Updated: May 8, 2020
"Anyone can become a Realtor! It's too easy to become a Realtor." I hear this all the time from my friends.
You have to be 18 years or older, take 90 hours of class, pass the school real estate exam, pass the state and the national exam, sign up with a real estate brokerage and Voila! You can now go out and help people buy and sell a house and receive compensation for your services. I used to think this was crazy. That this was too easy and that there should be more training and hurdles to only allow the best to become an agent.
In fact, I remember my first deal. My first week as an agent, I stopped by a "For Sale By Owner" home. Got a tour of the house and convinced the sellers that I could sell their home quicker and at a higher price. I took the listing, put the home on the MLS and received a contract in 4 hours (this was Sept 2004). In a panic I called my broker and said "I just got my first contract! What do I do now"! My broker helped me stop hyperventilating and walked me through the closing process.
You could argue that I had no business selling a home! No experience in real estate, my first week in the business, no apprenticeship system and I'm about to help a seller with their biggest asset!
But, in the end, the closing went smooth, my sellers were happy because they were able to net more money than selling the house themselves and I closed my first deal. I've helped these sellers multiple times with buying and selling homes so I'm assuming they were very happy with my services. And, yet you could argue that I had no idea what I was doing.
The real estate business is actually a very easy process. Real estate in AZ is set up to make it so that real estate is low risk transaction. The real estate classes give us a basic education on how to complete the real estate contract, the importance of disclosure and a host of other topics. The brokerages also have many classes that teach us how to grow our real estate business, how to work with buyers and sellers, lead generation, loss prevention and a host of other topics to make us more successful in the business of real estate.
More importantly, the brokers are available to answer agent questions to help guide us through the transaction and how to manage any minefields. Add mentoring from other agents in the brokerage, yearly continuing education classes and you have a pretty robust industry that makes the real estate transaction relatively easy.
Kudos also go out to the Arizona Association of Realtors and the Arizona Department of Real Estate. They established a purchase contract and transaction system to make the contract phase of a real estate transaction relatively fool proof. As I've said many time in the past, " A monkey could fill in the blanks"
But, this is the whole point! We want real estate to be a relatively easy transaction. 95% of the time, there aren't going to be any major issues come up. And, that's a testament to the agents and the Realtor association to make this industry a very transparent industry. As a society, we also want to make it relatively easy to become an agent. This keeps the transaction costs lower and makes for a more robust industry.
I would also argue that most of the agents are very competent, work hard and do a good job. Just like in any industry, experience always helps! The more transactions you complete, the more you learn and the better you get a resolving any issues before they become critical mistakes. I've made mistakes in my 16 years in real estate. I'm sure I'll make many more mistakes. I'm always learning, trying new things and the real estate landscape is always evolving.
Yes, there are the bozo agents who get their license. But, this industry is so lean and entrepreneurial that they will get out of the industry relatively quickly. We also have the checks and balances in the brokerages to prevent any major issues from coming up and causing catastrophe.
So, the next time you hear "Anyone can become a Realtor". Applaud this phrase and be thankful that it's an easy industry to get licensed. It keeps your cost lower, makes for a very transparent industry and allows us to all buy and sell a home relatively easily.