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Journey said it best: “Some will win, some will lose. Some were born to sing the blues. Oh, the movie never ends. It goes on and on and on and on.” And though I’m sure the band wasn’t thinking about real estate, I find great value in relating its lyrics to this industry.
While attending the real estate licensing program, I learned an insane statistic: About 90 percent of real estate agents leave after five years.
This is what made me think about Journey: You have to think as you join this industry — will you be a winner or a loser? Will you make it past the five-year itch? I’m sure many agents have thought “Oh no, not me!” But how to do prevent this from happening?
There are innumerable reasons that anyone might leave their job after five years, but why real estate agents? I’m sure there are countless reasons here as well, but one that strikes me is a lack of continuing education.
As agents continue in their real estate careers, they learn the ropes and get comfortable with the process of renting, selling and buying properties with their clients. Very often, education takes a back seat and is only necessary when renewing your license every two years.
This becomes a detriment to your business for many reasons.
The real estate industry is arguably one of the fastest-evolving industries there is, and with the advent of technology, there is constant change in the real estate landscape.
The importance of continuing to learn revolves around keeping up with the competition, thinking a step ahead and adapting to the market and to your clients.
The key to this is to attend trainings at your company, other companies and by teaching and training others. This will make your real estate career go “on and on and on and on.” Here’s why:
Find out what your brokerage offers
Your firm should be your first line of defense in continuing your education in the real estate industry. Regularly scheduled trainings geared toward different levels of learning is important: beginner, novice and advanced.
Obviously, new agents have much more to learn about the nuances of the industry than the advanced agent, but it doesn’t mean the advanced agent cannot learn something new as well.
You should let your firm know what you are most interested in learning so leaders can provide the proper training. Don’t be afraid to share your needs with your firm!
Examples of training could include reviewing the paperwork processes of a rental transaction, how to organize your day as an agent and how to pitch to landlords.
Odds are, if you need or are interested in learning about something in particular, someone else is in the same boat. Buddying up with others to attend trainings and holding each other accountable for going is helpful to not feel alone or “dumb” (even though you shouldn’t anyway) for attending.
In addition to standard trainings dealing with the real estate transaction processes, your firm should be using the most up-to-date technology because the only thing constant in technological real estate tools is change.
Client management databases, listing portals and the “hot” consumer-facing listing databases are always changing. Knowing these systems will keep you a step ahead of your competition, so it is necessary for you to be educated on them.
Your company can implement this training or can team up with the technology providers and have them visit your offices (or vice versa) to ensure you have a full knowledge of how to use the technology as a way to leverage to your business.
Look into training and certifications at your Realtor board
Furthermore, state real estate boards often offer training to members for free, so take advantage. For instance, the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) regularly hosts training for agents, managers, brokers, etc., to keep them informed about the latest trends, investments and, especially, legality.
Agents learn a lot about the laws and regulations in real estate class, but it is not particularly enforced when you’re in the field. Courses at the real estate board offices often cover the legal aspects of the industry and incorporate lawyers, mortgage professionals and more into their training.
This type of training ensures that you are representing your clients in a smooth transaction and also conducting business in a way that covers them legally as well. Also, boards offer classes that will allow for certifications to add to your real estate resume, such as becoming a certified negotiator or notary.
Even though there might be a fee associated with these certificates, they are a way to build your repertoire and validity in the industry.
Become a mentor
Last, but certainly not least, continue your education through others. One of the best ways to learn is to teach others because it reinforces your own knowledge and makes you constructively criticize your own techniques to improve them.
You can get involved in your company trainings and mentor other new agents. As a seasoned real estate agent, you can learn from new agents while they are learning from you.
Not only will a new agent get the benefits of learning tried-and-true methods, trainings can act as a reawakening for techniques that, as a seasoned agent, you forgot about yourself. Either way, every agent, new or old, can stand to learn much from one another’s successes and failures in the industry.
So are you the agent who will win or lose? Will you be that 10 percent that stays? Although making money becomes the top priority a lot of the time, it’s necessary to schedule time to invest in your education, or the your opportunities will dry up as the industry changes around you.
It often becomes the last thing on our to-do lists, but we need to remember to schedule the time so as not to become a scary statistic. If you continue growing your business by constantly growing your own education, you can ensure that “the movie never ends. It goes on and on and on and on.”
Gina Castrorao is a rental manager and licensed real estate agent at Real New York. Connect with her on LinkedIn.