Yes, it’s required, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a chore! Here are some ways to make that government-mandated learning work for you and your career.
Learn a New Skill
One of the best ways to make your real estate continuing education hours pay off is to use them to learn a new skill that will make you more money.
For example, if you’re a residential agent, you might use your CE hours to learn the ins and outs of investment real estate. Working with investors is a great way to supplement your income. They typically need very little hand-holding, and want an agent who knows the market and can make deals happen without a lot of fuss. A good investor’s agent can close a lot of deals without spending a lot of time doing it.
Another way to make your CE hours pay is to take a course to learn a new software, lead management system, or cloud storage strategy. While knowing how to use a new computer program won’t lead directly to dollars in your pocket, maximizing efficiency in your practice will free up time to do more of the things that do bring in the bucks, like marketing, lead generation, and client care. The less time you spend organizing files, the more time you can spend on the fun stuff.
Get a Certification
There are a bunch of organizations that offer special certifications for real estate agents. For example, you can become a Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS), or Senior Real Estate Specialist (SRES).
These accreditations show that an agent has done extra training and is an official expert on a subject. Those extra letters after your name might be enough to convince a client to go with you over a less-credentialed agent. And the good news is that many of these certifications can also count toward your continuing education hours.
Brush Up on Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Many states require agents to take a continuing education course on recent legal updates, fair housing, or ethics. Instead of thinking of these classes as a box to tick, you could try to see them as an opportunity to find the most up-to-date ways to be a fantastic agent for all of your clients.
Of course, you’d never do anything unethical or violate fair housing law. But being proactive about knowing how to serve clients from every community will only help your career.
You might learn some useful things about what pronouns people are using these days, how implicit bias works, or new laws that offer tenants and buyers more protections. Consider it training to be a superhero for your clients.
Fix a Skill Gap
There’s so much to know in the field of real estate. Whether you’re a new agent or a seasoned pro, there’s always something new to learn. Which is why sometimes, there’s a skill you just never quite got a handle on. Don’t feel bad — it happens to everyone!
Maybe complicated contracts make your eyes cross, or you’re a little foggy on calculating a cap rates. Maybe you’re new to doing taxes as a contractor, and you’re not sure what receipts you should be saving for tax time. Whatever it is, don't feel embarrassed and use your CE hours to fix the issue! Everyone has skill gaps, but great agents take the steps they need to fill them in.
Explore a New Specialization
Let’s say you’re thinking about moving from residential real estate to commercial real estate, but you’re not really sure the field is right for you. What better way to dip a toe in the water than by taking your CE hours in that specialization?
It’ll give you a sense of whether or not that niche is up your alley and it’ll fulfill your mandated CE requirements. That’s twice the work in the half the time!
Want to learn more tips and tricks for agents? See what’s happening over on our blog.