Just because you’ve started working doesn’t mean you should let your education fall by the wayside. There are tons of opportunities out there to keep learning and growing as a real estate agent long after you earn your license. Here are some of the best ways to continue your real estate education.REALTOR© Designations
These are the acronyms that appear after a real estate agent’s name. Awarded by the National Association of Realtors, designations indicate additional expertise in a particular aspect of the business.
There are over a dozen official Realtor designations. Some, such as Accredited Land Consultant (ALC), are useful for agents in specific markets and areas. Others, such as Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) and Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM), prepare agents to work in a specialized niche.
Nevertheless, designations don’t come cheap: most certification courses cost hundreds of dollars, and some require you to pay dues to keep your letters. Consequently, the average real estate agent should probably ignore such specialty certifications and concentrate on just three:
- Graduate Realtor Institute (GRI) – This certification covers topics ranging from the sales process, to legal and regulatory issues, to professional standards. According to the 2012 NAR Member profile, GRI designees earned more than $21,000 more than non-designees.
- Certified Residential Specialist (CRS) – An exclusive club of 33,000 agents, the CRS designation is a mark of both experience and integrity. Applicants must meet transaction and education credit requirements for eligibility, and once designated, must abide by a strict code of ethics.
- Accredited Buyers Representative (ABR) – This certifies and prepares agents to work on the buyer side of real estate transactions.
Other Courses and Materials
Beyond the designations, there are plenty of terrific courses, and materials out there to learn about everything from SEO to real estate websites.
Here are our favorite founts of information (apart from the Academy, of course!).
- e-Pro – A certification program offered by the NAR, e-Pro teaches members how to use real estate technology to grow their business. Getting e-Pro certified also offers lead generation benefits, earning you a profile consumers can search on the e-Pro website and making your name stand out at REALTOR.org.
- HubSpot – In addition to offering inbound marketing tools and services, HubSpot offers plenty of educational resources for new agents to get acquainted with the new marketing landscape, including webinars and e-books.
- Copyblogger – A great resource on content marketing and content creation, Copyblogger also offers a range of free webinars, downloadable guides, and email courses for aspiring marketers.
There are also plenty of local consultants and smaller shops out there to help you continue your education. Take, for instance, our friends the Geeky Girls, who offer half- or full-day training workshops on social media, technology, and Internet lead generation. You can also find around the corner at your local real estate association.
Finally, beginner real estate agents looking to continue their education should strongly consider attending real estate conferences, where they can hear talks from industry movers and shakers and check out what’s on the cutting edge when it comes to real estate marketing tools and technology. Here are our favorites:
- Real Estate Connect – The self-described “grandaddy of all real estate conferences,” Real Estate Connect is run by Inman News and held twice a year in New York and San Francisco. The conference brings the industry’s executives, leading brokers, top producers, and technology providers together to discuss and debate the future of real estate.
- Agent Reboot – If you’re not looking to shell out tons of cash and spend an entire weekend on a conference, this one-day event might be for you. Launched in 2010 and also run by Inman, Agent Reboot is offered in several cities. Fifty bucks gets you six hours of insight on the latest in real estate tech, with a focus on topics like social, mobile, technology, and gadgets.
- REALTORS© Conference & Expo – Held in November, this four-day event is run by the National Association of Realtors and offers a combination of professional speaking engagements and vendor demos.