I have been reflecting on the past year, in fact, the past eighteen years that I have had the opportunity to teach real estate classes in the Hamptons and New York City.
Many realtors took their initial licensing courses with me, as well as their broker qualifying courses and continuing education courses every two years for license renewal. It has afforded me the opportunity to observe how the practice of real estate has evolved over the years. I am using this occasion to share what I have learned with our readers.
Today, the typical agent is better informed than when I started teaching. The initial qualifying course has increased from forty-five to seventy-five hours, and for a broker’s license from ninety hours to one hundred and twenty. The full-time experience requirement for the broker’s license has increased from one year to two. The twenty-two and a half hours of continuing education every two years, must include three hours in federal, state, and local fair housing laws.
I find that the agents are better supervised. They are more likely to have managers, often attorneys, whose sole responsibility is to manage.
The brokers and managers often invite people of expertise in various aspects of real estate to conduct training sessions for their agents.
Cooperation among agents from competing firms has become the rule rather than the exception. The expanding role of buyer agents is a good example. There is a realization that cooperation benefits all parties to the transaction, buyers, sellers, as well as real estate agents. Given the increasing workload of real estate agents, the formation of “Teams” within an agency is growing in popularity. This too benefits the realtors and the consumer. The opinions I am expressing have been supported by other real estate professionals I have conferred with: attorneys, home inspectors, and appraisers. Professionalism and integrity lead to referrals, the best form of advertising for the real estate practitioner.
What is also true is that real estate brokers are more likely today to pursue their rights by filing law suits against buyers and sellers who attempt to deny them their rightfully-earned commissions and prevail in the courts. Perhaps this is due to the increasingly high stakes and the fact that the brokerage firms have become more corporate and less likely to walk away from what is rightfully theirs.
The downturn in the real estate market resulted in a loss of real estate agents. Those who have survived have become more selective in choosing customers and clients. The overpriced listing or the buyer who is not serious have become less attractive to the real estate agent.
At the two educational institutions where I teach, Cook Maran in the Hamptons and New York University in New York City, we have experienced an increase in enrollment in our licensing classes. In the Hamptons, real estate is still one of the few professions available. It offers opportunity for a good income, interesting and challenging work, with a relatively low-cost investment.