Which Continuing Education Should I take? Take a Designation!
As Realtors or real estate agents, we are often marketed to companies who will pay for a speaker to come in and train on a topic, and we can pay $10 to go to this breakfast or lunch and gain valuable information that counts towards our Real Estate Commissions required continuing education requirements. Continuing education is so important as a realtor in an ever changing profession. Since I was licensed in 2001 we have had many changes that required a great deal of learning as things changed:
- Lead Based Paint issues come to the forefront.
- The Importance of Full Legal Descriptions.
- Changes in the Fair Housing Laws.
- Predatory Lending Practices.
- Drastic Changes in the Mortgage Industry.
- The need to learn how to master Short Sales.
- The increased prominence of learning how to Sell Distressed Assets.
- Conversion to MMIII for selling HUD homes.
- Changes to the Tax Code.
- Changes in Down Payment Assistance Programs.
- Annual changes to our Georgia Association of Realtors Contracts.
- Do Not Call Registries.
- Email/Spam Laws
I'm sure there are many others that I haven't even mentioned, and perhaps you can post them in the comments section. Continuing education helps keep us on top of things, helps us to be able to beter avoid legal pitfalls that can land us or our clients in trouble, and helps us to give much superior service.
While attending sponsored continuing education provided by title companies, attorneys, lenders and others seeking our business can provide great value, I would highly recommned getting designations that provide much of the same information, but increase your credentials at the same time. These courses are often taught by some of your states best instructors, and they add greatly to your knowledge base. Designed to build upon each other, and intensely focused, it's a little easier to really soak it up compared to a two hour course five times ten times per year.
When I initially needed my post license course I took GRI I, a few years later I took GRI II, and now that I need continuing education again, you guessed it, I'm taking GRI III this month. The ABR course is great if you want to work with buyers, and then there are the CRS courses, the e-pro course that can help you with marketing. The CCIM course is highly valuable for those interested in commercial real estate. There are also designations for those seeking to work with short sales, distressed assets, and international clients.
Taking continuing education courses that go into this kind of depth show that you care a great deal about staying current in the ever changing industry, that you go several steps beyond the average agent and that you care about being an advisor that has great expertise! As your continuing education requirements come up consider getting a designation instead of just taking courses. It's a great way to kill two birds with one stone!