Anyone who has gone outdoors in the past few years can see how much the market has changed. Neighborhoods that once were filled with families and newly remodeled houses are now littered with foreclosures, and such dramatic transitions indicate it takes more than sales skills to keep Realtors competitive. Though generic Internet classes used to suffice for real estate license renewals, locally-focused classroom education is once again becoming indispensable. More and more, agents like Cynthia Nash-Frye, with RE/MAX Suburban in Libertyville, find themselves logging off the Internet and stepping into the classroom in order to keep up with a market in flux.
“During the boom, sales were so easy, you could practically do it sleepwalking,” Nash-Frye explained. “Now, you go into one dark vacant house after another where there are just scattered belongings left behind – like the owners packed their things and ran. It’s like a
nightmare. I just keep thinking that we’ll learn and we’ll be better for it.”
Illinois has recently implemented major changes to their real estate licensure requirements – all sales agents are required to hold a broker’s license, affecting the number of education credits each agent has to accumulate to renew their license. Although online classes are abundant, they have significant short-falls in a market that is changing daily.
“We have the benefit in our area of having two phenomenal instructors, Lynn Madison and Lorrie Cox. They work with NAR, they go to DC, they sit in legislative sessions – they know the pulse,” Nash-Frye says. “Educators like Lynn and Lorrie bring the live experience into the classroom. This is up-to-the-minute knowledge, directly correlated to our market – you can’t learn enough in this market because it changes daily.”
The ever-changing face of the market has led to a huge variety of specialty classes that every agent can benefit from. Some online classes, Nash-Frye clarified, are not significantly different than those you’d find in a classroom. Still, she insists, Realtors have a duty to be educated in local issues like never before, and this is where the classroom really shines. Nash-Frye has been an agent since 1992 and her time in the field has taught her one thing above all else – the more knowledgeable a Realtor is about their market, the greater their chances for success. In a market where buyers and sellers are golden, there’s no such thing as too much education.
“Learning is everything if you want to be the best,” Nash-Frye says. “This is most people’s biggest investment; we darn well better know what we’re doing. Even though there is so much information available on the Internet, buyers and sellers need Realtors to interpret that information in a lot of cases. We do more than present an offer – we advocate on behalf of our clients.”