While many States have increased the education requirements for obtaining a real estate sales license, many only require a few hours of class and a test to determine that the new agent knows, among a few other things, the definition of riparian rights. In Illinois, for example, most of the textbooks currently cover such topics as how many acres are in the NW1/4 of the SW1/4 of Section 21, etc. and, while it may show up on the State exam, I haven’t heard that asked in over 30 years in the business. Without significant additional training, the new licensee is simply not ready for the responsibility.
Training can be divided into two major categories: practical and technical. Practical is good, necessary, and what you’ll need to know to earn a living. You should learn how to prospect for clients, show homes, do a listing presentation, prepare a feature sheet, and so on. Technical is far more important in the beginning. It’s training in agency law, fair housing, contracts, seller and buyer net sheets, estimating value, Realtor® code of ethics, and much more. These are the areas that pose the greatest danger to both new and experienced agents. Technical training is the focus of continuing education requirements in many States. The State of Illinois (http://www.illinoisrealtor.org) lists the following for continuing education:
(a) Core curriculum - A minimum of six hours of course work in any one or more of the following:
1. license law, 40%
2. escrow, 20%
3. fair housing, 20%
4. agency, 20%
(b) Elective curriculum - A maximum of six hours of course work in:
2. property management
3. residential brokerage
4. farm property management
5. rights and duties of sellers, buyers, and brokers
6. commercial brokerage and leasing
Remember, this is continuing education. The “assumption” being the professional agent is already well trained in these vital areas and is simply refreshing his or her knowledge. We can look at any of the topics above and write pages about the importance. For example look at Fair Housing. The Illinois has a site (http://www.thehousingsite.org/ ) devoted to the topic. While it might be easy to understand that all people must be treated equally, how about using the term, “walk to train,” in advertising?
Many of the better brokers have outstanding training programs for newly licensed agents. Our’s is 60 classroom hours for new agents and many experienced agents joining the office are required to take part or all of it. Your local Board of Realtors® will usually offer courses. If you’re really into designations, the National Association of Realtors® has nine affiliated organizations offering course leading to ABR, ABRM, ALC, CCIM, CCIM, CIPS, CMPM, CRB, CRS, GAA, GREEN, GRI, PMN, RCE, RAA, SRES, SIOR, e-PRO, RESP, TRC (http://www.realtor.org/education/realtor_university/designation) and there may be more.
So when you’re starting out, don’t worry so much about your initial commission split. Ask the all important question, “What kind of training do you offer?”
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