We don’t need no education?

by Olivia D'Orazio12 Jan 2015
The majority of real estate agents hold a college or university degree, according to a new REP poll, but that doesn’t necessarily make them good sales reps.
Almost 60 per cent of poll respondents said they completed college- or university-level education, while another 15 per cent of participants said they completed a graduate degree. However, in the REP forum, agents argued that a formal education doesn’t necessarily make for a success real estate professional.
“The best agent often is not the best in class,” writes one anonymous commenter in the forum. “We always forget that we are the salesperson first and agents after. Some agent become masters in drafting documents [and] some in selling homes.”
Barry Lebow, a real estate veteran who himself didn’t finish high school, says social skills and life experience can often be more beneficial to an agent than a post-secondary degree.
“All the immigrants who made a fortune in real estate who created an empire, many have no formal education,” he tells REP. “So someone with a Masters in 14th century literature is better than a waitress or cab driver? [The waitress and cab driver] have better life skills. Education doesn’t make you a sales person. The bottom line: it’s still a sales job and not everybody should be in sales.”
However, that sentiment is not shared by everyone. Many agents believe that the country’s licensing bodies should require higher education as a prerequisite to entering the profession.
“The entry level requirements for getting a real estate license are too low,” writes Ken Burrows Sr. in the REP forum. “I think a minimum of a four-year university degree is necessary. Handling complex sales transactions requires more than a real estate course. If we are to enhance the quality and veracity of our industry let's get the educational standards up to where it is accountable and respectable.”


  • by Jeff 1/12/2015 12:18:15 PM

    Four years of what? I agree with the beginning of this article that suggests that people skills are not learned in the classroom. Real Estate is a sales position. Some of the best (and professional) Realtors® I know had a successful career in car sales before moving to Real Estate. Ya, car salesmen, get over it.

  • by She 1/12/2015 12:19:54 PM

    I agree that life skills help to make a good realtor. And I disagree that a degree will make the difference in change the industry to "good realtors". I believe it is and should be a commitment by the realtor themselves to be good at their career, continue to upgrade their real estate education and it should be mandatory that the boards and association require minimal education classes to be taken on a yearly basis. Not just the once s year review, but credit requirements similar how a CA designation would be required to be met. These courses can be real estate, people skills, sales skill, presentation skills related. The agents that are not committed to being their best, improving or lazy, will weed themselves out.

  • by Lloyd 1/12/2015 12:48:07 PM

    I strongly believe that we must make the real estate license much much harder to obtain. It is far to easy to get at the moment which is why we have too many agents and a lot of which are not capable of selling burgers not to mention a home. I don't think OREA and RECO care about this because the more members they have the more money they receive. Please make it as difficult to get a appraisal license and that would weed out many people who get the license as a part time job or just the people that are not capable of doing the job in the first place. This is also better for agents because there would be less competition which means less need to reduce commissions.

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