The National Association of Realtor’s comprehensive DANGER report highlighting the real estate industry’s most serious threats to agents, brokers and even the association itself, includes a lack of sound and concentrated education for those in the profession.
Brad Chandler, CEO and co-founder of Express Homebuyers, a real estate investment company based in Springfield, Va., and others recommend more vigorous educational requirements for agents and brokers to ensure the profession includes only those who are dedicated to it.
Chandler recommends first increasing the number of hours required to get a real estate license from the current 72 hours in his home state of Virginia to the equivalent of three college level courses: a total of 135 to 150 classroom hours. The prospective agent would take the core principles of real estate course, then choose two electives, such as real estate finance, contract law, real estate appraisal, etc. In addition, he suggests the testing portion of the course be significantly more difficult and, perhaps, retaken at least once every two years in a monitored classroom environment. Other states, such as Texas, have already implemented more rigorous required education.
Although no such higher education requirements exist, some brokers have taken it upon themselves to take their education to the next level. Allan S. Glass, president and CEO of ASG Real Estate in Los Angeles, and a real estate broker and investor for more than 20 years, has a bachelor’s degree in real estate finance from the University of Southern California in Los Angeles and a master’s in real estate development from Columbia University in New York City.
“Unlike many of my peers, I decided to go all in on the industry at an early age, with the intent of making it my vocation,” he said. “I appreciate the entrepreneurial opportunities afforded by allowing a soft entry into the brokerage profession. However, I believe it undermines the industry as a whole by allowing inexperienced and/or partially educated agents to practice.”
The role of the agent/broker, according to Glass, has grown from simply being the keeper of information (e.g. MLS listings) to their clients’ trusted advisers and transaction process managers.
This presents a dangerous situation, given consumers have more access to information and can become more educated on the transaction process, he said.
“This, coupled with the ability for the general public to find and utilize home data from websites such as Zillow, realtor.com, [and] Trulia , means that the expectation or bar of knowledge is set higher by our clients,” Glass said. “The only way to strengthen our value to the consumer is to expect more from ourselves as a whole. Higher education requirements as a barrier to entry are an absolute must for survival.”