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.”

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