I’ve held off on responding to the statement by others that “it’s just too easy to get into real estate”. No, it’s not. "There’s not enough education required to become a licensee." Yes, there is for the purpose of state real estate commissions whose responsibility is to issue the license and protect the consumer. Read on.
I watch my students struggle with the content and testing all the time. The reason is not that they are stupid. One reason is, at least in my state, the content is hard to understand for someone just entering the real estate world. A few sail through, but most have to work hard.
Before prospective students register at my school they know the costs of entering the business in my area, varying between $1,800 and $2,000, and this expense is expected before they have the opportunity to make a sale and receive compensation. Most are shocked.
The average time between affiliation with a broker and their first sale varies based on the market they enter and connections they bring with them. However, it’s usually a bit of time before the big bucks start rolling in, aka their first commission.
It takes guts, tenacity, dedication and a bit of attitude to succeed and then continue on to success and independence after they receive a license. And it doesn’t happen easily or overnight. A large percentage do not make it. Some do not complete the first-course content. Still others find it difficult and sometimes impossible to pass the national and state exam. The students who make it to affiliation with a broker have made it to the starting line, not the finish line, and my students know that.
Broker supervision and training is where agents go wrong or right. Lack of supervision by the broker leaves them to wander aimlessly or the good ones will go out and get the training on their own. New agents need both support, supervision and training from their broker plus they need to seek additional training from their local and state associations to be successful.
Sadly, few people entering the business are told that it is their responsibility to find and continue educating themselves in all areas of real estate long after licensure.
From the Association of Real Estate License Law Officials document Supervising Broker Best Practices
“Upon entering the real estate profession, a real estate licensee has only been exposed to basic real estate terminology, land descriptions and basic real estate facts and instructor-formed scenarios. The licensee successfully passed a jurisdiction specific examination however, most pre-license education does not delve into the process of how to assist customers, how to obtain a listing, how to show a property, how to write a contract, how to process through a transaction, etc. It is the broker’s responsibility to inform and educate the licensee with real estate knowledge and expertise necessary for the day-to-day functions needed by the licensee to adequately and professionally assist consumers through the real estate process and transaction . . .”
I had to navigate around incompetent real estate agents during my career as well. Anyone who could pass a test and had the money could get a license. It’s the same today, except that I disagree that it’s easy. It’s not. And, it’s expensive so not a level playing field - not everyone can afford it without planning for it as I advise my students to do.
My point is that our disgust with incompetent licensees lies squarely at the feet of the broker - not the new licensee. And we should also consider, as many have, long-time licensees who only sell a couple of homes a year, does not keep up with changes and regulations and can screw up the transaction as quickly as a newly licensed agent with no supervision. Hard to say it but it’s true. Brokers should supervise and train - that would solve a lot of the problem.
With the statistics we all know that a small percentage actually become licensees and even fewer make it to top producer, would anyone with experience say “it’s too easy to become competent and successful in real estate today”? I wouldn’t.
I know them; I was one. It’s very hard work. They are dedicated to their agent’s success. We all know good brokers where if there is a problem with the transaction, we can call, alert them of a pending disaster and they will jump in to save the day.
Prospective student contacts me via email. That conversation turned into a hangout where she asked the questions. At the end she asked, is there anything you'd recommend I read or research before I make my decision to enter the real estate industry?
Her first assignment was to read Ryan Fitgerald's post interviewing 17 experienced agents and star bloggers who offer advice to new agents for the first year in the business.
I told Ryan he didn't realize how many prospective new agents he would help just by being real.
Yes, we all help new agents by encouraging them to seek education and expertise from others who are willing to share.
I believe we can help managing brokers by encouraging them to be responsible for their new agents or those who are not keeping up with changes in regulations and, of course, technology in today's industry.
My appreciation goes out to all the practicing real estate agents who share their knowledge. Be firm with new agents but also be supportive. There are times when we are their best source of information and ideas.
Photo credit: Sklymax: A Helping Hand!