BEST PRACTICEElite AgentOPINION

How We Learn Has Changed

In the last five years, the way we learn and gain knowledge has advanced almost as quickly as the technology used to deliver it.

The more we learn about how the human brain works, the more we are able to design programs tailored to individual learning styles. No two people are exactly alike, and different people retain information in different ways from a variety of different sources.

Research shows that the most effective teaching and learning styles are those that incorporate a ‘blended’ solution. The greater the variety in ways information is presented, the greater the success rate of the learners.

This is particularly true when participating in career-focused training for the real estate profession.

Different Paths to A Real Estate Agent Licence
Almost every State and Territory requires some minimum level of qualification before a real estate transaction can occur. Given the training is based on the National Training Package and the relevant State or Territory legislation, and must be delivered by qualified individuals and organisations (TAFEs, private RTOs and/or the REIs), there is considerable debate about which ‘pathway’ to the same goal is best suited for the individual.

The simple answer to that is: the ‘best’ method of training is the one that provides the individual with the most effective learning for them!

All of them eventually lead to some form of assessment, which makes a judgement about the competence of the individual. However, achieving that level of competence is not enough to be truly ready for taking on a career as a real estate sales person. The training you receive must take into consideration a lot more than just the legal requirements of property sales or management.

Typical course work includes:

  • Finding a job
  • Real estate licensing requirements
  • Agency operations
  • Real property law and contract law
  • Legal descriptions
  • Forms of ownership, transfer of title, limits of ownership
  • Listing, selling, buying and leasing for both residential and commercial property
  • Working with buyers and sellers, tenants and landlords
  • Ethical issues,
  • and much more.

Given the variety of different methods for obtaining the necessary real estate qualifications, the number of providers and the delivery methods they adopt, the question should be asked: Are they all as good as each other? The answer, simply, is ‘No!’ Which is best? Let the buyer decide!

The Downsides to An Online Program
In the last five years, in particular, online learning has become much more popular as a direct entry method to a career in real estate (and lots of other careers). Unfortunately, online learning is not sufficient to produce a polished professional in the real estate industry. Effective communication and people skills remain an integral part of the day-to-day functions of good agents, and cannot be taught as well in the online environment.

Online courses are easy, convenient, and available for any schedule, but they do not offer learners the opportunity to practice their interactions and get a ‘hands-on’ feel for what goes into selling or leasing a property. Refining the personal skills and selling techniques is just as important as learning about the regulations  dealing with property sales.

Webinars and online videos offer a great deal of information and are a phenomenal resource for students, but they are not enough without the addition of direct interaction.

Why Training Can’t Stop at The Classroom
Traditional classroom training isn’t the complete answer either. Some on-the-job training is required so real life application contributes to a successful outcome.

Using the Internet is no longer optional for real estate agents; it is a necessity. Without in-depth knowledge of how to create an effective online listing and develop a mailing list, new agents flounder and sometimes fail.

Today, anyone is able to quickly access relevant demographics and information to provide prospective buyers and tenants with everything they need to make a decision. Prospective buyers and tenants are able to see comparable properties and make decisions, armed with knowledge that five years ago was not so readily available in the public domain.

Blended Learning Environments Offer A Unique Solution
Good training programs, in-person and online, allow participants to get the most information and training in the least amount of time. The face-to-face interaction of the classroom gives the opportunity to ask questions and learn from experienced real estate professionals. Online programs allow students to work at their own pace and see the market from different perspectives. Students are no longer limited to the experience offered by their classroom teachers; instead they can benefit from the experience of market leaders in the industry through the net.

The marketing and networking skills needed to grow a client list is something that any good real estate training program covers in-depth. Agents are often expected to sink or swim! Some on-the-job training through an induction and mentoring program will go a long way to ensuring the success of participants.

Much has changed in the last five years – much more will change in the next five. The capacity to learn using a variety of methods is essential for the agent of the future.

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Tony Rowe

Tony Rowe is the CEO of TT Rowe and Co, a compliance, education and training consultancy providing specialist advice to the property industry in Australia.