Some people think it’s easy to help buy or sell a home for a client. These people think anyone can do it, and, therefore, most of these people think that a real estate agent should be paid very little.
Others think that the process of buying or selling a home is complex, and that clients need a proven professional with lots of knowledge and experience. These people may or may not think a real estate agent should be paid a lot. However, most of these people probably think agents should have lots of training before they be allowed to work with clients.
In Massachusetts, someone who wants to be a real estate agent must attend a 30 24-hour class and pass an exam, before receiving a real estate salesperson’s license. The agent must work for an agency (not work on their own) for at least a year; after that, the agent can open his or her own business, although most agents continue to work for agencies.
The agent can only open his or her own business once he or she takes another 30-hour class and passes another exam, this one for a real estate broker’s license.
(Once you have a real estate license of any kind, you must go to continuing education classes; I believe you have to take 6 hours of classes every two years, but I forget.)
Real estate is definitely one career where you get “on-the-job” training. This is because each real estate deal is unique – you never know what you will encounter. While the classroom is helpful to learn rules and regulations, nothing in a class can prepare you for what you will encounter in real life. The majority of an agent’s job is out in the field, dealing with people; you don’t learn that in a textbook.
I feel there is enough classroom training requirements in Massachusetts. I don’t think you should have to spend anymore time in a class. I also think it’s fair that a new agent has to work for an agency for at least a year, before going out on his or her own.
Each state has its own requirements, and they differ, widely.
In California, according to the Sacramento Business Journal, “under current law, becoming a real estate agent requires the completion of a Real Estate Principles class at a community college or career college, and then passing the state’s real estate exam. That requires less than a year — and could be just a matter of months.
The new agent then gets a conditional license and is required to take two more classes within 18 months to maintain the license.”
That sounds somewhat similar to what is required in Boston, although here, you can take your 30-hour course over one weekend, and take the exam as soon as you like.
They want to raise the standard, in California, and in other states, too. Why?
“There has been quite an influx of new agents into the marketplace over the past several years which has eroded the quality of service, the level of services and the professionalism in the industry,” said Alex Creel, chief lobbyist for California Association of Realtors, which is sponsoring the legislation, Assembly Bill 2429.
The bill would require would-be agents to complete three classes — one of them in real estate law — before taking the test and getting the license.
Tell me more.
“We want to ensure that people receiving their real estate license have the training and education before they start working,” said Andrew Langley, legislative assistant to Gloria Negrete McLeod, a Chino Democrat who authored the bill. “They should have the education under their belt before they are doing deals.”
Let me be the cynic, however, and suggest that the state Realtor association has another motive in mind.
First, the Realtors know that some people have a negative opinion of real estate agents, so the Realtors want it to look like being an agent is exclusive, that not anyone can do it.
Second, the Realtors don’t want any more competition.
Regarding the first, the additional classes would be a good idea if you could show a correlation between classroom instruction and high standards. I don’t think you can, nor do I think anyone suggests otherwise.
Regarding the second, are you surprised?
There are almost 500,000 licensed real estate agents and brokers in California, up from 297,359 in June of 1998.
No doubt, of the additional 200,000 agents, there are more than a couple bad apples.
However, I think the Realtors miss the point – people had a bad opinion of real estate agents, well before 1998.
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