E is for Education
The first thing you need to know is that real estate is always evolving. Rules and regulations change from time to time and new technologies affect the way we do business. As the old saying goes; nothing is as contant as change. So what do we do as an agent, or brokerage for that matter, to stay on top? Simple. Make education a part of your monthly timetable. Believe it or not, it is as much a part of your business as marketing or negotiating.
20 years ago, the governing powers in Ontario decided that Real estate agents would need to collect 24 continuing education credits every two years as part of their licence renewal procedures. In the early days agents accepted these stricter guidelines with hesitation and generally waited until their renewal was almost upon them before they signed up for their CEU credits. They felt that the CEU program was nothing more then a waste of time and money. There was even a weekend retreat offered, where, for a few hundred dollars you could get all 24 credits in one sitting. What few didn’t understand was these courses were designed to make them better agents and raise the bar in the real estate industry as a whole.
Today, CEU credits are offered by a host of providers and the topics are much more engaging and interesting. I believe it is important to work with a company that believes strongly in providing education to their agents. They should organize office meetings and have accredited speakers talk about relevant topics like Social Media, changes to the Tenancy Act or Changes to real estate forms. For managers, CEU credits become extremely important. After all, isn’t it a manager’s job to know everything?
Staying educated is not just about listening to someone speak about a topic. To truely understand the nuances of the real estate business, agents should take advantage of trade magazines like REM or Market Watch. They should read the notice pages on MLS and take advantage of the many real estate related websites for up to date information or trends. The information you learn will not only make you a better agent, but having that extra knowledge will set you above the competition.