Several months ago, I conducted an unusual real estate agent interview. The request for the meeting to explore the possibility of working with my company had come in over the weekend. The prospective agent had been in the mortgage business and wanted to diversify and enhance his portfolio by becoming a Realtor.
After we settled down in the conference room, I asked him to fill in some of the details of his resume which he had forwarded via e-mail earlier. He had an impressive curriculum vitae which included work with governmental agencies, serving as a city manager & his current job as a mortgage lender. I admitted to being intrigued by his career choices and wondered aloud why he chose to enter mortgage lending & was now pursuing a real estate career.
After some hemming & hawing...he admitted to me that he was in mortgage lending by default. The broker he was working with had allowed him to come on board, although he wasn't really supposed to be doing anything which involved other people's money & he was becoming distressed by what he perceived to be inappropriate tactics at his current job.
"You see," he confessed, "I'm on probation for stealing funds from the government while I was managing a government lending program." He continued "I was wondering if I could work for you under your broker's license while I get an understanding of how the real estate industry works." I stared at him in disbelief & then asked him if he realized that being a convicted felon might impact his ability to get a real estate license in the state of Michigan? Apparently, the question had not crossed his mind.
This experience provokes many interesting questions. I was not dealing with an unintelligent individual; at least if his resume was to be believed. He had already interviewed other brokers, some of whom had offered him a job. He seemed confident that the issues he had just admitted to me were not going to preclude his entry into a career that would give him almost unlimited access to credit information & other financial data for unsuspecting consumers. Why would a convicted felon see a real estate career as a viable alternative after being convicted for fraud & financial theft? What does the general public perceive the qualifications to become a real estate agent are?
As the nation's spotlight remains on our industry, the answer to this question is becoming uncomfortably apparent. Yesterday, ABC News launched a series entitled "The Home Wreckers" in which they will be discussing the negative impact that certain types of real estate & mortgage transactions are having on communities across the nation. Charlotte, North Carolina was the location on last nights' segment about a subdivision in which 1 out of every 5 homes was in some stage of the foreclosure process. The reporter interviewed a couple who shared an increasingly familiar tale of victimization & loss. Of course the builder/developer, Realtor & loan officer were all lumped under same assumed header...Home Wrecker. A follow-up on-line by ABC network, this time set in Chicago, revealed the impact multiple foreclosures are having on the home values of entire neighborhoods.
Earlier today, another scenario juxtaposed itself,and in an unexpected way dramatized the difference in licensing requirements for various professions to serve consumers in the State of Michigan. In talking with one of my agents today, she informed me about the process that her daughter had just gone through to get a license to be a cosmetologist in the State of Michigan. Her one year apprentice program had included: 1500 hours on the floor, practising different techniques on clients which included grading on each assignment, constant supervision while she did any transaction which involved a member of the public, 2-4 styles, cuts etc. every week, and multiple tests which she had to pass before she could take the 2 parts of the State Licensing Exam which included a Practical Exam & Theory. Whew, it makes one tired just to read this...
Contrast the following. In Michigan,an aspiring agent needs one 40 hour class & the ability to pass the real estate licensing exam within the maximum alloted time of 3 hours. Then he is free to find a wall in a broker's office of his choice on which he can hang his license before he is "let loose" on the general public. Let's look at what it would take if the requirements to handle the largest financial transaction that 97% of Americans will ever make was as stringent as the requirements to place a pair of scissors next to your head or hands!
- Instead of a 40 hour class...try 40 WEEKS of class. This would be the equivalent of time required to be allowed to sit for the licensing exam. Instead of floor time prospecting for new clients, floor time would be mandated for new agent education!
- Every new agent would submit to an apprenticeship in which they would be graded on the following basic skills: understanding the legal aspects of real estate paperwork & documentation, writing clear & concise contracts & addendums, classroom exposure to the different types of real estate services including title, mortgage, commercial, appraisal & property management, negotiation skills, prospecting, technology & on-line marketing, business administration, customer service, business communication, marketing, selling skills & time management. These are the skill set that successful professional agents excel in!
- Every phase of training would be monitored by an experienced real estate professional who would give written & verbal documentation of the potential licensees progress. A passing grade would be required in all these basic skills to be allowed to take the in-house exam
- Potential real estate agents would be required to have 2-3 client meetings a week to practise, under supervision of course, their listing or buying presentation, offer presentation & prospecting calls & contacts.
- There would be a Comprehensive Practical & State Licensing Exam. After passing the in-house exam which would require a couple of days to complete, the State Exam would consist of the examinees demonstrating their skills with a prospective client in any number of potential real estate scenarios & a written exam.
Would this make the real estate license cost prohibitive for many. Perhaps, but most budding hairstylist aren't wealthy either. Would it make it more valuable for those who undergo the discipline, training & rigour necessary to become competent...Definitely! Yes, a poorly trained stylist could do some major damage with her scissors, but consider the damage potential of a poorly trained real estate agent with an improperly handled real estate transaction. Does it make sense that my hair stylist is more adequately trained at the start of her professional career than many real estate agents are after a couple of years in the business?
© 2007 Audu Real Estate All rights reserved
http://www.auduhomes.com/ Audu Real Estate provides a comprehensive 1-2 year Mentor training program for real estate agents. To learn more about this innovative approach to starting or building your real estate career contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Click on the picture or link to tour the facilities.
*Last note: During the commercial, I switched to Fox Broadcasting which was advertising America's latest Blockbuster TV program...."Are You Smarter than a 5th Grader" . I am left wondering...Is the training that many receive in real estate qualifying us to earn more than our barbers & hair dressers?
Copyright 2007 Audu Real Estate All Rights Reserved
Lola Audu, is the Designated Broker & Owner of Audu Real Estate. Our company specializes in helping people buy and sell homes in the greater Grand Rapids, West Michigan area. You can contact us via e-mail @ email@example.com or by phone at 616-791-0511. Thanks for visiting our blog. Here are links to some of our most popular posts for you to enjoy!