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Lifeguards and Realtors Both Need Regular Training

Property Manager with Foundation First Property Group RM423638

I had the opportunity to take a brief holiday down to Fort Lauderdale. As I was in the ocean looking back at the beach, I saw the lifeguard beginning to close up her area for the night. In Fort Lauderdale, the lifeguards don't simply have a high chair, but more of a small hut on stilts. It probably took her about 10 minutes to close up everything before she could leave for the night, but as I was watching her, I wondered how much preparation is needed to be a lifeguard  at the beach. Obviously being a lifeguard at the beach is more difficult than at the local community pool, but I was surprised to find out how competitive it is and that the pay rate can be between $16-$20 per hour, which isn't too bad for seasonal work.


As I watched the lifeguard continue to wrap up for the night, I thought about how similar her job was to a lot of real estate professionals. She must have at least basic first aid and CPR training, and possibly certification as an EMT, all of which requires some degree of continuing education. But if I were flailing helplessly in the ocean being carried away by a strong rip current, would I want to have a lifeguard rescue me who was content on doing just the bare minimum? Is it acceptable for us to begrudgingly sign up for the most basic CE classes simply to meet our state's requirement? And honestly, that had been my attitude for the past several years. The realty company I had worked with would have wonderful 1- or 2-day conferences with great speakers that I could never compel myself to go to. "I have work to do at the office! The calls don't make themselves! If only it were being held at a more convenient time."


Realtor investment professional

Now that I'm on my own as a broker/owner, I have a new appreciation for learning and networking. I've joined several new organizations and take advantage of free classes that are held around my area. I've signed up for a 4-day property management conference hosted by NARPM that's coming up shortly. I've already signed up for my state's Realtor's Association conference that will take place in Atlantic City in December. It is not inexpensive to go to these different events. Sometimes I struggle to justify the costs with my wife - the hardest sale ever! But I've to understand that I don't want to be mediocre in my real estate career. I don't want to coast along relying on the knowledge from when I got my license. Instead, I want to be the local expert in my field. I want to be known as the go-to person if someone has questions about real estate. Millennials get a bad rap today for having minimal knowledge, instead relying on Google when they don't know an answer. A true professional has studied hard and knows the answers to questions that are specific to his or her field without needing to look them up. 


Beach lifeguards have a tendency to have grown up around the beach. They are intimately aware of the ebb and flow of the ocean. It's not just a 9-5 job they show up for and then they check out. No doubt much of their "play time" is training time. 


I don't necessarily have the money nor the time to be attending all of these different classes, seminars, webinars, and conferences. However, I will make the time and will find the money to make the investment into my professional life to be the Realtor that my clients can fully depend on. Simply satisfying the minimum requirements is no longer an option if I want to have a successful (and happy) career.


Wanda Kubat-Nerdin - Wanda Can!
Red Rock Real Estate (435) 632-9374 - St. George, UT
St. George Utah Area Residential Sales Agent

We must invest in ourselves or the real estate world will pass us by! Your post reminded me of professioanl photographers who take photos of everything else but their families or the doctor who begins a practice, gets busy, ignoring the most recent medical trends and technology. Will be getting a short sale designation real soon. Well done Jeff!

Oct 03, 2017 05:43 PM
Jeff Wright

I can't believe how many agents try to sell a short sale with no prior experience!! There are so many rules and different banks have different criteria that unless it's what you largely focus on, it's difficult to do that aspect well. Good luck on getting your designation. Sadly short sales likely won't be going away in the near future. 

Oct 04, 2017 09:59 AM
Carolyn Roland- In Delaware and S. Chester County PA
Independent architectural histor'n - Wilmington, DE
Carolyn Roland, GRI, CRS

I once knew a guy who was the top agent in his office. He was not a sparkling personality, but he was like a bulldog with his target in his teeth. And he once told me that he signed up for every course his company or the Board of Realtors offered because "you can always learn something."

Oct 03, 2017 07:19 PM
Jeff Wright

I had met people who were in a broker's class not because they wanted to be a broker, but they wanted more knowledge on that specific topic. In Pennsylvania, I would recommend the Broker's Law class to any agent. So much knowledge and seeing more through the eyes of an attorney who helped create the state forms we use!

Oct 04, 2017 10:01 AM
Anne Edwards Johnson
All City Real Estate - Austin, TX
Austin Realtor | HookemhomesATX (512)917-5260

What a great post. So true. Learning provides the edge. I love knowledge!!!

Oct 03, 2017 08:39 PM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Life and death important. Both the guy/gal on the tall chair and the folks wearing the blue and gold "R" share similarities for sure.

Oct 04, 2017 06:11 AM
John Dotson
Preferred Properties of Highlands, Inc. - Highlands, NC - Highlands, NC
The experience to get you to the other side!

Swim with the sharks and keep your head above water...  Yeah, there is a similarity!

Oct 04, 2017 06:48 AM
Corey Martin
Martin Presence Group - Ruston, LA
Real Estate and Management Solutions

Congratulations on your feature! I agree with your assessment. I think that continuing education is an essential part of any business, not just real estate. Thanks for sharing.

Oct 04, 2017 07:02 AM
Anthony Kirlew
Group 46:10 Network @ eXp Realty - Gilbert, AZ
Helping You Make Fiscally Sound Real Estate Deals!

Anyone who values what they do and wants to be seen as the go to professional should always invest in learning more.

From a marketing standpoint, you can even use those events. For example, if you are competing against other agents, you can have the statistic that shows the percentage of agents that participate in certain events in your area (i.e. I am in the 1% of agents that attend the annual conference on topic x).

Great post!

