RANT: Education Is Key To Agent Standards

Real Estate Agent with The Papas Group (DRE #01766524)

As a new member of the Active Rain community, I have been absorbing the wealth of knowledge and experience people freely share here. There is benefit for both consumers as well as real estate professionals.

The post by Kristal Kraft on REALTOR Standards resonated with me and compelled comment: I agree 100% with you Kristal!!

Here in California we have three levels of real estate licensing: Conditional Salesperson, Salesperson, and Broker. This 3-tier stratification and low barrier to entry contributes to some of the negative perception that real estate agents don’t know what they are doing.

The Conditional Salesperson license provides the lowest entry point: Take one state mandated Real Estate Principles class and you are qualified to take the exam. Pass the exam and you can apply for a license and usually receive it within about 8 weeks, assuming your pass the FBI and DOJ fingerprint database review and criminal background checks. You are then required to take 2 additional state mandated courses within 18 months of being issued a license: Real Estate Practices on one more course from a list of 12 below, for a grand total of 3 courses. This will then convert the Conditional License into an unrestricted Salesperson license.

The Salesperson license is issued to those who have passed the license exam and provide transcripts showing advance completion if the 3 courses required above. These 3 courses are usually part of general Business Administration programs in university and community colleges.

The Real Estate Broker License is where the state places the most education requirements. On the job experience is also required if you don't have a four year college degree. The courses are ...

  • Legal Aspects of Real Estate - Required
  • Real Estate Finance - Required
  • Real Estate Appraisal - Required
  • Real Estate Economics or Accounting - Required
  • Real Estate Practice - Required
  • Any 3 courses from the following - Required
    • Real Estate Principles
    • Business Law
    • Property Management
    • Escrows
    • Real Estate Office Administration
    • Mortgage Loan Brokering and Lending
    • Advanced Legal Aspects of Real Estate
    • Advanced Real Estate Finance
    • Advanced Real Estate Appraisal
    • Computer Applications in Real Estate
    • Common Interest Developments
I believe the consumer is best served by me having as much knowledge about this exciting field before starting work. That is why I chose to take the full course of required Broker education before starting activity as a real estate Salesperson. The side benefit is I have completed the state required courses in advance if I decide to become a broker.

The next stage for me was to find a local real estate company that is not a body shop. My particular company in Cupertino, CA has a new agent training program, an ongoing mentoring program for new agents and encourages all agents to engage top third party coaching and accountability programs. Some of the agents in the company are actual coaches that create top producing agents. These not get rich quick, feel-good sessions, but nuts and bolts sales, business devlopment and personal motivation courses agents pay for out of pocket.

Why do we not just have one level of license, such as the Broker, with a strong education program as a starting point for discussion?

We should eliminate the weak Salesperson license and focus on ensuring a strong foundation is built for all new agents. I believe this will also be an excellent tool to screen out those who want to get in and make a quick buck. I am much more prepared to work with consumers in a complex  transaction than those freshly minted agents who took 1 to 3 classes and passed a test. I have a well rounded foundation, I have a strong support team in my company, and I am personally motivated to be successful with full backing from my office colleagues. I also support them in their successes.

I believe raising the bar of entry by requiring a broad education in the field of real estate will best serve both the consumer as well as the industry as a whole.

Thanks Krystal for an excellent blog post!

Comments (2)

Cheryl Johnson
Highland Park, CA

Paul, I really like your idea!  I obtained a Salesperson license in 1982, then a Broker license in 1989.  Things have changed a little since those days, but things have not changed near enough.

I agree:  The Conditional Salesperson/Salesperson license is a joke. Eliminate the Salesperson license,  make the Broker license requirements the entry point for everyone.  Then make the Corporate/Officer Broker license the requirement for brokerage owners/managers - and attach some serious additional educational requirements to the Officer license.

For what's its worth, I have  the GRI, CRS, and CRB designations.  Some of the stuff taught in the courses to obtain those designations is pretty good, and should probably to worked into educational requirements for all licensees.

Sep 16, 2006 12:42 AM
Paul Caloca
The Papas Group (DRE #01766524) - Scotts Valley, CA
Thanks Cheryl! I also belive topics from the GRI and CRS should be included in educational requirments as well. Good point. :-)
Sep 16, 2006 12:26 PM