Every two years, real estate agents in the state of Arizona are required to complete 24 hours of contining education. Most of these hours are separated into a variety of categories – Agency, Commissioner’s Standards, Fair Housing, Legal Issues, Contract, etc. – and are designed to keep agents apprised of changes to the laws while also maintaining their knowledge in the general subjects.
That’s well and good. But with bank owned inventories down to a mere trickle and traditional sales dominating the market, there should be a continuing education track for those agents who haven’t practiced real estate over the past two to three years.
And by that, I mean the bank owned listing agents.
Sure, there still are some of these agents who have continued to sell non-bank owned homes over the past couple of years and therefore still are aware that real estate doesn’t boil down to “the asset manager says.” But sometimes the group must pay for the ills of the few (though the few truly are many); requiring anyone who has generated more than 25 percent of their business from listing bank owned homes to complete this course would be an excellent way of reintroducing them back into real estate:
CONTRACT LAW (3 HOURS): A comprehensive study of the Arizona Association of REALTORS Residential Resale Purchase Contract as written, unamended by any lender addenda. Special emphasis to be placed on the sections dealing with Seller Property Disclosure Statements, Insurance Claims Histories, Cure Periods and What All Those Financing Contingencies and deadlines really mean.
BASIC NEGOTIATIONS (3 HOURS): Agents will relearn the ability to negotiate an offer without entering basic data into a form and waiting to hear back from the Great and Glorious Oz asset manager. Agents will be required to run comparables for a subject property and speak to a live human being (further known as the seller) to discuss the pros and cons of countering, accepting or rejecting an offer.
BASIC EMPATHY (3 HOURS): A necessary trait when dealing with buyers and sellers, as the agent will discover in “Basic Negotiations” as real human beings allow emotions to influence their decisions as opposed to asset managers who can’t understand why buyers don’t act like automatons.
LOCKBOXES 101 (3 HOURS): Believe it or not, there are better ways to secure a property than with a $10 lockbox from the Home Depot using the same three codes as on three quarters of the other bank owned properties in the Phoenix real estate market. Learn what a SUPRA lockbox looks like – they’ve only been around for almost five years in their current iteration – and how to use that white thing with numbers, otherwise known as a lockbox key.
LOCKBOXES 201 (3 HOURS): For those who still aren’t inclined to join the 21st Century, this class provides details on using the Mechanical Lockbox Code field in the MLS and how it really is just as secure as making an agent call to get a code, all so you can write down a five-digit MLS agent code than anyone with an IQ over 32 can make up on the spot. Because we all know, no one’s looking these up in the MLS to make sure the person calling is who they say they are.
SMARTPHONES (3 HOURS): Learn the one function of a smartphone never utilized by bank owned listing agents – the ability to answer a phone call from someone calling for information.
INTERIOR PHOTOGRAPHY (3 HOURS): Believe it or not, most homebuyers want to see more than just the front of a house for sale – kitchens (assuming they aren’t stripped of appliances), backyards (assuming the pool is neither drained nor green), living areas (assuming the past owner hasn’t punched holes in the all trying to find 50 cents worth of a copper wire.) Learn how to set up your camera so that it takes more than one photo of a given property.
PROSPECTING 101 (3 HOURS): Now that the gravy train’s run is at an end, how to make sure there’s still sufficient income to pay the staff of dozens and still pay the bills.
There it is. A 24-hour continuing education course that will help re-program bank owned listing agents as they attempt to re-enter the real world of real estate.
Not that this will ever come to pass. But that’s okay. The rest of us are used to having to walk other agents through the basics of a transaction anyway. It’ll be just like normal for us.