That said, the options for agents who wish to deep dive into a specific niche or simply broaden their expertise can be dizzying, given the plethora of specialties, streams, and certifications available. Luckily, Gareth R. Jones from the Real Estate Institute of Canada, a leading provider of advanced education and designation programs for Canadian real estate professionals, found some time to lend REP’s readers 30 year’s-worth of insights.
“There’s a lot of pressure to bring in commissions nowadays, and an emphasis on the value proposition that consumers are receiving from their Realtors. So the push is on higher education, higher skill levels and more dedication to the business in general.”
No doubt, most agents in today’s message-heavy information age try to distinguish themselves by identifying and owning a niche. Not only is simply saying you are working within a particular niche - without the proper designation and pedigree - a dismissal of professional standards but the challenge of which niche to select is ever present. One can’t select every niche, of course, since being a jack of all trades is antithetical to the idea of specialization.
“Some agents prefer to specialize. We have agents who want to specialize in condos, single-family residential, while some prefer to focus on geographic areas and become the go-to person for that niche,” says Jones. “Some prefer to choose to work primarily with buyers, or primarily with sellers, or primarily with a segment like seniors, or first-time buyers. Whatever the preference, specialized courses help these agents in defining the specific area and how to go about pursuing an expertise in that area.”
Savvy to the growing demand, there are institutions already catering specifically to the real estate sector, many of which appear to be cropping up every month. Choosing the right institution can be as important as selecting which development stream one is choosing to pursue.
“Quality of the faculty is key, first of all, says Jones, pointing to REIC’s own extensive, rigorous training schedule for each of its courses geared directly to the specialty.
“In fact, most of our faculty is pulled from associations and industry trade bodies catering directly to that segment,” he says. “That is the kind of expertise that should go into the design of a specialized course.”
As the real estate market continues to react to today’s unpredictable economy, intensifying competition will continue to raise the bar of client expectations. One way for real estate professionals to keep up is to increase their knowledge base and practical industry skills through continuing education
The phrase “back to school” has long since become a cliché, so much so it has been rendered obsolete by today’s ever-shifting business climate. In other words, the “back” should be replaced with “go.” Every day.