Ask Dr. Real Estate
Professional Education - Meat And Potatoes Or Alphabet Soup?
by Dr. Kenneth W. Edwards GRI
Most general consumers haven't got the foggiest notion what such things as "GRI," "CRS," or "CCIM" mean. As a matter of fact, some real estate professionals don't. So what's the point in my expending all that effort and money to attain them? As a fairly new REALTOR® who is really just getting started, wouldn't it be better for me to spend my time prospecting, listing, and selling?
There are a lot of very practical, money-making, career-enhancing reasons for participating in professional education. Here are just a few:
It's Going to Help You Earn More Money: In the unlikely event that you stop reading before I stop writing, I'll give you my best argument first. At every professional education session you ever attend (at least the REALTOR® offerings) you will learn something practical that will help you earn more money. It may come from the platform from an instructor or it may come from a fellow participant during informal discussions. Generally it will come from both. Be aware that these are not sessions devoted to esoteric, universe-pondering, meaning-of-life subjects. When you finish, assuming you've been paying attention, you'll be better prepared to make more productive use of your time in listing and selling real estate. You will also undoubtedly learn several important lessons on how to stay out of trouble. The technical term for that is "loss prevention."
It's a Wonderful "Battery Charging" Opportunity: It is very easy to get so caught up in the nitty gritty of putting real estate transactions together that you may soon decide you are the only person in the galaxy who is experiencing such monumental problems and difficulties. When you attend GRI, CRS or some other professional education session you are really joining a support group. You will find that your problems, for the most part, are pretty much typical. You will get some great insights from other pros on how to solve them. You will also get a terrific psychological boost from the whole therapeutic process. I vividly recall the great time I had at my GRI class, and several fellow participants became permanent members of my network.
Networking Opportunities Are Superb: People who enroll in professional education and pursue advanced designations are typically very serious about furthering their careers. You will be rubbing elbows with those who plan to be around for a while and who are committed to excellence. Statistics bear this out. There is a direct, positive correlation between advanced professional designations and income. GRI's make more money than non-GRI's. Ditto with CRS's and non-CRS's and other designations. Do they make more money as a result of what they learned or the contacts they made? Probably a combination of both, but the real answer is that they earn more because they are the type of people who are totally committed to their careers and who are willing to invest the resources needed to achieve success. Friends, that's a great group with whom to get involved.
Many People Do Know What the Designations Mean: Let me give you an example. A few years ago my mother in California passed away and I traveled there from Oregon to settle her estate. My biggest task was to sell her house. Faced with limited time, I wanted to list with an agent who was going to do the job for me quickly, efficiently, and professionally. I had no personal contacts to rely upon. I called several brokers, all REALTORS®, and told them I had a home to list. I wanted to hear from an agent who was: (1) full time; (2) had the GRI; and, (3) who had closed more than one million in transactions the previous year (I forgot it was California--I guess I should have made that at least five million.) I interviewed three agents. Let me tell you - they were good. I got a firm handle on market value, listed at a realistic price with a woman who actually had the CRS, and sold the house at a fair price to qualified buyers in less than a week.
Homework Assignment: If you want to research this topic further, my suggestion is that you visit www.Realtor.org, where you can find information about the impressive array of REALTOR® professional designations. When I visited the site recently I checked out the requirements to attain the CRS (Certified Residential Specialist). I was thoroughly impressed, and to be honest, somewhat intimidated. However, were I still actively listing and selling, I would put that at the top of my career "to-do" list.
Who's That Knocking? Some anonymous seer once said: "The reason many people do not recognize opportunity when it knocks is that it is usually disguised as hard work." Professional education is hard work, but trust me--it is $pportunity knocking.