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Fischer: Real estate not for the faint of heart – or the unprepared

By Jen Fischer - Special to the Standard-Examiner | May 10, 2024

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Jen Fischer

It takes 120 online classroom hours and at least 70% on the exam, the equivalent of a C-minus grade, to get a real estate license. It is no wonder that there are 19,237 of us who have our hands in the air to help you with one of the largest financial decisions that you make in your lifetime. The choice is yours. On the other hand, my daughter recently finished cosmetology school. She was required to complete 1,600 hours of training.

This fact loomed large in my mind yesterday as I was driving to a listing appointment. This gentleman was appreciatively candid with me on the phone when making the appointment. “I plan to interview several agents before making my decision,” he informed me. I responded by letting him know that I thought that was a very good idea.

This is not the first occasion, nor will it be the last that I will be competing for a listing. Over the course of my career, I have done this on numerous occasions. I win some and I lose some. It is all part of the game. While I believe there is enough real estate business to go around, I also believe that 120 hours and a passing score on a test does not a good Realtor make.

This is why the savvy seller, as well as buyer, will interview more than one Realtor when making a decision regarding their real estate assets and investments. Throughout the process of a transaction, there is going to be a good amount of communication between the agent and the client. Choosing someone who you want to develop that personal relationship with should be deliberate. If they try to sell you some Amway on the side, count that as a red flag.

Like many professions, what you learn in a classroom and what happens in real life lacks much comparison. After decades of practicing real estate, for example, I have yet to find a use for the metes and bounds method of measuring property. What they don’t teach you, however, are the critical elements of running a business. They don’t teach how to prospect, nor do you learn how to negotiate. There is no practice in reading title reports and very little in writing contracts. Special skills required for realtors to succeed include problem-solving skills, relationship-building experience and the ability to manage time. These are not covered in the real estate course, but they are in high demand for a Realtor to represent a client. Perhaps this is why 75% of licensees choose not to return after the first year of practice and 87% drop out by year five. Rest assured, however, there are new ones to take their place. Some of these will catch on quick and learn these fundamentals and others will find work in other industries better suited for their specific skills and talents.

In my unsolicited opinion, Realtor’s should be required to apprentice with other experienced agents in the industry before “graduating” to their very own transactions. In reality, many of the top producers in the industry did that very thing without it being required. Some brokerages do require a mentorship program for new agents. I owe much of my initial success and continued perseverance in this industry to a few key mentors who were gracious enough to teach me during my transition back into the industry several years ago. As a result, I am happy to do the same for many other new agents. For buyers and sellers, it would be wise to know your agent before hiring them. I wouldn’t have wanted to be my daughter’s first haircut.

Jen Fischer is an associate broker and Realtor. She can be reached at 801-645-2134 or jen@jen-fischer.com.


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