De Moraes column: Being a Realtor takes more than the 80 hours of classes
Sean de Moraes
I had the pleasure of hosting a booth last week at the Glenwood Springs GlenX Career Expo for the second year in a row. It is an Expo for high school students from Aspen to Glenwood Springs to learn more about different careers from industry experts throughout our valley.
There were hundreds of businesses represented in the two large school gyms. Walking around between sessions, I was able see the various companies and had to chuckle a bit realizing how intertwined we all are in this community.
When the session resumed I was approached by another student who was going to ask me the inevitable question, “What do you do?” Sparing her time, I gave the canned answer of, “Well, I sell homes,” and continued into my spiel of what a Realtor does and all the different career paths one can choose to take in a real estate career.
What I wanted to say is, “A Realtor is really like an orchestra conductor.”
A Realtor can not be replaced by an online computer program that displays a list of available homes. The internet can’t share the inside knowledge of a neighborhood on a whim of, what a home sold for, when, for what amount, who bought it, where the sellers went, what their motivation was, how the various comps including active, sold, withdrawn and expired compare to a home they are looking at, or what other options may be coming up in the coming months.
I was able to explain that being a Realtor is not the only career path in the real estate industry. I was able to explain that there are a slew of different professions that support the process like marketing, photography, accounting, management, lending, closing coordinators, title reviewers, inspectors, appraisers, insurance agents, etc. On average, there are over 20 different people with whom a Realtor will be in contact during a transaction.
A Realtor’s duties of being a conductor go beyond just the time frame of a transaction. Anyone who has sold real estate long enough will inevitably be asked for recommendations. We are asked for contractors, electricians, plumbers, dry-wallers, excavators, insulators, architects, HVAC specialists, roofers, concrete guys, lawn care, house cleaners, car dealers, and the list goes on. A Realtor is a walking internet, we are kind of like a local Google.
A Realtor can oftentimes be a local tour guide, concierge, babysitter, chauffeur, ski instructor, mediator, therapist, counselor, courier, handy-man, and so on.
She asked me what type of education she would need to become a Realtor. With a chuckle, I kindly informed her that the real estate classes were the easy part. I told her that a college education would give her the tools to succeed and to specialize in an area that she finds interesting, such as business, marketing or psychology. College will help her understand how to see projects through, teach her about deadlines and follow-up, how to interact in groups to accomplish goals, and maybe most important, how to network (I think she thought I said party?).
I explained that it takes more than the 80 hours or so of classes. It’s not about the 12 hours of continuing education each year, but it’s about the daily education of staying up to date on the market and the industry. It’s not a 9 to 5 job, it’s a lifestyle. A demanding lifestyle that takes an enormous amount of time, money and dedication to be successful.
Next time you see your friend who is a Realtor, instead of giving them crap for the two hours they took for themselves, give them a hug. Thank them for the work they do to help support our thriving local economy when they sell a house.
Sean de Moraes is an agent with Roaring Fork Sotheby’s. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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