Yesterday we spent the day meeting our annual continuing education requirements. We did a half day mandatory update class and then another half day in an elective. We don't really have much to choose from with the elective, and I really wish the class had a little more meat to it, but it gets the job done and keeps the North Carolina Real Estate Commission happy.
Personally, I don't mind taking these classes because I believe they make me a better Realtor. And if I'm a better Realtor, then it's likely I'll do a better job for our clients than another agent down the road. If you are a consumer reading this, quick...what's the difference between a real estate agent and a Realtor? Tick tock tick tock tick tock. Time's up! More than likely, unless you are in the business, most people don't know the difference...and many probably don't care especially if they have had a bad experience. Then, all real estate agents are scum whether they are Realtors or not.
One of the best ways to make sure you don't end up in the scum category is to stay current with good training and education. There's lots of it out there and a lot of it is free so there's really no excuse. You just have to do it. Every time I take a class, something really strange happens. I realize how much I know that I didn't use to know! Remember your first day of real estate school? I do. It was like trying cram 10 pounds of information into my 5 pound brain. To avoid the "ooz factor", a phenomenon that occurs because you are trying to retain more than your brain is capable of holding, I spent a lot of time with my hands over my ears, trying to hold everything in. Maybe I was really just trying to block out the sounds of my own screams as the testing days approached. But that was several years ago and not only did I actually learn (or at least retain) enough to pass the tests (on the first try, I might add), I have since learned a whole bunch more on top of that. Some of what I know has come from books, some from training classes, and a lot has come from just being in the business. It's a lot like the building blocks we played with as kids. You begin with a basic foundation and start building from there.
"They" say that information, which is really nothing more than knowing stuff, is power, but that sounds like something you use against someone. I think information, or knowing things, is more about feeling "empowered" and confident. When you have the kind of confidence that comes from really knowing what you're doing, it makes you more effective and certainly more credible. If I was a customer wanting to buy or sell some real estate, the last person I'd want working for me is someone who isn't real sure about things and shuffles their feet with a "deer in the headlights" look every time I ask a question. Nope, I would want someone who knew stuff! And lots of it.
Unlike those early days in real estate school, now I'm building on an existing foundation which makes the whole education and training experience a lot more fun and a lot more relevant. And with every new bit of knowledge that I can gain, whether it's the nuances of a contract, or a change in the law, I'm becoming better at what I do for our clients and for our business. In theory, that should translate to more business and hopefully a substantial income, but I'll have to get back to you on that part.
Another thing that I know for sure is that I don't know everything there is to know about the real estate business. I probably never will. Learning is a road that never ends, a glass that's never full. And if the day ever comes when you think you know everything there is to know, then you really don't know jack.
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