Oct 04, 2017 07:58 AM
Jeff Wright

And I don't know if you even need stats to back up your claim. I think most people accept that most "professionals" will do the minimum as required by law to keep their license. By simply stating that "our state only requires X hours of CE every two years. However, I am a member of organizations A, B, and C which sends out monthly newsletters to keep me abreast of changes in the industry. In addition, it is my personal policy to take a course every 2 months...". I would challenge that even a rookie who does these things has a chance competing for a listing against a 30-year veteran who only does the bare minimum.

Oct 04, 2017 10:08 AM
Randy Elliott
RE/MAX Gold - Lodi, CA
REALTOR : Lodi / Stockton, CA

The greatest investment we can make as professional Realtors, is in ourselves and our ongoing education.

Oct 04, 2017 09:28 AM
M.C. Dwyer
Melody Russell Team at eXp Realty of California, Inc. - Felton, CA
MC Dwyer-Santa Cruz Mountains Property Specialist

Thanks for writing this post Jeff - spoke to me on many levels.    Congratulations on getting featured!

Oct 04, 2017 09:54 AM
Margaret Goss
@Properties - Winnetka, IL
Chicago's North Shore & Winnetka Real Estate

Bravo - you are one smart real estate agent and it will pay off!  I also always opt for going to classes in the classroom - not online.

Oct 04, 2017 10:57 AM
Jeff Wright

I have taken a few classes online and they were OK, but it's much better to be able to interact and network in a classroom of peers. I will sometimes look for classes in other states to have a business trip/vacation.

Oct 04, 2017 11:32 AM
Gene Mundt, IL/WI Mortgage Originator - FHA/VA/Conv/Jumbo/Portfolio/Refi
NMLS #216987, IL Lic. 031.0006220, WI Licensed. APMC NMLS #175656 - New Lenox, IL
708.921.6331 - 40+ yrs experience

Definitely agree with your assessment, Jeff Wright ... and would add that the same mindset applies to anyone within our quickly changing industry.  I know we LO's definitely need consistent and continual education opportunities and training to serve our clients' (and real estate partners') needs thoroughly and well. 

Congrats on a timely and well-earned Feature!


Oct 04, 2017 12:20 PM
Jeff Wright

I know agents who have been in the field for many years talk about how they needed to know everything about all facets of real estate, including pre-qualifying someone on the spot. As quickly as things change today and with the myriad of financing options, I always refer people to a lender to get pre-approved and to find the best loan for that person. I'm busy enough taking classes to stay up-to-date with my niche and what is happening locally, much less taking regular classes on mortgages, appraisals, etc...

Oct 04, 2017 12:34 PM
Sharon Tara
Sharon Tara Transformations - Portsmouth, NH
Retired New Hampshire Home Stager

Bare minimum is not what our clients deserve. You are proving yourself to be a true professional! Congrats on the feature!

Oct 04, 2017 02:13 PM
Graig Griffin, SIOR
Utah Advisors | Windermere Commercial - Salt Lake City, UT
Commercial Real Estate - Utah and Nevada

Great post!  As a coach and trainer, I constantly have requests for those wanting to make more money (which is cool and fine of course), but precious few who show up asking to master being a fiduciary (what we are actually here for).  Our industry thrives on average, and its major consitutents (companies, vendors) push us towards the middle as a general rule because it's where they make their money, but this make us vulnerable to interlopers and disruptors (like Zillow and Homie).  We must challenge our industry to focus first on excellence then on production if we want to be here long term.

Oct 04, 2017 02:15 PM
Jeff Wright

Agreed. Our mediocrity is what allows Zillow to thrive. If we were all truly professionals, Zillow probably wouldn't have made it this far.

Oct 04, 2017 03:01 PM
Harrison K. Long
HomeSmart, Evergreen Realty - Irvine, CA
REALTOR , GRI, Broker associate, Attorney

Jeff ... It's very good that you are a new broker owner of a real estate business enterprise and that you plan to stay active and involved with your state or local AOR and continue with your professional education.

Best to you.

Oct 04, 2017 02:17 PM
Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

You are spot on for "investing" in your career.  Excellent job and welcome to the Rain!

Oct 05, 2017 05:20 PM
Dan Derito
Success! Real Estate - Brockton, MA

Good analogy Jeff.  The beauty of Real Estate is that you can never know everything.

Oct 07, 2017 06:20 AM
Kathy Streib
Cypress, TX
Home Stager/Redesign

Jeff- what a wonderful post and so glad it was featured!!  And kudos to you for sharing with us your earlier attitude about the courses!!!  You are making the best investment you can make, and that is in yourself. 

And btw- those lifeguards do train, just as you said. I've seen them here in Delray working hard to make sure they're ready to help save someone. 

Oct 07, 2017 12:18 PM
Stavrula "Sam" Crafa, RNC,GRI, CDPE, PSA
Future Home Realty - Seminole, FL
Providing the integrity and service you deserve.

If you don't keep learning, you won't keep growing. If you don't grow, you will end up behind everyone else because they WILL keep growing. Always strive to be a little better tomorrow than you were today. Great post!

Oct 13, 2017 07:40 PM
Luke Acree
ReminderMedia - King of Prussia, PA
Making Agents Memorable

Keep a curious mind and always make sure learn everyday. Realty is a craft, and to be a master, you always have to be exploring the art of the process.

Nov 02, 2017 08:16 AM
Carol Williams
Although I'm retired, I love sharing my knowledge and learning from other real estate industry professionals. - Wenatchee, WA
Retired Agent / Broker / Prop. Mgr, Wenatchee, WA

Hi Jeff,
So glad to hear you've grasped the value of ongoing education.  It makes an agent so much more valuable to their clients on every level. 

Feb 14, 2018 08:05 AM