requirements and office fees, and to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS), supra key and the Realtors Association. You are also now considered an independent contractor, and these out-of-pocket expenses are tax deductible.

Johns said she loves her new career.

"My favorite part of being an agent is being part of one of the happiest days of a family's life," she said. "Giving my clients the keys and letting them open the door to their own home -- whether they are a first-time home buyer, or this is their fifth house -- is priceless.

"I am reassured to know that they trusted me to be part of this adventure and that I was able to make a dream become reality. I am always available to help my military community with questions or concerns about real estate."

April Johns currently works with PC Homes. She can be reached at 937.931.0077,